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gifts

`Hi Jerry,

I posted a few times last spring but have not visited for quite awhile. Mostly I am not dreaming in such a way as to remember anything, although there have been a few strange and somewhat disturbing fragments here and there.

This morning, I had a dream that actually seemed a little more whole. When I woke up I recognized immediately the person in it, other than myself, but I have been puzzling about what it might mean.

In real life I am trying to buy the duplex where I am living. It has been a slow, uncertain, and stressful process. One thing that had to happen is the other tenant had to leave. There was a lot of damage because of smoking and general negligence, and now that is all supposed to be getting fixed. It's been almost 2 months since she moved out.

In the dream, I was sitting on the floor in my living room, or on my front yard, and she (the former tenant) came from somewhere (in the dream, as in real life, she no longer lived here). She was noticeably better dressed and groomed and appearing to be in better health, than when she lived here. She is an African American woman, very dark; she was wearing a blue dress and looked quite beautiful. She had some things for me, one of which was a blue picture frame, trimmed with white. I was surprised and felt undeserving, even vaguely guilty, for she had been the one who had to move out. But she was very sincere in coming to me, with these things, and seemed even grateful to me for something. Before waking up I think I wondered where things would go from here.

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Jaime,
Would you believe this dream most likely has less to do with the 'duplex' you are purchasing and more to do with inner qualities you may not yet recognize? The term duplex means 'two' which in Jungian psyche would fit with the two aspects/applications to every dream. The stressful process would have some minor aspect to do with the dream {the outer emotional aspects of the stress it is causing}. But I sense from the language of the dream it is addressing 'inner issues' also. Those inner issues are probably the primary focus of the dream. Let's see how it plays out.

The floor of the 'loving room' would be the foundations/principles you 'live' from. The front yard would point to the 'front' or the persona, your waking life {the basic foundations you build your life on}. Th other tenant is another part of you, an old aspect that has resurfaced. You no longer can accept this old self {this other self will always be a part of you since it was you at one time}. This 'better you', healthier you is probably the person you are now. The health aspect may point to aspects that have improved with your emotional self. Old emotional conflicts are no longer a part of your life.

This other woman is African American, very dark. That probably is a good a representation of the shadow as it comes. But African American may represent a more important aspect about yourself that is a positive realization. There is a 'beautiful aspect to her that now exists. Instead of just the 'regressive' aspects that the shadow usually addresses, this other aspect may also be about positive aspects, new aspects about yourself in the present. This new self has 'paid off' done things for you {the color blue is a positive color, to do with nature}. There may be guilt involved in these emotional issues from your past. For a time this old self had removed itself from your life but now has returned. Being 'sincere' about guilt issues may be a part of this renewal. You have learned gratitude.

The old self resurfacing in a positive light may suggest you have recognized these negative qualities and made vast improvements. Much like a rich man who has never suffered 'want' has no practical experience with this position in life. A person who has been without will always know the experience. Is this you, now?

On one level the dream would be addressing the new positive turn of events in your waking life. But it is also addressing something deeper, something emotional that has grown to be better. Has this happened in your life, personal growth? The rewards are natural {nature possesses tools to reward good, punish bad}, based on your actions. Has there been a spiritual awakening, or renewal in your life?

Look at your past and determine what there is where guilt may have been involved. You may have changed drastically from that 'old you', to the point you are a totally different person. Such a change would be emotionally rewarding and in my mind 'naturally' rewarding. If true you can expect good things to come to you, as long as you hold on to this new self.

The only other application I would consider, if this 'new you' does not fit is the dream, is a 'wish fulfillment dream. You are 'wishing' for this new self. In such a case it would be more an outward attitude which for me does not fit with the inner concepts of dreams. I feel better about the primary interpretation.

