Tuesday, March 18, 2008


I have recurring dreams.

And while I don't remember all of my dreams, there are some that stay with me very vividly. I don't believe that all of my dreams have great meaning (and some make so little sense when I wake up that I don't even try to ascribe meaning to them) but sometimes, I really feel that my dreams relay messages from my sub-conscious.

I still occasionally have a dream that I am back in university. It's time to write exams, only I haven't been to class (OK some of this did actually happen in real life). In fact, I had no idea that I had even signed up for that particular course.

It's very stressful.

In a recent version of the dream (and I have had this one more than once), I have had to quit my job and go live with my parents, since I have just found out that I did not complete high school. In this dream, I can't even find the school office to get a copy of the class schedule. As the end of the school year approaches and exams loom, I realize that I have not attended a single math class (I don't even know where the classroom is).

At the most stressful periods of my working life, I found myself back in grade school (it is not fun being the only adult in Grade 4).

When I was pregnant with my first child, I dreamed that I gave birth to a chicken. I was horrified. I knew that I was supposed to love that chicken and I was wracked with guilt that, instead, I was repulsed by it. I was especially terrified at the prospect of breast-feeding the chicken.

Several months later, I dreamed that I gave birth to a golden retriever. I took that as a sign that I was making progress in my mental preparation for motherhood. I still didn't know how I would breastfeed a puppy but at least the creature in the crib was mammalian (and the thought of cuddling with it did not freak me out. I have never really liked birds).

In the year before my cancer diagnosis (my last year of working crazy hours), I dreamed that I had inherited a house. After living in it for some time, I would always discover that the house had another floor to it, one I had not known existed. This attic didn't always look the same but it was always beautifully furnished, dusty and fairly vast. My feeling upon discovering it was always wonder, mixed with a lot of fear and some excitement.

I took that one to mean that there was some aspect of my past that needed exploring. Perhaps I was also telling myself that I was neglecting some part of who I was.

More recently, I have been having a dream that is likely related to the unexplored house. In this one, I am staying at a large hotel. It always looks different and the location and reason for travel also vary. But in every dream, I get locked out of my room and I can't find my keys (this is something that happens to me almost every time I travel. And I lose keys all the time). I spend the rest of the dream wandering the halls, trying to find the front desk or, if I succeed in getting a new key, I can no longer find my room. All the hallways and every floor look exactly the same. Or the numbers have disappeared from the doors. Or I get my key to work in a lock, only to find that door opens to an empty room (or one with someone else in it. I have had this happen in real life, except that in the dream, I am the only one who seems to be bothered).

It's not a panicky dream (like the school ones), just a frustrating one. Perhaps I am just feeling stuck and not sure how to get to where I want to go (and unsure of what the destination should be).

I think dreams can tell us a great deal about ourselves, if we can actually figure them out.

Thoughts? Feel free to psychoanalyze me or share dreams of your own in the commments.

A version of this was cross-posted to Mommybloggers.


Unknown said...

I agree, dreams are very interesting! Sometimes I record mine at dreamjournal.net, which pulls out symbols and suggests interpretations. I'm really familiar with the one about taking exams for a class I never attended. And when I was pregnant I dreamed about giving birth to a puppy, a basketball, and a tiny person who got smaller and smaller until he disappeared into the cracks in the wooden floor. I was very worried about being able to take care of another person!

platespinner said...

this is a great book to help you get insight into your dreams: The Dream Workbook by Jill Morris. it provides about 30 different exercises you can try to make sense of things. there were a few methods that i thought were great, like giving each dream a title.

laurie said...

Wow! Thanks to both of you for the resources (and the reassurance of normalcy!).

Mary P Jones (MPJ) said...

I'm terribly behind in my blog reading -- just catching up.

I had to laugh at the thought of breastfeeding a chicken! When I was pregnant I remember dreaming I gave my son orange soda instead of breast milk to drink.

The dream about the house with the extra rooms is eerie -- I have been having the same one again and again lately and wondering what it means myself.