Tag Archives: dreams

No Worries!

Who put that cloud there?
– Art by Jan Ketchel © 2018

My father was a chronic worrier. He worried about everything! It drove me and my siblings crazy! He could not let anything go. He’d nag and natter about a thing he’d decided to worry about, usually something minor that he just could not let go of, until he’d spun it into a massive worry storm, leaving us all exasperated and exhausted.

Once, when I was in college, he called me at 3 in the morning, waking me and my roommates from a sound sleep to ask me if I had eaten. I had made an off-the-cuff remark about not having any food in the house as I headed home after a holiday visit, saying that I would have to shop once back in the city. He only heard the part about having no food in the house and his worrisome mind spun that tiny remark into a whole devastating story. By the time 3 AM came around he had decided that I was starving to death!

I was so angry at him that I didn’t speak to him for weeks, but during those weeks I could feel his worry hanging over me like a dark cloud, dragging me down. When I finally spoke to him about it we joked, but I talked honestly about how frustrated and drained I was by his constant attention on me. I told him to lighten up, that I could take care of myself, that I wanted to live my own life and to please leave me alone. His worry energy actually dampened my spirit and added a burden I didn’t need when I had so much else going on in my life.

I now understand this dynamic between parent and child as the archetypes of the parent/child relationship, the structures and dynamics that every parent and child must contend with as they go through life, as the child seeks to individuate and become independent, and as the parent seeks to let them go.

As a parent myself I have had to learn the lessons I tried to teach my father so many years ago. My own experiences with him have helped me to back off and let life take my children onward without me, but sometimes it can be very hard. When we see our children struggling our first reaction is to jump in and help, but that may not be the best course of action to take. The same can be said for any relationship.

To underscore the dilemma, I had a dream the other night. I was carrying large chunks of construction debris, huge lumps of concrete. I stood on the edge of a vast landfill, looking down into a vast pit filled with similar debris. A man stood on the opposite side of the landfill, a foreman. He yelled at me to throw the debris into the pit. I worried that it was wrong, that it would hurt the earth.

“Nah,” he said, “it’s how it’s done. Just throw it away!”

And then I wondered just what the heck I was doing. The concrete was clearly useless and clearly burdensome. It wasn’t toxic material either, it was just heavy, cumbersome old building material.

“Let it go!” I yelled, and then I threw it into the pit and walked away unburdened, lighter and freer than ever.

“What am I carrying around inside me?” I wondered when I woke up. “What concrete thing, idea, or issue am I attached to?

As the day went on the dream stayed with me. I thought about it, seeking to analyze its message and purpose. I determined it was not about memories. Those have all been recapitulated, so it was not anything from my past. I finally realized it was worry, the worries of everyday life, the worries about others, the kind of stuff that keeps you awake at night but is just empty chatter in your head, stuff you can’t do anything about and if you tried you’d have no luck at all.

As I thought about it I discovered that those worries had no real meaning or necessity in my life. They were not building blocks to something new but old construction materials that were no longer useful. I was right to chuck them into the landfill where they would soon be covered over, bulldozed into the earth to disintegrate and become part of the landscape.

Just as I had asked my father to let go of the burdensome archetypes of parent and child, so too did I have to let go of such archetypes within myself, along with the concrete ideas that I have to do and be the end-all for someone else. In letting go of the archetypes we are allowed to each grow and mature in our own ways, taking responsibility for ourselves and the decisions we make, for our present and future issues, and for our own joys and freedoms in life too.

Just because I might want to give advice, I realized, it isn’t always helpful or wanted. I have to take my own advice that I gave my father so many years ago and step back and let life resolve life. In the end, we have to let things go so things can proceed as they will and as they must.

I learned from my father that if you put your attention on another person they will sense you in some way, and you may actually be harming them, even if you think your worry is justified and you only want the best for them. The best for them is to send them positive, self-motivating, and loving energy that sends them off on their own journey through life under their own steam, rather than burdening them with your guilt, worry, regret, resentment, or good intentions. As I learned from my father, it’s just not fun having those kinds of energies hanging over you, having to bear another person’s unresolved issues while you are trying to figure out your own life on your own terms.

My father never did fully remove his worry energy from me. It followed me right into adulthood and he remained a solid worrier right up to the end of his life. But he taught me how not to do what he did, and as my dream points out it’s a lesson that never grows old.

I have had to remind myself to remove my worries about my own kids’ lives countless times, so as not to burden them with a cloud of my worries hanging over their heads! After being the lifelong subject of someone else’s worries, whether justified or not, I know that it’s just not a nice thing to do to someone! Even if I may want to give valuable but unasked for advice, I also know that the best advice I can give myself is to remember my young adult self telling my father to just step back and let me live my own life.

