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Posts Tagged ‘guilt’

What is True?

Posted by Amanda Gray on December 30, 2012

“I have done this thing, and it is this I would undo.” I was just reading that line in the Course this morning. My lesson today is to see that I have been trying to make this body valuable, but that the only value the body has is its use – like a pointed stick pokes, or a hard rock hammers.

As the body ages, gets sick, becomes weaker and weaker, fatter and uglier, the stronger is my urge to prove it’s usefulness. Is it only the belief that I AM a body that must prove itself? If I’m not a body, what am I? If I don’t use this body or those other bodies ‘out there’ to punish and hang guilt upon, what are they for? If “I am only here to be truly helpful,” what is ‘truly’ helpful besides the doing of a body? The truth of this physical world – that this body is, ultimately, entirely expendable – is like choking a bitter pill down a dry throat. Anger yields to grief. And that is why we don’t want to see this awful truth. It hurts.

Yet, can this be the whole truth? The body must yield to spirit… grief must yield to love… mustn’t they?

And with this small light of hope I look into my mind and ask again, “What is true?”.

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The Authority Problem

Posted by Amanda Gray on November 2, 2011

I was reading A Course in Miracles, page 83 of the text: “The Ego’s Use of Guilt” this morning.  It helped me to understand a lifelong struggle I’ve had with my parents.

When my Dad was alive, he and I had great difficulty getting along with each other.  He was very powerful and authoritative and I thought he was always trying to control me.  So I constantly fought against his attempt to control me.  A few years ago, I remembered an event from my childhood that made me realize that I had made a mistake about him.  It had been other men that had attempted to control me, and I had only projected this idea onto my Dad, because he was a powerful man.  I realized that he had never been as controlling as I imagined, and ultimately, it was actually MY attempt to CONTROL HIM that was the problem in our relationship.  I was fortunate to realize this before my Dad passed away and I think I was able, at least a little, to offer some genuine love to him before he went.

Yet, there was something else that still wasn’t resolved in the case.  After my Dad passed away, I moved in with my Mom.  We’ve been together for just over a year now, and I recently noticed that whenever we work together, I have the same control issues with her, that I once had with my Dad. Hmmm… fascinating.  What’s that about?

Yesterday, Mom and I were in the grocery store.  I noticed that my thoughts had become really bitchy toward her, and yet, she had done nothing to warrant such negativity.   I saw that the thoughts were entirely irrational, and upon the realization, the bitchiness evaporated.

The Course says:

We spoke before of the authority problem as based on the concept of usurping God’s power.  […]  Listening to the ego’s voice means that you believe it is possible to attack God, and that a part of Him has been torn away by you.

I saw that this was related to the bitchiness I experienced toward my Mom – my Mom being a representative of authority in my life.  Yet, I didn’t see how a part of her was being ‘torn away BY me’.  I believed that my Mom was rejecting ME – so a part of her was being torn away FROM me.  I considered it further… perhaps my thinking was upside down.  Ahhh… yes… the belief was backwards, and hiding the truth… as it happened in the experience, my Mom had done nothing to reject me – the rejection was ALL MINE.  With my Dad, I thought he was trying to control me, but actually, I was trying to control him.  With my Mom, I thought she was trying to reject me, but actually, I was trying to reject her.  Control, rejection; the same issue.  I was, at once, trying to control and reject my parents. 

There was one further thing I couldn’t understand.  The Course says:

Fear of retaliation from without follows, because the severity of the guilt is so acute that it must be projected.

