In Alumni in Action
Dreams: The Daytime Kind
Imagine really wanting something a lot, seriously a lot, and no matter how much you push and work and labor and pray, you get no closer to making it happen. In my book, The Next Happy: Let Go of the Life You Planned and Find a New Way Forward, I write about how sometimes when you are possessed by the myth of Sisyphus (the guy who famously pushed the rock up the hill and never-ever-ever got it to the top) that the healthiest, best, and sanest thing to do is let go of the life you planned and find a new way forward. There are lots of things I advise people who are dealing with the disappointments of life (such as loss of job, relationship, health, inability to achieve a goal, etc.) and who want to get to their next happy: calling the time of death on a dream, grieving the dream fully, letting the land lay fallow before getting into a rebound dream, and, as I am exploring in this post, analyzing your desire to understand what you really wanted from the dream.
If you are here on the Pacifica blog you already know that dreams are important.
At Pacifica we love dreams. We love to dig deep in the psyche with our metaphorical miners’ caps on and look at the symbols and discover the unconscious desire of the dream, meet the shadow, and see how the animus and anima are playing peekaboo.
According to the Grandpoobas of nighttime dreams, Sigmund Freud and Jung, are dreams are expressing our unconscious desires, wish fulfillments, and aspects of our unconscious that want to be made conscious. And according to Cleantis (that’s me), our daytime dreams, or life-goals, should be analyzed and explored too, as they have unconscious aspects worth exploring. You see, I believe that our dream to have something or to be something are a fill-in for a deeper emotional experience we are after. Dreams such as, “I want to be a star”, “I want to go to Harvard”, “I want that man”, “I want to write a screenplay” or “I want to start a healing community,” for example, might mean we really want validation, love, attention, security, or a sense of community. And the good thing about knowing what we really want is that we can get those things in lots of ways, not just through one possible unattainable dream. Once we know the unconscious psychological desires, there can be many channels to the completion of the goal other than through the original desire.
What I am saying, and I kind of hope that this makes me the Grandpoobina (that is the feminine version of Grandpooba) of analyzing daytime dreams, is that there can be latent content to our daytime dreams and goals just the way there is to our nighttime dreams. Trust me, there is more to a dream than “I just want what I want.” We are, I believe, more complicated creatures than that. When people are dealing with life not working out as they planned, I ask them to really look at the fantasy aspect of the desire/dream and look at what they wanted from the dream. It can be the very thing that moves them past gridlock and fixating on the one path forward.
Patients who bring a dream into therapy often begin the story of their dream with the following: “I had the craziest dream.” When we have a dream/goal/life vision we sometimes act as if it is self-evident why we want this thing so darn much; However, knowing what is wanted from the dream or goal isn’t going to change the reality of the situation. It didn’t make me any less infertile to know that what I really wanted from having children was to compensate for my childhood. It didn’t make my friend any less shut out from the consulate to know that she wanted to be a diplomat because she grew up in a family with varied origins who were in constant conflict. And a colleague who wanted a “dream house?” Knowing that her dream was really about the hope of having a close-knit family didn’t lessen the blow of being out-bid. But getting to the core of why we want what we want will help us to better understand exactly why we wanted and discover if perhaps there is another way to get the underlying and, dare I say, more significant longings satisfied.
Recent Posts
Contact Us

We're not around right now. But you can send us an email and we'll get back to you, asap.

Not readable? Change text. captcha txt

Start typing and press Enter to search