We learn from our dreams. Yes, there are some dreams that are recycled parts of experience. They are also our very personal stories, woven into a tapestry of deep personal meaning. Just because we recognize the yellow tricycle we passed on the sidewalk earlier in the day, doesn’t strip it of meaning. Dreams are meaningful. To untangle them, we have to sit with their ideas and untangle the connections to ourselves. Put down the book that “explains” dream images. You create the message and you can understand it. Some how-tos in another post. First, here’s a dream I had and my interpretation of what it means:
The Dream I was in a class of women, and we were all making kitchen-appliance cozies. You may remember those–covers for toasters, blenders, coffee grinders. Cozies were very popular in the 1950s and early 60s. I think the purpose was to unify the look of the kitchen, although it’s possible women wanted to “hide” the machines that did the work for them while they wore pearls and shirtwaist dresses. There was a lot of conflict in housewives’ minds about having “women’s work” made easier. It was more noble to do everything by hand, but a lot faster to use a machine to help.
In my dream, I was in a sewing class, learning to make a toaster cozy. The other women in the class were making them really fast, sewing machines humming. Most of the cozies in my dream were crayon-colored prints, with contrasting piping. (In my waking life I’m not attracted to crayon-colored prints and piping.) Some women were quilting theirs in traditional quilting patterns.
My toaster model was a vintage, rounded, 2-slicer with the big bakelite black handle. The instructor kept stopping by, fretting. I was making mine out of Tyvek, the material FedEx envelopes are made from. I was busy creating a stuffed sculpture on top. The instructor was worried, and said, “This isn’t really the shape everyone is working with.” I nodded, but kept working. She asked to see it on the toaster, but I shook my head. I didn’t speak, just kept working. Finally, when other women were putting their neat, tidy, perfectly sewn toaster cozies over their toasters, I put mine on the toaster–it used the toaster as a base, and the whole cozy was about 2 feet high.
The Interpretation The top of it was a tiger, rearing up on two hind feet, claws out, snarling. The teacher was horrified and asked me why I did that. I said, “Because I needed to.” Here is what I knew but didn’t say to the teacher–the toaster was fear and the cozy was anger, a reaction to fear. I was covering fear with a show of anger.
Showing strength and anger keeps people from seeing we are just a toaster. Because being a toaster is not enough, in our heads. And yet, we buy toasters just for that ability–to toast bread.
The question: What cozy do you put on to appear to be something else? What are you hiding from the world?
–-Quinn McDonald is a life and certified creativity coach. She teaches dream workshops.