She’s driving, and she notices in the rear view mirror that there is a very large gorilla in the back seat. When she gets to the family house, she takes the gorilla inside with her. Her mother and sister are there, and she tells them that one of them needs to go to an ATM because the gorilla needs mone. Her sister, disapproving, continues doing some paper work at a table. The gorilla capers about behind the sister, making gestures that might be rude but could also be magical passes at the back of the uptight sister’s neck. The dreamer announces she’ll go to the ATM herself; the gorilla must be fed.

This is a summary of the first dream shared in my Active Dreaming workshop in Bozeman, Montana, over the past weekend. It had everyone in the circle very excited, bringing some wild and happy animal energy right into the room. We played the Lightning Dreamwork game with the dream and, as always, the first question was, “How did you feel when you woke up?” The dreamer told us she felt happy and exuberant, as her manner in the room suggested. Let’s notice that if we were treating the dream as a text and trying to figure out its code without regard to the dreamer’s feelings, we could very easily go off in an utterly wrong direction, speculating (for example) about the proverbial 600-pound gorilla the dreamer might be failing to notice – a line of thought utterly irrelevant to what was going on here.

The next question was the reality check: what did the dreamer recognize from the dream in waking life? Well, since childhood she had always loved gorillas. Since discovering Jane Goodall’s work, she had thought of gorillas as both strong and playful and very protective towards their families. “Gorillas give me warm fuzzy feelings,” she told us.

We played the Space Alien game. “Suppose I’ve just landed from another star system and have no clue about how humans do things,” I said. “Tell me what is an ATM.” The dreamer explained that an ATM is a machine for dispensing money. “What is money?” “It’s energy. You can use it to buy food or anything else you need in life. It’s something that needs to keep moving.”

We now had the basis for a fabulous discussion of the dream that brought even more of its playful energy into the space. The dreamer loved the idea that she could travel in life with the strong and playful spirit the gorilla in the back seat represented for her, and that she could bring this into her family relations and use it to help get her sister out of stuck habits and rigid attitudes. She liked the idea that this animal energy needed to be fed. She announced that a first step she would take, in embodying the energy and guidance of the dream, was to purchase a gorilla stuffed toy and put it in the back of her car. Her bumper sticker? GORILLA ON BOARD.

 

For more on the Lightning Dreamwork game, please see The Three “Only” Things: Tapping the Power of Dreams, Coincidence and Imagination.

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