I still didn’t understand how the projection of guilt fit into the scenario.  If my Mom was rejecting me, then she was to blame, and therefore, I merely attacked her with, in my mind, a just retaliation.  A childish retaliation everyone is familiar with, “You reject me – so I reject you!”  Ahhh… there it is… the upside down thinking again… the TRUTH is that my Mom was NOT doing the rejecting in the first place.  The whole authority problem suddenly fell into place for me:  I perceive my Mother as a powerful being, an authority over me.  Because I believe that I LACK this kind of power/authority, I believe I must attack her to get it.  As I attempt to USURP her authority, I judge myself as guilty – yet, the recognition of this guilt is so painful, in the same instant that the attack thoughts arise in my mind, I also project the guilt, and BLAME my Mom for the origin of the attack.  Then, because she is powerful, and holds power over me, I must fear her retaliation.  What I was misunderstanding, is that I DO NOT LACK this power/authority that my Mom has.  God gave it to my Mom in the same measure that it was given to me.  Going deeper, I see that I am not actually rejecting my Mom, I am rejecting GOD, as well as the authority and love that is His gift to everyone – including ME.  I was believing that God/Mom had been rejecting me, or that somehow I was missed when He/she was handing out gifts of love and authority.  Yet, all along, it was I who was doing the rejecting – but now that I recognize the truth – I can DECIDE to ACCEPT.

When I was in Arizona in September, I noticed that I was missing vegetables in my meals.  It seemed that the only way I could guarantee some vegetables in a restaurant was to order a salad.  Yet, I’ve never liked salad.  I’ve always preferred my vegetables cooked.  Still, far from my kitchen at home, and in restaurants where cooked vegetables were served in a small pile like a sorry afterthought, I craved more vegetables.  So I decided to like salad.  And I did.  Easy as that.

So, here too, I can decide.  I decide to accept my authority in this physical experience.  I can decide to accept that I am loved and loveable.

The Course goes on to say:

That is why the question, “What do you want?” must be answered.  You are answering it every minute and every second, and each moment of decision is a judgment that is anything but ineffectual.  Its effects follow automatically until the decision is changed.  The Holy Spirit, like the ego, is a decision. Together they constitute all the alternatives the mind can accept and obey.  The Holy Spirit and the ego are the only choices open to you. […]  The continuing decision to remain separated is the only possible reason for continuing guilt feelings.  […]  What you want you expect.  This is not delusional.

Yes, I DO have the authority to decide between the ego (strife) and the Holy spirit (peace).  As I decide to accept the Holy Spirit, God’s gifts come with it – peace and love – gifts that I may then share with everyone, particularly with my Mom, who has always been perfectly loving to me.  Now, with this correction to my thinking, and as I offer myself forgiveness for my mistake and ignorance, may I always be perfectly loving in return.

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Big Secrets and Professional Help

Posted by Amanda Gray on June 29, 2011

Yesterday, I went to a psychiatrist. I finally admitted to myself that I’m stuck, terrified, living, pretty much, like I’m dead, and that I need serious, professional help. The more I try to think about my life, the more the thoughts spin in predictable loops and result in further confusion, indecision, resistance and anxiety.

The psychiatrist, Pat, was nice enough. She warned me that she might say some things I wouldn’t like, and while I was sure that I wanted that, she did succeed in challenging me in a way I didn’t expect. I explained to her that I’m particularly frustrated in my work experience, and that I keep finding myself in jobs that press all my anxiety buttons and eventually lead to my resignation. I told her that I would prefer to stay unemployed at this time in order to figure out what I really want to do. She suggested that any job would be better than no job. I didn’t like that. Any job? Inflict my insanity upon poor, defenceless employers and co-workers? So far, I’ve been good at quitting with notice before any major disaster, but taking a job while I’m so stressed could easily lead to being fired. That wouldn’t be helpful. True, it isn’t necessary to project the past onto the future, but without a plan or a goal up front, before I act, just sets me up for the same old story. The cycle starts and ends with me. That’s where I’m willing and ready to address the problem. But to take any job… well, that’s what I’ve already done for 10 years and I’m confident that it’s not working for me or anyone else. More accurately, any job, I can take… a job – a LIFE – that I might want and care about… well, that’s why I need a psychiatrist. On the other hand, perhaps a solid ‘Suck it up, Princess,’ is more applicable than I’d prefer to admit.

