Personal Stories

Mexico Part 2: Blue Jeans and Affection

The first thing I noticed when I started walking to the town square was the big Walmart next to the hotel.  Then the Sears store, The Scotia Bank, Wendy’s, Starbucks – I could go on an on. I wondered for a bit what country I was in, but the Mexican music blaring from the TVs  in most shops let me know I was in Mexico.
The next thing I noticed was the clothing.  Many people are wearing blue jeans even though it was a hot day. All ages wore them, elderly people down to a toddler in blue jeans bibbed trousers.  There were plain ones, studded ones, new ones, old ones, loose ones, tight ones (mostly tight ones), ones with holes in them and even shorts made of blue denim.  It almost seemed like a uniform.
Then I noticed how affectionate the people are. People held hands, again all ages. parents held the hands of young children but also adolescent children.  Mothers and adolescent children, sons as well as daughters walked arm in arm.  Women friends often were walking arm and arm.  Of course there were lovers walking arm in arm and often canoodling in the streets and on the tour buses (like the couple sitting right in front of me).  Children were everywhere and seemed loved and accepted.
The buildings around the cathedral and town square are beautiful. A lot of the city that I saw was ordinary.  What stood out for me were the few buildings, here and there, along the tour that are obviously well cared for. They have fresh colourful paint and lots of flowers hanging from their windows and balconies. They were like gems among stones.
I got off the bus in Tlaquepaque , an Artisan area, to site see, shop and have lunch.
With care and concern,
Dr. Bea

Mexico Part 1: “Rain me a River”


On Monday, I spent the day travelling from Vancouver through Phoenix to Guadalajara, Mexico.
I’m doing a workshop on Two-You Work to promote my book at a regional AAGT conference here.
I took a taxi from the airport and on route it started to rain.  When I checked into my room on the 17th floor,  I could hear the rain driving against my window.  I looked out but I could hardly see a thing. The rain was coming down in sheets.  There was so much rain on the streets that cars were making waves as they pushed through the water and people were wading through water up to their knees.  There was a lot of thunder and lightening.  I was glad to be in my room and dry.  The storm gradually subsided.

The next morning I was awakened at 5:30AM by another storm, again lots of lightening, thunder and sheets of rain.  As I lie in my nice warm bed listening to the storm the TV blasts on around 6:00AM with loud Mexican music.  I was glad I was already awake.  So much for sleeping in.

I thought I would not be able to do site-seeing today because of the weather, but by about 10:00AM it was clearing off so I headed out.  I had left my umbrella in Vancouver thinking I wouldn’t need it.

I walked about a dozen blocks to the Cathedral  in the town square.  From there I went on a bus tour of the city.  The weather became sunny and hot. I was glad I wore my wide-brimmed hat.

This wasn’t the weather I’d expected in Guadalajara.

With care and concern,

Dr. Bea

Dreams Part 5: Dying in your dreams can be a good thing.

To dream of yourself or someone else dying in your dreams can be disturbing.  But dying in a dream is often, meant metaphorically, not literally.

Nightmare: My daughter died!

Sandy, a mom with two children, was thinking about going back to work.  Growing up, her mother when back to work when she was 10.  She was the eldest of 5 children and had to be responsible for her siblings when mom was not there.  It was too much for her.  As a mom, she was determined not to do that to her own children.

When her youngest daughter entered school full time, Sandy’s life changed.  She had much more time.  She thought about going back to work.  She’d loved her job as a elementary school teacher. Yet she was concerned about how her going back to work would impact each of her children, especially her eldest child.  She struggled with the decision.

One night she had a nightmare that her youngest child died.  She woke up in distress.  While thinking about the dream she realized that the dream was not about her daughter, but an aspect of herself.  Her youngest daughter had been so excited to go to school and was enjoying it immensely.  Sandy wanted to get back to school again and the nightmare was telling her if she did not go back to work, a part of her would ‘die’.  Her youngest daughter represented that part of herself (a daughter is related to a mother) that was keen to go to school, that is, get back to work.  Sandy solved her dilemma by taking a position of Teacher-on-Call so she could work if she was called in, yet decline if she needed to stay at home with her children.

Personal Experience:  Death of a relationship.

Years ago I wanted a better relationship with one of my brothers.  We were adults and I wanted more of a connection with him.  For many years, I kept trying to make that happen between us whenever we were together.   One evening we went out to dinner.  As usual I was trying to get more of a connection with him.  That night I dreamed that he died.

That was years ago and my brother is still very much alive today.  What died in the dream was my belief that we could have a more connected relationship.  My dream was telling me to give up; it was not going to happen.  So I stopped trying.  We have had a relationship all these years, it is not the relationship I longed for, but it’s OK. I accept it as it is.

Personal Experience:  Death/Rebirth

In my 30’s I did major work on myself through intensive therapy.  Much of the therapy centered on my dreams.  I kept a dream log during this time.  One time I  read through a series of dreams and identified a recurring symbol in them.   As dreams can have recurring themes they can also have recurring symbols.

The symbol I notice was a retaining wall.  Sometimes the retaining wall was made of wood, sometimes stone, sometimes high, sometimes low etc.  When I talk about this dream I always put my hand on my chest, just over my heart.

Here are the last two dreams I remember having about a retaining wall.

Dream:  I’m going to die!

I dream I’m in the ocean.  I’m at the base of a sheer rock cliff.  The waves are dashing me against the cliff.  I say, “If this continues, I’m going to die.”  Suddenly, there are metal rungs on the cliff wall forming a ladder.  I climb up out of the water to the top of the cliff.  The dream ends with me chatting to a woman who is sun tanning on a lawn chair.

Dream:  I die, yet I live.

In this dream, the retaining wall has water on both sides of it.  I’m in a powerboat and I’m travelling toward the retaining wall.  I’m trying to go over it in the boat.  Why?  I don’t know.  I’m just going to do it.  As I approach the wall, the boat goes up, in my mind’s eye there is a big wall of green water, and in my chest there is terror.  My boat crashes on the wall and I die.  But I do not wake up.  I say to myself, “No. No.  It’s not supposed to be like this.”

I start to do a replay.  I’m in the powerboat again.  I’m heading toward the retaining wall again.  I’m determined to get over it.  As I approach the wall, my boat goes up, the same wall of green water in my mind’s eye, and same terror in my chest.  This time I make it over.  The dream ends with me driving my boat slowly on a peaceful ocean; there are other boats around me.  In my chest, where the terror was, I felt a deep sense of peace.  The next day, I found myself doing things without thinking about them and saying things without thinking about them.  I became more spontaneous in a positive way.  That has never stopped.

The retaining wall represented the part of me that held myself back. Growing up, I learned to keep myself safe by holding myself back.  In order to come fully into myself, that part of me needed to die.  With all the therapy I had had up to this point I had arrived at the place where I could risk letting that part of me go.  It was difficult to let go of a way of being that helped me survive childhood, and some of my adulthood, but it was time and I was ready for it.  I know that I would never have done the things I have done if that part of me had not died.  I would never have gotten a Master’s degree, Doctorate, become a psychologist, written a book and other things, if that part of me had not died.

It was like a death and rebirth.   I had to let go of one way of being in the world so I could develop another way, a healthier way of being in the world.  I have never forgotten this dream and how it changed my life for the better.

When trying to understand your dreams, remember – they are often metaphorical.

With care and concern,

Dr. Bea Mackay