Jerry

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Jerry,
I like this interpretation, i.e. the first one. I do not think it was a wish-fulfillment dream. For one thing, though it's not been an easy time, I have had more "wishes" come true in the recent past than I would have believed possible in my former life. I am very pleased that you think I met my shadow. I have read about the shadow and was never aware of meeting it/her before. I like that the story in real life really means something about MY inner life. She got kicked out of the other apartment more-or-less for bad behavior, the place was trashed; but now she comes back, a better person, the outer person is healthier and better cared-for and so the inner person can shine through, whereas before she was just a shambles. I don't know yet exactly what part of my life this might be referring to. I did some minor bad things when I was young, but ever since have been responsible, tried hard to "do the right thing." But not necessarily happy. I thought I had a pretty good life, but I guess I spent a lot of time being full of bad feelings like envy, confusion, self-doubt, blaming others. Relationships that I wanted never seemed to work out. I seemed to scare people off; I read that about the shadow, that it can be frightening, ugly. Though there have been dramatic changes recently in my outward life, in my inner life, I believe the change has been gradual and organic. It has all just "happened," I don't know how. But I will go with this interpretation and see if I can start to understand more. Thank you.
~J~

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Jaime,
What I got as one primary theme from your dream was the 'now she comes back, a better person, the outer person is healthier and better cared-for and so the inner person can shine through'. This is about personal growth aspect, an
inner introspection, going from a life that was in shambles to being a healthier, well cared for person. This old 'she' would be a part of your shadow self. Realizing this part of yourself, confronting those issues {everything in life becomes an emotional issue, your psychology}, this is how you bring that 'dark' side into the light and are able to not only understand who 'she' is/was but also why she was that person. From what you state this is how your life has unfolded, growing personally if not spiritually.


Then there are 'foundations/principles I mentioned. What reasons were there for her/you to be this old self, the foundations to that. Something caused you to be unhappy even when other aspects of your life were relatively good. These would also be 'shadow' aspects, emotions/experiences/influences hidden in the 'shadows' of the unconscious. Often this has to with early life, childhood and earlier. If this 'old' person/your other self was from early adulthood then experiences prior to that would be what you need to understand. Childhood, early life experiences.
The characteristics you provided may give clues to these influences. The reasons why you had self doubts, envy and a need to blame others. Did you grow up in an environment where there were these influences/experiences? Parents possessing such traits? Close persons who lived with/around you? Look back and give great introspection to the years prior to these feelings of self doubt/blaming others. You may be surprised what you find {if you have not discovered them already}.

My personal experience from childhood that left a 'void' throughout my whole life was not having a father figure, my father was never there, abandoned his family early on. I spent those years of early adulthood seeking to fill that void {which usually leads to some form of addiction/dependency to one thing or another} and the early mid-life years running away from it. This is a recognizable pattern of behavior that has become a 'norm', something I see in waking life as well as in dreams.


It is important you are able to take the symbols and metaphors from the dream and apply them to your personal life. Now that you have learned how the dream functions, having developed insights to your own dreams, you will be better able to understand future dreams and what they are addressing about your emotional self. Personal growth comes from being able to recognize these 'things, aspects about yourself that have been there all along and hidden in clear view. Dreams are honest, unbiased, about the true life and not just the ego center conscious perception of oneself {the ego self is addressed in dreams but in a manner to help resolve issues involving that outer being, and to help bring a balance to the whole self}.

Drastic changes in the outer life can happen but the inner life will lag as long as those inner issues are in conflict and unresolved. Usually it is the inner life that first changes, with the outer life following suite {which makes sense since it is the emotional conflicts, the inner life that is in conflict, and then reflected in some form or another in the the outer personality and life}. One of my favorite proverbs is 'life is a psychological journey'. You first have to change your psychology before you can change anything else. Thinking psychologically, objectively, and not letting the emotional self {the inner self with its unresolved conflicts} lead you into 'temptations'. This is an important aspect in self discovery and personal/spiritual growth.

