Dreams can introduce us to Mr (or Ms) Right. They can also show us when a relationship has gone wrong, and it’s time to put things right or get out of an unsatisfactory situation. Of course, breaking up is hard to do, and we may be reluctant to see what dreams are telling us about current relationships. Three instructive stories:
Ignoring the ticking time bomb
In my very first public dream classes, a woman shared a dream in which she was in a fabulous beach resort with her then partner. The problem was that he was never around, and in the middle of the living room of the suite was a package wrapped in yellow police tape that was ticking away. She refused to see how the dream might be mirroring a relationship situation that was liable to explode. A few months later, her partner walked out on her – with no prior announcement except for the dream.
Can’t ignore the earring in middle of the bed
Sally came home from work and found an earring she did not recognize on the floor of the bedroom she shared with her husband. She considered confronting him, but decided against it. She tried to explain the find away. Maybe the earring was from an old pair she had forgotten about, or dropped by a guest who had left her coat in the bedroom during a dinner party. No way it could be from a woman her husband was involved with.
Then Sally dreamed of the earring. This time it was in the middle of the bed, and it was as big as her head. The dream told her this was something that could not be ignored. She now confronted her husband with the earring. He admitted he was having an affair and that he had committed the worst of sins in that context: having sex with the other woman in their marriage bed. He broke down and promised to end the affair and mend the marriage. Sally forgave him, and five years later she felt the marriage was stronger than it had ever been.
The ballad of the Sad Cafe
A Texas woman in another of my workshops asked for counsel on her marriage. I suggested that she might want to ask for a dream of guidance. That night, before sleeping, she wrote down an intention for her dreams: “I would like guidance on my marriage.”
It was residential workshop. In the morning, she told me her dream over breakfast. She titled this dream “The Ballad of the Sad Cafe.” In the dream, she found herself at her favorite Tex-Mex restaurant. She has paid for takeout and was waiting for her food. People came and went, getting quick service, but she was kept waiting. A “cute” guy came in and winked at her as he left with his dinner, while she was still waiting. Another “cute” guy, a musician, came in, and as he left with his food, he whispered in her ear, This place sucks.
We did my Lightning Dreamwork process with the dream. When I asked the Texas woman to summarize the message of the dream in a one-liner, she came up with this: I am in a place where I will never be nourished or fed, no matter how long I wait. Action plan? She told me, “I’m calling the lawyers in the morning. I’m going to file for divorce.”
I like to know the follow-up from dreamwork as important as this. I got it a year later, when the Texas woman wrote to me from another country – the United Kingdom – to tell me she was happily remarried to a “cute musician” who strongly resembled the fellow who had given her a message in the Sad Cafe.