|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?
In college, I dreamt that I signed up for a course and forgot to attend. I always felt it was a manifestation of being overwhelmed.ReplyDelete
Ann, I have those college dreams now which is strange in a way. My dreams typically involve school, my last job, or my life on the road, but thematically they are all similar in theme. Your assessment of "a manifestation of being overwhelmed" sounds like a very good possible interpretation. I think that partly explains my own dreams. Being overwhelmed can lead to feeling or actually being unprepared.Delete
My recurring dreams are about beach combing for glass, except the stuff I find in my dream aren't just the small bits and bobs you see me post on my blog, but intact beautiful vases, Christmas ornaments, cup plates, etc. The other night I dreamed that I was 'seeding' the beach with marbles, by pushing them into the wet sand and covering them up, every few inches along the waterline. Back when I was in WA, and then moved here, I realized maybe the dreams meant that I was searching for my life's treasure which was on Cape Cod the whole time, which is pretty true. Now I wonder if I am just dreaming about it because I want to find vases and cup plates and Christmas ornaments instead of glass bits and bobs. :DReplyDelete
JoJo, you've mentioned these types of dreams in the past and my first reaction is always that they are mainly wishful thinking dreams where a fantasy is fulfilled. But I like your interpretation too. Like in my dreams, yours probably have multi-levels of interpretation. It's unlikely that you will ever find the intact artifacts like you've found on the beach in your dreams, but what you find in your life could be something big and valuable to you. Good luck!Delete
I often have "unprepared" dreams,which may mirror our worries in life. Other dreams include being hurried. Many of my dreams involve travel but then I have done a lot of it in my life.ReplyDelete
Sage, I am assuming having travel dreams reflects a lifestyle of those who have traveled much. I wonder if those who have not done much travel dream travel dreams?Delete
A dream is triggered by an idea, an image, or a sensation in the twenty-four hours prior to the dream. This stimulus is invariably tagged to a mood: anxiety, fear, depression, elation, and so on, and behaves like a loose piece of thread left from the waking experience. The brain pulls this thread with a masterful ability at night as if it were holding a marionette. It ushers it through a specific nerve pathway. The mood tagged to the trigger determines the route the thread would follow to unravel particular scenes in the memory storage. Similar moods will reproduce similar scenes. Each of us has a different way of expressing our anxiety, fear, or happinesd during dreams. Some people react to anxiety with naked dreams, others like you, react to anxiety and fear with dreams of unprepareness.Delete
Louis, I think it's pretty much stream of consciousness word or idea association. Essentially free thinking but with often weirder imagery and ideas.Delete