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Alissa's Dream Art & Creativity Column

November, 1996

It seems to me that I experience two forces at work, in myself and life, and I wonder if you have noticed this too? -- an expansive movement forward toward the new, toward growth and wholeness, and a constricting pull bacckwards towards habitiual limitations.

What we're used to we equate with "right" and good and safe, and even if we have a taste of something better, a part of us says, 'stop! danger!' and we run for cover into the old familiar habits. Anyone who has tried to stop smoking, ect, knows that, and it is equally true of subtler addictions, not to substances, but to attitudes and behaviors.

I believe that dreams offer us potent images and experiences of these two forces at work within us. I've had some horrific dreams that made it hard for me to see them as the gifts I believe dreams are, until I recognized them as warnings and reminders. (see below,for example, the "Man in the Suitcase" dream).

And other dreams that encourge me, that bring healing and help me to get used to the new more positive frame of mind, so that it becomes familiar and eventually habitual.

Dream of Man in Suitcase

An enraged man pursues me. I see that he is blind. Terrified, I manage to catch him in a suitcase and lock it, but his hands are not caught and still reach outside.

When I meditated on this dream three things struck me: (1) the blindness of the angry part of me, (2) the fact that I'd caught him in a suitcase, which showed me I was carrying my anger around with me and (3) the helplessness of the hands, which I write and paint, the instruments of my creativity.

The image of this dream made vivid for me the pain and self destructiveness of my former attempt to deny my anger. I felt the enormous energy I'd put into locking up the angery part of me, and how blind I was when angry. It was a metaphor for how, unwittingly, I had imprisonded my creativity, which kept on trying to get out, thus esclating both my anger and panic.

Yet it also showed me that I had not hidden my anger away in a closet or prison - I kept it with me... The dream called me to explore the relations between my anger and my creativity, and reminded to focus on freeing the energy and power I'd locked away in this dream I saw that my hands were still alive, that my creativity was still powerful, dispite many obstacles and detours.

Instead of trying to hid and forget all I had stuffed into my shadow, I needed to use my energy to "open the suitcase". I needed to develop sufficient self-confidence to look at myself honestly, so that I could release and heal my anger, and all that was under it. The dream led me way back to my childhood, to fear and deep hunger and need. I had to begin to feel compassion instead of anger, self-respect instead of shame. I began to pay attention inwardly -- to stop being blind, to see.


Links to Other Dream Inspired Art Galleries

Alissa Goldring alissa@dreamgate.com

I'm interested in hearing your dream stories and comments

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