Ah, now you see, this is why I shouldn’t think too much. I swing too wildly between extremes! My Course in Miracles lesson had good advice about that this morning: Lesson 4: This thought about _____ does not mean anything. It is like the things I see in this room, [on this street, out this window, etc.]. Whew. Ok. That helps.

Interestingly, the night before my psychiatrist appointment, I realized that there’s a deep ego need to get ‘the right answer’. So, in my session with Pat, I noticed that I kept making statements followed by asking her, “Right?” She was great; she never fell into the game. Is there ever a ‘right’ answer? Can another person, whatever their credentials or enlightenment, ever give the ‘right’ answer to me? Truly, a psychiatrist isn’t supposed to give answers, they’re supposed to help one find the answers for themselves.

Pat gave me an assignment that I didn’t like initially as well. She wants me to write an essay about who I am, right now. I balked, “Yeah, well, the short answer is that I don’t know.” She suggested that I might need to return to the dreams and desires I had in adolescence. Like my desire to get famous? Ha! That was a retarded motivation then, and it would be an even more retarded motivation now. Finally, I conceded that there were a few interests I developed more recently, and that I could write about. Yes, I can admit, while there may be deep holes in what I know about who I am right now, there are a few things I’m clear about. I see that the ego likes to make blanket statements like “I know” or “I don’t know,” keeping to extreme points of view, but it’s more balanced and reasonable to admit that I know some things and I don’t know other things.

So, I’ll write the essay. I’ll write from a stream of consciousness instead of thinking about it too much. Funny, I would never have imagined that a simple writing assignment could rattle me. I used to be so good at feeling the fear and doing it anyway! After all, in my teens, I skydived – not just once – but three times! I used to be fearless! I used to be enthusiastic and ALIVE! What’s happened to me???

This morning, I watched a highly inspiring TEDxSinCity video. It’s by a white South-African man, Bruce Muzik, who tells his big secret to the world – that he’s a racist. He says that it’s the secrets we hold onto that limit us, and that when we reveal our secrets, we release ourselves back to life, to ALIVEness. I agree with him, and I had to consider: Do I have any secrets? What would I still keep hidden from others? Is there something I’m still ashamed of?

Well… there is something that I was hoping to share with the psychiatrist yesterday, but she seemed more interested in staying firmly in the present. Perhaps that’s appropriate to her function – or for our first session, anyway. I’ve spoken about my big secret, in general terms, with my Mom and a few close friends, but I’m not sure I revealed the details that I’m most ashamed of. It’s also possible that writing about it won’t be enough, because it has to do with my mouth and speaking. Must I yet speak the details aloud?

Last week, it arose that I feared and felt ashamed about my ‘mistakes’ – mistakes I made in the past, as well as mistakes I fear to make in the future. I also saw that this was how I most commonly judged others, based on what I perceived to be their ‘mistakes’. It’s also related to the ‘looming disaster’ that I think will happen at work. What if I make a mistake that can’t be fixed, one that I’ll have to feel guilty about – forever? Yes, I have experience with that kind of mistake and that kind of guilt. There’s a particular mistake that comes to mind. One that I made when I was a child.

I’m getting a bit of a headache. Do I dare tell you? How do I put it delicately? Will you hate me? Will you be disgusted with me? Could you love and forgive me, even though I haven’t been able to love and forgive myself?

I was nine years old. It happened in the summer, between grades 6 and 7. My parents dropped me off to stay the weekend with a classmate, Joanne. Joanne had two older brothers who were about 16 and 17 years old, and, for whatever reason, Joanne and I were left alone in their custody. I’m sure there were adults around, at some point, but I don’t remember them.

The memories I did retain, and further memories that I recovered a few years ago, are jumbled. I don’t know the order of events, but I know that, at first, I was a willing participant. A child’s normal curiosity. A child’s normal innocence and trust. We played hide and seek. We played rock music and danced. They asked me questions and paid a lot of attention to me. I felt powerful and sexy.

