Clutter & Mess in Dreams is Ego

When inmates call to share their dreams, one of the first things I tell them is that the way dreamwork goes is to remember that human beings have two sides: a lower nature or ego and a Higher Nature or True Self. We can think of the True Self as being Clear, Focused, Determined, Harmonious & Patient and the lower nature being confused, disorientated, unmotivated & disconnected. Often times “ego” shows up in my dreams as disorganized mess or clutter in the home.

For the past month I’ve been dreaming about living with very messy people and there’s never enough “space” for me. It’s always good to take a dream in two ways: first look at it metaphorically and then look at it literally. The symbol of this “ego mess” is that I am allowing other people’s “junk” (issues) clutter & distract me from my own sense of safety, security & well-being. This is not about actual, tangible, physical items in the environment. It’s about the way someone in a home or work place behaves in a way which impedes the growth & progress of the people around them. It can be as simple as me sitting down to write on the laptop and my 6-month old kitten climbing on the table for pets & cuddles. He’s a kitten so he doesn’t understand what he’s doing but he is interupting my flow. A child or spouse, parent, boss or colleguege may do the same. They have wishes, desires, needs and wants which they are putting above yours. Sometimes some of us are really good at putting other people’s needs above our own, to the detriment of our own selves.

After I take a look at where in my life someone’s metaphoric “mess” is cluttering up my space and I consider ways to work through that, then I can consider the literal meaning. Is my home cluttered? Am I hanging onto things whick I no longer love, or need, or use? The dreams could be simply telling me its time to let go of some of the old as the new is coming in.

Many Gen Xers like myself grew up in homes with parents who were baby boomers. Many of those baby boomers grew up in homes of people who struggle through the Great Depression from 1929-1933. They grew up in homes where money was tight and items were stored, saved, recycled, repurposed and reused in order to get by. The result of this hoarding behaviour can lead to an obsession if not managed consciously. The homes I grew up in were like this – cluttered, disorganized, messy, dirty. Old, broken, tainted, cracked items littered nearly every room. I literally grew up feeling like I lived in a flea market. LMAO. As it turns out, now that I’m adulting in my own home, I enjoy a minimalist style which has simplicity, beauty, warmth & charm.

For some reason, it feels taboo to even speak of this issue and I’m not sure why. Perhaps because even from the young age of 7 I felt ashamed of the mess I lived in. Often times I would clean the house and attempt to organize it before guests arrived. I felt embarrassed by the stacks of papers & envelopes on table tops, by the mayhem of miscellanous silverware & kitchen utensils haphazardly thrown into drawers which were so old themselves that they didn’t even open & close properly. Our dirty clothes was all over the laundry room floor. Pastas & rice which were WAY past their expiry date spread out across the backs of cupboard shelves. Food rotted in the back corners of the fridge drawers. Cobwebs in corners. Dust under dressers. Boxes & boxes & boxes of weird, outdated clothing and photo albums and knick-knacks piled floor to ceiling in our basements & attics. From the birth to age 20 when my parents split in 1992 we lived in seven houses which seemed to progressively worsen in their condition. This is not to point fingers or place blame or criticism because I understand the root cause of the issue. It’s just to say that I still have ongoing negative dreams about the living conditions in these homes and I’ve been learning how to create harmony, beauty & grace in my own living space.

It’s not clear to me whether I’m a minimalist by nature or by design. Is my desire for clutter-free comfort a reaction to living in clutter? Or is it just who I am naturally? Not sure. But for whatever reason, it is what it is and it gives me great joy to create harmony in my home. Therefore, when mess & clutter show up in dreams I know to start looking for ego. Here are some questions to ask if you also find yourself wrestling with chaos in the home – metaphorically or physically.

  1. Do I love it?
  2. Do I need it?
  3. Do I use it?
  4. How often do I use it?
  5. Does it bring value to my life?

When there is love in the home and unity among the parents & children, then even small egotistical messes can be cleaned up. It’s just a matter of communication & planning & cooperation. What does everyone love and need? What do the people in the home use and how often? In what ways do the items, activities & commitments bring value to the family?

For a while, I’ve been ignoring these questions and just trying to “get by” hoping the issues would pass but they are not going away so it’s time to address them head on. This post is my attempt to bring some normally hidden issues into the light and to continue on the process of living & enjoying a minimalist lifestyle with love. It’s my intention to talk openly about these issues because I am aware that so many people, especially women, do not feel they have the SPACE to be themselves and to really love the life they live. This post is meant to encourage, motivate & inspire YOU to get rid of the old & let the NEW in!

