housekeepingAfter a week of deep, lucid, lovely dreams—I’m now remembering only fragmentary, unpleasant and frustrating dreams. Such is the ebb and flow of dreamwork! I woke up this morning exasperated and grumpy after dreaming:

The Bed Is A Mess: I feel frazzled, anxious, impatient. There’s a charismatic yet slightly creepy spiritual leader coming to stay in my community, and I’m preparing a bed for him. According to his preference, the bed is just a bunch of blankets and old clothes strewn on the floor and covered in a contour sheet. I see that the sheets are stained, and decide to put all the bedding in the laundry and start fresh. Now, I search through a jumble of clothes and blankets, trying to find enough soft stuff to make a new bed. Others keep taking some of the best blankets for their own purposes. I put as much stuff as possible on the floor, trying to arrange it so that it will be soft, not too lumpy, and cover all the bare spots—but I can’t really see how this is going to work. How could a sheet fit over it all, and how could it possibly be comfortable? I know I’ve slept on such a bed myself, and it wasn’t too bad, but now my efforts seem ridiculous. After scrounging for more materials, I return to find that a dog has pooped on one of the bare spots. I am disgusted, and want someone else to clean it up.

Lately, I’ve been working with “bad” dreams—especially my own—and testing the belief (or hypothesis) that, as Jeremy Taylor says: “All dreams come in the service of health and wholeness” (Dream Work Tool Kit #1). Dreams like this one might strain my ability to see the wholesome qualities! (Dramatically frightening or disturbing nightmares are another story—to be considered at another time.)

I can certainly recognize that there’s metaphor and meaning in this unpleasant dream: I am encountering my own ambivalence about preparing a comfortable place for spiritual ideals that I’m not sure I trust—and also wrestling with my own need to control and “clean up” the world around me. Old clothes and blankets (maybe old roles and securities) aren’t coming together to make a new bed! And then there’s the poop (potentially, the fertilizer for that new “bed”—as in a garden bed?) that just seems like smelly waste material to me. I want to wash my hands of this whole project!

What is the use of such dreams? I already think I know what it’s trying to say, but it’s not particularly helpful. Yeah—I’m a mess—this is no big revelation. I notice that the dream-self (the “I” in the dream) feels worse and worse as the dream goes on. And it all ends on an ugly note. This seems to be telling me that there’s no hope! But, there have to be other ways of looking at it… Continue reading