Dream: I am at a public laundry area. I’m washing something in a big sink. There’s a boy there (about 13 years old) that looks at me and says, “Are you ok? You look like you are in some kind of pain.” I stop what I am doing and I look at the boy and say, “Yes you are right, I am feeling bad. I’m so impressed that you could notice that.” I feel a sense of connection to the boy and also feel grateful that he noticed me. This whole time, there’s been a man standing next to me on the other side of the sink. I realize that he can hear the exchange that I am having with the boy. I like that because I want the man to see how caring the boy is. I am touched by the boy’s compassion for me.
In some ways I like laundry. Often, when I am feeling overwhelmed in my life, I turn to doing laundry. It’s something productive, yet mindless that I can escape to where I don’t need to feel. I can just zone out and avoid whatever is overwhelming me.
The boy in the dream is my boy, my soul self. He has a knowing. He understands that when my mind is overwhelmed, this is an opening to feeling, to pain. At this point in the session, I recall a recent experience. As I was taking a shower a few days ago, I cried as I felt a strong feeling of being overwhelmed with life. It’s not that it made any sense. The tears were unexpected. They confused me. There wasn’t anything in particular that I was crying about. Normally, I am trying to “figure it all out.” This was the opposite. I was just feeling.
But often in my life, instead of allowing myself to feel when I am overwhelmed, I get busy with chores like laundry and other responsibilities. The boy knows this and is able to articulate it to me. At first, when the boy asks me if I am OK, I feel his compassion. But I pull away when I am impressed by him, approving of him. But the boy is saying it to help me feel pain, not to get approval.
Although the animus is standing next to me, I don’t really see him in the dream. He’s not in focus. I can’t see him clearly because I am not connecting with him. I get a little whiff of connection – to the boy and to the man. But as Rodger says, it’s almost like I am the hostess, there to introduce them to each other. Boy, meet man. Man, meet boy. They are both there to help me feel but I keep my distance. There is a deeper level of pain that I need to feel. Until I do, there will continue to be a distance between me and the boy, and between me and the animus.
The paradox is that although feeling overwhelmed feels bad, in a way it’s good. Yes, it’s uncomfortable. I’d rather do laundry. But it’s an invitation to the feeling underneath. The feeling that will take me to the connection with my boy and with the animus.