Here are two significant single images whose powerful impact shows that even
a brief fragment of a dream may bring a gift.
The Snowdrift Dream
"A man is stuck head first in a snowdrift, legs flailing in the
What this dream gives me is a laughable picture of an absurd yet familiar
condition. It is so easy to go on habitually in an intellectual mode, out of
touch with feelings, sensation and intuition, until a dream like this one takes
the abstract idea of being cold, rigid and stuck and makes it visible and real.
At the same time the dream shows how I want to get unfrozen and reach wildly for
solid ground. A variation of the " ostrich with head stuck in the
sand" . . .
I see my past mirrored in this dream -- and my urgent need to function as one
whole, to be present, in touch with reality. When I recognize myself in a sense
caricatured in this vivid image, I have to stop and smile and take it in. The
picture stays with me as mere words never can, making the phrase "frozen
needs" a reality.
This dream reminds me of the way Hopi "clowns" mock a person whose
ego has gotten out of hand. They may walk behind and imitate in an exaggerated
way his pomposity or other failings. Aren't dreams often our built in personal
tricksters or jesters, alerting us to self-destructive tendencies which we have
taken for granted?
The Adhesive Plasters Dream
"A woman discovers that her arm is covered with skin colored adhesive
plasters she had not remembered were there.She is trying to pull one off, but
feels as if she is pulling off her own skin."
This dream seems to me to picture beliefs that were so much part of me that I
simply could not see them. When something like the previous snowdrift dream led
me to wake up and take notice -- I still could not free myself from them. Since
they seemed to be me myself, how could I remove them? How could it be possible
to divest myself of this prejudice or that fear, this tendency to infatuation,
that shame or this excessive expectation?
I needed to learn skills and develop confidence, and to love myself enough to
risk this difficult enterprise. I see the dream as a step along the road of my
discovery that I can in fact differentiate myself from all the
"plasters", all that is not truly me. Perhaps I put them on long ago
for protection, a useful tool in a child's ego survival kit, but they are self
destructive delusions for the adult. This dream helps me to recognize this
situation honestly and without blame, and to begin to peel off these
"plasters" with compassion.
Returning to the image of the previous dream of being stuck in a snowdrift,
legs waving in the air, going nowhere...The first essential step was to
recognize and admit that I was upside down, and to ask myself what was upside
down in my life? What view of life would a person have, upside down and split
between being frozen and frantically up-in-the-air? What feelings came up and
what was the experience of non-feeling, of being frozen, numb?
Then, when fear, for example, was the issue I was dealing with, the next step
was to experience fear thoroughly in my body, with particular attention to the
specific part of my body where I felt it most strongly. Along with this I
allowed a natural release of whatever sounds, movements and memories arose in
In this way the "plasters" fall off and one eventually topples out
of the "snow", landing right side up on to solid ground, having
reclaimed more of oneself.
What is also interesting about these two dreams, unlike all the others in
this series, is that I myself did not dream them. They were reported by members
of one of my dream groups and illustrate the commonality of our dreams. Every
member of the group also felt these might easily have been their own dreams. It
is often the case that you resonate with some element in another person's dream
and find your own life illuminated.
Alissa, February 1997
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