I thought we were having fun. The enormity of my mistake became clear when I entered the boy’s basement bedroom and saw the younger boy sitting on the bed, holding a jack-knife, threateningly. He ordered me to take off my clothes. “No.” I answered defiantly, but a knot of fear twisted in my gut. Oops.

I was forced to give the older boy a blow job. I still feel the knife blade pressed up under my arm. “Don’t use your teeth,” the younger boy instructed. I still feel the pain in my jaw as I became tired and pulled away. “No, no, you can’t stop!” they insisted. I still remember the rancid smell of his crotch as I closed my eyes and submitted. I still remember my shock and surprise as he exploded in my mouth. They laughed as I spit out his spunk with disgust, “I didn’t know it would do that!” I complained. My chin was a sticky mess and they didn’t let me wash it off. It irritated and itched as it dried.

There were other tortures, far worse ones.  There was, at least, a whole day and a whole night of entertainments in their exclusive company. I’m sure that most are better left unremembered and untold. Yet, I’ve told you the ‘secret’. The secret of my dirty, disgusting mouth.

On the second day, the younger boy threatened me again, “Don’t you ever tell anyone about this!” I shook my head, crying, “No, I won’t. I won’t say anything.” I kept my promise to him. Even when he was charged with rape later the same year and my Mom asked if anything had happened while I was there. I said no. I lied to her. I kept my promise to him, though, through my whole life, particularly in ways that couldn’t be anticipated. Perhaps it’s why I’ve always preferred to write about myself instead of speaking aloud. It’s also perhaps why I’m particularly inarticulate if I’m asked to defend myself. My facial expression is often tight-lipped, and I’ve recently developed a relentless circle of acne around my mouth – a constant reminder of my ‘dirty’ face. Also recently, I discovered that I’m allergic to dairy. Hmmm… yes, milk, yoghurt and cheese are similar to the consistency of spunk. Dairy, as a symbol, isn’t lost on me either: denial of pleasure (dairy is a pleasure food), denial of nurturing (mother’s milk), and, by extension, denial of self-love.

If I was subconsciously keeping the promise I made that day, you might very well ask how I performed as an actress and spoke before large audiences on a regular basis. Yes, well, I was always fine if I was playing a part or speaking from a script. Speaking for myself – no, that was my limitation. As much as I was subconsciously compelled to keep silent, I was also compelled by the opposite extreme, to be heard. Also, I had repressed the trauma throughout those years. My more recent commitment to the Self and its full realization brought those memories to the surface, along with the concomitant fear, guilt, shame, hurt, and various bizarre physical maladies, in order to be expressed, accepted, forgiven and released. It sucks, but that’s how it works. When it’s at the worst, I remember that it’s what I knowingly signed up for, and I’m grateful to finally shed it.  It has no control when it’s in the open.  It has ALL control when it’s kept hidden.

My grade 6 class photo is of a thin, beautiful, sparkling eyed, and broadly beaming girl. In grade 7, she’s fat, with reddish cheeks, and a tight, closed mouth. The light has gone out of her eyes. I found a diary entry from that time that could be related: “The more I think about you-know-what, the more I hate myself.” A lifelong suffering of migraine headaches, including sensitivity to light, nausea and vomiting, began around the same time. My regular punishment and crucifixion, inflicted by subconscious guilt and self-hatred.

So that’s it. That’s my biggest, most shameful secret. Was it helpful to reveal it? Well, my body is now warm with kundalini energy, and I feel somewhat relieved. My forehead and neck still feel a bit tight, but not painful. It wasn’t so bad to tell. In writing, anyway.

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A Night at the Improv

Posted by Amanda Gray on June 8, 2011

Act I

I’ve been on retreat as much as possible this week. On Monday, June 6, I experienced a lot of generalized anxiety throughout the day, although it abated in meditation. As I got into bed that night, I addressed the anxiety. I asked it:

What are you afraid of?

It answered:

I’m afraid of myself.

