Friday, July 26, 2013

Childhood Fears

I slept through the night, which is a bit unusual for me these days.  I was having a rather intense dream right before I woke up.  Here are some fragments from it.

I was at some sort of conference.  During the week we sat at the same table with our group and got to know them pretty well.  But this was the last night and we were in a different room and sitting with different folks.  We were supposed to get something to eat and then go to the front for a purpose that I don't remember now.  My table was near an outside wall.  It was made of clear glass so you could see outside to a grassy area.  The door was open.  There was a full grown lion and a cub just outside.  The lion was peering in seeming to contemplate whether he should enter the room.  I was petrified by this.  But nobody else in the room seemed to notice.  I asked Robert, whom I knew before the conference and who was at my table, if he'd close the door.

The next thing seems to be the end of the conference and to walk back to the hotel room to get ready to leave.  As I'm walking that same grassy area is now behind a fence.  There are a bunch of camels just sitting there, not looking threatened or threatening.  I find I have too many keys in my pocket.  So I talk to the bell captain about this.


When I was a kid I had this absurd fear that a lion would come to our house in Bayside and get me and my brother.  I have no idea where that fear came from but I had it with some frequency.  I believe there was a zoo in Flushing Meadows, where the Worlds Fair had been.  It was about a twenty minute car trip to get there from my house.  That a lion would escape from the zoo and find my house had a likelihood very close to nil.  As a child, however, you don't distinguish between real threats and those that are entirely imagined.

Sometime in my teens I stopped having this particular fear.  I grew out of it.  I don't remember having dreams about lions as an adult, until last night.


Having read Milner's On Not Being Able to Paint, not that long ago, I have some appreciation that the subconscious works on issues that the conscious mind is stuck on.  Dreaming is important for the imagination to function well.  But as I'm writing this, I'm unsure what issue of mine is being addressed in this dream.  Nor do I understand why I returned to that same paralyzing fear of childhood. 

I wonder if I'll be able to let go of this thought during the rest of the day.  My biggest real fear at the moment is whether my back will improve enough so it returns to normal.  Yesterday, for the first time in a week, I did my stretching exercises for my shoulder, almost the full routine, but I could tell it was hurting the back a bit.  After my back felt a bit stiffer.  But this morning my back seems to be where it was before I did the stretching, so I will do more stretching in a few minutes.

There are a variety of other things that I worry about.  I will not elaborate here.  I guess the dream pertains to one of them or some of them as a bunch. 

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