Your Dreams Can Be A Window To Your Soul
Written By: Mark Smith
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I recently found myself in a dark crowded parking lot getting in my car when two large scary looking black men tried to get in the car with me. I locked the doors as quickly as I could. Then one of them pulled a gun on me. I also pulled a gun out. In the movies these situations always seem de-escalate and everybody walks away, but then, totally unexpectedly, I just shot both of the guys dead. I didn't have to, but it felt like they would come back to bother me if I didn't eliminate them. Later their gang, led by a very wealthy old college buddy of mine named Bill, who was painted blue like the one of the Blue Men group angrily blamed and criticized me for the needless killings. I felt really guilty for committing the crime and I feared getting arrested. Then I woke up in a sweat.
In my experience most people go to see a therapist because of pain in a relationship. They aren't nearly ready yet to explore the depths of their souls. For some unknown reason their sex life has shriveled up and they want it fixed pronto. Or arguments explode into horrible fits of rage, and they want that pattern to go away in 6 easy sessions. We tell them that they have a more serious condition than they originally thought. They as individuals are dysfunctional, not just the marriage. Really effective marital work is not about fixing the marriage, it is about unraveling deep wounds that need healed in two incredibly complex and wounded souls. It is about embracing the pain of your childhood, the pain of your marriage, the pain of your humanity and then messily working it all out over time. It is not about tools, techniques or quick fixes
Our emotional pain really isn't a bad thing. It is trying to communicate with us what it is we need. It can give us direction if we understand and cooperate with it. I began to feel an interest, an ache really to explore my writing. I attended a couple of writing events that inspired me and fed that hunger. At one of those events I met a friend who shared with me about the work that she was doing in her Jungian therapy. I'm no expert, but the jest of it is that the work is all based on dream analysis. She seemed so powerfully impacted by it that I thought that I've give it a whirl myself - my head is still spinning. In my brief dream work I have already been given many truly priceless metaphors that have helped me understand myself with much greater clarity. The beauty of it is that I can continue to play with those metaphors in framing and understanding my life.
When I arrive for my appointment I have done a lot of work already. I keep a journal right next to my bed and the first thing that I do when I wake up is ask myself it if I have had any dreams. Then I write down whatever I can remember. I present my therapist, Gary with these documented dreams in typed form when I arrive at this office.
I guess that I should explain my murderous dream. It was my dream, so Gary asked me what I associated with black men. Since a have a lot of buddies who are black that I play basketball with at the Y, I said that I associated black men with fun, basketball, joking, free spiritedness, etc. Gary said that he thought that the black men represented parts of me that want to have more fun, who are angry that I don't allow it and who are on a mission to get some resources from me to invest in it. And I shot those guys down - not good. He said that a part of you does not allow for fun - it kills it off. In essence, your inner black man wants to be free to play more. He speculated that so much of what I have done has been about the shame of my childhood poverty and my efforts to overcompensate by working and making lots of money. My former wealthy college buddy being blue represented him being a lot of resources available within me potentially for fun and creativity. He was saying, "hey Mark, why did you kill off your inner black men - it was wrong, lighten up and have some fun for a change." Gary said that I'm still a poverty stricken kid in my heart, which is what fueled the need to compete and be "successful". When Gary asked me what I considered to be fun I said that I loved to travel. The next week I booked a trip to the Gulf Shores. I'm actually writing this as I'm basking in the sun at the beach. The metaphor of my inner black man is my reminder to play, travel, be creative, and loosen up.
Your dreams are a window to your soul. They cut right through psychological defenses. They can direct you to your next steps. Pay attention to them. They can give you the most graphic, colorful and unforgettable metaphors imaginable. Alright then, now I'm off to go have some fun. See you next week.
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