Hmmm… that didn’t make any sense to me. Perhaps I heard wrong, or asked the wrong question. I tried asking different questions, but I was only getting confused, so I gave up and went to sleep. Around two in the morning, I woke suddenly with the thought:

…because I did it to myself.

Then I understood (speaking as the fear/ego):

I’m afraid of myself because I did this to myself – but I don’t know how I did it and I don’t know how to stop doing it.

I got up, wrote in my diary for a while, and went back to bed.

Act II

In the morning, I woke from a significant dream:

  1. It’s afternoon, and I’m visiting the Varscona Theatre in Edmonton, Alberta. I meet The Improviser Guy and we chat for a bit. Suddenly, he has a big idea and asks if he could use me in his improv skit that evening. I agree. He says that we need a third person, and runs off. He returns shortly with another talented actor, I’ll call him ‘George’, who asks me why we chose him to work with. I tell him enthusiastically, “You were hand picked, baby!”
  2. It’s evening and the actors are gathering at the theatre for the Improv show. I meet The Improv Guy downstairs and sit next to him at a long table. I whisper something in his ear. His wife suddenly comes around the corner. She lunges in, sits down almost on top of me, and asks jealously, “Do you even know who his two favourite teachers from school were?” I genuinely want to assure her that I have no designs, whatsoever, on her husband. I reply, “No, I have no idea. Really, I never listened to a word he said when we went out.” The Improv Guy is completely unconcerned with the interaction between his wife and I.
  3. It’s time for the show, and the actors line up backstage in order of their skits. I stand anxiously with The Improv Guy. It’s been a long time since I’ve done any improv and I’m not sure I’ll be able to do it. I ask The Improv Guy how he wants to start. He says, “Just go onstage and walk around. Walk like you’ve been walking forever. Then I’ll come out.”
  4. There’s a family of guinea pigs backstage. They’re more like guinea ‘teddy bears’. The mom is taking care of her babies, licking them. I pet the mom guinea.

Interpretation:

  1. I’m at the improv. This means that I’m surrendering the idea that I should have some sort of script for my waking life and I’m willing to get involved in the moment-to-moment ‘improvisation’ of the journey again. ‘George’ is someone I did improv with, once upon a time. I had difficulty working with him, and I found myself regularly blocking his suggestions onstage. It was this experience, partially, at least, that led to a loss of confidence in my improv abilities. Ohhh… wait, I remember now… I was also angry with this guy for making me uncomfortable to attend the improv as an audience member. I haven’t attended a Theatre sports show since. So, it’s a forgiveness issue, and that’s why he was ‘hand picked’ for the ‘dream team’. (Sigh… letting that go now.)
  2. I understand that The Improv Guy character represents the ‘Holy Spirit’. The ‘me’ character in the dream is willing to work with him, so it means I’m interested and willing to work with the HS in my waking life. I understand that the wife character represents my ‘Shadow’ or ‘ego’ side. The ‘me’ character doesn’t have any meaningful relationship to the wife, so it indicates that, while I’m not preoccupied with the shadow-ego of my consciousness, I’m still sensitive to its various difficulties. The attitude shown here is one of compassion. In my experience, a dream shadow is usually annoying to the dream ‘me’ character, so it’s curious that this wasn’t the case in this dream. The shadow-wife thinks she loves the HS-husband, but really, she just wants to own and control him. She’s totally terrified of losing him and she immediately jumps to conclusions and projects guilt. It’s my understanding that a dream shadow character generally shows up to indicate aspects of self that have been repressed. So, I gather that there’s a desire to possess the HS and use it for selfish/narcissistic ends – or fears that it could happen. The dream puts the shadow-ego and the HS in a married relationship, which indicates a move in consciousness toward whole being. (The wife asks about ‘teachers’, but I’m not getting any specific understanding about that bit.)
  3. So, here’s the ‘me’, about to go onstage with The Improv Guy-Holy Spirit. I’m completely willing to go forward, even though he’s giving me very little guidance, I’m facing the complete unknown, and I’m worried that I’m not as capable as he thinks I am. I’m willing to face my fear and do it anyway! Gung HO! I’m also willing to play the ‘straight’ role, allowing the HS to swoop in, land all the punch lines, and get all the glory (indeed, as it should be). I’m told to ‘walk like I’ve been walking forever’. Well, that pretty much sums up most of my existence to this point, now, doesn’t it? Ha ha. Funny guy.
  4. About that guinea family… well, it was later discovered to be prophetic. During my day, I visited a pet store and, completely unexpectedly, got to pet some guinea pigs (one that was the exact colour of the one in the dream – reddish-brown) as well as petting a mom cat and her brand new litter of kittens. Awe! (Dreams have a tendency to moosh things together in weird ways.) But, see, that’s the thing with prophetic dreams, at least the ones I have – I don’t know they’re prophetic until the event plays out, and it’s usually rather meaningless anyway. So what’s the point of them? Hmmm… perhaps that’s a good question to pose to spirit.