Life itself is the best guide. We all have to go out into the world and learn how it really works. It’s how we learn and how we grow. The happiest people in the world seem to be those who have had to work hard for what they have, and there is no greater satisfaction than having done it on their own. And no worries either!

A blog by J. E. Ketchel, Author of The Recapitulation Diaries


Acceptance… there is beauty in the darkness…
– Photo by Jan Ketchel

This morning I wrote a Soulbyte* in the early morning hours, just coming out of sleep and dreams, about forgiveness and love, about how they are the same thing, unconditional energies that guide us to acceptance of who we are. The Soulbyte was triggered by a dream I was having just before waking.

In the dream I was staring at a picture of myself at about age 10. I was dressed in my school uniform. I was focused on the face, saying to myself, “Yes, that’s me.” Chuck was next to me and I showed him the photograph. “See, that’s me,” I said, and then I took in the rest of the picture, looked at the full figure of my child self, sprawled out, looking groggy and stunned, perhaps drugged.

“It happened,” I said, as I saw that my clothing was messed up, my dressed pulled up and my legs spread wide, an obvious sexual assault having taken place. Here was a picture of the truth of my childhood. I could not deny that it was me and that I had been sexually abused.

“Yup, it happened,” I said without attachment, judgment, or emotional reaction. I took in the full picture as it was, an obvious fact, and accepted it.

A sexually abused person knows firsthand how hard it is to accept what happened, to forgive the self and to love the self. And so it is not unusual that both women and men who have been abused are reluctant to speak about what happened to them. They fear being judged and blamed, but the real challenge is to not judge and blame themselves. How can we speak of these things that happened to us publicly if we can barely speak of them to ourselves?

It can take years before a person is ready to even venture into memories, memories that may be so buried as to be completely blocked. It can take years before a person is ready to stop being so hard on the self, to stop torturing the self, and to begin a healing process of acceptance of life’s unfolding. It took me until I was almost 50 to begin looking at my life at a deeper level and to dare to remember. It felt like a brave thing to do, and to this day I know it was. It is the bravest thing I have ever done.

Sometimes things just happen to us. If we are curious we might ask ourselves why they happened. What did they mean in the greater context of our lives? What did we learn? How have we grown because of them, or in spite of them? What and who have we become because of what happened to us?

Often we regret what we lost, what we did not have the opportunity to become because of what happened to us. We feel cheated out of some aspect of life that could have and should have been. But at the same time we must accept that it is how our lives went, and what happened cannot be changed. Facts are facts, as I accepted in my dream as I looked at the picture of my abused child self.

In deep inner healing work, as we explore our sexual abuse in the context of our whole life, we are able to accept our pasts and move on into new life without attachment, self-pity, or regret. We can accept ourselves as strong beings, caring beings, compassionate and nonjudgmental beings, because we know something that many others do not know. We have been there, we have experienced the unimaginable.

As we grow and heal, through going more deeply into the darkness of our past, we are able to accept what happened to us without feeling like either a victim or a survivor because we know and experience ourselves are so much more than that. We are fully alive, energetic, spiritual, ever-evolving beings, not in spite of but because we have experienced both the light and the dark sides of life. We are more complete because of what happened to us.

Whether we’ve been abused or not, life challenges us every day to live a nonjudgmental, loving, and compassionate life, to learn to accept who we are so that we can fulfill the destiny of this lifetime. Perhaps it is to become just that nonjudgmental, loving, and compassionate being we have become. Perhaps it is to teach others how to become nonjudgmental, loving, and compassionate. Perhaps it is to prepare ourselves to finally live each day to the fullest, to be open to new experiences and new adventures like never before, to learn to trust that life loves us best when we dare to embrace it and fully accept its abundant offerings.

I dreamed my dream last night because I am working on the next book in The Recapitulation Diaries. As I have worked through each book over the past several years I have faced once again the things that happened to me, the things I recapitulated during the years 2001 to 2004, and I get to experience just how healing that process was. My dream shows my complete acceptance. This is what I wish and pray for everyone who has been abused, that they too begin the brave work of real healing.

No life is meaningless. No experience is meaningless. There is something of importance in everything that happens to us.

*Here is the Soulbyte referenced above:

Soulbyte for Thursday October 19, 2017

What is forgiveness but the ability to give unconditionally without attachment, without need for anything in return. What is forgiveness really? It is love. And what is love but unconditional forgiveness, for true love is ready and willing to be given unconditionally, for it attaches to nothing and needs nothing in return. Can you forgive yourself, love yourself unconditionally? That is the greatest challenge that love and forgiveness pose. Forgiveness=Love. Love=Forgiveness. They are one and the same.

-From the Soul Sisters, Jan & Jeanne

-A Blog by J. E. Ketchel, Author of The Recapitulation Diaries

Chuck’s Place: Night & Day

What's real? - Photo by Jan Ketchel
What’s real?
– Photo by Jan Ketchel

In the night, the world loses definition as all merges in the darkness of oneness. Sleep brings death to waking consciousness as Ego’s grip loosens and it falls into dormancy. Many are terrified to drop into sleep where the great wall of focused consciousness collapses in dreams.

