All my life I have had very intense, bizarre dreams. In college I bought a dream dictionary to try and interpret some of them.
Hoo boy, was that a mistake! I finally had to get rid of that book, because I was convinced I was either on the road to becoming a psychological case study or a serial killer.
But there is another interpretation that I've found quite helpful: everyone and everything in our dreams is US. We dream about ourselves. Yes, our subconscious is trying to tell us something, but if we dream about a cat it may not mean that a long-lost relative is trying to reach us, or whatever. We need to figure out what cats mean to US. If I were to dream about a cat, it could be that I want more affection, for example. Because when I see a cat, I get all silly and gooey and want to pet it and hold it and make kissy faces at it.
(Huh. So THAT'S why the neighborhood cats avoid me!)
The other night I had a dream that someone I love was being REALLY nasty and mean and snarky to me. When I woke up I had to remind myself that a) this person didn't REALLY behave that way and b) it was a dream, so I was being nasty and mean and snarky to MYSELF.
And that I frequently am, without even realizing it. I am SO MEAN to me! I'm like the popular kids from every high school movie ever made, before the big John Hughes-type self-realization, I-don't-have-to-be-like-that moment. The guy who agrees to kick the Karate Kid on his wounded leg because his sensei told him to, but really doesn't want to because EVEN HE realizes how evil and non-sporting that is!
I have been figuratively wrapping myself up in athletic tape and stuffing myself into a locker for YEARS!
That dream the other night, with all the hugs? Yeah, pretty sure it was telling me to stop being so hard on me and start treating myself with love.
(I also think it was telling me to get back in touch with my creative side. Hence the two [of my favorite!] actors.)
Remember all that talk in the early 90's about getting in touch with one's inner child? Anyone, anyone? Bueller? Well, maybe you're too young, but a the time we made fun of it a lot. Now, though, I think there's something to it. Learning to re-parent ourselves the way we wish we had been parented. Because many of our parents did their best, but they're only human, and mistakes were made. For me, it's about going back to those moments and re-working them the way I would have liked them to have played out. Being the kind of parent to myself as a little girl that I hope I am with my own kids.
And realizing that a BIG part of parenting is about the things we unknowingly pass along; our fears and strengths, our beliefs and behaviors, and NOT just the things we say. I am most definitely my father's daughter, for example. And the more I learn about myself, the more I understand him. And wish he'd had access to the things I do now!
Also realizing that I DO deserve things like a vacation now and then, some time to myself, and even a new robe! It's silly, but I have been wearing this disgusting, tattered robe that I've had for YEARS because it didn't even occur to me to buy a new one! That I DESERVE to spend the money on myself and buy a nice, new, soft, CLEAN bathrobe without bald patches on it, fer cryin' out loud!
Interestingly enough, right now my back is completely pain-free, and I'm not worried about losing sleep. I'm not particularly worried about ANYTHING right at this moment, (which has to be some kind of miracle, lol!). In fact, I think I'm about ready to go back to bed.