Dreams & Gifts (How Did You Ever Guess?)

There are as many different kinds of dreams as there are kinds of gifts; or, there are as many different kinds of gifts as there are dreams—however you want to look at it.

Did you ever have the experience, as a young person, of having a long-unseen relative come visiting and present you with a gift that would have delighted you some three or four years ago, but now seems totally ycchht?

dragon in a gift

Such gifts made us feel demeaned, underestimated; made us aware that we had been ignored, utterly out of the awareness of the giver for years.

There are dreams like that. Here we are, grown-up, functioning in the world, making a living, managing pretty well with our relationships; in short, "making it", and wham! Along comes a dream that reminds us of a whole hunk of our being that is all of two years old. Worse still, thoroughly recognizable. A client of mine, a successful sales manager of a Buick agency, dreamt that he was scooting himself along in his baby stroller which went over a curb and got stuck in the mud. At that moment he became aware that he was a tiny infant, and all he could do was wail and rage at this state of helpless abandonment.

There is the standard conventional gift, the kind we used to get as wedding presents when weddings were standard and conventional (perhaps outside of California they still are). You know what I mean, when you go to a department store, find the bride's name on a list and buy a place-setting of her chosen silver. You may wonder, "Why in the world did she choose that?". But you buy it all the same. Or, as the bride recipient, you may feel overburdened as you return two of the three toaster-ovens you received at your wedding reception. I remember getting two sterling silver Martini shakers, staid and stiff reminders of the old-boy set downing silver martinis before the fox-hunt, and found the gift about as appropriate to my lifestyle as a double-decker bus.

This kind of gift is reflected by the "proper" dream, the boring dream, the prosaic Here-I-am-as-a-secretary-entering-a-business-letter-into-a-computer dream that leaves you feeling, "Hey! That's more like everyday life than everyday life. Who needs it? I want to dream about dragons and flying carpets, not keyboards!" Perhaps, in our "everyday" life, we have been flying a bit high, living beyond our means, feeling superior to the guy next door. Along comes our trusty unconscious and reminds us that we have a humble human being inside too; that we have to carry out the garbage and wash the dishes just like everybody else. It's a come-down but a healthy reminder all the same.

wrapped dog

And then there is the magical gift, the gift that is put together through thought and care by a sensitive friend who has seen us through good times and bad and who really understand us; the gift of a massage and sauna when your soul is aching; a beautiful little hand-made book made up as a poem, hand-written, illustrated, just for you, about you. Recently a great aunt of mine had a 95th birthday, complete with a huge family reunion and all the ensuing fanfare. She was given all the usual stuff you give older women: sachets, velvet-covered coat hangers, cologne, daily devotional books, a potted plant. My brother, in one of his customary strokes of genius, brought her a funny, cuddly stuffed animal, an amazing long-haired calico cat wearing a seductive grin and snappy white whiskers. When the aunt pulled this creature out of its bright tissue wrappings she literally screamed with delight, and has not let the cat out of her sight since.

A depressed cancer patient that I was working with, a woman with a double mastectomy and cancer going into the bone, dreamed of a beautiful fairy-godmother who came and wrapped the patient lovingly in her long golden hair and gave her a crystal ball that had a tiny golden fish swimming about in it. This little fish turned out to be a healing symbol for the woman. I contacted a psychic healer friend who made a tape using the fish and the godmother as symbols functioning to increase her white blood-cell count. Her brother then presented her with the tape as a gift. So here you have a gift of healing symbols from the dream, the symbols transferred to a material gift, and a return of the symbols, via concentration and immersion, back into the psyche as healing forces. Somehow, our dreams always give us the right gifts. Dreams don't lie, don't ignore our age or position, or buy us stuff from the department store. Our dreams bring us tailor-made gifts—not always welcome, often unexpected, but always right on.