Electric Dreams
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Dream Sharing with Serbia: 
A Special Report of a Dream Group Held During the Crisis in Kosovo

[An Online e-mail Dream Sharing Group] April 16 - May 7, 1999

 

Richard Catlett Wilkerson & Branka


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Wilkerson, Richard Catlett and Branka (1999 August). Special Section: Dream Sharing with Serbia: A Special Report of a Dream Group Held During the Crisis in Kosovo: Transcripts and Notes by Richard Wilkerson & Branka. Electric Dreams 6(8). Retrieved July 14, 2000 from Electric Dreams on the World Wide Web: http://www.dreamgate.com/electric-dreams





With the collapse of the Roumboullet meetings in France a three month war between NATO and the Serbian army broke out in Yugoslavia. Unlike other wars, the cultures in conflict were able to stay in touch over the Internet and attempt to sift through the massive propaganda pouring out from both NATO and the Serbian held Milosevich government.

One such occurrence of this exchange occurred on the Electric Dreams DreamWheel, which is an international dream sharing group that had members from both Serbian and NATO nations. The transcript speaks for itself, but it was clear that participating members in the group found it increasingly difficult to polarize the situation in the ways that occur during most conflicts such as this.


RECORD OF TRANSCRIPTS:

Hi to all,

We are ready to move on the question phase for the next dream, Branka's "Radioactively Contaminated Uniform."

If you are familiar with the Electric Dreams DreamWheel process, scroll down to the bottom of the page, read the dream and send questions to Branka via dream-on@lists.best.com

If you are new or unfamiliar with the process, please read the instructions below

ASKING QUESTIONS of the dreamer

In this phase of the process you may ask the dreamer questions about the dream that may ~clarify~ the image of the dream. Do not ask questions that call for interpretations.

Example: DREAM: "He turned around and grabbed Bill's jacket away from me."

Clarifying Questions:

Hi Dreamer, thanks for sharing your dream with us. I was wondering:

1.Who is "he" that grabbed the jacket - did you know him, what did he look like?
2.Are you related to Bill or is he a friend?
3.Were you scared when he grabbed the jacket away?
4.What kind of jacket was it? Dark leather, green raincoat...?

Some questions you *DON'T* want to ask:

Why do you think he grabbed your jacket? (though you might ask if any reasons went through your head ~during~ the dream.)
Did you know that Jackets represent symbols of appearance issues?
Do you often have men grabbing your clothes in dreams?
What does standing behind someone mean to you?

And to the Dreamers-

If and when you reply to the questions, do so only to clarify the dream. Try to avoid interpretations at this point. If it is not clear from the dream how to answer a question, simply say it was not clear. Usually the dreamer waits until several members' questions have been mailed to the group to begin answering.

Send question to the dreamer to the whole group at dream-on@lists.best.com


DREAM:

"Radioactively Contaminated Uniform" by Branka
I have entered the building in which my father lives. In this place where elevator is supposed to be, I see this military uniform on the hanger. In the pocket of a uniform, I see photos of Nikola Kojo's family. Just as I get them out of the pocket, I become aware that uniform is radioactivly contaminated. Huge wave of fear grabs the hold on me. I'm desperate. I am convinced I will surely die.



FROM: Diana

I have the following questions about this dream.
Is your father alive?
What is your relationship like with your father? Can you say a few words about what "father" means?
What are your feelings about "the military"?
Who might wear such a uniform?
How come you search the uniform pockets?
Who is Nikola Kojo?
What is radioactivity?
How can you tell something is contaminated?
What is it like to die of radioactivity?
What does it mean to die? What is it like to die?

I have entered the building in which my father lives.

Can you describe this building? Where is it? What does it look like?
What time of day is it? How are you moving? What are your thoughts/sensations as you enter this building?
What is the entrance like?
Where are you after you enter? How big is the room? Can you describe the light? Where are you standing? Is it a hallway? Describe the walls. What color are they? Are there any windows? What about the floor? Are you floating? Are you standing?

In this place where elevator is supposed to be,

Where should the elevator be? How far are you from the elevator? Is there an open space instead of the elevator door? Can you please describe this space in more detail? Is it dark? Is it like a closet?

I see this military uniform on the hanger.

Where is the hanger? Is it resting on a closet pole? Is there only one hanger? How does the uniform hang? Is it a male uniform? What rank? What color? Can you describe the appearance? Is it contemporary? Is it woolen? Is it dress or fatigues? What kind of uniform? Is it well pressed?
Do you experience any sensations when you see the uniform? What do you feel?

In the pocket of a uniform, I see photos of Nikola Kojo's family.

Which pocket do you reach into? How do you do it? Do you take the uniform off the hanger? Is it easy to reach into the pocket? Do you take the photos all the way out of the pocket? How many photos are there? How big are they? Are they black and white or color? Are they clear? In good condition? Glossy? Describe Nikola Kojo's family. Are the pictures portraits? What do the people in the photo look like. Pick a member of the family from one of the photos. Describe this person. How does she/he look? What would it be like to pose or be photographed? Can you feel into the body or position of this person in the photograph? Just as I get them out of the pocket, I become aware that uniform is radioactivly contaminated.
How do you become aware? Is it a sensation? Where do you feel that sensation? Does the uniform look or feel different now?

Huge wave of fear grabs the hold on me.

How do you experience the fear? What body sensations? Do you act or do anything? Are you still holding the photographs? Are you motionless?

I'm desperate. I am convinced I will surely die.

Are you resigned to your death? Are you desperate for a way to escape contamination? Do you have a sense of struggle or protest? What is it like to be desperate? Are you alone?

Thank you for this powerful dream,
Diana


FROM: Branka

Dear Diana,

Thanks for so many questions! I never thought so many questions can come out from such a short dream! I look forward to answering them.

Since I have read all of them before starting with answers, it is clear that some of my answers will inevitably be touching the situation I am in right now so, in an attempt to clarify things that will be mentioned in answers, I thought I should let everyone know the following right from the start. I live in Belgrade, Yugoslavia, and my country and home town (the capital) are being bombed by NATO for 25 days now. This dream I had on 13th day of bombing. Now, on to answering questions:

Is your father alive? What is your relationship like with your father? Can you say a few words about what "father" means?