In dreaming, Self plays all the edited footage of life’s events and reveals many characters in the depths of the psyche who react to Ego’s decisions made in spacetime. Dreaming, with all its close encounters of the non-rational kind, also opens the portals to worlds beyond spacetime.

Though the reign of Ego is overthrown by the night its awareness is often present in dreams, comparable to the light of the moon. The moon does not overwhelm the dark, even in its fullness, as it cycles monthly through its various stages of light and presence. Nighttime awareness must always share the stage with independent others who show up unannounced, far beyond Ego’s ability to control. In fact, the dreams and journeys of night are orchestrated by a Self far more sophisticated than Ego’s limited intelligence.

Ego may rule the day, but Self rules the night. And Self cannot be stopped from imposing its agenda, ready or not. If we refuse the needs of the greater Self too much by day then we are sure to be clobbered by night when Self cannot be restrained or diverted by reason.

The morning, however, with its dawn of light, is the time of the rebirth of Ego. Immediately, the vagaries of the dark and the night, snippets of dreams and journeys taken, vanish as Ego once again springs to life and defines its world. Quickly, Ego brings online its greatest tool, the will, which decides and acts in the service of its ruler, Ego. In the day, Ego decides how to advance creation. Ego consolidates its power, decides when to get up, when to shower, what and when to eat, etc. The day is largely a succession of decisions and actions set in motion by the mind of Ego, enacted by its faithful servant, the body.

It was Jung’s contention that the central myth of our time concerns Ego’s management of the daytime world we are all living in. The Christian myth divorced us from our animal, instinctive selves, making Ego master of the physical body and physical world. Ego, in turn, was subject to the higher law of the masculine God as defined by this myth.

In today’s largely secular world, Ego and its physical counterpart the brain are truly regarded as the higher powers. Homage may be paid to some ethereal Godhead but, secretly, reason, the ruling order, has no attachment to irrational spirit. Reason has indeed become the daytime God. But, back to Jung’s point, just how well is it doing with its reign?

May the night do it's changing work in a positive way... - Photo by Jan Ketchel
May the night do it’s changing work in a positive way…
– Photo by Jan Ketchel

Given the state of the world today, a radical shift of attitude is critical for survival. The promptings for that shift are largely the stuff of the night. The dreams and messages from the night, where Ego is a minor player, are intent upon educating Ego to become the kind of leader Self envisaged when consciousness was granted to its child, Ego, and it was sent to live and grow in a time-limited existence in this world.

While appreciating Ego’s ability to enlighten the day, may Ego also be made humble and wise by its nightly encounters to bring true enlightenment into its decisions and actions by day.

Integrating night and day,



Chuck’s Place: The Living Dream

There's a fine line between worlds... - Photo by Jan Ketchel
There’s a fine line between worlds…
– Photo by Jan Ketchel

Many approaches to dream interpretation suggest that all characters in a dream be viewed as reflecting different aspects of the self. From this perspective we are afforded the opportunity to own and reconcile with our shadow selves, rather than simply struggling with them as we encounter them unconsciously projected onto the characters we meet in waking life.

For instance, if a dream character consistently terrorizes our dream self and we entertain the possibility that this terrorist is actually a part of our self, we might discover that this character is desperately trying to tell us something, in a very dramatic way attacking an attitude that dominates the waking self. Perhaps it might be an attitude that is too constrictive and is actually undermining our psychic health. Though of course we must stand up to any terrorist, in this case the standing up involves being brave and honest regarding our conscious attitudes and behaviors, which might be undermining the complete flowering of our personality.

Working with a dream character within the self in this way is very empowering. When we can take ownership of all parts of ourself we are positioned to move forward in an integrated way, with all our parts! When we disown parts of ourself and ascribe them to the faults in others, we are stymied in our movement toward wholeness, as we don’t have all our necessary parts to move forward with.

In waking life—which I view as actually simply another, more solid, dream world—we are afforded a similar opportunity. If we look to family and other acquaintances or colleagues as actual aspects of ourself, we might equally discover qualities or dynamics in them that operate in the shadow of our own inner psyche, which become projected, mirrored and reflected in all the characters of our waking life. Waking life then offers an inroad into seeing and owning tendencies within the self and their current state of integration or dissociation.

For example, if I am being held back by some characters where I work, and I view them as aspects of myself, I am freed to question just why I’m being challenged. What is it that I must “wake up to?” Why does this situation keep repeating itself? What is it that I am not seeing? What aspect of myself am I not taking full ownership of and responsibility for?

