She pictures the broken glass
pictures the steam
pictures a soul
with no leak at the seam
Several months ago, I told my counselor about a dream I’d had many years ago, in which I was shown a piece of fabric with assorted sized holes cut in it, and was told, in the dream, that I was looking at my soul. I told her how, with the help of my daughter, I’d found a way to change the end of the dream by mending the holes in the dream fabric. It is an imaging technique I created to deal with dream material.
As far as I’m concerned, dreams are messages from my subconscious mind, and they pertain to my life, how I am traveling through it, my emotional states, activities I’m involved in, and yes, even the state of my soul. Those messages come in a different language than the one used by the conscious mind. They are not conveyed in logic or language, so much as in connective links of images that I can associate with my own person.
In the dream, someone threw that piece of material in a dark corner behind the front door, before leaving and walking out of my life. After picking up the piece of material, holding it in my hands, and seeing its condition, I awoke slowly. As I was waking from the dream, becoming consciously aware, a voice in my head simply said, “That is your soul, Elizabeth.”
My soul was in pretty bad shape. Dust clung to it, from that dark corner where it had been tossed and the assorted holes, cut through most of the material made it appear as flimsy as waste material or cheese cloth. The semi-conscious voice and its alarming message still rang in my ears. This was serious business.
At the time, my oldest daughter was living with me, and I immediately called her into my room and related all of the details of the dream that led up to its ending and that deep male voice and its disturbing message. We had worked out a technique to deal with dreams, so she gave me very simple instructions, “Describe the material, see how it looks in your hands, just as it appeared in the dream. How does it appear, feel, and how does its appearance makes you feel now as you look at it?”
It didn’t make me feel very good. My soul was in tatters. She then asked me what I thought I could do about it. I told her, I obviously couldn’t toss it in the garbage, it was my soul, for goodness sake. I would have to figure out a way to repair it, mend it, if possible. She then asked me to close my eyes and see if I could see myself doing that and tell her what I saw. I did.
I saw my hands smooth out the material, then go in search of another fabric that would at least match the square I was holding. I found one with a particular pattern and in a contrasting color and then watched my hands pick up a needle and thread and begin to patch each hole separately until they were all mended. Satisfied, we both went on with our regular routines.
What we did, was respond to the message inside the dream, actually changing the end of the story in the dream to one that was far more satisfying and that made sense of the story. We did that in the same language that the dream had suggested, using the images from the dream itself. In other words, we gave back images that could be easily understood within the context of the dream and could be similarly interpreted, and thus, acted on.
Not every dream image is as easily interpreted as these were, nor do they come accompanied by a waking voice that clearly identifies them. I am using this dream as an example because all of us, in the course of our lives, do encounter differing degrees of pain. And the pain that we experience does cut and rip holes in our souls. To be whole and healthy, we need to mend those holes, or might be in danger of tossing our souls in the garbage.
We mend those holes by finding a way to express our story. Writing it down is one way, painting it, sculpting it, dancing through those feelings, carving them out in wood, or other materials, are just other forms of expression. There are innumerable ways of expressing those things that left unattended will, and do, poke holes in our souls of well being.
The subconscious mind is a wondrous thing. But it is also a wilderness to a logic oriented mindset. It does have a voice and will speak through dreams, both waking and sleeping. When I later went back and explored the material I had chosen to mend the fabric in my dream, I found more and deeper connections in the pattern on that material. It all pertained to me and the manner of my life and experiences. And all of this took place spontaneously inside my own imagination.
I did not set out to find a physical solution to the message within the dream. I found an image that went directly back to my subconscious mind and simply went on with my life as I knew it. In the years since then, I have discovered many ways in which to mend those holes. Each and every one of them is a creative element meant to heal and strengthen the broken places inside of me. That is what creative energy is, a healing agent built directly into the system.
As I stated before, our subconscious mind is a wilderness, and within that wilderness are the living, breathing, Wild Things born out of our pain as we experience our lives on a daily basis. I wrote about one of mine in my last blog. The imagery I learned how to use thirty years ago, is another element of the subconscious mind and it is what I mean when I speak about waking dreams. One uses the exact same equipment to visualize as is used to project dream images on the screen of the sleeping mind.
I am not speaking only of physical pain. We also experience mental, emotional and spiritual pain. Obviously my spiritual pain was deep enough that it spoke (maybe yelled) at me through a dream in which I was graphically shown the holes in my soul. By changing the end of the dream, incorporating a healing solution, I changed the end of my own story. The individual portrayed in the dream as walking out that door, has now walked back into my life, years later, and I can greet her with a healed and intact soul. That is what I call good therapy. And my counselor agrees.