All of us have a doing “yang” part and a being “yin” part, but the two are mostly strangers! We are always yang during the day when we act, think, and feel and mostly yin at night when we are deeply asleep! How do we integrate these two halves of ourselves?
Here is a little dream that on the face of it has nothing to do with such an issue, but that’s what came up when this lady interviewed of all people – the receptionist!
What are fundamental life issues that you are dealing with now in your life?
Today I had a conflict with a teacher colleague. He really told me off. It really hit me. It hurt. It’s painful. I am swaying between feeling I was treated unfairly and accepting it.
My son disappointed me and surprised me that he acted the way he did.
Tell me a dream you remember. It can be an old one, a repetitive dream, a nightmare, or one that you’re sure you understand.
We are on public transport. My daughter Laura is supposed to stand in as a gynocologist during a holiday. While we are on the public transport I spot a woman who gets off the bus with us. I wonder if she is going to the same surgery as us. She is looking around and looking at me expectantly. I look at her and say, “no, no. It’s not me. It’s my daughter that’s the doctor. Laura is very efficient and has two locks that she unlocks at the same time. The other thing that happened is that someone said, “Ms. Stook, the practice is not open. Yet. Ms. Stook is still cleaning.” The only Ms. Stook I know is the wife of a dentist I know. Perhaps she is retired and needs more money.
Why do you think that you had this dream?
If this dream were playing at a theater, what name would be on the marquee?
The gynecological practice
These are the characters in the dream, beside yourself…
Public Transport, Keys, Laura, Ms. Stook, the building, a staircase, the locks, the medical assistant (secretary)
If one character had something especially important to tell you, what would it be?
Now remember how as a child you liked to pretend you were a teacher or a doctor? It’s easy and fun for you to imagine that you are this or that character in your dream and answer some questions I ask, saying the first thing that comes to your mind. If you wait too long to answer, that’s not the character answering – that’s YOU trying to figure out the right thing to say!
Medical Assistant (Maria), would you please tell me about yourself and what you are doing?
I’m not very tall. I’m not thin or fat. Maybe strong legs. I like to wear flat shoes. Blondish-grey hair. Now I’m changing. I’m putting on a white shirt and skirt for the practice.
What do you like most about yourself? What are your strengths?
I like that I’m busy. I like being the assistant. I am the SOUL of this practice! Maybe it’s not the truth, but I often feel that without me this whole surgery would collapse. I know everything. I have everything under control.
What do you dislike most about yourself? Do you have weaknesses? What are they?
I don’t like my nose! It’s too big and it’s too hooked!
Maria, you are in Clara’s life experience, correct? He/She created you, right? Maria, what aspect of Clara do you represent or most closely personify?
I represent the busy bee in her. The “I control it all” part. I would prefer to work with my doctor and not for this young thing that is standing in for her. I would have her back.
Maria, if you could be anywhere you wanted to be and take any form you desired, would you change? If so, how?
I am going to open the practice and the clients would come but not as many as usual because it’s a holiday. I would keep an eye on Laura to see that she did everything right.
I would be on an island surrounded by blue skies, surrounded by an ocean. Maybe have a wreathe of flowers around my neck...
Imagine being there now…
(Continue, answering as the transformed object, if it chose to change.)
Maria, how would you score yourself 0-10, in confidence, compassion, wisdom, acceptance, peace of mind, and witnessing? Why?
Confidence: 10 I’m not afraid of anything! What should I be afraid of?
Compassion: 0 It’s perfect here! I don’t care about other people. I don’t do compassion toward others or myself. There’s no need….
Acceptance: 10 I think my nose has become a lot smaller, now that you’re asking!
Inner Peace: 6 Will I be able to stay here? It’s so uncertain…
Maria, if you scored tens in all six of these qualities, would you be different? If so, how?
Then this practice would vanish. Then I could feel I could stay here. Then there would be this inner peace.
Are you prepared to stay there or not?
Good question! Right now it’s wonderful, but what if a storm came??? If I had a house here…
How would Clara’s life be different if she naturally scored like you do in all six of these qualities all the time?
If Clara was ten all she wouldn’t believe she had to control everything, would not have to work so hard. Her life would be more peaceful.
If you could live Clara life for her, how would you live it differently?
I can understand Clara very well because I like to be busy! I can still see myself running around in this practice. It’s nice being on this island but I also like running around in the practice getting all the appreciation from others. I would have more creative breaks, take time out, like I have now on this island.
If you could live Clara’s waking life for her today, would you handle her three life issues differently? If so, how?
I would like to tell her to leave this colleague alone. I’m never criticized the way Clara is. I can only advise her to not react and to remain friendly.
Regarding her son, I too think that is sad. If my son were to behave like that I too would be upset. But the only thing to do is to remain calm and deal with it with equanimity. Talk about it. She has done quite well so far.
In what life situations would it be most beneficial for Clara to imagine that she is you and act as you would?
When she feels stress coming up.
Why do you think that you are in Clara’s life?
To remind her that any kind of stress can be dealt with equanimity. Be loyal to yourself!
How is Clara most likely to ignore what you are saying to her?
She won’t take me seriously
What would you recommend that she do about that?
She should take me seriously because I have a lot to tell her.
I think Clara had this dream because
Because it’s about opening herself. A lot to do with stomach feeling…to concentrate on the nitty-gritty, the core of things. The practice itself is not important.
I think this dream event happened or (some character) was in the dream because…
Laura is the stand-in doctor because of a diad – mother/child, mother daughter. Going back to those roots. It also has to do with letting a child go, realizing that she is so grown up she can actually stand in for a doctor. I feel she is over-mothering her daughter a bit.
What have you heard yourself say?
This strange little lady is supposed to be taken seriously! To calm down. Get off my tree that I so often sit on.
Others: How happy Maria was on her island and without doubts! She doesn’t have conflicts with anyone. She doesn’t care what others think of her. She has no conflicts because she concentrates on herself. She didn’t grasp the concept of compassion.
If this experience were a wake-up call from the most central part of who you are, what do you think it would be saying to you?
Notice that Laura got some practical recommendations about how to deal with her two life issues.
The island Maria personified for Clara the part of herself that is all beingness. The challenge is for Clara to integrate the two – the Maria that is hyper-effective in the world with the one that seems unattainably calm and at peace. After the interview Clara said she really, really didn’t like the first Maria, who she describes as controlling and self-important, but she really likes the Maria on the island. The group remarked that she seemed to keep going back to the part of herself that she didn’t like instead of staying with the part it transformed in that she liked. This led to a discussion about how this is part of the human condition- we return to our habits of mind and feeling, to our scripting, to our likes and dislikes, to our drama, rather than staying with those parts of ourselves that are at peace.