Monday, June 13, 2005

The Dream Tells the Truth

In my dream last night I was in a crowded hotel-type setting, maybe a conference, standing in line with my oldest friend M. and waiting to get some lunch at a cafeteria.

(From here on in, as I was taught by dream work teacher Jeremy Taylor ( I will shift into present tense.)

A handsome man comes up to M. and they kiss. I am shocked and insulted because this man is not her husband and I think "Wait a minute! If she's having an affair with this guy does she actually think that's OKAY to just flaunt it in front of me?" She is terribly blase, as is he. Like, "Cool, babe. See ya later." I feel deeply wounded that she has become so truly shameless.

He leaves and she turns to me. "Don't give me a hard time," she says. "Yes, we're together and yes, it's because I'm bored and unhappy with my husband."

I light into her. My voice is shaking and I am crying but I have all the words: "How DARE you flaunt your infidelity in front of me as if I won't care? How could you do this? I MARRIED you to M., I remember what you promised! You made sacred vows in the presence of God, your closest friends, your family, on the ground of your childhood home where you and I played and dreamed and planned to become good, respect-worthy women together! What the hell is wrong with you! You have two children!! Daughters, to whom you must be an example --- if not you, who else!?"

And then I really can't stop crying as I say,
"And I LOVE M. (her husband). I love him because you love him, and I am invested in your marriage!! So is your entire family, and all your friends, and even other people you work with!"

The scene morphs into another scenario at that point, but there it is.

This isn't a dream about the real M &M, who are adorable and married and happy. It is a dream that reveals the honesty of the fact that what troubles us remains to trouble us until we speak our truth in some fashion, even in the phantom reality of the Dreamtime. Yes, according to Jungian dream theory there is a lot more going on in the dream, where the Friend and the Lover represent aspects of the self and "marriage" becomes an archetypal reality rather than its literal self, but that's more than I intend to go into here. The "ah-ha" for me was to understand that my very soul, and not just my sense of social propriety -- is offended by the notion of infidelity, cheating, and abandonment of vows. I should know this by now but the intensity of the dream made it unmistakable.


Blogger fausto said...

And it's not just you. Check out the marriage ceremony in the Episcopal Book of Common Prayer, for example. There are not two "I do's" (actually in the BCP verison it's "I will"), but three. The husband and wife each pledge themselves to each other, and then the entire congregation pledges to support the new couple in their marriage, all in nearly the same breath.

Blogger Chalicechick said...

If you're good with dreams, could you tell me what it means to dream that one is on a conveyor belt with factory workers taking peices out of one and adding things?

I dreamt that just last night and have come up with two possible interpretations:

1. I'm a work in progress and sometimes the progress sucks.

2. Eating mexican and then coming home and falling asleep is a bad idea.


Anonymous Jessica Alexander said...

Oh, mercy, yes, to witness infidelity, cheating, the abandonment of vows rips a wound in the soul ... the hardest part of what I do as an STD test-result counselor is dealing with the fallout from infidelity and people on the "down-low". The pain it causes is incredible, and I'm not talking about the herpes lesions. As someone on the phone to provide help and answers (where can I get treatment for this? when am I contagious? can I die from this?) keeping the horror and grief out of my voice, which I'm obliged to do as a professional, when I know that the person I'm talking to has "stepped outside the relationship" (I hate that euphemism) is only possible because I've practiced and practiced and practiced my "calm, neutral" voice. Other counselors have chastised me for being judgmental in regards to people who are unfaithful to their spouses. I've heard all the reasons, I understand the variety of complexities that relationships can have. It's not that I wish for a person who has betrayed their vows to be punished (certainly not by STDs) but that I wish that they had not abused the trust of their spouse, that they had honored their vows, and it's a misery to know that a person could do this without shame.


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