Tag Archives: dreaming

Throwing the towel down and being seen


My dreams are trying to tell me something about how I see myself and what a liberated version of me feels like. It’s hard not to ignore a vision of me running around naked with not a care in the world! And to feel the delicious caress of a breeze on naked skin is like a huge billboard advertising how good it would feel to just try this new idea or concept.

What I find interesting is that my mind has used someone I know with powerful energy in real life to drive a message across. To give you a quick background so you understand the context of my dream, M is a business colleague who is also an acclaimed writer, producer and comedian. We have met a few times at events and chatted about our lives. M is lesbian and has been with her partner for around 20 years. Her partner is a psychoanalyst and M was in psychoanalysis (obviously not with her partner!). M and I always chat about psychology, the meaning of our relationships and the effect that our past has had on our present. We also both keep dream journals. M can seem quite butch and intimidating but has a magnetism to her. She has been an autobiographical ghost-writer for two famous women and described to me how attached they became to her in the course of sitting together for many months. It’s hard to describe whether her magnetic energy evokes the feeling of a powerful but nurturing mother or that of a “sensitive” father.

Now to my dream about her. I have highlighted parts that have meaning:

I arrive at my aunt’s apartment, which I am looking after. Just as in real life, her apartment is trendy, airy and light. The walls are white and everything feels comforting. The only difference is that this dream apartment is on the ground floor, like a house, and is surrounded by garden. My gran’s little black poodle pup is there. I am not staying in the apartment but in a small attached cottage that seems outdated and misplaced. The furniture is a bit old. The place seems dull and scruffy in comparison. I am about to shower and lock the door connecting the cottage to the apartment. As I do this, I hear the front door of the apartment being unlocked. I wrap a white towel around me and go to see who it is. It’s M.

We are surprised to see each other and she says my aunt gave her a set of keys to the apartment for emergencies. Today it is my aunt’s birthday and she has come to drop off and arrange purple lilies in a vase in her kitchen as a surprise. While we speak, I feel quite vulnerable and exposed in my towel. She asks why I am covering myself and I am surprised by her question because I think the answer is quite obvious (you don’t show yourself to people you don’t know). In the moment, I am ashamed I am not more confident about my body. She appraises my body. I leave her to arrange the flowers and tell her I will be in the cottage. As I am about to take my towel off in the cottage to shower, I see boys playing cricket outside and they notice I am semi-naked. I try to draw the curtains closed. They run away. I look through the window and see my gran’s dog playing in the garden. Dogs from other apartments are running across the lawn and into our property. I am scared this will put her in danger because she is so small. I run outside to chase away the dogs and M comes through because she hears a commotion. My towel flies off as I chase after the dogs. Suddenly, it doesn’t matter that I am naked anymore. I am aware that M is looking at me but I feel beautiful in the moment. Her loving, appreciative gaze radiates. As I run, I feel the grass tickle my legs and the breeze caress my bare skin. I feel free and sexy at the same time. I manage to scare the dogs away and grab my gran’s dog in my arms before walking back to the cottage.


I think the comparison between the apartment and cottage is like a comparison between myself and my aunt. She is comfortable in her skin, confident, bubbly and a true role model in the assertive way she tackles life. Growing up, I have always tried to emulate her but felt like I paled in comparison.

M adds something beautiful to my aunt’s space. The shade of purple is quite spiritual, intuitive and healing. She leaves it in a transparent vase in the kitchen, a place of nourishment. She has used her key because it is an emergency, what she describes as celebrating a day of birth (or re-birth).

I am in this dingy cottage trying to clean myself but never getting around to it. I am naked save for a fluffy, white towel. I feel vulnerable but at least it swaddles part of me.

My gran’s dog is a symbol of the wild, spontaneous and carefree animal urges. She is very affectionate and I feel safe, close and loved when I have her in my arms. She has a child-like playfulness to her. The pet dogs running amok represent the natural drives that, despite usually being well socialized, have a tendency to revert back to their wild, spontaneous state. I scare these away because they are a threat to my playful but more well-trained poodle pup. Scaring them away and having her in my arms feels like I have a healthy balance between the two sides of the animal.

And the running free part is quite self-explanatory. The fact that my senses were ramped up in the moment made it particularly memorable. Could it be that M’s adoring gaze, as someone interested in women, made me feel confident enough to truly be seen? Or did she act more as an archetype of the loving parent, a somewhat androgynous being in that she is female physically but more male mentally… a union of both parts shining the way to self-acceptance.