Yes, my father is alive and is 64 years of age. Our relationship is now quite good, but was not so always. My mother died when I was 11 years old, and for a long, long time he thought of me as of an irresponsible kid that he has to take care of, that he is concerned and responsible for up until my 26 years of age, when I happened to achieve something in my life for myself. Before that we were arguing a lot and often. Now, he respects me and is even proud of me. I always loved him dearly, but now I feel he is returning that love to me, while before my 26 years of age I could not feel his love just critics, critics, critics. Father for me means someone that guides you, takes care of you, and later in life leans on you for support.

What are your feelings about "the military"?

Mixed feelings as of recently. I was always a pacifist, could not understand anything military. Since this madness with NATO bombing started, quite a few standpoints and values in me started changing, thou... I'm even scared with these newly emerged feelings. To make it simple: NATO military I HATE, and Yugoslav military forces I fear for, respect, feel gratitude that they are preventing NATO of raping my country and preventing them to enter my country grounds. Many of the people I know have been drafted these days, and I fear for them. I also fear my husband will be drafted. Those all are my "military" associations.

Who might wear such a uniform?

It's Yugoslavian army uniform.

How come you search the uniform pockets?

This pocket with photos in it is wide open and photos are so visible. Like they invite me to take them out and look at them.

Who is Nikola Kojo?

Nikola Kojo is Yugoslav famous, famous actor. He's my age. He played this "military" role in a fabulous, grate movie "Nice villages burn nicely" movie is about war in Bosnia. I like him as an actor.

What is radioactivity?

The most horrible thing on Earth. Gun shoots, bombs you can try to escape and save yourself from. But radioactivity no. If it's present, death is in everything that surrounds you in food, in the air, on the ground... you can't escape it.

How can you tell something is contaminated?

That's the real catch. You can't. There are instruments that can measure it, but I don't have one. And, anyway, it only measures it after it's already present, so what's the use? By the time it's spotted, you have already became a victim of it.

What is it like to die of radioactivity?

I imagine it to be horrible, slow death. Can't escape it. Even cancer some patients manage to escape and get better from. But from this one no escape, no hope.

What does it mean to die?

It means exiting the planet Earth. But I don't believe the soul dies. Only body.

What is it like to die?

Process of dieing is more important to me then the actual death. Once you die, everything is over. But it's the way you die that makes the difference. There is quick death and there is slow, painful death. This possible death of radioactivity is horrible.

I have entered the building in which my father lives.

Can you describe this building? Where is it? What does it look like?
The building from my dream is the building in which my father's apartment is in. This is the apartment I grew up in. I lived there until I became financially independent, then I moved from it to live on my own (with 25 years of age). Now, since bombing started, my husband and I moved to my father's apartment to be together during this madness. This building is in Novi Beograd. It's 11 flats tall building, my father's apartment being on a top, 11th floor. It's ugly, dirty building. But it is dear to me, since so many childhood and youth memories connects me with it.

What time of day is it? How are you moving? What are your thoughts/sensations as you enter this building?

It's early evening. I have a feeling that, in a dream, I am coming back from a shelter because sirens have just announced the end of NATO attack. That's odd, since in real life I don't go to shelter, I haven't been in it not once in these 25 days. As I enter the building, I feel relief, like the danger is gone, since the attack is over.

What is the entrance like? Where are you after you enter?

My dream does not start on the outside entrance. The first scene is me already being inside the building hall, knowing I have entered it from the basement (where the shelter is). So, I was not outside. I was in the basement, and have been going up to the ground floor to catch the elevator to take me to the 11th floor.

How big is the room? Can you describe the light? Where are you standing? Is it a hallway? Are there any windows?

This hall on ground floor is quite narrow. In the middle of this small place there is this elevator box, and around it there are stairs going up. Stairs are quite narrow, maybe some 1,5 meters wide. No windows. Light in a hall is dim. I am standing in front of the elevator door on the ground floor.

Describe the walls. What color are they? What about the floor? Are you floating? Are you standing?

Walls haven't been painted for years... They are mixture of yellow and brown quite depressing color. Floor is dirty and old. I just stand there for a moment. Then I somehow conclude that elevator is out of order, and I start going up the stairs. After 2 or 3 steps I see this uniform hanging on the side of an elevator box.

In this place where elevator is supposed to be,

Where should the elevator be?

It should be in this box.

How far are you from the elevator?

I don't know where the elevator is stuck. I don't see the elevator. Just the box through which it normally operates.

Is there an open space instead of the elevator door? Can you please describe this space in more detail? Is it dark? Is it like a closet?

Doors of the box of the elevator exist and they are closed. Space inside the box is not dark, as a matter of fact some light is seen from there. That's why I conclude elevator is out of order, because when elevator is normally being fixed, workers turn on some lights in the box to see what they are doing (since no windows in the hall exist). This box for elevator is all made of thick glass that is, also, very dirty and dim.

I see this military uniform on the hanger.

Where is the hanger? Is it resting on a closet pole? Is there only one hanger?

I am not sure on what this hanger is hanged... really don't know. I just see it hanging and I know uniform is on a hanger. It's just one hanger and one uniform on it.

How does the uniform hang? Is it a male uniform? What rank? What color? Can you describe the appearance? Is it contemporary? Is it woolen? Is it dress or fatigues? What kind of uniform? Is it well pressed?

Wow! I don't know that much about uniforms in real life, you know!! It's a male uniform, of course, no woman serves the army here, you know. Rank? I don't know ranks, never knew them, and don't know if the one from a dream even has one. Color? Well, not one, but combination of colors you know: different shades of green and brown. I really lack the English words (since English is not my native language) to describe it. I'm sure that on your news some army official of ours sometimes appear, so that's how you can see the real appearance of Yugoslav army uniforms. However, I have the feeling it's an ordinary soldier's uniform, not some major or general, or something. Just plain, ordinary soldier. It's not damaged or even dirty or something, it's in normal state. I don't know about material.

Do you experience any sensations when you see the uniform? What do you feel?

