Rescuing a Fish Out of Water



Rescuing a Fish Out of Water

Author’s Name: Dillard

Date: 06/01/83

Dream Narrative: I find a large, unusual fish which is inland some distance. It is still alive. I pick it up and carry it toward a lake or nearest body of water. I watch it breather  and this was a reason it was unusual  it was breathing  it didn’t have gills! Its upper body was rising and falling. It may have wiggled free once, but basically it lay quietly in my hands while I carried it to the water and put it back in, worried but hopeful that it would survive.

My associations to this dream are…Fear yesterday of not making enough money and losing my job, not knowing what I would do then. Upon awakening I thought the fish would die if I didn’t help it. It seems to be saying that I am taking steps to conscientiously put some part of my life, one which was out of its natural balance, back into proper arrangement before it dies.


Most accepting: Water

Most rejecting: Fish

Most preferred character: Fish

Most rejected character: Dream Self

Most preferred action: Pick up

Most rejected action: wiggled free

Most preferred feeling: Hoped OK

Most rejected feeling: None

'83 Rescuing a Fish out of Water SMX 6:1:83

Dream Sociomatrix Commentary

“The reason I like, like (a lot, love, dislike, dislike a lot, hate, don’t care about, or am accepting toward) (dream element) is…”  “What I liked/disliked most about being in this dream is…”

Dream Self: I’m trying to be helpful. I’m impressed by this fish. I didn’t like being inland and having to take so long to help this fish.

Fish: This guy is kind, but I’m a lungfish. I crawled out here and I could have crawled back. I’m old, tough, wise and know what I’m doing. Still, I appreciate his concern. I’m unusually adaptable and capable. I had business inland. He’s trying to be helpful but I wish he wouldn’t mess with me. I’m doing OK. I don’t like being carried. I can take care of myself. Now I do like water. I like being able to breathe both in and out of it. Might as well enjoy the ride. Of course I’m OK!

Inland: I have room for this crazy fish and Dream Self too. Maybe this fish will be OK but it seems a little weird to have him on me.

Water: This fish is at home in me. He’s not evolved to a place to make it on land. He needs my depth to protect him. But he’s stubborn and independent. I want him back in me. I like him. He adds a lot to me. I’m deep and flowing. I cleanse and give life.

Chest: I’m big, strong and unusual. I like the dreamer. I like this fish. I like this challenge and new country. Being in the water is OK too. I like being free.  

Dream Commentary

“If I could change this dream in any way, would I change it?  If so, how?”

Fish: The world is my playtoy. Let me frolic in it! Appreciate me but stay around. If I need you, I’ll let you know. You can come too if you want.

Inland: Give me plenty of inland lakes and friendly critters. We’ll welcome this newcomer.

Chest: I’ll see him through OK.

Dream Self: Maybe my fears are unfounded. I’ll let him be.


(A rewrite of the dream based on a consensus of dream group member recommendations.  If there is no consensus, there can be no dreamage.  A synthesis group dream is usually its own dreamage.  Read it over before sleep as an affirmation of a higher pattern of internal integration and healing.)

I find a large, breathing lungfish inland. I am surprised at his strength and ability to take care of himself. It’s obviously having fun strolling between lakes, taking a dip when it wants, eating bugs and watching birds and rabbits. It doesn’t pay much attention to me and seems very happy.

Waking Commentary

As (this dream group member), if I were living this dreamer’s waking life, how would I live it differently? Would I handle this dreamer’s three life issues differently?  If so, how?

Fish: Don’t be afraid. I’m strong. Let me explore and grow. Don’t worry about finances – just love, live, and be thankful.

Inland: I’m good land. I’m not hostile. I can support life – give me a break! That’s your life in Phoenix  that’s your work and your financial concerns  that’s your ability to come through!

Water: I’m here, available when you need me and when that silly fish needs me. We can all work together and be happy

Chest: Follow your heart. Remember to breathe. Remember to relax
and enjoy and you will survive anywhere.

