Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Book of Many Colors and Versions: Dream and Process-Experiential Analysis

Entry for 22 November, 2006:

Dream: We are visiting our other house, but it’s not the one in Toledo. There is a view; it’s high up and we can see the edge of another high cliff across the way. I feel fear as I watch people walk along the edge, afraid that they will fall off and be killed. We are trying to decide about whether this house needs some work – decorating. Someone knocks at the door; they have a package for us. No, there are two packages, it turns out. We open them. It is a book, or rather multiple versions of the same book, each illustrated, with a lot of words or text and also plenty of illustrations. The illustrations and cover art are in primary colors, like my mom’s Infinite Mandala Maker. Strangely, there are multiple editions of the same book, in different formats: one a mass market paperback, one a trade paperback, one that looks like a graphic novel in large, thin trade format. We find this puzzling but interesting. Why would someone want to send us all these different versions of the same story? But it does look interesting, and it’s entertaining to see the different versions laid out differently. But the most interesting, puzzling version kind of unrolls, accordioning out to cover part of the floor, bright Mandala Maker colors… Oh, yes! it also comes with a lamp, apparently to light the colors up, but we haven’t read the instructions yet, so we’re not sure.

I wake up, and immediately remember that I had promised to bring art supplies to the next Process-Experiential/Emotion-Focused Therapy workshop, for an active expression exercise. I had totally forgotten about this and must do it before we leave for Rome tomorrow.

Emotion Scheme analysis: (See Blog entries for 7 and 14 September for previous dreams analyzed using the Emotion Scheme framework.)

1. Experienced Emotions: The two parts of the dream are organized around very different feelings. In the first part, the feeling is primarily nervousness or fear of heights/falling. In the second part, the main feeling is engaged curiosity. Emotional arousal is high in both but very different in felt quality.

2. Action tendency elements: I recognize this dream as a reminder dream similar to the money worry dream my mom reported to me last night when she complained about not being able to remember her dreams lately. This makes the action tendency component key to understanding the dream, and it is clear to me that I must act on what the dream is reminding me to do (which I in fact carry through on later in the day).

3. Perceptual/Episodic memory elements: In addition to the phone call with my mom about reminder dreams, I also remembered the weird coincidence (synchronistic, my mom would say) last night in which (a) a student in class who asked me about Arnold and Amy Mindell’s Process Therapy (presumably because I had been talking about Process-Experiential therapy); followed by my getting a email message from my Mom asking if I had heard of the Mindells (because she had found one of their books that she thought might help her remember her dreams). I looked up their website and was struck by the bright colors of their illustrations. And of course they do dreamwork...

4. Bodily elements: First part: fluttery, nervous stomach. Second part: a sense of my body oriented toward the books, intense focus, looking with my eyes, almost being pulled forward toward them.

5. Conceptual elements: Minor as an element within this dream: Seeing the words, analyzing/naming the type of book format. Now, taking it further, into the metaphoric realm, it seems clear to me that the bright, primary colors are both the colored pens and pencils I needed to order for my workshop, but also symbolize the mom (via her Mandala Maker), and beyond that they, like the multiple versions of the books, represent multiple ways of doing the same thing, i.e., therapeutic and methodological pluralism, a key value of mine and also of my colleague and friend Mick Cooper. (Mick will probably think this dream is about him! – paraphrasing Carly Simon.)

I'm pretty sure there's more to this dream, it has that feel, but that's all I can manage for now...

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