on dream interpretation


I consider myself fortunate to have always had very vivid and colourful dreams, so that even the nightmares – terrifying as they are – at least have the silver lining of being visually rich and intensely fascinating.  One nightmare I remember from my childhood involved me being trapped in a wide, open space in the middle of an infinitely large ball of yarn.  I remember feeling terrified to my core, because I knew that no matter what I did, and no matter how far I ran, I would never be able to escape.  Not only that, but the further I’d run, the more confused and entangled I’d become.  For me, it often feels as though infinity, unsustainable as it must be, will inevitably collapse into itself, and I panic about the thought of being in the center of that implosion.

Though I relish the serenity of infinity that most people find so enjoyable about underwater experiences (snorkeling, scuba diving), thoughts about being in space, etc., thinking about those kinds of things also terrifies me, for those reasons.  I likewise feel terrified and thrilled when I think about what it must feel like to stand in the middle of a Saskatchewan field and look up at the vast sky limited only by the earth below my feet.  I dream of soaking in that dichotomy.

I’ve had a number of odd and somewhat unsettling dreams this week.  Nothing as terrifying as the ball of yarn (are you laughing?  I know how ridiculous this sounds, so feel free to indulge…), but jarring enough that I awoke feeling completely out of sorts.  I was perplexed enough to look up some of the content in online dream dictionaries, just out of curiosity.  Here’s what I’ve deduced, ordered by dream chronology:

  1. there is something unresolved in my past that I am not ready to let go of
  2. there are aspects of my personality that I’ve rejected, but with which I feel ready to reconnect
  3. there’s something new about my current situation – a new style, habit, or personality trait – that is emotionally helpful for me

I realize that those ‘interpretations’ are extremely open-ended and vague in the way that people often criticize fortune tellers’ readings, but nevertheless, I think they are illuminating in that they suggest possibly fruitful avenues for thought and reflection.  I also think that they are quite accurate.

For the most part.

I find the second “insight” to be most interesting, at the moment.  I recently met up with a friend I hadn’t seen since high school, and we had a long talk about our current interests and engagements.  He reminded me, in a few lovely compliments, of the person that I had been in high school, and of the values and priorities that were so central to me then.  Not all of them have changed, but it was a really lovely reminder of the kinds of things that I’ve lost conscious touch with.  I think they’ve stayed with me, in the back of my mind, but until that conversation I didn’t realize to what extent those forgotten interests and passions could help me formulate a sense of direction for myself.  I feel really excited and eager to start moving in a new direction – one that puts my strengths and interests to use in a way that I’ll find meaningful.

Maybe that helps explain “insight” #3 as well.

As for #1, I think it’s extremely relevant and important that it was the first of the three dreams.  Life takes time, even when we’re impatient to move on.  I am choosing to interpret these three dreams as elucidating recent stages of my experience – past (#1), present (#2) and future (#3).

It’s time to get moving forward.


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