Dear Toko-pa; In my first dream, I am married. I am at my parents’ helping build a stone wall and this spouse-person keeps calling and asking where I am, telling me I am the type of person who only does what is best for me – how I am unreliable, ambivalent and untrustworthy – but that he still loves me. My father is building the wall all wrong – it keeps falling down. He doesn’t listen to me or admit that the plans I’d drawn up were functional. Sweat in my eyes, arms aching, hands bleeding, I throw down my load of rocks. This isn’t worth it, I say, none of this is worth it
In the second dream I am traveling in high desert country alone. Rocky and gray. Carefully, I select a chador; it takes me a great deal of time to figure out the proper way to wear it and the relief as I finally cover my hair, wash my face free of make-up, is palpable. The air is cold and thin and I walk through a market and buy food from women then ride in a truck with men and guns. In this dream, I feel so safe. – Alma
Dear Alma; Your stonewalling project make me very curious about the origins of your ambivalence towards relationship. How much is your dad’s example falling apart for you now? The blood, sweat, aching suggest that your strategy is taking more effort then it’s worth.
The desert setting is that aridity I was talking about last week, in Feelings Are Your Friends; the place where feeling wants to flow, where grief is untapped. The chador is such a complex symbol – does it stand for feminine sovereignty, or is it a patriarchal imposition? Either way, the sexuality is cloaked. You feel safe inside your protections, weapons drawn.
On hand there is an empowerment in this, your obtaining nourishment from women (in the market), maybe finding affinity in your relationships with women at this time. There is great relief in not having to negotiate the sexuality game. On the other hand, there is a growing exhaustion from the stonewalling you’ve been doing. The emotional climate is dry and cold. Is ‘safe’ where you need to be right now? Or is staying hidden taking more energy than you can bear?
You know, the literal “stone-walling” aspect didn’t even occur to me? My parents’ relationship is tumultuous, passionate & consuming; looking at their early relationship I can see that even though I sympathized with my mother, I identified with my father. Anger/control/distancing made him less vulnerable, less prone to being “stuck.” The perceived softness and weakness of my mother – she was always on the verge of leaving but never did – kept her trapped. In addition, my dad is one of the most intensely self-protective people I know – It’s crazy that I’ve never thought of this before. So the stone wall, falling. Wow.
The chador and the desert are really confusing to me. The disparity between my surroundings and the feelings I had -the ambiguity of the symbols themselves. If look at the interactions of the last few years – they’re almost entirely about safety and security. Not the traditional kind, but the kind where I know going in that if there isn’t going to be much asked from me, my own desires will never grow out of control. There’s a lot of compartmentalizing, and you know, aridity, (creative/emotional), has absolutely occurred to me before.
Given your elucidation about your parents’ relationship model, the dream continues to reveal its great poetry. By virtue of taking your dad’s self-protective, stonewalling approach, there is an automatic denial of your own (and mother’s) emotionalism, which is seen as weakness. Without the emotional life, there can be no vitality and the inner-landscape becomes a desert. Ideally, you’d like to get some emotion-flow happening there, which might mean touching the inheritance of (y)our mother’s grief. Weapons are hardly ever a good way to achieve sovereignty, since they invite opposition and defensiveness.
Why not weigh the paradox; the force which feels like safety is also oppressing your feminine/feeling. To my feeling, the redemption in your dream is the wall falling down and the recognition growing in you that self-barricading isn’t sustainable anymore.
This is so clear-sighted and true: “the force which feels like safety is also oppressing your feminine/feeling,” that it’s taken me aback. Seriously, that’s exactly what the chador is! Like, I think I’m going to write that down in my little carry-with-me notebook, to remember it. And I do want emotion-flow, I do, as much as it scares me.
It’s really interesting how sometimes dreams just seem like a mish-mash of unrelated trivia from the previous day, and then sometimes so lucidly meaningful, with a little bit of digging. And you know what? Since reading your dream column, I’ve been paying closer attention, and it seems like the latter-type dreams are showing up more frequently. Thank you for that, too, and for this. You have a gift Toko-pa, you surely do, and thank you for sharing it.