So that’s an example of the way in which dreams can provide information into the development of conscious awareness. I didn’t make any effort to remember the dream, or to analyze it intellectually, I simply asked the HS to show the meaning to me. I sincerely love the truth and anytime I’m allowed to glimpse it, in whatever way, I’m extremely grateful and happy.

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The Dreaming Riddle

Posted by Amanda Gray on May 26, 2011

Dream:

I’m in a gigantic bakery kitchen.  Thin slabs of chocolate roulade (thin cake baked in a flat pan, often used to roll with filling) are cooling on the work tables.  I approach one slab of roulade, thinking it was one I baked for myself earlier.  I cut a square chunk, but as I lift it to my lips for a bite, a man approaches me from behind, “No, no, no!”  He tells me that the other baker, Candace, baked that slab.  I see Candace, dressed in a white cooks uniform, across the room with her back to me.  I’m sorry for my mistake and I express to him that I hope I haven’t ruined her yield.

Enlightened teachers rarely talk about dreams, except to say that we need to wake up from the one we dream when we think we’re awake.  Personally, since my night-time dreams have been such a robust part of my daily experience, I’ve frequently used them to gain insight into the activity of my unconscious mind.

When I was a child, I imagined two black, cartoon ants that had an old film projector and a white screen on a stand.  One ant would ask, “What film are we going to show tonight?” and the other would turn on the projector, “How about this one.”  On the screen, I’d see the grainy countdown appear: 3, 2, 1, and, poof, I’d be asleep.

I’ve always loved to dream.  My dreams are rich, colourful, and entertaining.  I usually dream when I’m close to consciousness in the morning, so with very little effort, I can remember many vivid details.  When I started to make a concerted study of my dreams, around the year 2000, I would consider every storyline, character, and location.  I poured through dream interpretation dictionaries to understand every symbol and nuance.  It was extremely time-consuming, but it was also fun, a lot like solving a riddle.

I don’t know how my theory stacks up with the great dream philosophers of our time: Carl Jung, Sigmund Freud, etc., but I divide my dreams into two kinds.  One kind is indicative of the ego keeping itself active and entertained.  These are often busy dreams, with lots of characters, locations and plot lines.  They’re difficult to interpret because there are many symbols, but rarely ones that really ‘jump out’.  The other kind of dream is short, sometimes simply one image, like a photograph.  It’s vivid and remembered easily, because, I think, it’s important to remember.  I’ve decided, through my experience with them over the years, that those are the images spirit is using to communicate with me.  It’s an elegant form of communication, and much like an ‘instantaneous download’ of knowledge.  I’ll find that one image will have many subtle, but meaningful, details.  I’ve also learned to pay attention to anything white.  A symbol in white, particularly if it’s a neon bright white, is always, for me, an important message from spirit.

