Posts Tagged ‘dreams’


This blog has been sorely neglected for the better part of a year. I didn’t completely forget about it—I wrote the posts in my head, but never translated them here. And that’s not to say that I will never write about my amazing trip to Sequoia National Park last July or the dream incubation retreat I attended in February. But, as I recently completed my undergraduate studies, I keep thinking about the events that brought me here in the first place: to Seattle, to college, to graduate school. I could never have gotten here had I never made a decision in the split-second beat of my heart.

In 2006, I divorced my husband of 8 years. At the time, we lived in Las Vegas, where one could divorce quickly and cheaply. We filed the paperwork ourselves—no lawyers or their exorbitant fees. When the time came to sign the paperwork, it was just us and my mom, who was to act as our witness. When my turn came to sign, I paused momentarily. I had a private conversation with myself in proverbial Angel vs. Devil fashion: “You don’t have to sign this if you don’t want to. You can try to work it out.” Which was countered by, “You already know what this life is. You will never know if there is anything different if you don’t sign it.” I was fearful and afraid. Was I going to fuck up life as I knew it? I felt as though I was closing my eyes before stepping off of a tall building. I signed the paper. Nothing happened. The ground was intact and my world didn’t shatter. And as it turned out, that nothing became the beginning of everything.

I recently saw the quote, “Sometimes you have destroy your life to let the next great thing happen.” The truth of this sentiment resonates throughout my entire being, probably because it reminds me of Edinger’s idea of the Psychic Life Cycle. It’s no secret that I adore Edward Edinger, the author of my favorite book (really!) Ego & Archetype: The Religious Function of the Psyche. He maintained that every individual goes through cycles of ego inflation and ego alienation and that both are necessary for healthy psychological development. Basically, he was saying that we all get too big for our britches (ego inflation) and will eventually fall and suffer humiliation (ego alienation). Then, if we make repentance, we are again accepted, which builds our ego and the whole cycle happens all over again.

In many ways, especially among family and friends, my divorce was seen as me destroying my life. After all, we owned a home, two cars and my husband made good money. Although I couldn’t articulate it at the time, I knew none of it could bring me the happiness such things were supposed to parley. In retrospect, I was drowning and I thought I had no life raft. But it was there along, in my heart—the leap of my heart that spurred me to sign my divorce papers. The leap that made me pack up all my belongings and move to Seattle. The leap that forced me to address my fear of driving so that I could finish my college degree. And all the subsequent leaps that ensued despite my former mantra of “I can’t do this.” In taking those leaps, I found my purchase on the other side of sorrow. For the first time, I found that I had dreams, goals and ambitions. Margaret Shepherd said, “Sometimes your only available transportation is a leap of faith.” And sometimes it’s the only transportation you need.


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Staging the Dream


I recently reached a milestone in my life with the completion of my bachelor’s degree. Incidentally, the occasion coincides with my 5 year “anniversary” as an analysand in Jungian psychotherapy. At my recent session, BTW (Best Therapist in the World) and I discussed the transformations that have taken place in the last five years. Most notable was that going back to school was never one of my original goals, but one that surfaced after years of inner work. Yet, my education has become the center of my existence. Everything that I do is somehow related to my academic goals and/or my future work as a psychotherapist. And my desire to do all of it is a direct result of my experience in BTW’s consulting suite.

BTW shared that she knew I was going to “perform” based on the first dream I shared in therapy many years ago. Keep in mind, that at the beginning, I knew nearly nothing about Jung or analytical psychology or what it meant to see a Jungian psychotherapist. I knew that Jung was “old school” and I think that was part of the draw. But part of that old school flavor was doing dream work, which I thought was pretty archaic at the time. BTW told me that the answers to all of our problems are located in the unconscious and a way to access that information was to pay attention to my dreams. I didn’t buy it at the time, but she seemed nice, so I kept going back. I didn’t share a dream for quite some time—at least six months. And when I did finally share a dream, I was surprised at the way she took apart the dream and put it back together again using my own words in a new and meaningful way. The dream focused on the image of a ballerina, which has been a theme in my inner work ever since.

At the time, I didn’t know (and didn’t have the ability to comprehend, if I did know) the way that the dream spotlighted a part of my personal psychology. Five years later, after completing my undergraduate degree and giving my senior symposium on the significance of dreams, I was privy to BTW’s revelation of her early insight: she knew I was going to attempt daring and complex things and I was going to succeed. Had she told me then, I would not have believed her. Just like if someone told me then that I would go back to school in order to become a psychotherapist, I would have laughed. Or that dreams would become such an important facet of my life that I would feel obligated to give my synthesis presentation on the topic. That was my frame of mind at the time—unable to grasp the bounty of growth and experience that awaited me. But one of the hallmarks of a good therapist is the ability to recognize where I find myself in stories and in my personal mythology, all of which is easier to do when I share my dreams. As a result, the therapist can hold the space for the client to grow into. And that’s exactly what BTW did for me.

After years of inner work and a rigorous academic curriculum, this past Monday I finally walked the stage at McCaw Hall to receive my diploma. As far as I know, this is the first year commencement has been held at that venue–the same place where the Pacific Northwest Ballet performs season after season. And no, the significance was not lost on me. I was very well aware of the synchronicity of receiving my degree on that stage where the ballerinas dance lithely and gracefully with strength few people will ever know. They make their moves seem easy, when years of practice and training are required beforehand. I realized this on my own, after years of studying Jung and depth psychology. And the next day, BTW told me that she knew I was going to do something great all along. She knew that I was strong and capable of doing that which seemed impossible. And my dream came true. The dream from my unconscious, my true Self, that knew it was true all along.

As I move forward toward my goal of becoming a psychotherapist, I know that these last five years in psychotherapy are as important as my next two years in graduate school. The personal therapy is where I experience the work working for me and through me. It’s where I see the example modeled for me week after week—when to move forward, when to pull back—how to be a guide on the circumambulatory spiral. The work has been difficult and visceral, but also joyous and enlightening and I wouldn’t change a single moment of it. I have learned to align my outer goals with my inner Self, and in the process I set the stage to live my dreams.

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