Electric Dreams

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Alissa Goldring 

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Goldring, Alissa (1996 November). DREAMLIFE: Alissa's Dream Art & Creativity Column. Electric Dreams 3(10). Retrieved July 26, 2000 from Electric Dreams on the World Wide Web: http://www.dreamgate.com/electric-dreams


It seems to me that I experience two forces at work, in myself and life,and I wonder if you have noticed this too? -- an expansive movement forward toward the new, toward growth and wholeness, and a constricting pull backwards towards habitual limitations.

What we're used to we equate with "right" and good and safe, and even if we have a taste of something better, a part of us says, 'stop! danger!' and we run for cover into the old familiar habits. Anyone who has tried to stop smoking, ect, knows that, and it is equally true of subtler addictions, not to substances, but to attitudes and behaviors.

I believe that dreams offer us potent images and experiences of these two forces at work within us. I've had some horrific dreams that made it hard for me to see them as the gifts I believe dreams are, until I recognized them as warnings and reminders. (see below, for example, the "Man in the Suitcase" dream).

And other dreams that encourage me, that bring healing and help me to get used to the new more positive frame of mind, so that it becomes familiar and eventually habitual.


Dream of Man in Suitcase

An enraged man pursues me. I see that he is blind. Terrified, I manage to catch him in a suitcase and lock it, but his hands are not caught and still reach outside.


When I meditated on this dream three things struck me: (1) the blindness of the angry part of me, (2) the fact that I'd caught him in a suitcase, which showed me I was carrying my anger around with me and (3) the helplessness of the hands, which I write and paint, the instruments of my creativity.

The image of this dream made vivid for me the pain and self destructiveness of my former attempt to deny my anger. I felt the enormous energy I'd put into locking up the angry part of me, and how blind I was when angry. It was a metaphor for how, unwittingly, I had imprisoned my creativity, which kept on trying to get out, thus escalating both my anger and panic.

Yet it also showed me that I had not hidden my anger away in a closet or prison - I kept it with me... The dream called me to explore the relations between my anger and my creativity, and reminded to focus on freeing the energy and power I'd locked away in this dream I saw that my hands were still alive, that my creativity was still powerful, despite many obstacles and detours.

Instead of trying to hid and forget all I had stuffed into my shadow, I needed to use my energy to "open the suitcase". I needed to develop sufficient self-confidence to look at myself honestly, so that I could release and heal my anger, and all that was under it. The dream led me way back to my childhood, to fear and deep hunger and need. I had to begin to feel compassion instead of anger, self-respect instead of shame. I began to pay attention inwardly -- to stop being blind, to see.


Alissa Goldring alissa@dreamgate.com

changed. He is free and unafraid. The bully is gone.
My mind gradually cleared through this inner revolution and I came to identify with the leader within me, rather than the bully or victim. IN ruling me, my ego split me into bully and victim and drove me to look outside myself for everything, for approval, love satisfaction -- to people, food, success, wealth, possessions, status. A futile search that ensured ego's power over me. Since I could never find lasting peace in this way, my false ego system retained its hold. With my "revolution", I ended its power over me. I found my own source within myself of happiness and love and the purpose and meaning of life.

"It's almost impossible to grow up." maya Angelou said in an interview with David Frost "Most people just get older. They find parking spaces, honer their credit cards, have the nerve to get married and have children and call that 'growing up'.

"That's getting older'. Growing up is so painful. Growing up is admitting that there are demons you cannot overcome. yet wrestle with them, like the Prophet with the Angel,' I will not let you go till you tell me something!"

Medicine cannot heal the body, says Andrew Weill; only the body can heal itself. What medicine can do is to help clear away what prevents the body from healing itself (an invasion of bacteria or virus, for example,) and support the body in its natural processes. I think that this is true for the psyche as well. Dreams like "The Evil Sorcerer" have focussed on obstacles to be cleared and composted, while other dreams have nurtured my healing process. I see a new cast of characters and scenarios in my dreams, reflecting a new inner atmosphere, a nurturing heart connection that is the basis of my spiritual growth.