Well, naturally, at first I am surprised. Why does it hang there? Who left it? Then, upon seeing the photos in the pocket, I conclude it's Nikola Kojo's uniform. Somehow, at that moment, I am aware that he's dead, and that that is the reason the uniform is left bodiless to hang there. That's the only thing left from him. I feel sorrow for him being dead.

In the pocket of a uniform, I see photos of Nikola Kojo's family.

Which pocket do you reach into? How do you do it? Do you take the uniform off the hanger? Is it easy to reach into the pocket?

Photos are in the left down pocket of a uniform jacket. The pocket is wide open and photos are so visible being in it. I don't take uniform form the hanger, I just reach my hand to the pocket and get the photos out. It was not hard to do.

Do you take the photos all the way out of the pocket?

Yes.

How many photos are there?

Some 15 to 20 photos.

How big are they?

Normal, pocket size.

Are they black and white or color? Are they clear? In good condition? Glossy?

They are color photos, quite clear, in excellent condition.

Describe Nikola Kojo's family. Are the pictures portraits? What do the people in the photo look like. Pick a member of the family from one of the photos. Describe this person. How does she/he look?

I don't know much of Nikola Kojo's family in real life. In a dream, I don't even see all the photos. I just take them from the pocket and look the first one. In it I see his parents and children. (I don't know if in real life he has any). I don't remember the looks of these people and children. I just remember seeing his family on a picture and thinking how sad, his children are now fatherless. I honestly do not remember any particular person from the photo. I just remember the feeling that his family is on a photo.

What would it be like to pose or be photographed? Can you feel into the body or position of this person in the photograph?

I like being photographed. It's the way to save moments from forgetting them.

Just as I get them out of the pocket, I become aware that uniform is radioactively contaminated.

How do you become aware? Is it a sensation? Where do you feel that sensation? Does the uniform look or feel different now?

I really don't know... It just downed on me. But, as it downs on me, I tremble all over. Uniform did not look any different afterwards.

Huge wave of fear grabs the hold on me.

How do you experience the fear? What body sensations? Do you act or do anything? Are you still holding the photographs? Are you motionless?

Huge wave of trembling is felt all over my body. I'm paralyzed, motionless for a moment. Then, I think, I put the photos back to the pocket. I stand some more in front of the uniform, since I am completely aware that I can't run from radioactivity, that I'm already contaminated, and running away from it would not make any difference.

I'm desperate. I am convinced I will surely die.

Are you resigned to your death? Are you desperate for a way to escape contamination? Do you have a sense of struggle or protest?

No sense of struggle or protest, no plans to escape contamination I am convinced I can't escape it, I can't do anything to save myself. I am convinced I have already been fatally contaminated and now time is the only obstacle between that moment and death. It's as if I run or something, it would not help at all. Damage has already been done. I'm doomed to die.

What is it like to be desperate? Are you alone?

I am alone in all this. Desperation that I feel is final and powerful feeling. I am aware that, until the day I die, this desperation will not leave me...

Diana, thank you for so many useful questions. Before I started answering them, I was not even aware of so many details and feelings this short dream had in it. They really helped me get a wider picture of everything.

Love.

Branka.

From: Bill

branka,

thank you for sharing your dream.
i wanted to get a little clarification on some of the dream images.

(paraphrasing) you said that Kikola Kojo is a very famous Yugoslav actor about your age and that his most memorable role to you and many was in a great movie "nice villages burn nicely", a film about war in bosnia.

then there are _dream memories_ of him, that are not really about him, but how he was placed in your dream, with a family.

then you said "how sad, his children are now fatherless. " did kojo die in the movie, in waking life or just in your dream?

also, what does "kojo" mean if taken literally? some names in english like white and black and smith all mean other things, colors, animals, professions. what about kojo? and kikola, is that similar to nikola?

i am hesitant to ask, but what is the movie plot and theme and message of "nice villages burn nicely"?

-bill

FROM: BRANKA

Dear Bill,

Thanks for helping me understand this nightmare. Here is the clarification you asked for:

did kojo die in the movie, in waking life or just in your dream?
Nikola Kojo did die in the movie, and he died in my dream. I did not see him die in a dream, but I am somehow (don't ask me how, I really don't know), aware that he is dead. It seems that the very fact that this uniform stands there bodiless is an indication that it's "owner" is dead. If the "owner" of the uniform was alive, it would not hang there. It would be on him, with him. As I see the uniform in the dream for the first time, I don't know it's Nikola Kojo's. It is after I get the photos out of the pocket that I identify the uniform as his and, also, become aware that it is Nikola Kojo that's dead. In real life, however, as far as I know, he is still alive... (I mean, maybe he's drafted or something now, and maybe he got killed, but I really don't know that...).

also, what does "kojo" mean if taken literally? some names in English
like white and black and smith all mean other things, colors, animals,
professions. what about kojo? and kikola, is that similar to nikola?
His name is Nikola, not Kikola, it must have been my typing mistake... As far as the meaning of "Kojo" is concerned... no, it does not mean anything in particular, really, although I am aware that some names do mean something (my name Branka, for example, means "the one who defends himself/herself").

I am hesitant to ask, but what is the movie plot and theme and message of
"nice villages burn nicely"?
Central plot: small unit of some 7 to 8 Serbian soldiers get stuck in a tunnel that is surrounded with muslim forces that don't allow them to get out. This lasts for days, even weeks... they don't have food, water (they were drinking their own urine). They are aware that, if they surrender, they will die horrible death (torturing etc), so they are just waiting in the tunnel for other Serbian forces to help. But they never come. Some of them kill themselves in desperation, the others get killed upon trying to individually get out. The remaining few decide to try and escape. Only two of them manage to survive. (Not Nikola Kojo, thou). Let me emphasize that this movie script was inspired by the true story from Bosnia.

Nikola Kojo's role: he was a thief before war. When soldiers came to his apartment, they wanted to draft his younger brother, but to save him, Nikola Kojo introduced himself as his younger brother, and went to war in his place. In the movie, characters are from different background, different generations. Nikola Kojo represents my generation, in metaphorical sense, in this movie.
Message of a movie: it is strong movie about war, and has strong anti-war message in it. But it also ends with the open question and possibility that new tragedy in Bosnia and Balkan is also likely to happen again, that this all is not the end... just temporary peace... And you know what message has proved to be correct now Yugoslavia is being bombed...

