|English: "The man with the burden", illustration from John Bunyan's dream story (based on Bunyan's Pilgrim's Progress) (p. 18) abridged by James Baldwin (1841-1925) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)|
Have you been having essentially the same dream story but with different players, settings, and circumstances? What I refer to are dreams that have the same thematic content but played in the subconscious mind with variations from one dream to the next. The dreams might not be a night after night thing, but something that occurs with such frequency as to stand out.
There are several recurring dream themes that I have, but one that has become the most prevalent is the theme of being unprepared. The most typical of these involve my being back on the road managing a show. In these dreams I will be at a performance venue with my show crew and I am confused about what is going on due to some change that has come about or I have not prepared properly and there has been no or not enough rehearsal...
In my most recent dream of this nature I am with a combination of players from past shows that I've managed. The cast is much larger than most of the past shows I have managed. One of the cast members with whom I interact with the most in the dream is a good friend of mine from Tennessee. The production we are doing seems to be a musical comedy version of Shakespeare's Hamlet that is geared primarily toward children.
As the dream memory begins, we are ready to perform at a venue that I understand to be in North Carolina. The auditorium has a full house. I briefly interact with our show sponsors and then survey the crowd, seated and awaiting the show to begin. I attempt to begin selling souvenirs, but my concession stand is in complete disarray and I have no reasonable product to sell. I decide to go backstage to get the performers ready to start.
Once backstage I realize that I haven't even read the script and know virtually nothing about the show. The stage set does not seem to be set up properly and is very ragged and unprofessional looking. My actors seem confused and not particularly concerned about our production. However they all seem to know more about the show than I do.
The curtain opens and the show begins. I look out to see a very large audience who seem to be excited about the show. The actors don't seem to know many of their lines and some are carrying scripts from which they are reading. There seems to be no coherent plot line to our story and the musical numbers are botched and are stopped before they are finished.
Then I realize that my role is coming up. I am apparently playing the part of a king and I don an odd costume made of a bright metallic gold fabric. I have no idea what my lines are supposed to be and I can't find any script. When I go out on stage I look out to see the auditorium now nearly empty.
At that point the show ends and the cast members start packing up the show equipment. The few people who have remained in the audience are now on stage chatting with us. I realize that I need to look for the show sponsors to collect our money, but I am trying to come up with an apology about the poor show and some excuse that might appease them.
I awaken feeling exhausted and somewhat let down. Though I feel tired for a good while after awakening, I get my spirits roused before wakening my wife so she can get ready to go to work. My mind remained occupied with my concern about the dream and what it might mean.
My best interpretation would be that there is something in my life for which I am unprepared. Or it could be a number of things or just the general state of the way I am. Part of my lack of preparedness might be concerning my upcoming summer road trip. Or more likely it could have something to do a business opportunity that I had been considering the previous day. I suppose the meaning could even be related to getting older and not being prepared for my life to end.
Of course, there is always that possibility or probability that the dream has layers of meaning that includes some or all of the above or even more. Unpreparedness has often been not only a habit of lifestyle for me, but it is a fear that involves failure and humiliation. Changing some of my habits might eliminate these dreams, but then again the continuing fear of unpreparedness will probably mean these will be common dreams for me.
Do you dream of being unprepared? What is a common theme that you experience in your dreams? Do you have any other interpretations of the dream I've described in this post?