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Underground dreams are deep


Have you also dreamed about tunnels or exploring caves or crevices beneath the earth? What makes these dreams so fascinating is that, unless a miner, hermit or hobbit (!), humans spend all their time in the light and on the surface. Underground represents something quite mystical or foreign. A place of darkness, cold and fear. A home for hard minerals, dust and things that hide.

“I don’t dig that”…

This is a good analogy for how most people seemingly experience life. They take whatever comes at surface-value and desperately seek to stay in the light, where it is warm, safe and familiar. Many seem unwilling or uninterested in digging deeper. To dig deeper would mean having to confront pieces of themselves that they fear they, or others, would not be able to handle.

Typically, dreams of tunnels and being underground represent the exploration of the unconscious… the soup bubbling just beneath the surface. We are being told that something is afoot. All is not as it seems.

With that, I’ve chosen to share my second dream involving a tunnel. What follows after that is the subsequent insight gleaned by chatting to my therapist DS (Deep Soul).

I find myself in a garden. I realise I am at my last family home I stayed in before becoming independent. I am struck with a feeling that I have to leave the house as soon as I can. There are two holes at the bottom of my garden that lead underground. I enter the first hole and crawl through to my neighbour’s garden. I can’t get any further because there is a big locked gate in front of me, so I turn back to the other hole.

My name is Alice…

Here, I climb in head-first and crawl through on my belly. I find a subterranean tunnel which looks much like a mole’s home. Ahead of me, an open hole in the earth wall filters gentle, late afternoon sun through. The tunnel is dry and not too cold. As I crawl along the ground, I see little niches on the floor and in the walls. At the first shadowy niche on my left, a tortoise pops its head out. I say hello and crawl past. With my feet near its head, I take one last glance back and am surprised to see the “tortoise neck” is actually a big snake rearing its head. It is like a cobra waiting to strike but it doesn’t bite me. I am not scared to death but I am a bit freaked out. I quicken my pace.

Another hole beneath my belly has a yellow stringy, spongy insect or starfish hiding there. I am scared and fill up the hole with my teddy bear before crawling over it.

I come to the place in the tunnel where the sun is gently filtering in and casting a circle of light on the floor. Bathed in light are an assortment of blue china plates, bowls and tea cups. They are arranged in a haphazard fashion, almost like they have been left as an offering to some higher power. Some are filled with dry food, like flour. “It’s amazing that insects haven’t touched this stuff,” I think to myself. I wake up without knowing whether I get out of the tunnel or not.

(If you didn’t get a chance to read my about my first tunnel dream, here it is, along with some dream symbolism to help with your own dream interpretation: http://bit.ly/1n8OsE9).

Therapy is like archeology…

I shared both tunnel dreams with DS a few weeks ago. I told him that I was almost positive they were indicative of transformation.

“Unfortunately, I didn’t see a light at the end of either tunnel,” I remarked to him. Seeing the light in a dream would be a reassuring sign to anyone undergoing therapy or a shaky process of change and self-discovery.

In his typically insightful and gobsmackingly sensitive fashion, he replied: “Maybe you didn’t need to because the light is already inside the tunnel”. BAM. Why hadn’t I thought of that? Clearly, this is one of the many good reasons I am paying him the big bucks. It was so obvious once he had said it. Here I was thinking that hope and “enlightenment” lay at the end of the journey. But my dream was trying to shine a light on the nourishment and precious, delicate gifts I already have inside, just waiting to be used.

And what about the tortoise and snake? Both are ancient creatures with symbolic connotations. The tortoise is slow, cautious and protected by thick skin and a shell. It sounds a lot like how I’ve operated on an emotional level in the past. There is also a tinge of feeling slow and stupid because of people’s criticisms as a child. This tortoise magically transforms into a snake in the blink of an eye. In fact, it doesn’t transform. I just hadn’t looked at properly. I am not frightfully scared of snakes but have a fearful respect for them. My dream snake was poised to strike but didn’t. Instead, it was suspended in a position so graceful but worthy of respect. I truly believe this snake represents untapped strength. And that I can use this strength without having to strike out at others. Snakes shed their skin without fear because they know there will be renewal. I wish it was as easy for us to shed things which aren’t working anymore!

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