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I Don't Need Rescuing, I Have Water Dragons
Processing Fear through Dreams & Somatic Experiencing
IT ALL BEGINS WITH A DREAM…
A few weeks ago, I began a Dream Tracking Apprenticeship with Matt, the founder of Raven Dream Tracking.
I’m only 2 weeks into this experience and I have been absolutely blown away by the power of dreams.
I’ve always known they’ve had some hidden magic and meaning, but I didn’t realize that they had the power to impact all corners of my life.
So far, this container has helped me understand the unconscious and poetic landscape that exists within dreams and the way they consistently draw symbolism and meaning from our personal relationship to emotions, people, symbols, places, etc. Matt often refers to dreams as speaking an archaic language that has a different morality than we do as conscious humans in the waking world. It’s why people often have dreams of doing things they would never do in real life (like sex, violence, or rage outbursts). The message is not usually found in the literal interpretation of the act of violence in the dream. Instead, there’s a deeper, more poetic message that can be excavated through storytelling, emotion, symbolism, skillful questioning, mirroring, and action. This is the Wild Language of dreams, the framework for interpretation that Matt is teaching me.
The more I learn & let my dreams live, the more I notice the knitting together of these two very different worlds. The more I see that my internal world is truly being reflected back to me by my outer circumstance.
This week’s blog post is an account of an incredibly beautiful lesson I’ve recently learned with this work. I did my very best to explain a very complex lesson in a way that was both concise and powerful.
DREAM #1: THE CRUMBLING BUILDING…
Our story kicks off in a dream.
This first dream took place in a very tall, very beautiful converted apartment building that had been a church originally. The basement of this building had a bar and a stage; My dad was preparing to do a comedy show, and I was there too, preparing to teach a class.
After gathering my things, I head up to an apartment on the 4th floor where my dad and I lived.
Suddenly, the building manager, who was not fond of us, appeared and began to chase me. I ran out of the building and crossed the street. When I turned around, I saw the entire structure collapse, with my dad and the building manager inside.
MY SOMATIC SESSION: WHAT DO YOU KNOW TO BE TRUE?
A few days after I had this dream, I had a session with Jessie, the somatic coach I’ve been working with for a little over a year. When I told her about the dream she asked me, “What do you feel in your body when you see the collapsed building, knowing your dad is inside?”
I paused and described the sensation with a metaphor of a polluted ocean.
“The surface is normally where I prefer to be. I can sit on a boat, safely, and breathe air. But looking down into the water all you can see is the trash that is floating on the top. The trash is all of my thoughts. It’s my ego and judgments. It’s usually the first thing I see and it’s so gross I’ve never dared to jump in the water…”
“But when I can get underneath the surface, and swim a little bit deeper, I get past that layer of garbage and I’m in crystal clear blue water. I’m safe and can get away from the noise above and be with the true nature of the ocean.”
“I feel like I’m swimming underneath, looking up at the surface. It’s peaceful here.”
I thought back to my dream and felt the heartbreak of loss on the surface of my chest, but underneath that, I received a message from the depth of my being that said “It’s okay. It is all the way it’s supposed to be.”
Jessie reiterated the truth that I had shared. That I was okay. Deep down. I was okay.
Then she directed me to try and bring the feeling of peace and security I found in the deep water, with me as I swam up to the surface in my imagination.
“It feels like the surface is just 4 feet away, but I don’t want to go any farther than that.”
“That’s how close this feeling of peace is to the surface. Just 4 feet.”
Then something clicked.
The deep water is not something to be afraid of.
Deep water can be safer than the surface.
I don’t need to be saved from it.
I don’t need to figure it out.
I just need to have the deep water meet the surface.
I need to connect with the deepest level of myself, to my truth and peace, and I can be “saved” from the inside out.
DREAM #2: THE WATER DRAGONS
A few days after my somatic session, I had another dream.
I was swimming in the cool deep blue ocean off the coast of a medieval kingdom. On both sides of me, swam two enormous water dragons. Both of them had sapphire blue scales and teal skin around their giant black eyes. They were so large that my body, swimming next to them was about the length of their eyeball. We were swimming together so fast, we left a trail of bubbles behind us the way a motorboat would. Swimming with them felt like a breath of fresh air. It felt like freedom.
What is most interesting about this dream is that it is the first dream I’ve had where I’ve been underwater and not panicking about dying or not being able to breathe.
I told Matt during our session that normally, I don’t like being in deep water. That I hate swimming in real life, and normally I wake up from water dreams gasping for air because I was holding my breath for too long.
When Matt and I explored this dream, he asked me about my relationship to water/swimming/drowning, and to the dragons.
I told him that the most common thing that happens when people drown is that no one notices that they even went under.
It was then that I realized that I wasn’t afraid of drowning - I was actually afraid of no one being able to help me if I needed it.
I also shared that the dragons felt like they were part of me. We were deeply connected and there was a sense that we were protecting each other.
THE MESSAGE FROM BARTON SPRINGS…
The task that Matt gave me this week was to allow the dream to live through the emotion of freedom. Jessie had also recommended I tap into the feeling of peace, and maybe try to go swimming. So with the blessing from both of my guides, I decided to go to Barton Springs for an early morning dip.
The last time I was at Barton Springs I went face to face with my fear of water and I forced myself to jump in with a big group of people. While this is perfect proof that we can do things even when we are scared, it didn’t get rid of my fear. Almost the whole time I was in the water I was trying to NOT think about dying.
But this time, I got into the cool water with ease and felt immense peace and gratitude as I waded in the deep end.
And it all clicked.
My fear of water was never actually about water.
I wasn’t actually afraid of drowning.
I’m not even really afraid of death.
My fear was that no one would be able to help me.
I was afraid I couldn’t be saved.
But this week, my dream taught me that I was okay.
This week, my body reminded me that I don’t need to be saved. I have the power to save myself.
This week, my dragons gave me permission to feel freedom.
And today my fear of water dissolved.
Today, I got to swim.