Photo by Daria Shevtsova on

A Brief Glimpse into a Near-Death Experience

In February 1997 I died. Luckily, there was a lifeguard nearby who gave me CPR, got my heart going again & brought me back within seconds or minutes. Incredibly, while gone for only those few fleeting ticks of the clock in the physical realm I had a soul stirring experience in the nonphysical realm which altered the course of my entire life.

As my consciousness was drifting away from my physical body, I heard a Voice – loving but firm – say to me “Do you want to let go? Are you ready to leave?” And I answered with a resounding “YES!” At the time, I was 19 and had lost all interest in day-to-day activities which would bring me Joy. I was feeling directionless & hopeless. Then the Voice says, “If you want to leave then you must let go of your legs,” so I consciously let go of the awareness & sensation in my legs. “You must let go of your arm,” says the Voice and I follow suit with each part of my body until the only thing left in my awareness is the sound & sensation of my breath. “Now it’s time to let go of your breath,” and so I do.

In the physical realm, when I started convulsing & stopped breathing that caught the attention of the lifeguard who initiated CPR. But in the nonphysical realm my journey had just begun.

Although it sounds cliche and predictable, it is my experience so I will share it. After I let go of consciousness of my physical body I became aware of an amazingly light & comfortable sensation all around me. I felt embraced by a Love I had never experienced in the physical world. I felt safe. Protected. Accepted. Understood. I had a sense of being connected to everything and everyone. It was the most beautiful sensation. The Voice repeated, “There is Oneness” many times. “Oneness….Oneness” almost like a mantra.

Then I began to see hundreds of episodes of my life play out before me like on a giant screen of my mind. The episodes were not random. Each one depicted me at a time in life when someone needed help or support or compassion or kindness but I didn’t take the opportunity. These episodes were from earliest childhood all the way up to the present moment as a young adult. Hundreds of thousands of scenes where I had the chance to be of assistance to someone but didn’t. These scenes showed me how my nonaction hurt others and how much pain I caused unintentionally. These were not intentional acts of cruelty. They were negligent, abscent-minded. Suddenly, the embarrassment and shame from my careless & thoughtless actions overwhelmed me and I wept with great sorrow for what I had done. I was pleading with the Voice asking forgiveness and saying I understood and that I see now the faults in my actions.

Then the Voice stated in such a loving way like a devoted parent to a child that all was forgiven. Then It stated that what I needed was Compassion and although I didn’t have it then I have it now. I agreed and said I understood. Then the Voice said I needed to go back to the physical realm with a lot of Compassion. The thought of this startled me and the memory of the pain and disunity and disconnect of the physical realm shook me. I didn’t want to go back and pleaded, “No! Please don’t send me back! No!” But then….whooooooooosh….I was back; I opened my eyes and saw the lifeguard’s face millimetres from my face and I was shocked and said, “I just died!” and he said, “It’s okay. You’re okay now. You’ll be okay.”

And that was the beginning of a life-long journey to develop and live Compassionately.

In upcoming posts I’ll share more about this journey in the hopes that sharing my story will inspire other like-minded souls on a similar path.

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Why going into chaos is the best way to transform it

I’m living in a cluttered space. Assailants enter the home. I’m on a rocky ship & the rooms start to spin.

Dreams like this often leave me feeling confused, disorientated, unmotivated & somewhat powerless.

With a complete FLIP from the way most self-empowerment approaches do things – I’ve learned to GO INTO the NEGATIVE, instead of avoid it. Some people may call this Shadow Work, or Trauma Therapy, or Raising My Vibration. I just go with Transformation since I tend to be a minimalist and like to keep things as simple as possible when possible.

Approaches such as Law of Attraction, or Mindfulness, or even the practice of reciting Positive Affirmations can be affective, of course, but there are limitations to those techniques which my Transformation method supercedes. What are the limitations? How do I delve deeper into the change work? The key is to consider the negative emotions as TEACHERS and to stay WITH them for a while so that understanding and insight emerges. Now, this is not to say it is healthy or appropriate to feel a deep sadness and stay in it for weeks, months or years; if that is the case, then some assistance to move through the sadness is needed and there are many great supports & therapists out there who can help.

