No One Can Cut Your Shadow In Half

“How did you sleep?”  “Did you have any dreams?”  Each morning begins the same way.  While rubbing eyes and stretching long thin arms, we ask each other how the night was.  We’ve talked about dreams since the kids could talk, or since they first started having dreams.  I can’t remember which came first.  When Jen was little, she felt left out if Will and I were discussing our dreams, and she didn’t have a dream to share.  I don’t know if she just couldn’t remember, or if she had a hard time with the difference between dreams and reality.  When it was her turn to talk about her dream she’d always say, “It was about a snowman.”  And that was it.

Last night she had a symbolic dream about ‘a guy’ that cut her shadow in half.  When she realized that he cut her shadow in two pieces, she cried for a whole day.  When she had finished crying, her shadow became whole again.  But just as the shadow became one, ‘the guy’ cut her bunny in half.  (This was the very special pink bunny that she had gotten when she was in the hospital with pneumonia.)  So with tears in her eyes, she brought the bunny to me, and I “sewed the bunny all up and it was good as new.”

I have always felt that we process things and solve problems in our dreams.  Some of us are lucky enough to remember dreams, and then we can hang on to what the dream means.  Some of us don’t remember much about our dreams.  I’ve taken the approach that if we talk about them everyday, we start to remember them more, and we’ll have better access to the lessons.  In Jen’s case, each time I’d prompt her to tell us about her dream, all she could come up with was the snowman.  But after awhile, she seemed to listen to herself more, and she started remembering her dreams.  It’s kind of like intuition — if you stop paying attention to intuition, it will stop speaking to you.

That being said, sometimes (a lot of times) dreams are too bizarre to have any real tangible significance to anything in ‘real’ life.  But there’s nothing wrong with a little comic relief in the morning.  For example, Jen’s other dream last night was about catching friendly, minuscule  rubber-headed leprechauns in a tiny paper house.  Not sure where to go with that other than the kids set a trap every year to try to catch Larry the Leprechaun.  Maybe she’s working out a plan for a new trap.

Jenny’s dream about ‘the guy’ is pretty straight forward.  To me it says, her dad is squashing her spirit (cutting her shadow in half).  She has been afraid to cry out when her dad does something that denies who she really is.  She is learning the value in crying — showing who she is and how she feels.  And as she lets herself out, her spirit (shadow) can be whole.  And sometimes she just needs a little help from her mom.

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7 comments

  1. Wow! The content of kids’ dreams – or fantasies – can be amazing. The most memorable of all my kids’ was Amos’s fantasy when he returned from a visit to his “brown mommy.” He was about 4. The social worker brought him back to our house much later than we’d expected. We had finished dinner. I warmed up a plate for him and was sitting at the table keeping him company as he ate. He was distressed, but I couldn’t tell why. Finally, he said, “The next time I go to see my brown mommy, I will be all grown up, and I will come back in a car. But you will see me little, and I will sit on your lap.” I know he was telling me he wanted control over the situation. He didn’t want other people deciding when he would see his brown mommy and when he would see his pink mommy (me). But he still wanted to be a little boy who would be loved and treated like a 4-year-old, wherever he went. It gave me shivers when he said it, and it still does today.

  2. and how blessed was Amos that you took the time to sit across from him and listen to him.

  3. Normal days I wake up tired-er than I went to bed, my dreams, or terrors are so vivid, so real, so unpredictable, I run, I fight, I spit (yep), I cry like I have never cried before, I ache. They are so real. Are they the life I am trying to escape from? Are my dreams, my soul trying to be let free?
    You have a way of bringing this stuff to the light my dear… Thank you from the bottom of my heart…

  4. For about 6-8 months before I left Mark, I had descriptive, exhausting, almost violent dreams. I would attempt to discuss the dreams with him, but he grew weary listening. I was grasping at straws, looking for the meaning of the dreams. (Can’t blame him for being bored with hearing about the dreams. Dreams are pretty personal, and only relevant to the dreamer.) He said I was depressed. He said I should get a prescription. I was afraid to go to bed at night, never knowing what new, awful dreams I might have. It has been a long time since I have had a really scary dream – almost four years now. I’m not depressed, and I’m not on any kind of prescription.

  5. I’ve been on antidepressants for years, knew I needed something when I had a real feeling to fly off my Aunt’s 8th level condo deck, not kidding… Had an almost giddy feeling of, ‘Go ahead, go for it’, you know the little devil on the shoulder saying something? Been on them for that, for anxiety, and I guess for trying to be numb for what was going on here. But I am glad to announce… drum roll please…. I am no longer on them. Decided that it was pretty sick (?) to have to be on them to be married.. one step at a time huh? One step…

  6. Annie,

    I remember when you told me that you thought I was brave for leaving. I said you are more brave for staying. You are still so brave. I’m still holding on to the net …

  7. Tears are flowing… Thank you…

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