Writing Block Dreamwork
I have had a writing block for most of my life. I can’t count the times that I’ve had an impulse, even the need to write about the learning and ideas that fascinate me. Countless people have said to me, “You have to write, you are doing such interesting stuff.” I’ve worked on it numerous times, yet I am still plagued with something like a faulty gene that won’t let me write.
Recently a friend told me that she remembered Arny Mindell saying that if you have a depression take on an impossible task. She has set out to make a huge change in her life and has seen great progress. She said what a huge effort it has been. I recognized myself as someone who suffers with a mild chronic depression. I feel low especially in the gray winter months. I wondered if I took on an impossible task what it would be. I thought of my writing block and how despite multiple, almost constant, attempts of working on it there has been only incremental change. Now it is time for it to come to an end. My friend has been a great inspiration in making a change in her life and I am setting out to create a new relationship with writing.
I remembered that I had written something after Arny worked with me on a dream in one of his classes at the Process Work Institute. I worked on my writing block in that day. I remembered that the thing that created the space to write was the embodiment of the dream. Here is what I wrote. At the end we will look at some thoughts about the importance of embodiment.
I was lying on the floor in front of 60 people in the room attending Arny Mindell’s class, “Conversations with Jung”. Another 40 or so joined us online through the tiny cameras installed in the room. Arny was working with me in front of the group. I was instructed to pay attention to my body experience, to notice what my body wanted, what was happening in it. I was asked to notice any relevant images, thoughts, experiences, but mostly just to notice my body and allow the rest to emerge.
Arny was demonstrating a new way to use our bodies when working on a dream. The dream I was working on was:
I was in the car on the way home from a party. My husband, Joe was driving, we were talking about everyday things. As we went through a tunnel I suddenly broke off the conversation and started to sing. I sang and sang! I was like a diva, no sound unsingable. Whatever I attempted, whatever came to me, I could sing. It sounded wonderful. I sang until the song was done then we went back to talking. When we came to the next tunnel it happened again. I just had to sing, the urge was so strong the singing so delightful.
Arny had asked me what I was working on in my life; my general direction. Where should I be going in the next 30 years? Having recently turned 61 and just returned from my father’s 90th birthday party the week before, this was a vital question. I was feeling the crunch of having limited time on this earth and ready to discover what I was going to be doing with the next 30 years of my life. I told him I wanted to write about what I am discovering in my work. He asked a bit about it and then instructed me to forget the dream and writing for the moment and follow my body. I sank slowly to the floor.
The Movement Dreamwork
There I was on the floor having the following experience for way too long to do in front of 100 people. Do you know how when you put the top sheet on the bed it settles, the air making pockets and domes of space then gently seeping out ? It was like that, I was lying on the floor gently settling then sinking. It was delicious, indulging in gravity, finding my way back to the Earth’s surface. I breathed there and noticed an impulse to roll away from the light. I found that being on my stomach was too far away. I gently folded myself onto my knees in a sort of child’s pose, my head on the floor still yielding to the Earth’s gentle pull.
Arny asked, “Is there anything that is not going down?” Yes! There was a subtle rising in my spine between my shoulder blades, like a bubble slowly rising in oil.
As I followed the urges in my body I also kept my mind open to any insights that I might have. I followed the dreaming; the images, the experience of what my body was doing, ah hahs at moments when my experience became clear.
My body hung from the rising spot in my back, that bubble, as it still related to gravity. I followed the movement of my back rising up, my legs straightening under me until I was on my knees, and further until I was standing, feet, arms, head hanging toward the floor and the highest point of me, my upper back, reaching toward the sky.
Body Experience Leads to a New World
What next? I had gone as far as I could go. Suddenly it came to me. I was the the tunnel from my dream. Inside the curve of my spine, the front of my legs and torso, face, hair, all created the inside walls of the tunnel. As those walls, I could feel my purpose was to be there to resonate with the sounds of “singing”. To hear the thoughts, sounds, movements, feeling; the things that come to me, the creative impulses, as if there is nothing else in the world. Inside the tunnel is a special space; an easy access to the depth of the Earth, the depth of me and where me and the Earth/world/eternity meet. A place where I could sing with my full voice.
Arny helped me make more concrete sense of the experience. This “tunnel state” was one of not relating to others. Breaking off the conversation. In this space there is no discussion of what “they” meaning the inner and outer people, think of my writing, ideas, and me. It is a space of “becoming”. The trick is to resist engaging in the conversation like in my dream, until the song is over and I’ve expressed what is there to sing. My movement was showing me a connection to the Earth and to my own internal vitality. In my experience it was like being a a new world where the rules were different. In the tunnel I was no longer expected to relate in the same way as in the world out of the tunnel.
The importance of experiencing dream images as body experiences cannot be over stated. This is not to say that understanding doesn’t play an important role in dream work. Embodying a dream image sheds light on meaning like trying on a new pair of glasses that allows you to see in a new way. The world changes from that point of view. One could ask why I hadn’t been able to find this space of freedom to “sing” before working on this dream in this way. It’s because I didn’t know this particular world that afforded me that isolation and connection with the tunnel that supported my impulse to express myself so fully, it was invisible or unknown to me. I had no experience of it and therefore no way to imagine it, or if I imagined it it was too threatening to try. The embodied experience of being the tunnel gave me a new pattern for providing myself the space to write. My body lead the way in my being able to experience it first hand. I didn’t have to understand it, I know it now.
This experience seemed different from working with the image by having the intent to “become” the tunnel. This organic experience in which my body led the way into that inner world seems so much more authentic and accessible. It comes directly from my Dreambody, not my conception of my memory of my dream image. The effect is that when I go back to that experience I can still feel the joy of singing my heart’s delight. I can find that place free of evaluation and revel in my connection to the depth of the earth.Tags: Dream Work, Dreambody, embodiment, movement, Process Work