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Dream 01_200101

Dream of the Month (January 2001)
  1. Title: Down In The Mouth

  2. Date of the Dream: 12/30/2000 (mailed Sunday, 31 December 2000)

  3. Dream: I am in line talking to people, but speaking with difficulty because I have a piece of plastic, like a retainer, stuck over my teeth and onto the roof of my mouth. I am so intent upon wanting to say what I want to say without difficulty, that I finally just pull the plastic piece out and talk. However, I sense that others are making funny looks at me, as if I'd pulled out my dentures. Someone is pointing, and I figure I must have food or something stuck on the retainer, which I do.

    However, the embarrassment is not the point. I go into a bathroom to check my mouth and find that I am bleeding way back in the roof of my mouth. I am standing in front of the bathroom sink, spitting up blood and wads of phlegm. I pull on the phlegm, almost fearful that it is attached to my skin or innards. (I have dreamt this before). As if all this isn't traumatic enough, I look up and realize that I am in the men's restroom, not the ladies!

  4. Significant life event: Nothing

  5. Personal concerns/issues: I am striving to get my life in balance, to find more satisfaction and be more in control of what I do with my life.

  6. Associations: The only conclusion is that it frightens me that I, in essence, don't have my voice (I used to be a writer) anymore and I'm in the wrong place.

  7. Pen Name: mermaid

Dr. Holloway's Comments:

Identifying Characteristics: Restrooms represent psychic space for attending to personal needs, particularly creative expression.

This dream shows the combined forces that fostered a very private paralysis; one that has recently reached intolerable levels. Fortunately, it also suggests a formula for “breaking the spell” that has bound you. Keep in mind that the dreaming psyche is a potent advocate for talents, gifts, and authentic expression. Compromises that are quite legitimate by day will be dramatized in dreams as horrific wounds or problems if we have abandoned or shortchanged our unique “magic” in their name.

The retainer may represent the “rules” that keep you towing the line. Your promises to yourself (your teeth) are kept in place by this psychological structure. This psychic device also keeps old wounds (way back in your throat) from troubling you on a daily basis. Everyone adopts certain coping devices like this, and to the extent they serve us, they are healthy. When we’ve outgrown them, or they siphon energy from other parts of life, we begin to dream of them as monstrous or disfiguring wounds.

Both the strange looks from others, and the presence of phlegm and blood suggest concerns about being judged harshly for shifting your priorities from pragmatism to expression in this phase of your life. But your creative urges (the feminine, yin,) need to find their outlet (the ladies room), and you’ve begun to feel displaced in the over-emphasis upon the masculine, yang side of your talents. (The men’s room.) You’re right to fear that yanking out the retaining wall that has kept these energies in place might be traumatic.

What is called for here is to defy the myth that practicality and creativity are natural enemies. This is the spell of the fairy tale, and of course it is a lie. Like all anesthetizing falsehoods, this one tries to cheat us out of a life fully lived by sustaining a trance in which we fear that we must pick either a creative life or a safe, successful one. Reject this myth, and sculpt your life so that you can have both self-expression and stability. Each time you feel stymied, insist that you can have both, and you’ll find the “retainer” becomes unnecessary and finally disappears. Dedicate this year to finding creative ways to let your voice live, while still honoring your need for stability. The more often you do this, the sooner the mirage of opposites will disappear, and you’ll emerge into the life you were meant to live.


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