Thanks for questions.

Looking forward to see your opinion on possible meaning.

Branka.


FROM:KARL

Branka,

Thank you for sharing your dream with us. Didn't you share a dream awhile ago that also involved contamination?

Here are my questions:

When you arrive at the building, where are you coming from? How did you get to this building from wherever it was that you were?

What is a building?

Why are you going to this building? Did you father invite you over? Is this a regular visit? Are you taking anything to your father?

Please describe this building. Does your father live in a building like this?

How do you feel about visiting your father? About this day, in general?

What is an elevator?
Do you have any idea who put the uniform here?

What is a pocket?

What is a photograph? Where does the photograph appear to have been taken?

Please describe Nicola Kojo's family.

What feelings does the photograph evoke?

Have you ever worked with or been exposed to radioactive or other toxic substances?

What does it mean to be contaminated?

If you were still in the dream, what would you do after you realize you've been contaminated? Where would you go? Would you be able to treat your contamination?

Thanks, Branka.

Karl

From Branka:
Karl,

Thanks for so many new questions. I am again amazed with how many different questions such a short dream can elicit. No, I did not have my dream before done on Dream Wheel. I'm new to this kind of work, and this is my first dream. As a matter of fact, I don't recall having a contamination dream EVER in my life before this one, although I record them more or less regularly since 1987.

When you arrive at the building, where are you coming from? How did you get to this building from wherever it was that you were?
Since I really do consider the circumstances I'm in right now to be more then relevant to this dream, I'll try to clarify and further explain it:

In real life: I don't live in this building. But, 13 days before having this dream, NATO started bombing Belgrade and Yugoslavia, so I have moved to my father's place, so that we can be together during this madness (so, this is not a dream, this is what is really happening).

In a dream: I am aware that NATO is bombing Yugoslavia, that I have moved to my father's place, just like it is in reality. But in a dream, I do not see my self coming to the building. I am entering the ground floor of the building, where elevator door is, from the basement where the shelter is. In a dream, it is as if I have been in a shelter during the time that raid-sirens were on, and when they have announced the end of danger, I started going up from the basement, to the ground floor, in attempt to catch the elevator to go to my father's apartment. If you happen to wonder from where I got to the basement well: from my father's apartment. It's like never ending story: 11th floor shelter in a basement 11th floor shelter in a basement 11th...

What is a building?

Building is a lot's of apartments gathered at one organized place. The larger the building smaller the apartments.

Why are you going to this building? Did you father invite you over? Is this a regular visit? Are you taking anything to your father?

Well, I've just explained that in the first question. It's no regular visit. It's as irregular as it can be! In a dream, I am aware that I have temporarily moved back to my father's place, and that I will be living there as long as these NATO attacks are present.

Please describe this building. Does your father live in a building like this?

The building in my dream is the building in which my father lives in reality, and it looks just like it really looks in reality: 11 floors high building, quite wide, with lot's of entrances... it's quite ugly, you know. It's old, it's dirty. But I like coming there, since this is where I grew up and was living before age of 25 (now I'm 31)

How do you feel about visiting your father? About this day, in general?

I'm not visiting my father in a dream. I am aware in a dream that I came back to live there for a period of time that bombing lasts.

What is an elevator?
Device that makes it easier to climb heights. If there were no elevators, we'd have to go up the stairs. Since my father's apartment is on the 11th floor, it's so inconvenient that elevator in a dream is out of order . I have to exhaust myself with this long climb up to get there. I hate going up the stairs.

Do you have any idea who put the uniform here?
Not really.

What is a pocket?
Practical things. If I have pockets, I don't need to carry purse, I can just put things in them, and it's much easier to get around without extra burden of purse. I envy men because most of their clothing articles have pockets, which is not such common a case when women clothing articles are concerned.

What is a photograph? Where does the photograph appear to have been taken?
Photograph serves to keep memory. I like photos . taking them, having them, being on them. The photograph that I look at in a dream was taken in Nikola Kojo's home. All that can be seen on a photo is couple of kids, his wife and his parents. They all sit on this big, long couch. Nikola Kojo is not on a photo. In a dream, I have this impression that photo has been taken after he has been drafted, and later mailed to them, so that he can have photo of all of his family with him while he fights the war.

Please describe Nicola Kojo's family.
I don't know anything about his family in real life, but on a photo in a dream, they look like normal, average family.

What feelings does the photograph evoke?
Sadness, grief.

Have you ever worked with or been exposed to radioactive or other toxic substances?
I smoke, ok. I smoke a lot. That's not radioactive, but is toxic. Never worked with toxic substances. But... these days, while these NATO bombs fall around me, there have been some fear raised in press that NATO might have used uranium filled bombs. They also have hitted couple of days ago this chemical industry, and only God knows how toxic that is. I am not sure if our tv is telling us the truth about "water and air being regular". I suspect they don't want to raise panic. So, yes, I have fears that I might have been contaminated somehow, but this dream I had before these rumors started and before NATO hit chemical industry that is just 20 kilometers from the place I am.

What does it mean to be contaminated?
To be radioactivly contaminated means to be doomed to surely die. No escape from it.

If you were still in the dream, what would you do after you realize you've been contaminated? Where would you go? Would you be able to treat your contamination?
To tell you the truth, if this have happened in reality, I think I would not behave or feel any different then in the dream. What's the use of trying to escape it or heal it, when it's unhealable? I would probably want to live my last days best I can with the people I love. That's what I would do.

Again, thanks for so many questions.

Looking forward to work on your dream in the future.

Love.

Branka.

