Dreaming of Flying

The ability to be able to take flight is a common theme in the dream time, eliciting many different interpretations, dependent on context.  It might be an indicator that we have the ability to “rise above” a certain problem, have chosen “flight” over “fight”, are avoiding certain issues, or may be illustrating something else.  As always, with dream images, the circumstances in both the dream and outer life should be taken into consideration.

Last night, I dreamt that I was flying, gliding past my husband conducting business in our front room, and floating past neighbours unseen.  Only a black dog, off his leash, spotted me and took chase.  I panicked for a moment, until realizing that all I had to do was fly higher.  Back at home, my doctor and a co-worker gathered in my bedroom where I asked if they thought something was wrong with me.  On the contrary, they both wanted to learn my technique, tried to hold me up and lend me a supportive hand.  It wouldn’t work, I told them, while they were hanging on.  As I always do in my dreams, it is just a matter of jumping and letting go, surrendering to the flight.

Levitating is the poem that arose from working through this dream.  It alludes to the condition of invisibility that accompanies my illness, and the ability to dissociate from reality; escapism.

I know there is more to the dream; have experienced this sensation before.

This past weekend was Easter, and as a family we gathered at my eldest daughter’s for a feast, after which I decided to stay on overnight while my husband returned home.  Conversation during the day had turned to the new health threat hovering over him – a potentially dangerous heart condition (test pending).  Alone with my children, they began to ask me serious questions:  What will you do, Mom?  Where will you live?  Who will look after you?

Like my ego in the dream, I prefer to “glide” past the business aspects of these questions, “float” ideas for living accommodations in my mind, cannot settle on a solution.  I am constantly trying to outrun the “black dog” of depression, tell myself it is just a matter of attitude – keeping “up”.

The women in my dream – my doctor and co-worker – are representative of the logical, traditionally minded part of self, and the spontaneous side, lacking focus.  Neither can help me at this moment – in fact, I am bogged down by their attempts.  In the dream, my need is to ascend, disappear.  It echoes the way I am feeling.

Dissociation is a pattern that I learned at young age – faced with issues for which I had no coping mechanisms, I learned “to fly”.  It is a tendency I have carried into adulthood, preferring to believe in magical interventions (some call it faith) rather than deal with cold, hard facts.  The dream is reflecting my emotional response, and telling me what?

What struck me most, in working with the images presented, was the fact that it is only when no one is helping or touching me that I “take off”.  I need the presence and support of others to remain grounded.  In dialogue with my children, I was quick to state that I would not be a burden to any of them – it is an old reflex.  Truth is, my current state dictates that I cannot survive alone.

And this strikes a deep resonance within me.  As a child, surrounded by insurmountable chaos and often left to my own devices, I would rock myself to sleep, declaring between sobs:   I don’t need anyone!  I don’t need anyone!

As childish and impractical as this knee-jerk reaction is, I still revert to that position when afraid.  Which leads me to another possible interpretation of dreams of flying:  arrogance.

Pretending not to need anyone else, playing at not wanting to be a burden, is an arrogant refusal to accept current circumstances and leaves all parties feeling belittled.

Time, I set my feet back down on the ground, and get real, I’d say.

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Permission to write, paint, and imagine are the gifts I gave myself when chronic illness hit - a fair exchange: being for doing. Relevance is an attitude. Humour essential.

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