It has been an extraordinary few weeks. Since the murder of Mr. Floyd, so much has happened from the four cops who killed him being arrested to Ms. Taylor’s case (finally) being re-opened in Kentucky to Mr. Arbery’s killers being (finally) arrested to Black Lives Matters being writ large in DC to an entire world being mobilized to cry out.
So much has happened in the last four months, too. How this pandemic, along with all the loss, has ripped more facades off the inequities of this country.
I have been working on a book about dreaming, as some of you know, and struggling with how to speak about dreams through the lens of embodied, relational, archetypal dreaming. Through the lens of how dreams work with us each individually in unique ways – intertwining stories of the collective (which are so part of us) with our own stories (that are unique to us). How each dream is exquisitely tailored to meet each of us. You, me, everyone. I have looked to other books, done research, read “groundbreaking” books about therapy, trauma work, dreaming. And I have tried to step into that kind of lineage of writing, of bringing what I have learned and am still learning about dreams to the page.
I have been realizing over the last 6 months to a year that to try to write about dreams (or anything) without being woven into a greater context is disregarding not just the magic and mystery of the dream but also of each of us who dream, which is all of us.
It is part of the problem – this way of “thinking” – that is part of why we need this uprising for basic human rights for people of color in my country.
This kind of “thinking” dictates that we speak about our subject (dreaming for me) with a base assumption that there are universal truths for all people. In dreaming, this means that my lineage of dream teachers work with basics like what things mean in a dream, how to interpret dreams, and that all of us have the same internal structures as defined (“discovered”) by someone – ie ego, superego, id or universal archetypal elements. We can find (create) systems and apply them to everyone, this way of “thinking” goes.
Which is the way of “thinking” that I was raised with, taught by, interned through – in school, at university, at grad schools, in alternative teaching communities. By poets, poetry teachers, dream teachers, English professors.
But the systems that were created from this way of thinking, because I am born of Western Culture, is rooted in the assumption that “everyone” is really the people in power in my culture. White people and mostly white men. People of color have not been in the equation, not really. Women as equals, not really in the equation. People of other cultures besides the Western culture, not really in the equation.
But specifically – people of color were not considered “human enough” to be in that equation. This is what is “hidden” in this kind of “thinking” and “intellectualizing”.
This is precisely what, I believe, dreams do not do. Take the marvelously unique aspects of each person and all that they have experienced, including in their lineage, out of the equation.
Dreams do not function by this kind of “thinking”.
Writing this book thinking I had to be in this kind of “thinking” is an example of my own buy-in and participation of what exactly this uprising of Black Lives Matter is all about fighting against. This kind of “thinking” attempts to erase the experience of black and brown people in my country. This kind of “thinking” is violent and kills people – especially people of color.
I have been feeling into how trying to write about dreaming through this violent lens (which tells me that it is the only way to be successful) has silenced not just my own voice but the voices of people who are considered other outside this way of “thinking”. Silencing all voices – mine, dreamers I work with who are black or brown, all dreamers.
I am still writing this book, but no longer from this place of violence/silence. Dreaming teaches me that everything happens in context and is intertwined – trauma, story, lineage, healing, becoming, challenging the violence within us and how that violence manifests, challenging us to see the light within us and to be the courage to manifest that.
I am white woman and I am stepping into this uprising by stepping out of the sidelines, which is its own violence, and stepping into the deep, layered context I have known the dreams to be pushing me into for many years.
I started writing again spurred by the pandemic, spurred by some anger around how we were being told we should feel. I am letting this anger widen to the bigger context – to work against racism in myself, in my community, as I continue to work with dreams and dreaming.
And I have been wondering how I can step into the movement, bring my voice, use my platform, be actively anti-racist. Part of what I am going to be examining as I continue my blog (and not just this month, but every step of my journey) is the full context of the violence inherent in the healing community, especially dreaming, through this kind of “thinking.” Through my own experiences as well as through the lineage and history (one example, the racism inherent in Jung’s work).
And I am going to continue to keep learning and to listen – to Black Lives Matters leaders, supporters, activists, scholars. I will include in my blog resources where we can all listen, educate ourselves, and come out of the old way of “thinking” which is violent at its core, and into a new way of being.