Branka - thanks for your dream.
I was wandering:
1. How do you feel when the elevator is not working?
2. How do feel when you find the elevator in a different place?
3. Do you have any feeling about where the elevator is going - i.e. where in your dream your father's place is?
4. What does "uniform" mean to you in general? Does it mean anything other than a military uniform?
Thank you Branka and may you be safe
kathy

FROM: Branka
Dear Kathy,
Pardon my late responding - wasn't feeling well yesterday. Today I'm much better.
1. How do you feel when the elevator is not working?
Well, usually (in real life), this quite upsets me. But, in a dream, I am so upset with this contaminated uniform, that it seems so stupid to be upset by the elevator being out of order.

2. How do feel when you find the elevator in a different place?
I don't find the elevator in the different place. I just know that it's stuck somewhere on the upper floors.

3. Do you have any feeling about where the elevator is going - i.e. where
in your dream your father's place is?
Going to my father's place would make me feel safe.

4. What does "uniform" mean to you in general? Does it mean anything other than a military uniform?
Uniform is something scary - men in uniform handle weapons, and weapons are dangerous - it doesn't matter if they are actually in a war or not - men in uniform usually have weapons and weapons I fear, I don't like and I don't want to have anything with.
Uniforms can also be non-military, and these do not arise scary feelings in me. But I don't like non-military uniforms either. They make everybody look alike, and we are all so far from being alike, we are unique human beings.

Thank you Kathy.
I'll try to be safe.


FROM:RICHARD

Hi Dreamwheelers,

We are ready to start the comment phase on Branka's 'Uniform' dream.

If you are familiar with the process, scroll down to the end, read the dream again and send your comments to dream-on@lists.best.com

If you are new the process, please read the following:

COMMENT PROCEDURES

In this part of the process, you may comment on the dream. While you are welcome to make any comments you wish, what we are teaching in this group is non-defensive style developed by John Herbert (Montegue Ullman stage II variation) modified for email.

This segment is the one in which each group member takes the dream as if it were his or her own and shares feelings and thoughts about the dream and what it might mean in each members life situation.

Making the dream your own:

1. At the beginning of all comment files or e-mail we generally write : "If this were my dream..."

This sets up the general subjective attitude and works as a reminder to the commentor that they are not telling the dreamer what they think the dream means to the dreamer, but rather what the dream might mean if we had that dream.

2. To further this point, use 1st person singular, present tense. "In my dream..."

EXAMPLE: Dream: "I'm looking at my mother walking down a long hall towards an open window."

I might comment "In MY dream the nurturing mother has found a new way to escape ME."

In my comment, it is *my mother*, *my hallway* and *my dream*. This may or may not provide insight to the initial dreamer, but its surprising how often this non- defensive approach does lead to new insights for both the dreamer and the commentor.

3. Send the comments in to the whole group. dream-on@lists.best.com

4. The DREAMER may or may not respond as they wish.

{ DREAM REPEATED HERE }




From Kathy,

Branka - thank you for your dream (and also I find it utterly wonderful that you would talk to us as your country is being bombed)

If this were my dream:

I see the dream is speaking to me about the fears I have about the bombing of Serbia.
I see my fear that my country and all the beautiful young men may die. I see that I and all other women and children may be left fatherless and that makes me feel incredibly sad. But more than that I fear that I will be somehow killed in the most horrible and painful way in this bombing. I am so terrified I am immoblised. I feel the incredible effort to get to the safety of my father's house, but it is too late I am already contaminated.

But I also see the dream is talking about me and my father. I am coming back to my father's house for comfort but right in my father's house there is difficulty and danger for me. I am finding it so hard to reach his level (does he still have such impossibly high standards or am I just afraid that he will be like that again?). There is a way to reach his level easily but it is not functioning - indeed it is stuck somewhere - oh I wander what this is that has become stuck - is it some way of reacting to my father? and/or is it some way that my father reacts to me? He is stuck at some place and can't come down to my level. It is being repaired so in the future it will be alright but now it is not and that creates great difficulty for me. Then I notice the bodiless uniform. The uniform is rules and discipline and danger and violence and it lacks the warmth of a body. I am drawn by the memories of my family together and I reach out for the memories but that makes me realize that that happy warm father has died and I am left with the harsh aspects of my father - now I am incredibly sad and that makes me instantly fall into fear for my life. I am contaminated by that fear - it will be the death of me. The difficulty and danger are occurring just at the point at which I think I'm safe - the war (with my father is over). I wander here if it is a real difficulty and danger or if it is a very primal fear (coming up from the basement where it has been hidden). I know I'll have to go carefully here for either way I need to be careful so that I do not die. It is not too late. This dream is a warning to be careful.

I feel also the dream is about relations between aspects of myself (my internal relations). I feel it is possible that that aspect of me which has just come out of the basement (the underground) is both terrified of and loves another aspect which is dominant: the father aspect. Is this father aspect of me too high up? Has this father aspect too high expectations of what "I" (the basement/lowly aspect) should do? Is it very difficult to reach this father aspect - coming as "I" do from the basement and still being in the shadows of the dark entrance to his house. I feel too that this basement aspect of me is mainly my emotional self and my memories. Perhaps at some time I had to put my emotions and memories down in order to live: I had to choose the more rational aspect of myself. I feel this basement aspect longs for the peace and joy of a happy family within "me". But this aspect knows that the father aspect is dead now - not dead as in "finished" but rather dead as in "lacking all warmth" - just a uniform without a body. Have I let my father aspect rule and discipline and put in danger more soft aspects of myself? my memories of good times (for they make me too sad)? That awareness is the most terrifying thing for I know that means I (as a person with many different aspects) is contaminated and certainly I am already doomed to die. Nothing is more terrifying.

It seems to me this dream is shouting at me to learn to allow different aspects of myself to live in harmony. Can I? In part that will depend upon how I handle my fear: it is alright to feel fear but it is better not to let it immobilize me. It is alright too to remember a time when every thing felt good but it is also right to recognize that may no longer be the case. Perhaps the difference between memory and the present situation is too painful and creates too much sadness - but it is really not too much sadness for I will be able to bear it - and I do need those memories and those feelings.

I am being asked to be brave at every level of my relations: with my historic situation, with my father and with my internal aspects.
Kathy


Dear Kathy,

So many parts of your comments elicited insights in me, and I think you really helped me get the picture of the main insight this dream carries for me. I'll comment some of it:

I see the dream is speaking to me about the fears I have about the bombing of Serbia.
I see my fear that my country and all the beautiful young men may die. I see that I and all other women and children may be left fatherless and that makes me feel incredibly sad.

