Ask the LifeQuake Doctor
November 2009 Column
“Whatever is flexible and flowing will tend to grow. Whatever is rigid and blocked will wither and die.” from the Tao Te Ching
Dear Dr. Toni:
I don’t know if you work with interpreting dreams but I have been having a dream that keeps repeating itself. I am in an old house and some of the rooms are closed off and some of the rooms are scary. They have dead bodies in them. There is however, one room that is like an attic that is also closed off but there is light peering from under the door. I seem to be afraid to open it, though.
In my waking life, I work in the helping professions but am in burnout. I don’t want to do it anymore and yet am clueless as to what to do next. Is there a connection with this dream? Can you help?
Actually, in my private practice I do work with dreams. I was trained as a Jungian therapist and Carl Jung believed many of our fears and aspirations are played out in the dreamtime. So, let’s look at this dream. When you analyze a dream, before you get into figuring out who the people represent, an important character, you might say is the landscape. In your dream, it plays a very predominant role but even when it is mere back drop, it is important.
The landscape here is an old house. The house represents the self. The cellar is often the unconscious, the main floor the conscious, and the attic or upper level is the super conscious mind. Then there are individual rooms that can represent places we store memories particularly if those rooms contain dead bodies as this does.
I would suggest that you do this exercise: sit quietly, spend five minutes breathing slowly in and out to get centered. Now go back into the dream’s first scene. What feeling did it evoke? As you proceed to recall the dream, notice if the feeling tone changes. When you open the door that has the dead bodies, go intot he room if you can and ask the body what it represents. What is dead that you have kept stored away and haven’t properly buried? Venture into the kitchen and see what is there. The kitchen represents how we nourish ourselves. Is the refrigerator full or empty. Does the stove work? This can represent how much fire we have inside to make any changes.
Now walk up the stairs to the room that has a light under the door. Ask to be given a spiritual guide and a key to open the door. The guide will be with you throughout the process and keep you safe. Whatever you see and feel when you open the door is a key to your future. This dream has come to inspire you to take action – confront the skeletons in the closet and connect to your soul’s purpose. Be courageous and allow a passionate life to emerge through risking opening the door to lighten your consciousness.
Dear Dr. Toni:
I don’t know if you can help me. My problem is not like most of the people who write you. I know what my calling is, I just seem to be dried up creatively.
I am a writer in recovery. While I was drinking, it was easy for me to access the muse. Now that I am sober, I find that I have a chronic writer’s block. My career is in jeopardy if I don’t get past this. I am not meeting my deadlines. What should I do?
Dry and Dried Up in L.A.
There is an expression in A.A. – “terminal uniqueness”. When an addict thinks their problem is special, not like other people’s or if they don’t feel they can relate to coming to AA meetings because their addiction is unique.
You don’t say whether you go to A.A. meetings but if you did, you would find you would be in good company, especially around those who are new to recovery and think their imagination, like a genie, emerges from a bottle. When you speak to writers who have been in recovery for a long time and who work the twelve steps, you will find that they often discover that not only can the muse come clean and sober but that they find they have become more productive not less.
I am not saying that Alcoholics Anonymous is for everyone but I would suggest that if you got sober by yourself, that you attend a yoga or meditation class that can show you how to use your breath to expand the mind and open to universal consciousness. When we go beyond our limited minds and surrender to this vast intelligence, so much more is possible. A daily ritual before you go to your computer is to open to possibility and call in the muse with reverence. Asking to be shown what to write creates a humility and a surrender to the “gods of imagination”. I also recommend a book – The War of Art by Steven Pressfield. It is a great book for any artist suffering from creative blocks.
Dr. Toni Galardi is a licensed psychotherapist, public speaker, and the author of her new book: The LifeQuake Phenomenon: How to Thrive (not just survive) in Times of Personal and Global Upheaval. Dr. Galardi works by phone internationally with people in transition. For those seeking private consultation, she can be reached at 310.712.2600. To submit questions for “Ask the LifeQuake™ Doctor”, contact Dr. Toni Galardi through her email address: DrToni@LifeQuake.net.