The shadow elements of a dream, such as night scenes or dark basements, tell me that there’s something I’m trying to hide from my conscious mind.  The split of the unconscious from the conscious mind segregates experiences or traumas that we don’t want to acknowledge.  In my experience, dream shadows rarely give up crucial information, they’re really only helpful to know there’s still something to root out of hiding.  If my greater intention is unity, any smaller intention to hide in dark corners must, eventually, be brought to the light of consciousness.

I recommend two dream books that have been invaluable to me over the years.  My, hands down, favourite is:

Cloud Nine

My second favourite is:

Little Giant Encyclopedia: Dream Symbols

When selecting a dream book, ensure that it doesn’t offer nonsense of future predictions, such as, “dreaming of an itchy right hand means the dreamer will receive money”.  I’ve heard that some people have dreams that effectively predict the future, but, even then, I doubt they would get much value from those future symbol books.  Although I had an occasional prophetic dream in my early life, it was often only discovered after the event played out and was always so inconsequential, I stopped paying attention to them, and they went away.  To me, dreams are far more relevant as insight into myself, the symbols as placeholders for deep-seated belief systems and patterns of thought.

Dream dictionaries are like regular dictionaries, organized in alphabetical order.  To use one, I simply look up the words that best describe the dream image.  For example, for the dream I described at the top of this post, I would look up: bakery, room, kitchen, table, clean, cook, food, sweets, black, square, man, back, woman, and white.  The descriptions in the dream book are merely starting points.  After reading them, I would then consider which interpretations resonated the most for me, and then think further about how the symbols fit specifically into my life experience.

Without referring to my dream books, I knew what my bakery dream was about.  In 1991-92, after a year of cooking school, hosted at Jasper Park Lodge in Jasper, Alberta, I continued working over the summer in the pastry department.  One day, I arrived for my evening shift and had two tasks on my work list: mix and bake chocolate Devils Food cakes and ‘Etruscan Torte’ cakes.  I had made both of these cakes before and felt confident in my skills.  I started with the Devils Food cakes.  I assembled the ingredients, mixed the batter in the giant Hobart mixer, and filled the cake rings.  I don’t remember if I was particularly distracted that day, or what I was worried about, but I put the cakes into the oven and totally forgot about them.  When I finally remembered, they were cremated beyond repair.  I was thoroughly disgusted and furious with myself as I cut black chunks of charcoal from the baking rings and disposed of all ten cakes in the garbage.  Since I’d already started work on the Etruscan Tortes, I despondently continued with that.  I cut vanilla roulade to fit inside the cake rings for the top and bottom layers, and filled the middle with a gelatine-meringue mixture.  I thought they were to bake for 45 minutes and I put them into the oven….  Well, if you’ve done any baking, you may already have recognized my mistake.  Gelatine isn’t baked, it’s refrigerated.  In 45 minutes, I asked my sous chef how I should test for doneness.  He corrected me, but it was already too late.  The gelatine mixture had melted and leaked out of the cake rings onto the pans in a big slushy mess.  Ten more cakes, ruined!  I was horrified and devastated.  How could I be such a complete loser?  Within a few weeks of the incident, I concocted a number of excuses, and quit the job.

My dream pointed to this entire scenario in a few symbols.  By incorporating the character of Candace, a co-worker from a current job, it also links the past with the present.  It tells me that I made a past mistake that I never truly forgave myself for, and that I’m still holding onto guilty fears that I could make work mistakes again.  Through the dream, I discovered a limitation that has been affecting my experience, and I can now surrender it – forgive myself.

Although, I also understand why teachers of enlightenment wouldn’t recommend dream analysis.  The mind loves to examine itself, and as long as I’m rooting around in its house of mirrors, I won’t make the essential decision to abandon all mind games – lock, stock and barrel.  Yes, perhaps I have delayed myself extraneously, and thus, I’ve given up dreaming riddles, for the most part.  If I have a dream that I remember, fine, and if there’s some symbolism that jumps out at me, fine, and if an interpretation reveals itself without effort, that’s fine too.

Dreams are a fantastic mystery.  A form of riddle that may never be completely solved, but we can look, and ask, and wonder.

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