Yes, Kathy, that's quite real fear. Let me just state that, since bombing started, I had trouble feeling fear , all other emotions seemed to overwhelm me in different moments, and were changing hysterically quick: anger, depression, desperation, sadness... but fear no. I guess that this dream provided an outlet for this basic emotion I have forbidden myself to feel. And the worse of all these fears you mentioned is my fear that my husband will be drafted and... I don't even want to write it. So, since I have been obviously repressing my fear and denying it in waking state, I guess dream had to turn my attention to such an important emotion that needed to be recognized.

But more than that I fear that I will be somehow killed in the most horrible and painful way in this bombing. I am so terrified I am immobilized. I feel the incredible effort to get to the safety of my father's house, but it is too late I am already contaminated.

BINGO! This is the major insight of the whole dream, as I see it now. I am so afraid I will turn into someone else, that good in me will be killed... I was a pacifist, a humanist, people and planet lover... but since this started, horrible emotions surfaced from some deep parts of myself, emotions that I did not even though I am capable of feeling , haterith... anger... killing instinct... At one moment I felt capable of killing a NATO soldier with my bare hands, just if he somehow happens to drop from the skies above, from wich he is bombing me! I am afraid that my old self, my comfortable self, my loving and lovable self will be killed with this experience and that I will turn into a monster that hates, wants revange, wants to kill... I AM CONTAMINATED with these feelings... can't escape them... You said it all in just few sentences: "It seems to me this dream is shouting at me to learn to allow different aspects of myself to live in harmony. Can I? In part that will depend upon how I handle my fear: it is alright to feel fear but it is better not to let it immobilize me. It is alright too to remember a time when every thing felt good but it is also right to recognise that that may no longer be the case." This is the core of the dream, as I see it.

I feel also the dream is about relations between aspects of myself (my internal relations). I feel it is possible that that aspect of me which has just come out of the basement (the underground) is both terrified of and loves another aspect which is dominant: the father aspect. Is this father aspect of me too high up? Has this father aspect too high expectations of what "I" (the basement/lowly aspect) should do? Is it very difficult to reach this father aspect - coming as "I" do from the basement and still being in the shadows of the dark entrance to his house.

The father aspect.... my father was a child after II World War and is full of stories how hungry he was for full 2 years afterwards, and how hard it was back then, and how spoiled I am, and how I don't know what it means to be hungry.... he has already gone through all this! My trying to get to his apartment in a dream I understand as my ambition to learn his survival ways because, if this lasts (and it is lasting), I will also be hungry... But the problem is, I can't accept such a thought! I can't "raise to his level" of accepting things as they are. I am paralyzed with the thought of war. Living this way would be worse then dying. So, after being "contaminated" with this uniform (war/death/danger experience) I don't see the point of going "up to his level". My life so far is dead. My self so far is dead. I see no future. I see no point at "raising to his level", of learning to survive in new conditions. Anyways, elevator doesn't work (quick way to raise), but I have to go up stairs (tiering, lasting experience of learning to accommodate to new circumstances). As so many times in my life, I guess that in this situation too I am trying to find the easiest way out, but this time... no such way... This is going to force me to accept circumstances as they are. Can't run from them. Can't change them. The only thing I can do is accept I am "contaminated" with them and have to bare them the hardest possible way... if I am to survive.

Thank you Kathy for finding time to help me understand this nightmare and help me accept my fears.

Branka.

FROM BILL:
hi branka,

thanks for sharing your dream.
in my dream, i have entered the place where my father lives. this means to me i have entered into his values, his world, his viewpoint, his imagination. is this my real father's house or my inner father's house? probably both. it is interesting to me that it is a building, a kind of place where lots of people live, like it could be a symbol of my father and his whole society.

now, in the place that is suppose to take me up to his level, i find something else. was his culture and society suppose to "father" me, but now i have to rely on another way to be fathered. which greek said "war is the father of us all" that is, there is an impact in life beyond the nurturance of the mother that we often call father. in a peaceful time, it is the real family father that challenges us, that extends our boundaries and makes us relate to something besides the breast. for good or bad it creates a wedge beween the tit and the baby and redirects me. more positively, he picks me up where i am and shows me where i am going.

the new hero emerges and i see what he wears. in his pockets, he carries pictures of his family. i am in the process here now of being initiated, i am leaving my family and entering a new family. he is a hero and the man to replace the man. a perfect mate. and there is a little consciousness here, a photo, a reflection.

but wait, the uniform is contaminated.
what the heck does that mean? contamination for me is being strongly effected by unseen forces. this is part of initiation as well. in some primitive societies, the person has to go all the way and experience their own death to be reborn in a new configuration, into adulthood. this contamination also means that the purity has been compromised. the psychologists talk about contamination by the unconscious. the game, whatever it is, is highly charged with unconscious factors. danger. watch out. what i think i know is not the way it is, and i am surrounded by untruth. which is always the way of war. things get black and white and truth suffers along with everything else.

the empty uniform concerns me as well. its expected, many boys die and there are many uniforms left empty. in a way this closet is full of my expectations that have been dashed. kojo was on his way to being a universal hero, and now this path is empty, to put on these clothes would contaminate the person wearing them with a ton of unconsciousness.

initiation or lost cause? this too is the question of war. do we take up arms, shout with our fellow comrades and blindly charge the enemy, or give in, allow all we have created to be dust in the wind?

so it goes with initiation. we are gripped by a feeling that we are going to die. it seems the only solution is to give in to the ugly thing or become the ugly thing, but either way we will die.

as i recall, that is the turning point of the initiation ceremonies. one must be totally convinced they are going to die before they can transcend the fear of death. and only when that moment occurs can i burn deeply enough to transform the fear, to see in the contaminated radioactivity the sparkling stars of the infinite and step into my role as perfectly imperfect mortal being.

notes: thanks branka for this dream. i found it very hard to stay in my own dream and kept jumping out, trying to give advice. you know, the war, the war. once i realized i was doing this my own work proceeded much better. thank you for that unique opportunity.

bill

FROM: Branka

Hi Bill,

And thanks for comments. In my reply to Kathy, I already addressed major issue I think this dream is about, and you mention it too, but use different words. You say: "the uniform is contaminated. what the heck does that mean? contamination for me is being strongly effected by unseen forces. this is part of initiation as well." That is exactly what I experience as if I can't do anything to affect the effect of these unseen forces (this can even be taken literally, since I can't see planes and pilots that drop bombs, just the effect of these bombs once they ruin something on the ground or kill someone).

