Nightmares Have Meaning


In my nightmare, I was attending a religious ceremony. The congregation had dutifully attended, largely as a social event, and a point of pride—a kind of “I went to church today, did you?” The minister was similarly delivering a well-rehearsed, most likely regurgitated sermon with a superficial air of caring for his words. I imagine his theme came from the twelve-step program. He said we do what we can with our addictive behavior and accept what we cannot do right now. A short, dark immigrant man with his son, say seven or eight years old, approached the metal gate surrounding the speaker’s dais.

The man was prepared to ask for help when the minister drew a gun from his robes and shot the man, then his son, then himself. The parishioners arose in shock, jumping up and down, flinging their arms in the air, the women screaming. Someone sent for the police.

A dream you say. Worthless garbage. Ignore it. Oh no. Stop. Associate to your memory. What is the dream telling you? There are many messages coded here, some of them learned events recorded for their personal value, some your own concoction. All of them important.

Religion has been misused throughout the ages. The United States sent missionaries to the South American jungle to learn local native languages into which they translated the bible in order to convert the natives. Once herded into small groups living close together, the women in breast covering mumu’s and all susceptible to the mosquito bites and malaria. The institutions funding these missions had come to dig oil. The converted natives have surrendered their entitlement to the land.

Take seekers of the holy grail, surely a religious group that raped and pillaged their way across Europe. Take the current Indonesian police murdering people of the Rohinga group and forcing all to flee in order to keep their land. And Sung Su Chi, a finally freed winner of the Nobel Peace Prize ignores it. She has learned when not to speak.

Why does the minister shoot the undocumented immigrant and his son who seek his help? Why do we US citizens allow our government to treat them as criminals and lock them up?

The minister knows himself as  two people, one a phony power, the other a helpless weakling. The  cleric doles out pity rather than empathy to keep the goods of office. He feels hatred for the other weaklings among him, with whom he secretly puts himself. The monster seeking power kills them as a rejected self. Then the monster devoid of humanity kills his inadequate self as well.

I was only pulled out of my nightmare by the alarm clock ringing its soprano code. For how long had it been singing? This post is only a part of our own alarm clock, our early morning soprano song, a warning. For how long must it ring before we wake up?




Your Dream Knocks On the Door

The dream says, “Hey there. It’s you I’m talking to.” The dream comes from your less put into a box mind. That alert part of the self is sending you a message. Some call dreams mental garbage. They want to keep a lid on consciousness which is a sign of fear. They have a Pandora’s box approach to knowing who they are.

Dreams offer valuable information. You learned to fear such internal knowing by parents who feared their own. They were silenced before you by unresolved conflicts with their own parent. Rules are rules until you examine and decide whether to follow or disregard them. It becomes a matter of your choosing.

Your unrestricted mind creates a dream which opens your eyes. It tells you what to examine.  Defenses are created in childhood to give us a sense of safety. Whether they should continue operating outside our awareness in adult life is something else. Childhood defenses stick out their mental foot which trips us into childhood. A dream calls attention to what we need to know in order to grow up.

Take the following dream:

I was in a  small, cheap hotel in the hinterlands of India. Went for a walk with some of the locals I had recently met. Chattering and listening to them was a lot of fun. I didn’t pay close attention to how we got to where we were ended up. My memory was of making a right turn outside the hotel, going straight ahead for a while then making a left and walking some more. It seemed to be a simple plan.

So I go for that walk alone the next day. After walking a certain distance straight ahead I turn left and walk some more. Thinking to go back, nothing looks familiar. Did I make yesterday’s right and left? I am confused and scared. I see all kinds of tantalizing sights, beautiful people, a long-haired woman selling pineapple at a stand, a man sitting cross-legged in front of his door, meditating or just looking at the world. I see small churches, religious people coming and going, a very large pond. The people are friendly. One invites me into her house where I meet family members. So much belonging, but I am not one of them.

I ask them for directions but what kind of direction can they give since I cannot remember the name of my hotel. So I walk on. See hump-necked cattle grazing. After a while, I ask another person about where to go and am told to take a dirt path downhill into the jungle. I decide not to go that way. It is too wild and devoid of people. I  keep walking. The people, their temples, their spirit of acceptance is appealing. I cannot stay and cannot leave since I do not know how to go back to my hotel. Stranded.

