When I read Tzivia Gover’s blog post a few days ago about asking a dream symbol, ‘What is your purpose?’ it felt timely for me because I had just dreamt about an image that recurs fairly frequently in my dreams, so I had an obvious one to try the technique on.
In the dream, I was walking along a cliff path, looking out across the clear blue water. I felt happy and full of energy. As I came down towards the bay, I saw a woman in a bright floral summer’s dress lying languidly in a wide shallow boat, gently rocking.
I noticed an enormous fish, almost as big as the boat, swimming around in the water nearby. There was no sense of danger. It was, as I recorded in my dream diary, simply ‘extraordinary and remarkable.’
I walked on, and saw several more of these huge colourful fish, as I came down onto the beach and crossed a wide rushing stream.
These days, I don’t usually try to interpret individual symbols in my dreams, I just enjoy them, but today I asked the enormous fish, ‘What is your purpose?’
Nothing came to me immediately, so while I was waiting for a reply I pondered, ‘What is it about this enormous fish? It’s not scary, it’s just swimming around in its natural element of water. Yet it is a remarkable fish.’
Then I realised, ‘What is the purpose of this remarkable fish? To be remarkable!’
I feel my life is remarkable, as anyone who has close contact with their dreams and imaginary worlds will feel. I seek the remarkable in my work, always trying to break new ground.
My book Bullies, Bigmouths and So-called Friends, was identified by the Independent critic as the first real self-help book for children; Writing in the House of Dreams and the book I’m working on at the moment, When a Writer Isn’t Writing: How to beat your blocks and find your flow, both mix themes to make unusual hybrids.
My fish is an ordinary fish in its ordinary element and yet it feels remarkable. My life is an ordinary life but my purpose is to find the extra-ordinary within it. That’s what brings me pleasure, the same as when these enormous fishes swim into my dreams.
You can find your symbol too; you don’t have to wait for a dream. Simply sit quietly for a few moments and take a few slow breaths. Still your mind.
Lower or close your eyes, and move into your inner space. Ask, ‘What is my life’s purpose?’ and let the question float away, as you take a few more slow easy breaths.
Now think of an object, and accept the very first thing that drops into your mind. Don’t judge or rationalise it away.
Examine your object from every angle, noticing its particular characteristics. I notice that my huge fish is always brightly coloured, always swimming in clear water and always on its own.
Ask your object, ‘What is your purpose?’
Again, don’t censor or rationalise; go with the first answer that pops into your head.
If you try this, because my purpose is to find and celebrate remarkable things, please share! What was your symbol, and what insight did it bring?