In some primitive societies, the person has to go all the way and experience their own death to be reborn in a new configuration, into adulthood.

This initiation you are talking about I feel as birth of my new self, the one that's not so naive anymore, that's being burdened with this new experience that is quite bad and will surely affect the birth of new me. After this, I'm sure I'm gonna be more adult then I ever thought I'll be. I'm even afraid of completely killing, or forgetting the child in me. It's good to be aware of possible consequences, so that I can keep the child while adjusting to new, serious me that is in creation these days.

Again, thanks for comments.

Branka.

Hi Branka ! I LOVED your dream, I have never seen in any of mine such a concise formulation of the deepest givens of our existence: death, freedom, isolation and meaning of it all... if this were my dream ...

i understand that it is about my death anxiety, nothing pleasant , terrifying emotion. In order to understand dream's details and meanings I had first to neutralize "the huge wave of fear" . For that I employed Satisfy the Image approach. I drew the dream scene. Then I satisfied the image by inserting into the picture the solution of the conflict : the huge shield of lead all around the uniform and garbage workers , that are about to bury the thing somewhere safe. Felt better .The next morning I realized that I was repressing the fear (burying it) instead of dealing with it constructively and came up with even better solution : I drew a fancy lead container around the uniform with a little window, that you can open-close at will, and donated it to the doctors, so they can use the thing as a uniform source of strong radioactive ray to destroy cancer cells on purpose. I calmed down completely, it became clear to me that I can either repress my death anxiety or I can use it to heal myself towards better fuller life, once I direct it, use it to remind myself to live here-and-now each time cancerous destructive ideas and thoughts start to invade my mind ( I had my share of "what if" thinking - "what if I lost my husband and was left penniless..." "what if I never learned to be a perfectly good mother to my son Felipe"... etc)

After that I immediately was able to project abundantly and see some puns in the dream: visual pun ( I am in the BASEment, my father and GrandMa live on the top floor. I want to ascend fast - to his top level - he is an accomplished specialist, and I need Grand (Big) Mothering , and this desire is BASEd on the fear of death and avoidance of gray and dirty aspects of life) I thought I was not hiding from it, but according to my dream - I was hiding from the (idea of )death, and now I am out , and feel it fully. Radioactive uniform I suddenly saw as me being Radio Active and Uniform, my messages to many people on internet are like messages of the Active Radio host, who sends one and the same (Uniform) message, defending one and the same (MY) point of view, to groups of friends-listeners, and that has killed an Artist (Nikola) in me, killed my individuality, practically removed me from my family (hours of Radio Activity left no time for them), and I realize - is killing me personally - I have to stop being so Radio Active and Uniform, and shut up for a while and let Me be.

The strongest insight of all came from the image of missing/stuck somewhere elevator. I always knew and acknowledged that I have married up, my husband being richer in every sense than myself - emotionally, intellectually , socially and moneywise. Being his wife lifted me into the safety and security of my childhood home, I felt protected, my basic needs were met, I didn't have to struggle on the stairs of life , why, my husband was my elevator. Yes . Till a year ago, when he lost everything, was stuck and unavailable in every sense of the word , was of no help to me , and I WAS left penniless , facing the prospect of my private individual ascension , back to the very basic things in life. Needless to say I was angry, I saw that I was no longer special, I was alone, facing my own choices in life - to get out or to stay in but ascend on my own, or maybe to attempt to repair the elevator, but the worst of all, I realized that with Artist dead in me I was dead as well, I had to revive my creativity somehow. In this dream I began from the position of extreme need, and searched for someone to minister to this need. My need was for "elevation", and I was searching for a partner who would be elevator : teacher, therapist, and purveyor of social life. The word "search" provided a key understanding of my problem. One after all doesn't FIND a relationship ; one FORMS a relationship . I was approaching my husband in an inorganic rather than organic fashion. Not only did I view him as an "it" , an object , an equipment to provide a particular product or service, but I view the relationship as static and inorganic - an entity that was there almost fully formed from the beginning - rather than as a developing process.
fascinating
Liudmila

Branka was offline for several days........................

FROM: KARL
Branka,

If this were my dream, I would see that I've left a sheltered space within a structure of thoughts and beliefs that I associate with my childhood. I'm trying to ascend, to get a higher perspective, to reunite with the fatherly part of me. But the easy way up is not working, and in its place I see a violent, dead, male identity. I try to retrieve some memories of a happier time and place, but when I do, I feel that I have been contaminated by violence, and I feel I am now going to undergo a long, slow, painful, radical change.

Thank you for sharing your dream, Branka. I think it sums up the confusion and conflicting feelings a lot of people have about war in general and this war in particular. I hope you're safe.

Karl

Dear Karl,
That sums it up so nicely. All of it.
Thank you.
Branka.

 

FROM: DIANA
Dear Branka,

I have been thinking of "The Uniform" for several weeks now.
When I first read this dream, I thought of a dream of my own which I dreamt several months ago. The ending of my own dream also focused on "being killed by radiation." My dream was a dream of a group music lesson. The lesson took place at Omega--a beautiful summer resort in upstate New York. The "classroom" was a free standing, circular building with lots of windows. I looked out of one of the windows and saw a nuclear explosion--and then a wave of black smoke carrying radioactive contamination that would soon overwhelm us. I remember feeling terrified and thinking about how to hide, how to run away, whether I could take extra anti-oxidants. It seemed nothing would work. I remember feeling dread, and feeling terrified, and then feeling submission. I consciously decided to surrender and accept my fate--to "give in" to radioactivity since I couldn't resist it. At the back of my mind was the hope that by not struggling, I would preserve my breath and maybe by "hibernating" I might somehow survive if that were God's will. The dream I shared earlier on this forum about the disturbing "blur" on the blackboard seemed to me a transformation of the earlier dream. The nuclear explosion has now been transformed into a glaring light which is disturbing but less destructive.