Of course, as with my earlier example with the terrorist in the dream, it’s not about allowing ourselves to be trammeled. We must stand up for ourselves. However, standing up for ourselves inwardly means taking ownership of the predicament we find ourselves in outwardly. Just as we seek to solve the mysteries that come to guide us in the dark of night, so are we offered the opportunity to solve the mysteries that approach us in the light of day in a similar manner. What am I not seeing in myself? What am I avoiding in myself? When we seek to interpret our outer life as if it were a dream, the waking dramas then become just as meaningful and guiding as our sleeping dramas.

Welcome to true reality! - Photo by Jan Ketchel
Welcome to true reality!
– Photo by Jan Ketchel

Ultimately, we might view ourselves as holograms, and as holograms we contain everything, all the time. And, ultimately, everything is interconnected, part of the same interactive whole. Hence, all our dreams, sleeping and waking, represent our individual position vis a vis everything. And we are both a part of, and EVERYTHING too!

Embracing every part of the living dream as part of the self is indeed a path to enlightenment, albeit a challenging one! Life: It’s just all one big dream!

Taking ownership,

Lessons in a Life: Is Life Really Planned?

Not that long ago the possibilities seemed endless... - Photo by Jan Ketchel
Not that long ago the possibilities seemed endless…
– Photo by Jan Ketchel

I notice how quickly nature gets the upper hand. Before I know it, the weeds have taken over. A few weeks ago I thought I might, this year, finally have time to tackle some big areas on our property that are overgrown before the poison ivy and fast growing vines of all sorts took over, but alas! Nature, as usual, has gotten the upper hand.

I find myself dreaming numerous dreams every night, dreams growing as rapidly as weeds. Chuck reports the same.

Each morning we wake up almost reeling from the amount of nightly dream activity, grasping to remember what we can, though we both find that we have to let most of it go, too many, too quick to catch. It does seem, however, that this is prolific dream energy time and not to be missed.

Recent work on my next book has made me realize just how much nature, both nature outside of us and nature inside of us, and our dream world are in synch, setting us up for what needs to be done now and what is to come. As I reread and edit the journals I kept during my recapitulation, starting 14 years ago, I see just how much was laid out then and just how much has transpired since then.

Experiences I had a few decades ago, and even longer ago than that, as well as things that happened to me in my daily life really did lay out future possibilities. I see that very clearly now. Of course, where I was to go and what I was to do were always my choices.

Forks show up regularly... which road to take? - Photo by Jan Ketchel
Forks show up regularly… which road to take?
– Photo by Jan Ketchel

Opportunities to take a certain route, a certain path, to make a life changing decision, however, are offered to us all the time, in a myriad of ways. This too I see very clearly now, as I see just how my own nature, my own dreams, and my own experiences, as I navigated life, really did support and prepare me to be a changed being in a changed life.

We might find support in the simplest of synchronicities, or in the most profound of experiences or dreams. My dreams were always guiding me, offering advice, spelling out things that I was not sure of, offering help when I asked or needed clarity on something. I took from them what I needed and moved on. Now, however, as I reread and edit what happened to me during my recapitulation, some of those more mysterious dreams are utterly clear now. I see that in part they were premonitions of what was to come. At the time they offered useful guidance, helped me through some tough times, but now, as I look back, they make sense in a different way.

What at the time seemed fantastical has actually come to pass. What at the time I could make sense of in one way, now makes sense in a totally different way. What seemed to be supporting dreams at the time, now prove to be laying plans for a future life and a future me, neither of which I could have ever imagined, but which actually came to be.

I started keeping dream journals in my late teens. Some of them I still have, others got lost in my many moves. There were stagnant years when I did little journal keeping, though I always kept sketchbooks and in many of those I jotted down significant events and dreams too. My own nature likes a pen in hand and quiet moments of contemplation. I can truly say, based on my own experiences and all the dream keeping I have done, as well as the significantly meaningful events in my life, that there really does seem to be a plan to it all, to life. At least that’s how I’ve experienced it!

What your own life really has planned for you may be cloaked in your dreams too. The main thing is to be open to life. And if you think you don’t remember dreams or that they are neither fantastical nor mysterious, think again, because life just won’t let you get away with thinking that way. Just look at the weeds!

Not weeds! ...Sometimes it's not so clear... - Photo by Jan Ketchel
Not weeds! …Sometimes it’s not so clear…
– Photo by Jan Ketchel

Nature has its own ideas and they are sprouting up all around us all the time. We just have to tune in. So watch out what you dismiss from your everyday experiences. You might see weeds, but you might also be missing something important!

Life won’t leave you behind, just make sure you don’t leave it behind. Enjoy what comes to find you and go out and meet it. That is the biggest lesson I’ve learned; if you want something to happen, make it happen. Show up, be present, take action when appropriate, and learn from your experiences, dreaming or otherwise.

Happy Spring and Happy Dreaming!