As I See It – June 19, 1980




When I listen to my dreams I learn from them. It is like being my own teacher. I place no esoteric interpretation on them nor do I look upon them as warnings or prophecies. To me my dreams are a way of talking to myself about things which are important to me but which I may not recognize when my attention and concerns and energy is concentrated upon the demands of everyday. When I am asleep these feelings or ideas come close enough to the surface in the form of a dream so that, if I learn to pay attention to them, I can recall the dream on waking.


So it was a few nights ago. The details are unimportant. What matters was that I was working very hard on a project for the benefit of a group of which I was a part. I was unaware that I would receive any pay for what I was doing. I was doing as much as I could and as well as I could. When the task was finished a person “in charge” came to me with a checklist on a clipboard. She said to me “You finished only three pieces. You will be be paid for only three pieces.” I responded with, “I've done much more than three pieces!” but she paid no attention she only repeated “You did three pieces. You will be paid for three pieces.”


I was very angry I cannot recall having felt angry in any other dream therefore this dream seems really significant I had not expected to receive pay in money, so my anger was not about money. I  was angry that the person  who placed a judgment on me  (“only three pieces”) and who did not see value in my contribution I was angry at being put down for giving freely of myself and being offered a pittance -  saying “this is what your contribution is worth”


I was angry at not being seen and heard and valued for the person I am and for what I did as well as I could. It was to me an attack on my whole person. It is important as I recall that incident that I did not accept her opinion of me or my work.


I'm glad I could be angry for that attack in my dream and that, on waking I can recognize and accept my anger as my own. I am pleased that my need not only for acceptance but for an expression of acceptance came to the surface where I could see it. It is a need which our society often teaches us to deny under the guise of humility or modesty, and I learned that lesson well


Why is all of this important? I'm not aware most of the time of such needs. I feel that expressions of approval from others are not essential to me. Many times I felt that I stood alone, under criticism, and although I would have welcomed support, I could stand and be OK without it. Yet underneath all that strength, I find that it is important to be seen and heard and valued which is quite different from being agreed with or treated superficially


Why do I choose to share with persons I don't know something so personal as my vulnerability and human need? I come back to what my wise friend said to me in March, “The more personal is the more general”. For several days just past I've been feeling low energy, somewhat depressed with usual tasks heavy upon me, all of which is seldom true. This dream revealed one of the reasons: anger of which I was not aware in my waking hours, part of it turned in on myself. I realized that my feeling that I don't get time to do what I want to do for myself was causing anger at myself for not being able to set priorities and consequently trying to do too much, and losing the pleasure


My dream was my friendly self, showing me what I hadn't seen. Listening has done service to me in at least three ways. By meeting my anger I've already lost most of my harried feelings, feel more energy, and am getting more pleasure from being alive. In recognizing the need for being valued and to a measure overcoming the old taboo of saying so, I have seen and acknowledged a deep human need which I hold in common with many.


And I have resolved anew to acknowledge and express without holding back, the regard and appreciation which I hold for another person.


“I will give my flowers to the living, whatever form my flowers take”