Dear friends, this story is an effort to describe how I work with the dreams and dream-like experiences.
I do have plenty of positive experience teaching dream work and helping my students to go through creative blocks, but not much experience in writing.
So, I will appreciate any feedback on this article and your advises. Thank you Nataly Grif for inspiring me to write it with your tiger on a wall painting!
The Tiger, which plays with the feather
I wrote down this dream five years ago. I recently found my writing about it, and realized that this dream's story still plays an important part in my life. This dream is a part of my life myth and ongoing larger process.
In a dream, I was sitting in a room with a good friend and drinking tea. There is a cliché that Russians always drink vodka. In fact, we always drink strong black tea, usually when we chat to friends about life, philosophy, and news in the community. So, in the dream I was drinking tea with a friend, when I noticed a white feather floating in the air. I admired the lightness and smooth movement of the feather.
After I watched the feather for a while, the skylight window in the room opened and the huge tiger jumped from the ceiling. The tiger jumped from the ceiling and caught the feather.
In the dream I was shocked and disturbed. I screamed to my friend "Look! A tiger is jumping from the roof!" My friend from the dream calmed me down. He told me "Don't worry. This tiger always lives on the roof and doesn't mess with us. But when it sees the feather it jumps down to play. The tiger is not dangerous, it just wants to play with the feather."
How do we work with this dream from a process work perspective? We can work with associations first, as most dream workers do. Me drinking tea is my normal self, my part personality, which is easy going, nice to people, likes friends and community. From the Process Work perspective, this personality is closer to my primary process. Then I look at the feather. The feather is white and light and airy. It doesn't stay still much, and easily changes direction. I know this part of myself as well. I feel that this image of the dream represents my sensitivity, lightness, ability to be flexible.
The tiger represents my wild power unrestricted by society. I love my power and I admire the tiger's strength, health and beauty. However, my everyday self, the one which drinks tea with friends is afraid that this "tiger" will break my house and my "normal" self. My friend, representing my wise educated self, calms me down with the message that this power is for play, for pleasure, not for destruction. The tiger is here to play.
So that is the explanation of the dream. How can I go father from here, and to turn this dream into my personal coach? A coach that can teach me more power, more lightness, and more balance between those two polarities? Let's use the method of "Shapeshifting" to try to learn more from this dream.
First, I decided to use the image of the flying feather. I shapeshift into the feather trying various channels. First I use the visual channel. I imagine that I am the white fuzzy super light feather. Then I add movement - I start to move super slow, lightly moving my hands to imitate a feather moving in the air. This dance puts me into a light trance, and I feel the changes in my body sensations. I use the sensation channel to go deeper into this experience. I feel extremely light, like I lost all my weight. In my normal, everyday state I am a heavy women. I don't feel light at all. I am also strong and sharp in my expression and communication style. While dancing my feather dance, I enjoy this quite different sensation. I imagine how I would act in my present life situation from this feather state:
- I probably would be more easy on myself and not take on so many tasks at the same time. - I would move in more slow tempo and will be conscious in my business activity. -I would move between my tasks more easily and lightly. I would approach this heavy load of writing a diploma paper in a lighter way, like the feather dance.
- While dancing as a feather, I notice that my present body symptom, neck pain, is gone and instead of it I feel like I have big wings. What a pleasant feeling! I decide that I need to do a little of the feather dance every day to bring more of those qualities into my life.
After being with my dream feather for a while I move to the tiger. I shapeshift into the tiger using the movement and audio channels. I jump and move as a tiger, and I roar to feel the mighty power of this dream image. I recognize some of my everyday qualities in my dream tiger. The Tiger is heavy and aggressive. It is also fast, it jumps and reacts immediately. I know those qualities in myself, In some situations I may act fast and be quite aggressive. I like the power of my tiger, but it is unpredictable and scary. I do get into troubles, when I am in my "tiger" mode. That is why I was afraid of this tiger in my dream. These unpredictable aggressive jumps of my inner tiger have destroyed some of my relationships.
At some point I decide to stop analyzing and criticizing the tiger and to shapeshift into it instead. I dance and jump and enjoy the power of my body, the speed and strength with which I am able to move. The deeper I go into my tiger, the more I feel my inner power. In this moment the tiger energy is fully embodied. I notice it has loosened, there is no more aggression in my dance and emotional state, only flexibility, strength, joy and playfulness. I start to enjoy my tiger fully. I also realize that when I embody this state consciously I can control my power. I can hold this aggressive tiger power in my relationships, I can bring just some part of it, enough to put boundaries, but not to destroy. I can play with this feather.
At the last part of the dream work, I decided to explore my flexibility and ability to move with awareness between two polarized states - the feather and the tiger states. I use the dance between polarities as a method. I dance the feather dance for a minute, and the tiger dance for a minute. I practice switching from one dance to another. This switch is not easy in the beginning, it is hard to move from playing a big massive tiger to a light feather and back. But after several switches back and forth I master it. I really enjoy this game. The tiger loves to play with the feather. Through this dance I become more conscious of my extremes. I teach myself to notice when I am at those states and learn not to get stuck there, but consciously move from one state to another.
How can I use this ability in everyday life? I use it to balance myself and to move in between states fluently and consciously. I also use it to help my clients who may be stuck on either side - too light, flexible, and not able to show their power, or the opposite - too heavy. I use it with groups where people of different characters and states come together, and as a group facilitator I need to be aware of my polarized energies. I also use the heaviness and power of the tiger when I need the group to follow me, and the lightness of the feather when I want people in the group to follow their own direction and not be restricted by the presence of the teacher. I use this dance for my own healing, when I feel that I need to balance my polarities. When I am in touch with both sides of myself, my creativity fully opens.