Tag Archives: dreams

blog post #1000: possible dreams

this is my entry for joanna young’s newest mission impossible group writing project where she challenged writers to push their blogging boundaries. i had asked you, my dear readers, to suggest what i should do. all kinds of interesting ideas came up and i’ll definitely try to incorporate as many as possible in my blog in the coming weeks.

a podcast was something that i had wanted to do for a long time but never go around to (that was a suggestion by raj, by the way). i needed to move out of my comfort zone for it – simply in terms of overcoming the procrastination of trying it for the first time; and also because i certainly don’t feel as comfortable speaking as i do writing.

so here we are: my first podcast (see the fancy tingamajig at the end of the post).  not quite sure that the technology works the way i want it to, so just to be on the safe side, here is another link to the audio file.

by the way, this is also my 1000th post.   last year around this time i had my 1000th entry (including all the pages, the archives, etc.).  but this is the 1000th real post.  yay!!!

aaand – here is the text version:

i thought i should also discuss a topic i don’t usually discuss here. quite a while ago, one of my blogging friends, pete quily, who, by the way, is one awesome authority on adult attention deficit disorder (or attention surplus, as he often likes to refer to) – so good ol’ pete asked me what topics i am interested and do NOT write about. that’s a question that’s tumbled around in my mind for a long time now.

so one of those topics is dreams. i am very interested in dreams but for some reason i never blog about them. here’s one i wrote down a little while ago.

biking to haedy’s in the middle of the night. i turn the corner along some row houses and can’t find her house for the life of me. instead, i see a huge starship hovering over vancouver, surrounded by lots of lights.

later it turns out that is a threat. i and a few others from a theatre troupe are spies. we get locked into a barrel-like wheel and spun off somewhere.

later: a basement theatre. it takes a break in the afternoon. it’s hot. i try to close it but enemy type people keep trying to get in. i have a hard time closing the right door and even there: one is just a bamboo screen, the other a very flimsy lock.

in the basement theatre. i need to take a shower. i step into the shower and detect that i can communicate telepathically with the shower. i ask about the threat associated with the starship. something big and apocalyptic will happen. i ask the shower a bunch of questions about it (it’s a bit like pendulum divination). in the end, i ask the shower whether it has good intentions towards me. it doesn’t. i immediately step out.

i know something apocalyptic is going to happen. maybe just one more day to live for everyone. i want to be with loved ones, very much. but they are all difficult to reach. i’d even settle for someone called tony, a questionable actor who at least doesn’t want to kill me.

later, my husband, my youngest daughter and i talk. we now know that there is going to be a massive earthquake. what is the safest place to go? an inland plain, i decide. definitely not by the sea, and not by the mountains. maybe a place like langley? how will we get there?

if a client brought this dream into a session, what would we look at?

first of all, the client might have something come up immediately; i’ll always take the client’s lead.

often, though, a client brings something that she or he doesn’t quite know what to do with. in that case, i might ask a question about the part that had the most energy. when people tell a story, their faces, body language and voices tell a story, too. their eyes might light up at a certain point, or they might cross their legs and look out the window all of a sudden. there might be a long pause somewhere or a feeling of uncertainty.

in this case, the shower scene seemed significant. “interesting,” i might say, “you were communicating with the shower.”

and so we could have a conversation about that. what does it mean to talk to a shower? what’s a shower? is it about rain? cleanliness? oh – there’s a connection to the shower scene in hitchcock’s psycho? yes, right, the shower has evil intentions. and you stepped out of it right away. do you always do that – remove yourself when there is danger? no? that was unusual? in what other ways was that dream unusual?

psychology is still unclear about the cause and function of dreams. one way to look at dreams, though, is to take them as narrative – a way for a person to tell a story about important aspects in their lives. “everything is autobiographical,” says freud, a quote that can be used in so many ways. a dream is autobiographical, the way it is told is autobiographical, and how the person talks about it autobiographical. sometimes a telepathic shower is just weird, and that’s it. but to me – to my biography, my life story – it was meaningful. i don’t need to consult any dream books, though. all i need, and all so many of us need, is just an hour of talking to someone about it.

the interpretation of dreams

108 years ago today, sigmund freud’s most significant work, the interpretation of dreams, was first published (it was later forward-dated to 1900). dreams, freud thought, were “the royal road to the unconscious”. chapter one of this book starts with these words:

in the following pages, i shall demonstrate that there is a psychological technique which makes it possible to interpret dreams, and that on the application of this technique, every dream will reveal itself as a psychological structure, full of significance, and one which may be assigned to a specific place in the psychic activities of the waking state.

further, i shall endeavour to elucidate the processes which underlie the strangeness and obscurity of dreams, and to deduce from these processes the nature of the psychic forces whose conflict or co-operation is responsible for our dreams.

like so many other scientists and psychiatrists, he was a little overenthusiastic in what exactly a new technique or discovery could do. i know of no psychologist worth her or his salt who is convinced that every dream will reveal itself as freud described, or that it can always be “assigned to a specific place in the psychic activities of the waking state”.

nevertheless, freud’s contribution to our understanding of psychology today are immeasurable and got us all moving in a dramatically new direction (to what degree it was only freud who devised these ideas is a matter of debate. often ideas are “in the air”. you may want to read here for some thoughts on how and whether freud was influenced by nietzsche, for example).

by “us all” i literally mean pretty much every even semi-educated person anywhere in the world today. everything from arts to education to marketing strategies to politics is embued with findings that originated as a direct result of freud’s writings.

and this book is where it all began. it is the book that first talks about the ego, and introduces the idea of the oedipus complex.

you can read the book online, and more about freud all over the internet, on my bookshelf or in a library near you – or you can go here.