So, perhaps what is needed is to learn more about this 'old self', and learn more about the new self where it wishes to go. Psychological and spiritual aspects are important but finding 'meaning in life' is what helps fill the void. At middle mid-life you will need something in life to 'look forward to' and that is where the 'bliss' becomes a factor. The muse, creativity, whatever it is in life you love doing most. This is the ultimate fulfillment of the life. A complete focus on the 'inner being', the ego being submissive to that greater 'Self'. What flows out of that is the true identity, the true self, the ultimate reality of 'being'.

Jerry

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Hi Jerry,

Yes this is all helpful and relevant. I am starting to understand some of the influences in my childhood that contributed to many years of confusion, self doubt, and inner pain in my early to middle adult life. They are subtle things, hard to recognize because in most ways I have been very fortunate throughout life, and my early family life provided me with no lack of care and nurturing, no overt abandonment, traumatic scenes, or destructive relationships to resolve. Even so, as in probably every family, there were many unresolved issues, blockages, relationships that were not as good as they were supposed to be, etc. I have long recognized many of these unhealthy aspects of my early family relationships but it is only recently that I am beginning to understand, in a calm and dispassionate way, the effects that they have had on ME and on MY development I am learning to feel angry and disappointed about some of these things without feeling the need to blame the others or to try and get even in some underhanded way. "Good kids" are so strongly socialized to hide or disguise their true negative feelings instead of questioning them and trying to resolve the issues. And even more, "good girls" are taught that other people's needs are always more important than theirs, and it is selfish and unseemly to devote much thought to ones true self -- though it is OK and encouraged to be obsessed with one's appearance to others.

Quote:
So, perhaps what is needed is to learn more about this 'old self'

I think you have rightly perceived the issues brought up by the dream and the appearance of my shadow self.

Quote:
...and learn more about the new self where it wishes to go. Psychological and spiritual aspects are important but finding 'meaning in life' is what helps fill the void. At middle mid-life you will need something in life to 'look forward to' and that is where the 'bliss' becomes a factor. The muse, creativity, whatever it is in life you love doing most.


This is where I am at now, but only at the very threshold of it and uncertain about where to go or what to do.

In my recently ended marriage, I mostly suppressed this search due to the neediness of the other person. Now I am a little lost, empty-feeling, and at the same time feel an urgency to try and follow so many different lost trails of 'bliss' that I do not know where to start. I am also fighting the "good girl" training that says it is selfish and a waste of time to pursue such things. These dreams, these reflections serve as a good reminder, and a few waypoints, to stay on the path, "with a little help from my friends."

Thank you

I would also add that, although I have seen various counselors at times over the years, none of them helped me to break through these past issues, it was only through time, introspection, and amazingly enough, thinking about these dreams and finding your site and your rational approach to them. I think dreams carry more subtle messages than most counselors are prepared to work with. Dreams are completely individualized messages tailored by us/our needs to address us/our needs. Amazing.

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Jaime,
I appreciate the detailed response. Your recognition of early life influences and how they fit with your adult life not only verifies much of what the dream was focused on but also the importance of resolving those issues. As you noted, 'as in probably every family', everyone has emotional issues from early life experiences/influences. Understanding this alone can be illuminating. Doing something about it is a major step in the journey of the hero/heroine. A passage from Joseph Campbell's THE HERO WITH A THOUSAND FACES - The Cosmogonic Cycle