A wise man, philosopher an scholar, has been teaching some young boys. I want to be part of this heart warming scene. I watch intently as he makes a seat for himself. I wait for a chance when he is not busy to go over and carefully make a seat for myself. I wait for a chance when he is not busy to go over and carefully make a seat for myself as I had seen him do, expecting him to speak to me. There is a childish, earnest absorption in how I innocently imitate him and totally trust this will produce what I want.

However, when the boys leave, the teacher is no longer interested in discussion and ignores me. I feel disappointed, surprised, dismayed and very sad. I ask him please to teach me, to talk to me. He is tall, with a gray beard, a handsome lean face and strong nose, his expression amused yet serious. He asks me what I want to know and why I want to talk and study with him.

I search within myself, feeling how earnestly and sincerely I want to study with him, I reach for works and ask, "what is life all about? What is the meaning of this life? What are we here for? Where do we come from and go to, before and after this world? How are we meant to live this life? How can we learn how to live? How are we to know how to be and what to do?"

On waking I felt sorrow and disappointment in not being included. AS children do, I had imitated the teacher in how I made my seat and spoke, trying to please him and win his attention. I hoped he would see in how I acted what I yearned for. When this did not bring what I longed for, I tried to meet this philosopher on his terms, intellectually.

What I really wanted in the dream was to be part of the warm connection I saw in the group as they studied together. But I could not feel safe to say this. The teacher did not answer me from his heart, did not care to see who I was, could not empathize with me, and I sending this, could not tell him how I really felt. Perhaps I even felt I was wrong. I see in this dream a reflection of my experience with my father, who had wanted a son when I was born, and the general valuing of boys over girls. My true meeds were never met, in the dream or in my childhood, And I took in intellectual values and attitudes.

Now, as this and many other dreams indicate, I am shifting from intellect to genuine feeling. I am able to value the feminine in myself and to be in touch with, to express and to respond to, my authentic needs.

THE GOOD HUMOR DREAM Of March 15, 1996 brings me up to date.
I am driving home from an important conference where I learned a lot about myself and dreams and changed significantly in my attitudes. Suddenly I realize that I am not driving carefully, when I hear a car on my right, behind me, making musical notes to catch my attention. it is a Good Humor Truck play it's chimes. I realize I had not noticed it and was almost crowding it off the road.

(What a delightful image for the was I tent to let "serious" concerns crowd out my good humor!)
I slow down and let the truck get ahead of me, watching carefully to be sure no children run into the road. It is a sunny day. There is a sense of a low wall on the right with a steep drop on the other side, and mountains on my left.

I feel relieved that I have caught myself and "come back to my senses" and not had an accident. I drive calmly, consciously. I want to bring this deep influence for good home with me in how I act in life and how I feel about myself, and in how I drive!

I see that the young woman driver of the Good Humor truck has safely parked beside the road, and may children are happily eating the ice cream. I am glad and drive on.

About Alissa

I was born in Manhattan, fell in love with nature on a North Carolina farm, survived education in news York City, photographed in Mexico fro seventeen years, and came to California in 1971. I am a credentialed Art Therapist and have taught Dreamplay at the San Andreas Health Council, the Cabrillo College Stroke Center and Santa Cruz Aids Project. After travelling far and wide, I now dream, paint and teach in Aptos, on the edge of the Monterey Bay, where (through my
grandchildren) I vicariously enjoy surfing, scuba diving and river rafting.

Dreams have guided me throughout my life and are often the source of my art work. Through art and writing I explore my inner world and bring its dream energy and wisdom into my everyday life.
I have a "mix and match" approach to media, and use acrylics in various ways, as well as transparent and opaque water color, monotype, charcoal, brush and ink and other drawing tools, fabric photograph and collage.

You can send comments to Alissa about her art or story at:
and be sure to see her online gallery at www.dreamgate.com/dream/goldring/

The online version with graphics of Alissa's work is at

You can write to me at Alissa@dreamgate.com

And you can see my site & backissues at: