For many of us, the thought of being left behind is accompanied by a sense of dread. It can awaken fears of rejection, abandonment, or being flawed. Kathryn in Los Angeles relates a series of dreams that all show her being left behind. “Sometimes people just leave me,” she elaborates, “and sometimes I can’t leave because I don’t have the right information, like I don’t know what door to use, or I don’t have the right schedule, so I am late and miss the bus. But no matter how it happens, I am always left behind. I can’t wait to see what this all means.”
Missing the bus (or plane or class or an appointment) because of being late is a common theme in dreams, often indicating being unprepared or not up to the task of handling whatever you’re dealing with. Not having the right information can evoke a similar feeling of inadequacy. Kathryn may need to boost her self-esteem by acknowledging and developing the talents she brings to the world. She also needs to find her own path, and not be concerned with what other people think of her.
Let’s analyze Kathryn’s dreams in detail to see what other messages they hold for her:
I’m in a building with Italian/French architecture. The building is divided into living spaces/apartments on the top three floors, and retail space on the bottom. The retail space resembles the Beverly Center [an upscale mall] in Los Angeles. Within the retail space are a number of pools with dolphins and rainbow fish swimming around. I’m dating a guy who lives on the third floor. We’re sitting on the couch in his apartment, when a reddish/blond-haired girl comes in and sits on the couch next to him. They hold hands, and I get pissed.
He says, “Don’t worry, she is just my lover — you are a true friend — you are the one I want to be with.” We run out of the apartment past the swimming fish and into a parking lot, where the girl has a 1962 VW Bug waiting for her. I tell her, “You have to stop acting like a child — you need to be more mature. You’re 23 years old and you are still sleeping around with guys. You have to stop.” The girl and the guy both get into the car and drive away. I can’t catch them because I keep slipping in the mud.
This dream reveals a battle between Kathryn’s inner ‘good girl’ and ‘bad girl.’ The conflict affects both her love life and her career, as indicated by the divided spaces. The European architecture and the resemblance to the Beverly Center may have a special meaning for Kathryn, or it may indicate that she’s drawn to the exotic, luxurious, or impractical. The pools with dolphins and rainbow fish in the retail section represent the creativity and talents she brings to her work.
It’s interesting that the boyfriend lives on the third floor, because the dream is about a threesome. So, if ‘three’s a crowd,’ what’s intruding on Kathryn’s happiness? A bold female interloper who takes what she wants. She’s actually part of Kathryn’s psyche, the brash, self-centered bad girl she’s trying to repress. These attributes are a double-edge sword — they help Kathryn obtain what she wants, but they can also cause her to be rash and irresponsible.
She tells the woman (herself) that she’s immature and sleeps around. Unless Kathryn is actually being promiscuous, the admonishment is Kathryn’s attempt to control this seemingly uncontrollable side of herself. However, repressing her inner bad girl will only cause it to run away with her (causing poor judgment in men, for instance), leaving her good girl stagnating in the mud. She needs to integrate the two sides of her nature. If she acknowledges the value in her bad girl characteristics, while still being focused and responsible, the combined energies will fuel her success.
All of my friends from high school and college get together and go to Aruba. We are in a museum — the entire building is white and round. I’m looking at a painting, and when I turn around, everyone is gone. I try to leave, but I keep running around in circles trying to find the door, and I can’t.
The friends from school leaving Kathryn behind may indicate she’s comparing herself to her peers, perhaps feeling they’ve accomplished more than she has. She’s running around in circles, trying to follow her friends, but following in their footsteps will get her nowhere — she needs to create her own path. The museum holds Kathryn’s emotional and spiritual history, including some patterns that are keeping her stuck.
I’m at an IHOP restaurant with my grandmother (who is deceased). I’m ordering food, and she is telling me not to worry, but then she leaves the restaurant. I try to go with her, but I can’t leave the restaurant until I’ve placed my order correctly, and I can’t get the order right.
Getting the order right is a metaphor for life — Kathryn can’t leave (follow her grandmother in death) until she fulfills her destiny. She may feel like her grandmother abandoned her, but her grandmother tells her not to worry, and she’s right — Kathryn will eventually ‘get the order right’ and fulfill her destiny.
Kathryn’s dreams reveal a struggle to believe in herself and walk her own path. Being true to herself will empower her self-confidence, creativity, and ability to realize her dreams.
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