It has always been the prime function of mythology and rite to supply the symbols that carry the human spirit forward, in counteraction to those other constant human fantasies that tend to tie it back. In fact, it may well be that the very high incidence of neuroticism among ourselves follows from the decline among us of such effective spiritual aid. We remain fixated to the unexorcised images of our infancy, and hence disinclined to the necessary passages of our adulthood. In the United States there is even a pathos of inverted emphasis: the goal is not to grow old, but to remain young; not to mature away from Mother, but to cleave to her. And so, while husbands are worshiping at their boyhood shrines, being the lawyers, merchants, or masterminds their parents wanted them to be, their wives, even after fourteen years of marriage and two fine children produced and raised, are still on the search for love—which can come to them only from the centaurs, sileni, satyrs, and other concupiscent incubi of the rout of Pan, either as in the second of the above-recited dreams, or as in our popular, vanilla-frosted temples of the venereal goddess, under the make-up of the latest heroes of the screen. The psychoanalyst has to come along, at last, to assert again the tried wisdom of the older, forward-looking teachings of the masked medicine dancers and the witch-doctor-circumcisers; whereupon we find, as in the dream of the serpent bite, that the ageless initiation symbolism is produced spontaneously by the patient himself at the moment of the release. Apparently, there is something in these initiatory images so necessary to the psyche that if they are not supplied from without, through myth and ritual, they will have to be announced again, through dream, from within—lest our energies should remain locked in a banal, long-outmoded toy-room, at the bottom of the sea.



From the above oratory you can see the great wisdom of Joseph Campbell and why I constantly use him as a resource in understanding the dream, and the deeper psyche.

Back to your response.
It is late in the 'game' that fate has chosen to give you that second chance in life {Campbell tells us we have two opportunities to realize our bliss in life. The first is in the later teens,early adulthood, the second at mid-life}. I was 42 when 'fate', or in the Jungian tradition 'Synchronicity', when I was given my second opportunity. It took several years to realize exactly what I bliss was {dreams, exploration into the deeper psyche, web design/developing my Myths-Dreams-Symbols website}.
It is never too late to discover ones bliss. It is best to do so, if not necessary, in co-ordination with a self discovery. You have started on that path {of self discovery} by understanding the childhood experiences. To discover your bliss you may want to look to the Muse. Or seek that thing in life you love most doing. That is what your 'bliss' truly is about, doing that thing you doing most. Self exploration is the proper course to take in this discovery, as it has been in your realizations of early childhood and adult associations. As you stated in your response, "it was only through time, introspection, and amazingly enough, thinking about these dreams,", that you have come this far in your self discovery. Now, at the age of 55, divorced and faced with a new beginning you have that chance to fully learn who you are {from self analyzing, Jung's Individuation Process}. This is when true realizations come about and in time you do discover your true bliss. The task then become is to fulfill that bliss and live life of meaning.

"People say that what we're all seeking is a meaning for life. I think that what we're seeking is an experience of being alive, so that our life experiences on the purely physical plane will have resonances within our own innermost being and reality, so that we actually feel the rapture of being alive.".....Joseph Campbell

True meaning is discovered when we discover our bliss. Bliss, along with the philosophy of Karma, is a path to living a life with meaning.

A lot to think about. But at least you are thinking about these things.

Jerry


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Jerry,

The Joseph Campbell passage is wonderful. I read the larger excerpt that you linked in your reply.

As as alluded to in this passage, the "quest" takes different forms at different stages of life. Although I feel as if I have been on the quest, in one form or another, since adolescence, this is the first time in my life that I have a sense of understanding it in a rational manner, one in which I will be able to finally build upon my earlier experience--instead of just wasting it. There are many things to make up from the past -- I feel like an older person who has decided to go back to finish school. But there are also the things going forward, from where I am in life now. Our modern society does not give us a positive, life-giving image of the elder on which to model our pursuit. But it is everywhere in mythology, as well as in cultures which share modern life with the "western" form, something I am fortunate to witness and experience in interaction with Alaska Native cultures.

It is the story of the king which resonated with me most on this reading of the passage, though. Many people at approximately my age and position in life are called upon to be leaders in some sense, and many are no good at it -- probably because they have not completed their earlier tasks in life, or like the king in the story, tried to cheat the gods, or withhold the most valuable thing for themselves. A real leader has to completely sacrifice her/him self and interests to the good of the people. We see only rare examples of that.

Once again, thank you for providing this forum and sharing your knowledge.

Jaime

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