No, what I mean to say is to stay close to the sadness or grief or fear or whatever the negative emotion is, in order to understand its origins, its roots, and its source. When this is more clearly understood then it becomes clearer just how to open up the positive energy that the emotion is presenting. I like to think of negative emotions as keys or clues to open the doors to the positive energy which is waiting to be discovered. The process is like mining for gems, digging for gold, hunting for treasures. We must move through a lot of darkness before we find the diamond. We must shift through a lot of dirt before the valuable totems are found.

That is why it’s useful, or even necessary, to go into the difficult shadowy places within ourselves – so that we can develop understanding and awareness and grow. If you think of the process like being at the entrance of the cave, when you go into the dark entrance and begin digging then you find the treasure. If you turn away from the cave, towards the sunlight and say, “It’s brighter over here. I want to stay and live in the light and keep attracting more light,” then you close the door to the potential that lays awaiting.

So when I dream of cluttered, chaotic places I know it’s a signal for me to go into the cluttered spaces in my mind to start finding the treasures. It’s messy & uncomfortable. It’s disorientating and frustrating at times. But it’s worth it!

We all have cluttered areas in our lives; it’s natural. Where in your life are there things that you are ignoring, putting off, telling yourself you’ll get to it tomorrow? See if you can go into the chaos whether it’s a metaphoric mess or a physical mess in the real world – see if you can do one thing to bring order, balance, harmony. Let me know in the comments how it goes for you. I’m looking forward to reading the progress.

Dream: Discovering I live on a Yacht

In the dream, I am living in cramped quarters: a tiny one-bedroom apartment with my mom & my sister. We haven’t fully unpacked yet so there’s brown cardboard boxes and black garbage bags cluttering the space. The basic necessities which we have unpacked in the bathroom, kitchen & bedroom already fills the table tops, cupboards & shelves so when I wake up in the dream to begin my day I feel a claustrophobic sensation and my mind spins in confusion. To solve this, instead of going to work, I set out enthusiastically organizing the space & decide to throw out or sell things which are not being used. Then I start grabbing things which need to be washed and when I remove the sheets from my sister’s bed I discover that she has 5-6 sets of sheets while I only have one very old set I’ve been using. My mom has been buying her new things while making me struggle with not having enough of what I need. But I take all the sheets anyways and head to the washer & dryer.

I quickly get dressed and gather the dirty sheets and head to the laundry room downstairs in a basement-type space. There I see our kitten is covered in safety pins which have been poked into him. Some are still open. Some are closed but all go through his skin; there’s about 22 of them and I just pick him up and start removing them which he lets me do even though it’s clearly painful. Some areas are infected and emit a yellowish fluid when I remove the pins. Some pins were in deep and bleed as I remove them. At first I thought he had somehow rolled on a patch of pins causing this condition but then I realize someone must have placed them into him, like a torture technique and I feel so badly for the young cat’s suffering.

On the way I decide to take a shower and then as I’m getting out I hear a loud knocking on the door so I look out the window in the bathroom door and I see several 20-somethings strut into the room, smoking cigarettes & cigars. My mom stands in the back of the room out of site so I can’t perceive her actions but it seems she knows them, is not concerned with them entering the place, and may be working with them in some capacity. While her crew stakes out the place a cold sensation moves through my body chilling me from head to toe and I find myself wondering what she does in her spare time when no one is watching her. I’m paralyzed by fear as the men talk to one another & my mom as I stand there naked dripping from the bath water. One man hears me breathing or sees a small movement thru the glass and he approaches the door listening cautiously. I stay in a freezed state and brace the door to block him if he attempts to enter but he doesn’t; he just turns non-chalantly back to the center of the room & finished the conversation. Then they all leave.

After the task is done, I go back upstairs to continue my mission of cleaning out the place and there I find an area I hadn’t noticed before. Suddenly I’m aware that we are on a large boat, like a yacht and there is a large carpeted area, about 3x the size of the apartment. There is a bed, and cafe-style table with two chairs as well as book shelves and cabinets that are all dark hardwood. Suddenly I feel enthusiastic again about the cleaning task because I realize this space is mine so I decide to bring all my things from the small apartment to this large area which is far away from the apartment side of the ship and where I will have privacy from the medling of my relatives. Just as I set out to do that the ship begins rocking and I see that the room is on a swivel to help it adjust to the waves at sea. Unfortunately, it starts spinning and doesn’t stop. I get dizzy and wait it out. I wake up in this state – eager to fill my new space but dizzy and unable to move.