Many Ways to Work With a Dream

I had a striking dream a week ago. I’m calling it “Bulldozing the Tower of Luggage”:

I’m in front of my old house (where I lived in as a teenager). Other members of my family are there, I particularly remember my father. I suddenly sense that something is happening in the back yard, so I walk down the driveway at the side of the house to take a look. There is a massive piece of machinery there; half crane and half bulldozer. It is demolishing everything at the back of the yard including the back fence, pushing up mounds of brown dirt in front of it. I see the tall wooden luggage tower that I built in the back yard, about 15 feet high and 4 feet wide with several rows of shelves, each holding 5 or 6 suitcases. The suitcases are of all different sizes, many different colours and styles, some very old and some brand new. They belong to the members of my family and I had built this tower to store them. I realize that the huge machine is about to push over the tower! “No! Not the tower!” I yell, but it’s too late, it is already starting to topple with the force of the bulldozer’s push. I run back around to the front of the house to tell the others. “They’re pushing over the tower, and probably the garage too!” I say “Come quick!” But even as the words are coming out of my mouth I am aware that it is probably too late to stop whatever is happening….I wake up.

The presence of my father and other family members and the setting in an old family home identify this as a Family Field dream, a dream that speaks of the forces that arise from (largely unconscious) ancestral history and family-of-origin relationships. The dream is telling me that something is changing in my family dynamic and in the way it affects me, that much I know. But what? Is this demolition a good thing or a bad thing? Is it some kind of renovation that is underway? Or is it just destruction?

I considered the phrase “old baggage”. Was the dream telling me that it is time to topple some old family baggage and plough it under to make way for something new? Perhaps, but there is a striking detail in the dream that doesn’t fit with that connection–some of the luggage was indeed old, but a lot of it was new and very brightly coloured. Puzzling! Another possible connection occurred to me: my parents have always been avid travellers, but now that they are in their eighties they have cut back drastically on holidays and travel, primarily because of the prohibitive costs of out-of-country health insurance. Was this a dream for my parents, a recognition of the sudden end of their lives as suitcase-toting travellers? Perhaps, but then why so many suitcases ? (at least 20 sat there on the shelves of my tower), and why were some of them so new? Also there was a feeling in the dream that this luggage belonged to all my family member including my 3 siblings, not just my parents. Still mysterious!

I was about to bring out one of my old reliable dreamwork tools, the Be the Part technique, when I remembered my upcoming workshop! This Sunday March 15, 2015 Julia Ray and I will be co-presenting a workshop that we are calling Dialogue vs Dance. The format of this workshop is designed to contrast different ways of working with a dream, especially juxtaposing the sitting and talking style with the moving and experiencing style. I want to BE a bulldozer pushing over a tower full of suitcases. I can do this in my imagination while sitting in a chair or lying in my bed, true. But I might have a fuller bulldozer experience if I take it onto the studio dance floor, where I can not only imagine that I am a bulldozer, but I can move like a bulldozer, push like a bulldozer, and sound like a bulldozer. So I’ve decided to save this dream for the workshop.

Please join us this Sunday if you have a dream you’d like to experience in a more embodied way. Click here to find out more And after the workshop I will let you know why I seem so determined to push over that luggage tower.

-Christopher Sowton

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