Electric Dreams

Dream Trek

To Honor the Humorous Dream

Linda Lane Magallón

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 Magallón, Linda Lane (1999 June). Dream Trek: To Honor the Humorous Dream. Column. Retrieved on July 11, 2000 on the World Wide Web: http://www.dreamgate.com/electric-dreams

One day my friend and colleague Robert Waggoner read the proceedings of a lucid dreaming panel in a scientific journal. He told me, "I was intrigued by one panelist who said that he had all of his mental functioning in lucid dreams, including imagination and even dreaming." Later that night Robert had this lucid dream:

"I'm in a room. It's bright and cheery. For some reason I feel that it's a magician's shop or puppeteer's. There's a desk with a lamp, a chair with cloth thrown about and items on the wall. I realize that I'm lucid and this is a dream and I wonder if I can imagine something that isn't obviously there. As I stand, I imagine a balance beam bar right in front of me, though I can't see it. Then I drape my upper body over the invisible bar until my head is touching the floor and my legs are parallel to the floor. And I grin and laugh. As I'm awakening, I mentally touch up the dream with an extra scene of me seeing myself in an upside down position."

When was the last time you had a humorous dream? Isn't that upside-down from our usual way of dreaming? Ah, yes, anxiety and nightmare gets our attention fast. Such dreams are perfect fodder for interpretive and conflict-resolving dreamwork. But what do you do when the dream doesn't have to be diagnosed or healed or sliced and diced? How do we honor a dream of joy? Sometimes I think that dreamworkers haven't a clue. They just don't know what to do when a dream or dream story is humorous.

Another close friend and colleague, Bob Trowbridge, once came to a meeting of the Bay Area Dreamworkers Group and related this nonlucid dream:

"I'm sitting on the end of a double or queen size bed. A black Scotty dog jumps up on the bed and bites and chews on my hand and wrist. Then he jumps down again. I pat the bed and he jumps up and starts all over again. A woman in the room tells me to watch the dog because another black Scotty dog is passing by outside.

"It turns out that there's a long, wide hallway to our right that opens to the sidewalk outside with no door. The other Scotty sees or senses our dog and comes running into the room. The Scotty on the bed jumps down and runs over to the other dog and they sniff at each other's noses.

"The woman says to our dog, 'This is your brother Winston, Gennedy.' Our dog looks at her and says, 'Winston Gennedy?' She says, 'No. Your name's Gennedy. His name's Winston.'"

Bob then continued, "I told this dream to my friend Steve. I got to the part where the woman goes, "This is your brother Winston, Gennedy." Steve repeated (in a puzzled voice) "Winston Gennedy?"

We chuckled over the fact that Steve had heard the two names as if they had been strung together, just like the dog did in the dream. Immediately thereafter, the gung-ho dreamworkers jumped on Bob with their dreamwork methods. They began to ask him questions like "How old are you in the dream?" and "How do you feel in the dream?" You know, doing dreamwork. And Bob replied, "No, no, no, I just wanted to share this dream. I think it's funny."

So the serious workaholic mood changed and people started making wisecracks. Like "What a hairy dream!" Or calling it a "shaggy dog story." At this point, the hostess, who had been out of the room, came back in. She heard all the chuckling and laughing and asked, "What's up?" Bob began to tell the dream all over again. He got to the part where the woman is saying "Winston, Gennedy" and the hostess repeated, "Winston Gennedy?" The whole group cracked up again.

Finally, from across the room, Kent Smith spoke up. He cleared his throat and said, "Bob, if this were my dream, I'd forget it."

I was laughing so hard, I slid off my pillow.

Right on, Kent. Sometimes you do have to forget it. You have to forget doing interpretation or making sense and look at things from a fresh point of view. Like upside down and backwards, hanging over a parallel bar. Or flatass on the floor.