Dream Self; 1) When you experience doubt or fear, read over or think about your dressage. 2) Use it as a pre-sleep suggestion; 3) When yo get worried about finances be aware of your breathing.

Action Plan

(All of the above recommendations for waking life application are not of equal importance.  You have to decide how you wish to prioritize them and what you want to do with them.  But take some action!  It is a way of demonstrating that you take your inner direction seriously.  If you have it wrong, future dream groups will cybernetically correct your course.) 

• Read over the dressage before sleep each night this week.

• Watch for effect on dreams, if any.

• Carry the dressage at work. Read it over when experiencing financial doubt or fear. Mark those times on your calendar check sheet.

• Check the sheet when you recognize you are worried about finances. At those times remember to be aware of your breathing.

Rescuing SGM-Fixed


Sociogram Commentary

Overall Pattern: Water is the most accepted dream group member. Inland is least accepted. The fish is the most accepting dream group member although he is victimized in the dream. Inland is the least accepting dream group member. The issue seems to be created by an action dichotomy, represented by wiggled free, on the one hand, the most rejected dream action, and alive/put in water, the most preferred dream actions.

Acceptance Axis: All choosing characters are highly accepting, with clearly misperceived in the dream by Dream Self, as he is the most accepting character and quite autonomous and happy. This is an excellent example of how Dream Self routinely misperceives the intentions and preferences of other dream characters, just as waking identity does in everyday waking life. Recognizing this chronic disability is a major aspect of waking up and moving into clarity and lucidity, and it is generated by empathy and multi-perspectivalism.

Form Axis: There is no conflict on the form axis and that all scores are positive and supportive. This undercuts the anxiety expressed by Dream Self.

Process Axis: “Wiggled free” is rejected because Dream Self, Inland and Water want Fish to submit to be carried. At this point, not just Dream Self, but Inland and Water are misperceiving the intentions, nature and capabilities of this lungfish. The conflict on this axis seems to be created by misperception. What is most preferred are attempts to rescue, when no rescuing is necessary. Dream Self is in the role of rescuer in the Drama Triangle, assuming Fish is a victim, when it is not.

Affect Axis: Notice that the anxiety about the well-being of this fish by Dream Self is not noted in this dream group. If it were, perhaps it would be rejected, creating a dichotomy on this axis. As it is, the two elements that are included are both supportive. Having a positive attitude is obviously encouraged by the group and the unusualness of this fish is also viewed as positive.

Dream Group Dynamics Commentary

(In which the various dream group members are provided with an opportunity to express their thoughts on their relationships with their fellow dream group members.)

El: The implication is that the dreamer has unrecognized and unexpected abilities for survival in strange or unusual environments and hat therefore he should trust himself and his competencies. There is a message of internal support.


Most preferring: Fish

Most rejecting: Inland

Most preferred character: Water

Most rejected character:

Most preferred action: alive, put in water

Most rejected action: wiggled free

Most preferred feeling: Hoped OK

Most rejected feeling: None.

3/8: Not very good at predicting. This is evidence that my pre-Dream Sociome

You can see the process of waking up, or a movement toward witnessing and lucidity occurring as the interviewing progresses through the various commentaries. The sources of anxiety are re-framed in unexpected ways that feel authentic and supportive regarding practical issues affecting the dreamer at that time: “Will I survive in a strange new world?” “Do I have the resources to live in a dry environment?” “Do I need to rescue myself with worry, doubt and fears or can I relax and enjoy the growth process?”

In hindsight, looking some thirty-three years into my past, it is fascinating to me to see the emphasis on breathing and the recommendation to be aware of my breathing, particularly when worried about finances. Observation of breath has been a consistent and growing practice and theme in my life, culminating in a rather sophisticated practice, explained in the book, Seven Octaves of Enlightenment: Integral Deep Listening Pranayama.

Rescuing a Fish Out of Water '83


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