I recently read a paper in Psychoanalytic Dialogs (v9, 1999, p142) which gave a definition of trauma that reminded me of this dread. The article stated that helplessness was the most salient quality. "This sense of helpless inevitability without reflection...a sense of "nameless dread," and... "fear without thought." The "nameless dread" was especially apt in characterizing a state in which one felt surrounded by oppression, unable to break free or fight back. The image of Yugolavian soldiers imprisoned in a tunnel surrounded by the enemy also captured this state for me. I felt that in order to transform this state, I must somehow appreciate it. It is very tiring and difficult.

I keep thinking about "enduring" or how to bear the trauma which can't be endured. Another image I often see in thinking of this dream is the image of the uniform. Several days ago the New York Times ran a picture of a hockey star who was retiring. After his last game they snapped his picture, standing alone in the center of the empty dark sports arena lit by a spotlight from above. Just a single man--at the point of retirement. It seemed so lonely and yet so impressive. The uniform strikes me the same way as I see it in my mind. The light shows the uniform clearly--but it is surrounded by darkness. I yearn to reach out (for the photos?) to make more contact or to see it with more connections. I also think of how to reach out--how to be responsible for more people than just myself. And I feel bad for the bombing and don't know how to stop it. Branka, I remember you as having very helpful comments to me in my dream. I am very grateful to you and wish you well,
Diana

 

Branka was offline for several days............


Dear Diana,
Sorry for my late responding to your comments - I've been without electricity for days, and off line also. Yes, feelings of "not being able to fight back" and "loneliness" are all over me, and dream clearly shows it. No wonder my mind choose radioactive contamination for expression of those feelings! I'm stuck. No escape from this situation, and you saw it. Thinking about a dream now, makes it easy for me to understand it fully. I just wish that my radioactive contamination will soon express itself as less threatening blur or something... Thank you for your comments and the examples you gave.
Branka.

Dear Branka,
I am grateful for your dream and your responses. I also apologize for not responding quickly. I have had a very bad cold, and I have been too tired to use the computer. I feel a connection between us in this dreamwork. I, too, hope for a transformation. I pray for your safety and the future of our countries. Yours,
Diana


END TRANSCRIPT

From Branka:

Soon after finding "dream world" on the net, in the midst of my enthusiastic expectations of international dream sharing, being able to reach to every corner of the world in the matter of minutes, overnight my life was turned into waking nightmare... Raid-sirens, shelters, bombs... the end of the world... my world as I know it. Everything stopped. Life was put on hold and immediate survival issues surfaced with such intensity that they blurred meaning of everything previously experienced.

Hysterically shifting from depression to anger, from anger to desperation, from desperation to fear, from fear to sadness, and from there to every other possible emotion, I felt totally unable to concentrate on anything but watching the news. On 23rd day of bombing came my turn to share a dream on Dream Wheel. I wasn't sure if I can do it, but kind Mr. Richard Wilkerson was so patiently persuasive, unjudgementaly supportive, intuitively feeling my need to connect and share my inner turmoil, that I decided to give it a try. For this I want to sincerely thank him, because he helped me more then he probably is even aware... In the middle of what I was experiencing as whole wide world communicating with me via "language of bombs", he reached and suggested connecting with the whole wide world using universal "language of dreams". To be honest, after everything that Serbs were called to be in Western media, I feared to open myself to vulnerability dream work brings with it, especially in front of the group members that come from the countries in which these news are broadcasted. I was vulnerable, I was untrustful, even paranoic at times... Richard was by my side every step of the way, encouraging me, supporting me, guiding me... caring. Thank you Richard.

And then, process started... questions began to come in. Crazy chaos my mind was floating in, surrounded with such intensified, intensified, intensified emotions, began to finally take structure and meaning. Just answering the questions triggered so needed order of my inner world to start forming. Feelings were not floating and simply self-existent anymore I managed to face them, identify them and come to peace with them. When comments started pouring in, I was already in touch with my inner world again and felt much better. Confusion that I simply surrendered myself to prior the dream work was gone. It is probably not something that everybody would experience, but in the circumstances I was in, I want to say that participation in dream work had extremely positive influence on me. It helped me structure stirred emotions, many of which were so new to me, so horribly repulsive to me, that I was angry at myself for being able to even feel them!
Dream Wheel members were so supportive and caring that I feel a great need to thank them too. After genuine support, care and interest they showed in helping me understand my dream, I felt bad that I ever thought that it can be any other way.

Thinking about "the uniform dream" now, when bombing is little more then a month behind me, what strikes me is loneliness... I was so alone in the dream nobody beside me to share or try to influence the horror I am encountering. Guess I was feeling pretty cut off from other beings in my life at that time, being totally focused on my inner happenings, on myself, experiencing the CONTAMINATION of my being. Having that in mind, it's even more important that I was given the chance to connect with others that helped me connect with myself.

Next dream I had was also a nightmare in which I was sentenced to death, but in it I had quite a number of people surrounding me and supporting me in my attempt to cancel that sentence I was not alone anymore! It might be interesting that, during 78 days of bombing (and that many night too) I managed to remember only 3 dreams "uniform dream", "death sentence dream" (both being nightmares) and third dream in which the central theme is: Serbia won war with NATO (I did not analyze that one, but it has proved NOT to be precognitive!) I guess that this low recall rate is due to the fact that I did not get much sleep, at least quality sleep, since either detonations or raid-sirens constantly kept waking me up.

At the end, I want to again thank everybody for insightful comments that helped me in most difficult times of my life. I hope dream language will keep spreading itself among the people of this planet one, universal language, understandable by all.

Regards to everyone from confusing, crazy Balkans that keeps dividing itself while whole wide world keeps uniting... hope we'll learn universal language soon.
Sincerely, Branka.


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