Continued from front page…

As I often do, I had written about the first dream I ever worked in a session. And yet, this time there was something about my writing that felt flat, flat even beyond the voices in my head, that always say these sorts of things about my writing.

I can see now coming out of the retreat that I needed to touch into where I am in my own inner process with my dreams before I could go back and write that piece related to my presenting dream.


First dream: I am a wolf and I am in a large pack of wolves, numbering in the hundreds and maybe even thousands. We live somewhere outside of the world of hunters, a refuge from the dangers of the world. We are returning to the heart of this refuge, the center of our home when I see that we are partly surrounded, partly trapped by men in jeeps who have mounted guns – a cross between a machine gun and a small rocket launcher, so they appear like oversized revolvers with bullets that are 2 to 3 inches in diameter. It is a devastating moment, the cracking of the illusion of safety and the utter fear of not knowing where to run.

So why this dream now? There is a part of this fear that I feel as I move into the world, that I am scared to leave the refuge of what I have learned and of the “pack” that I have known for these last ten years. I guess it is possible to project trauma on to this moment. I have had dreams of my people/my pack being slaughtered but despite my intense fear, I see no actual death in the dream.

Maybe as I step out in this way, I am really just scared. Maybe the men in this dream are even archetypes, in the sense that they are not actually slaughtering the wolves, but simply reminding me in a very graphic way, that the way through to myself is not ultimately through finding refuge but instead learning to breathe into the fear and move on to the next territory…

Second dream: I am physically stuck between two boulders. I do not know how I got there but I do realize in the dream that the harder I struggle the more stuck that I am. Something in the dream shifts as I realize this and I am released from the two boulders in some way that I am not even conscious of in the dream.

This is another correction dream for me. It is not until I let go of the struggle that I am freed from these boulders. Letting go like this is a wonderful feeling, a letting go of how I have in some ways brought the compulsiveness of my pathology, of struggling, of efforting, into the heart of a process that is ultimately about healing the split not getting stuck in the struggle with it.

Third Dream: I am in a space that is not a physical space – there is no floor or ceiling or walls. Sometimes I am a young woman that is in a kind of stream of energy of some sort and other times I am myself, looking at this woman. There is also a male presence that seems to be holding the space for all of this. There is a deep feeling of healing.

As I let go of the struggle with the boulders, as I let go of finding refuge in the world, this other kind of inner refuge opens, a healing space with this male presence, this animus figure.

Fourth Dream: I am in the water, sometimes under for long times like a fish and sometimes up on the surface looking around. At one point I am on the surface and see a fin, it is not too large but big enough to scare me, that it might be a shark. I swim toward shore scared. As I come out I see a man go in the water toward where I just fled. I then see that it is indeed a shark and it comes out of the water toward the man who fearlessly faces it. The shark comes toward him with jaws open but does not attack. Instead the man embraces it, a little like the photo of a “lion whisperer” that I saw on Facebook recently.

Given that sharks are usually representative of pathology (unconscious negative forces in our psyche) it is counter intuitive to see this animus figure embrace the shark. He is showing me in a very personal way how this fear I have of the pathology is part of what has kept me stuck. Showing me that he has the situation literally in hand, exposing a place where I have lacked trust.

In my current dreamwork practice, I have been going back to this moment and feeling my fear and then going back in the water with him, trusting that with him it is safe even in shark infested waters. Breathing into this feeling as part of letting go of the stuck place between the rocks where I have struggled in isolation with pathology.

The place I got stuck in my writing last week is related to this fear and distrust. I could feel a block there and a fear in relationship to moving beyond the familiar and bringing this work into the world in a new way. As I breathe into this place with him I feel my excitement opening up again both in terms of my writing and in terms of this new work.

I could feel the energy not moving last week but the immersion in the work this weekend with fellow dreamers opened me and inspired me both consciously and in my dream life. This week as I have stayed with him in the water, Sue and I got contacted about doing a radio interview, three new people have contacted me about doing personal work,  three other people have written to me and asked to have their art or blogs be part of this site, and Sue and I started doing direct supervision of a student dreamwork analyst for the first time ever.

Along with all of that, I have had several exciting discussions with folks about various possibilities of bringing this work into the world in new ways. Two people that are wanting to open this work with veterans, a couple others that are exploring dreams in their bodywork practices, another couple conversations exploring the overlap between dreamwork, ecopsychology and ecofeminism and one of my personal favorites – a dialogue between myself and a friend about the overlap between dreamwork and the catholic tradition that I grew up in.

All and all it is a pretty exciting time and it is scary in a very vulnerable way to feel so out there, checking out other packs, checking out new territories. I can feel the impulse to react to this fear, to get stuck in the blocks/boulders that come up around my writing or to seek refuge by writing the same way that I have always written. I am learning to keep breathing instead, to grow a new kind of trust with him and with all these new dreamers that I am finding outside of the refuge…

With love, Bill


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