I am with my friends Graham and Allison on Cortes Island. I have this large fairly sophisticated fishing boat; I set out on the calm ocean leaving them ashore, release my fishing line and cruise peacefully along. As I get further off shore I begin to question just what do I think I am doing? I know little about boats, navigation or cruising yet here I am on this huge ocean, out of sight of land and on my own? I steer toward the coast and find myself navigating a channel; there are buildings on the shore like a harbor and it gets narrower and narrower. I begin to become concerned that I may not be able to turn around. Finally I complete a complex maneuver and head back out to see. I feel concerned that I do not know where I am. Finally I see the figures of Graham and Allison on the shore. I steer the boat on to the beach where they are standing. Then realize to my horror I have left my fishing gear out. I feel completely foolish and sure enough when I pull it in, it is a tangled disaster. Then I watch with amazement as Allison slowly and patiently untangles the mess. I wake up.
My first reaction to the dream was to deep six it. (interestingly this expression has a nautical connection; originally it meant burial in water deeper than six feet.) However I have learned that the waking reaction to a dream is a most unreliable witness so I decided to write it down. I could make no head of tale of it – I have no interest in boats, I have never owned one and they have never showed up in dreams. Cars, trains and busses I can always make sense of but not boats.
It was not until I met with my small dream group and invited them to dream partner with me that the pieces of a puzzle began to take shape. It began when I was asked what was I fishing for? I had no idea but then I realized the boat was on water. Water in dreams often represents the unconscious; the fishing line was under the water then presto, the last piece of the puzzle slipped into place. The boat represents my container for exploring my unconscious.
I am fishing for information that would help me understand myself better. When I get into a tight corner and am influenced by fear and anxiety it is very hard to stay centred, all I want to do is survive the situation.I make decisions that cause a tangle. Only later can I begin to untangle the underlying threads that caused the problem. I need to return to somewhere where I am grounded and invite my divine feminine to support the inquiry.
One of the commitments that I affirm each day is to unravel my psychology. Over the years I have reflected on my behavioral patterns that have represented my inexplicable reactions to situations and people and tried to learn from them. So why do I plumb the depths of my unconscious? How does what is stored in my unconscious impact my life? In the words of eminent Jungian analyst James Hollis, “what does this make me do and what does it stop me doing?”
Some examples of what I have encountered:
– Driving pell-mell on the HOV through a Las Vegas rush hour to escape. (https://wp.me/phAyS-uM)
– Losing my cool in a ski shop when they told me mounting bindings was not included in the purchase of skis. (https://wp.me/phAyS-wM)
– Losing my temper when a friend innocently asked me to return the automatic door opener he had given me the previous Christmas.
– Marrying a woman who represented every aspect of my relationship with mother. (https://wp.me/phAyS-7Y)
– sobbing like a child in the midst of an extremely stressful conference I was organizing. (https://wp.me/phAyS-DC)
When I catch a “fish” bringing it to the surface helps me see the trigger involved, hopefully how to avoid it and perhaps feel more understanding of myself. Each experience reduces the power of the complex. The source is always rooted in some form of coping mechanism in my childhood – control, abandonment, fairness, being taken for granted to name but a few.
I choose to live an examined life and perhaps have accepted the Socratic wisdom espoused by Plato – “for the unexamined life is not worth living.” However I also like the addition by author Andrew Klaver – “but the unlived life is not worth examining.”