Electric Dreams

Life, Art, Dream 

Crying. War.

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Alissa Goldring 

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Goldring, Alissa (1997 April). Life, Art Dream : Crying. War. Electric Dreams 4(4). Retrieved July 26, 2000 from Electric Dreams on the World Wide Web: http://www.dreamgate.com/electric-dreams


Dreams often lead far beyond the image in the dream. Sometimes a complicated story in a dream is a setting for one outstanding dream experience which has profound implications. Here is an example of such a dream, whose repercussions are opening up a new depth of inner exploration.

The dream: ( 10 -21-96 )

In a dream of much confusion, loss, anxiety and desperation I meet a lovely woman who opens her arms to me. I cry as she holds me. I feel tremendous relief simply to be able to cry and be accepted. She wears a peach colored form - fitting gown, with glinting sequins. She is relaxed, gentle, strong and understanding.

This is the first dream in which I cry.

Discovering a compassionate part of myself who could allow me to cry, who did not feel threatened by opening up painful feelings, marks a profound inner change, which was evident to me the morning I woke with this dream.

A photograph of my grandmother has been facing me on my bedroom wall for months. My eyes had rested on it frequently, but this time I really saw it. I wondered about her and her life. I experienced her feelings and I cried -- the accumulation of tears, I am sure, from my earliest years, from my entire life.

Being able to open myself to my sorrow freed me to be able to see -- not only this family photograph, but to experience the whole spectrum of emotions I had numbed myself to. I realized that I too, like Native American children kidnapped from reservations to live with white families and attend white schools, had been forcibly cut off from my heritage and from the warmth of family traditions and family members.

I never had the opportunity to be close to any of my grandparents. I miss this connection sadly and imagine them as a source of comfort during childhood sorrows, as well as of pleasure and learning. They exist in my mind in an idealized world where there was time for parents and grandparents to be with children as a natural, unhurried part of everyday life, sharing chores and games, conversation, music and silence, nature, picnics, and attics and garages filled with "treasures." A world where, when you skinned your knee or someone hurt your feelings, there was a comfortable lap and warm embrace ready for you, and no one ever shamed you for crying or told you you were too big to cry. A friendly world where, when you were confused or frightened and made mistakes, you learned and cleaned up your mess, with no ridicule or punishment.

There is a whole realm of feeling, vulnerability, tenderness, acceptance, trust -- a life with deep human contact -- that I longed for and lacked, somewhat in the way that full, true color is absent for a color-blind person. The dress worn by this lovely part of myself conveys gaiety and beauty. Yet she is also strong and wise. This contradicts a peculiar prejudice I absorbed in childhood -- that a lovely appearance goes with a superficial, frivolous and unreliable nature, while nurturing, trustworthy people tend to be plain and somewhat slow - witted !

I feel fortunate and grateful now to be re-opening that world of genuine empathic connection and to have a second chance. This dream both expressed and furthered my re-entry into my own capacity for grief, joy and love.


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Alissa Goldring

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