A dream tends to speak in metaphorical images. Wandering in a wild world seemingly unprepared is a childhood approach to parental hatred. It is the defense of  “unknowing.” How strange one uses ineptness to survive. It elicits parental blows for an impersonal failure rather than doing my best and being attacked for that. Deliberate inadequacy is something to hide behind. I remember that my parents were jealous of any sign of my intellect. My father had to be the best, period. My mother had to psychologically knock me down in order to own me so that I could not leave her. I could only be good at something they both did not understand so I painted as a path they could not follow.

But my writing they could and did evaluate. It was a constant put down. I began to conceal my work with traces of disorder. Being sloppy fit in with their criticism.  My typing was terrible. My paper had fingerprints and other smudges. I did not know that sloppiness was my choice. I lost my work on the subway. “How can you be so stupid” was their refrain. I was lost and stranded by my defense.

This defense came with me to college. Teachers who gotten past their own inner punishing parent said my work was very good. One who really encouraged me said that my work which was wonderfully unique seemed to have been fished out of a toilet bowl. He had not been taken by my disorder and suggested I keep writing.

So here I am an adult desiring to use creativity, probably writing to help our increasingly upset world. My dream of being lost in a foreign jungle due to forgetting where I came from reminds me of my own parent-compressed mind and tells me to that I can choose to be unprepared or not.

When you awaken, do not leap out of bed since movement eliminates memory. Note what you dreamed and see your associations. These will tell you what you need to know. They will help you plan where you want to go and how to get there.

Education Has to Be Great Fun

Betsy DeVos hates education unless it brings in dollars. She does not know the beauty of schools which help students wander into the great unknown. Dollar signs block her vision so that is what she sees. Her family makes money from collecting student debt.They all have the “Scrooge Disease.”

In Detroit, poor children hate what DeVos has done to their public schools, too few for too many and most of them widely scattered so that the children have to travel a great distance from their front door. Their teachers are frequently ill-trained newcomers who are transferred from school to school so that you do not know if the math teacher will complete the term or even be there the next. Detroit kids often are “taught” by the smarter ones since there is no teacher present. Frightened teachers “teach to the test” which kills the spirit of learning. Obama had something to do with this. Who put the muzzle and blinkers on him?  No money for art and music and drama and poetry and gym and trips. No money for creative freedom. These ill-taught children do not do well on County or State tests so do not get into college. Those with money label the poorly taught stupid. This shows the arrogance of class.

I had a dream about it. A young girl was in a bland and boring class in which she did poorly. Her parents had died in a recent automobile accident and she was growing thin. She lived on what remained in the family cupboard, on things like pretzels and pickles. Her parents had been well-known actors who did not frequent the kitchen and had taught her nothing about cooking. They lived the life of words.

Her English teacher knew nothing of her background and did not think her very bright until one day, the teacher surprised herself by asking students to recite a Shakespearean sonnet. This increasingly skinny girl got up and declaimed some verses by heart. Her volume, intonation, beautiful notes of speech electrified the class who applauded and cheered and asked for more. Thinking that the eloquent child was starving, the teacher was inspired. She dug up poetry about the kitchen, about the lowly potato, the explosive tomato, about making and eating cabbage soup. Everyone joined in. They read and declaimed and wrote about the meaning of “soul food.” They spoke of cooking as revealing the spirit of growing things, went home and cooked the food they had discussed, infused it with their spirit and next day brought it to the classroom to be eaten by all.

The classroom was having great fun. Pretty soon the principal heard about it and arrived one day she said, to evaluate what was going on. Actually, she wanted to join in. The beauty of vegetables was her forte. Other classrooms and other schools heard about it and started doing their own reading and improvising. The school system lost its lifeless rule of “memorize this” in order to pass a test. The skinny girl achieved a normal weight, and eventually went to cooking school on a scholarship. She is famous today for inventing dishes as well as for writing verses about them.

I woke up.

That was my dream. It reminded me of my greatest learning experiences when there was nothing to memorize, no clear path to follow and everything to discover. How can we bring this experience to public school, even if the room is overcrowded and the teacher naive? How can we make it a place for all to learn? We need to get rid of the DeVos types who are only there to make more money by giving the children less. These people are like horses wearing blinders so as to not be frightened by coming traffic. They do not know that they are seeing and feeling and thinking less because they have always worn them. They use words of sympathy devoid of intention to hide behind. They cannot guide education because they do not understand it.

Please read my book Unloved Again. email me directly to get a signed copy at or send for a Paperback ($

Turtle in My Hair

Me dear friend Ian is visiting. Having him to talk to and then sleeping in my living room, in some way put me in touch with my essential self, what is meaningful to me when not overwhelmed by what I need to do next – I am on vacation.

We dream all the time, perhaps an average of 7 times a night but leap out of bed in the morning so that memory is lost. This time, I lingered with what I consider a psychological joke but now consider a message presented as a joke since little overwhelms the defenses more than humor.

A joke leaps over our fences of non-knowing. It says “look at me (or you or it) and laugh.”  That’s how the truth creeps in. It’s like Alan Cohen’s song that says light enters through cracks in the wall. In my dream, I was at the beauty parlor whose worker engaged in a mighty fight to establish order in the wilderness of my hair. I should add that my family always hated my hair. It did not hang down straight as they thought it should but emerged into the light as if growing towards the sun. I now regard it as a kind of halo. But they turned my hair into an “enemy.” They brushed out the curls which only made the hair stand up straighter. They and then I spent a fortune having it straightened The workers would take a lunch or coffee break when they saw me coming. They saw my hair as a work for two clients but only getting paid for one.

So there in my dream, I am in a beauty parlor and the worker finds a turtle in my hair which seems as wild as ever. I am surprised but not displeased to see it. The turtle reminds me of hiding in a shell away from the forces that want to disrupt my ability to learn what really is going on including in people’s thought and hearts. I tell ask the worker to bring me something to put the turtle in so she finds a white plastic container which is far too small. I want to turtle to come out of its shell, extend its head and look around.

That is when I awaken.

Know and love your dreams. They are telling you something important that you have put aside, that you are ignoring or have managed to toss out of consciousness. My turtle was a symbol of what I need to deal with. My book Unloved Again is my contribution to all of us locked in childhood with unloving parents, an experience we unconsciously seek and repeat without knowing. That is because our adult is insufficiently developed to tell the difference between then and now, and to establish rules which cut the tie.

The turtle reminds me of my love for Mother Earth, of my need to help save her and all her denizens including human from the  corporate agenda  which condemns us to death. Have we gone mad so as not to see what is happening? Do we hide our heads in the corporate paradise of  getting more things…. like a frightened child hiding its head in its mother’s skirt?

A dream tells us to live in the now. It tells us what we value. A dream comes from where our self is. We need to take it seriously in order to grow and celebrate life.

Dreams Always Have a Message

She had a terrible painful dream. She was with her now deceased husband looking young and vital. He was rejecting her for being unloving. Said he didn’t love her anymore. Suddenly she was plunged into her greatest loss which returned her to the grief of childhood with rejecting unloving parents. Then she  was on a subway train, in a car with no destination.  He got off at a stop and she followed him. He pitied her and gave her a large heart shaped pin and filled with precious stones: rubies and sapphires turquoises. She said, give the pin to the next woman that you love. He didn’t take it.

She awoke in a state of misery. Felt abandoned.

She remembered how she changed into an angry martyr as her husband became increasingly deranged by frontal lobe illness. She treated him with the same hostile, rejecting behavior as her mother regularly did to her. Even her voice changed into that cigarette deep tone of dislike.

She had given into the internalized persona of her hateful mother and critical father, each time to come back to herself and apologize, each time renewed with a husband who said, “I take the good with the bad.” But to mistreat a dying man she became two women, the woman he loved and the one he detested.  Oh noooo. Her hateful parent-self was not forgiven as if it ever was. When not experiencing “splitting,” he hated that part of herself and loved the loving. Now the two selves stood apart.

Why did she dream it? Yesterday, she had been critical of her gardener’s aggressive and speech disabled son. He was deliberately disobedient. Took hold of her binoculars and ran off to use them where they could easily drop and break. He banged into her with his water bottle until she yelled at him to stop. She set rules in an angry voice which didn’t work. He enjoyed getting her goat.

The dream was telling her that that the mistreating part of her would never go away. It showed her how it created her greatest loss.

The heart-shaped locket filled with precious jewels was not given to the attacking woman she had become when terrified by his debilitating illness. It was given to the woman she had mostly been before. When she offered it to give to the woman who came next, that woman was herself. It was that part of herself he deeply and completely loved. The pin was heart shaped because it represented his true love for her.

Every dream is trying to tell us what we need to know and do. Every dream attempts to bring us to the land of love.

Get my book Unloved Again today! Email me directly at in order to get your signed copy. Hardcover ($25 including shipping) and Paperback ($16 including shipping) versions available. Payment collected via


Dreams Tell You What You Need to Know

Often, we do not know what is most important to us, especially if knowing the self is associated with pain. We acquire pain associations between knowing and doing in childhood with parents who were set against either or both.  We were punished as children for “getting ahead” by parents who were secretly competitive. We were punished by those so arrested by fear that they wanted us to remain in hiding with them. It was like being outstanding as a Jew in Nazi Germany. They punished to preserve us.

Then there were parents who punished us for being below a certain standard. They hated us as well.  Some parents punished us for being at either end, too good or too bad so that their children learned a juggling act of mediocrity.  As a result of being punished for existing outside a parent-defined “norm” we became terrified as children and remain terrified as adults of doing the same wrong things.

Because of the severity of the experience, childhood pain often determines our life path. If pain did not frequently occur and was much regretted by the parent who openly apologized, such a child follows the path of joyful self-realization. If childhood was felled by severe punishment, this child grown to adulthood,  chooses  whatever path can avoid it. They try to be unnoticed in the crowd. Sometimes our path regarding pain is a receiver/doer reversal.  We punish our lover and/or child.  Pain is always in our rear view mirror. It’s a not me, it’s you defense.

We need to know the fears which have long guided us in order to get over them. Dreams show us how we feel. They show aspects of our self long denied. What if you were trained to think very little of your mental ability? Then you dream of a circus with clowns and high wire acts, with acrobats and elephants. You  inhabit the persona of each performer. It is you who fly through the air on a trapeze and then throw yourself from one bar to another. It is you who walks with lions. They mind your stick as they traverse the tightrope. Actually they are very tame and think of you as their friend. The stick is just for show. It is you as a clown who ridicules man’s propriety when you honk your red nose and fall over your walking stick which gets the audience to laugh. It seems they are laughing at the clown, but basically are laughing at that ridiculous part of self.

Our dreams are sources of great riches. They tell you  when you need to laugh and when to cry. They tell you who you love and who loves you back. They tell you when you are needlessly fearful. They tell you when to quit.  Knowing how you feel enriches you, the way drugs and movies and distractions cannot. A dream is your creation.  A dream is not an advertisement attempting to sell you something. . Dreams are created by you to show you your inner truth. Listen, look and learn.


What Kind of Family Has the Healthiest Children

Hunter-gatherers have the most emotionally healthy kids. The family does everything together. The kids see how Dad puts together an igloo shaped home from scratch, branches, leaves, and twigs; see Mom gathering and preparing edibles including roots and, berries, fruit and nuts and seeds. The boys get a blow gun and go with Dad to hunt, practice with their blow gun all the time. It is part of being family. The hunter-gatherers leave a very light some say non-existent foot print on their environment. They are part of the living world around them, not above it looking down.

They do not turn its plants and animals, its store of minerals, into commodities, “things” to be harvested and eventually used up. They are not into acquiring wealth. They do not store and save. Meeting basic needs is quite enough. If one place is low on water, if their wildlife numbers are running low, this family will not exhaust them. They will move on, ever grateful for the care that Mother Earth gives them, the mother of us all.

In the evening after eating they sit in their igloo of made of leaf and twig and sing. Their voices are very beautiful as they sing together although sometimes one takes a solo. The baby, who is barely walking sings along. These are songs of joy, of celebration.

Their children are not on the internet or sprawled insensibly in front of a TV which gives them image, sound and action so that their brains can go to sleep. They have their parents within reach so there is no fear of being abandoned or forgotten. When they need direction, the parents are there to give it. The parents are behavioral models who answer questions. There is no empty internal space which happens to a child that lacks loving guidance. Hunter-gatherer children are not forced out of desperation to turn to each other for resources they as children, cannot provide.

Modern children focus attention on FaceBook as do their parents, on I-phones on which they are constantly text-ing. Directly talking on a phone is no longer fashionable. When out on a date, the parties keep looking at their internet devices as if they are not together. In a life filled with externally programmed imagery, they are essentially unrelated. The frantic compulsive to turn it on is a sign of tuning out.

Needing loving adults as models, helpers, educators, as purveyor of love, there are only other children. They have to hold onto one another instead of to caring adults. The internal sense of connection established by adult love, is empty. The empty-feeling child turns to mechanical instruments to deaden feelings; to the TV for endless hours; to texting friends who are empty too. He gets into antisocial behavior to vent the rage he feels over the emptiness of his world.