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Your Life’s Work

When you listen to messages from your unconscious mind over a period of time, a change of self-concept can begin to take shape. Messages from the unconscious often come in the form of dreams and symptoms like anxiety. Your dreams may tell you about gifts and talents that lie buried in your unconscious and can be brought to your awareness, shedding light on your unrealized potential. You may become open to possibilities you’d never considered. If you face fears and barriers to change and move beyond them, the work you are meant to do next may become clear to you.

For example, a young man had been trained as a sculptor and had come to see himself as a talented person who couldn’t stick with a steady job.  He landed in his late twenties living at his father’s house with no vehicle, a low-paying part-time job, anxiety, depression, and physical pain that doctors couldn’t diagnose. Though tall and athletic, he believed he no longer had the ability to work consistently. Instead, he and his parents believed he was destined to be an artist.

Meaningful coincidences prompted him to begin paying attention to his dreams. A friend loaned him a book on dreams, and he started remembering dreams. Then, he began Jungian dream therapy with Carrie. He had the following dream:

An older wise woman hands me a three-dimensional ellipse of iron about a foot long and five inches wide. I hold it and feel its rough surface and heaviness.

This dream revealed that the dreamer possesses masculine strength and determination that can be used to persevere, endure, and accomplish work. Following this dream, the dreamer gradually increased his work load to full-time, bought a vehicle, moved into his own place, kept his job and was given progressive pay raises. Also, he eventually started a part-time landscaping business on the side.

While he still enjoyed sculpting, his interest in a career as an artist diminished as he found other options possible. Then he had the following dream:

I go to the home of an older artist where I’ve spent a lot of time. He’s attractive, famous, and people flock around him admiring him and raving about his sculptures. They line up to say goodbye to him because he’s moving. I’m not excited like they are. I feel I know him better than they do, but I’ve come to say goodbye too.

The older man in the dream represents the archetype of the Artist, and the dreamer had decided that identifying with the Artist was not his path in life. He needed to honor the relationship by saying goodbye and then letting go of the Artist career path. Subsequently, one of his parents took up the ceramic art of raku. It became clear that the parent had strongly projected the artist image onto the dreamer from the time he was a child, but it was in fact the parent who really wanted to be the artist.

Some time later, the dreamer had the following dream:

I’m at a Chinese restaurant. I have a huge plate of food to eat, but I’m also supposed to serve food to other people here.

In this dream, the dreamer’s unconscious is talking about learning and self-development (food). Since the food is Chinese, the learning and development is about the unconscious mind (a foreign place). The dream tells the dreamer there is a lot for him to learn, but he is also supposed to help others learn. The dreamer began to consider the possibility of work as a teacher or counselor.

Today, he has a master’s degree in educational psychology and works as a school counselor.