Wednesday, June 18, 2014

A "Marvin" Dream

A "Marvin" dream invaded sleep a few nights ago. Although this reoccurring night-time drama is less frequent and has morphed over the last thirty-five years, I always wake up wondering what it means. During my Mt. Tabor walks this week, I replayed the events of three plus decades ago to look for clues. There are more questions than answers.

Reoccurring experiences and reoccurring characters are common in my dream life. The years of my first marriage were plagued by a tsunami dream where a wall of water silently suffocated me. The dream and my stifling marriage ended in divorce.

Some dreams are more universal - the naked in public dream or sitting down to take an unexpected test and realizing not only did I fail to study for the exam, I've missed every class all term. Other examples of shared types are the losing a purse dream or a series of roadblocks that keep me from reaching a destination. It's reassuring to know others share these anxiety driven nightmares.

By now you may think I need a shrink. How would Carl Jung, the early 20th century Swiss psychiatrist and foremost researcher in dream analysis, weigh in?

A Jungian therapist once suggested I look at reoccurring characters as messengers. Is Marvin a messenger? If so, why has it taken thirty-five years to deliver the message? Is it a message that requires repetition to get my attention? What does Marvin or my experience with him symbolize?

Marvin was my mentor. He singled me out as the star of his architectural design students my freshman year at Portland State. My first design job was in his office where I received glowing praise and below minimum wage "under the table" pay. Without warning one August day in 1978, he fired me.

I haven't seen Marvin since I cleared out my desk and walked out of his office, but I often wonder how I fell so fast from favor. Was the raise he promised two weeks before he fired me more than he wanted to pay? Did he let me go because I began to challenge the ethics of his questionable business practices? His alleged reason for the split, "It's time for you to get a taste of the real world."

In most "Marvin" dreams, I find myself working for him again drawn in against my better judgement by a mysterious power. The setting this time was unusual, an abundant garden instead of an office. I dismissed Marvin's offer to help harvest tomatoes, peas and other vegetables. He was unable to budge a water valve I turned without difficulty.

Does Marvin and what he represents no longer have a hold on me? A good question to walk with on a misty morning.

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