I am standing in a line of people. There is a woman who has told us we have to remove our clothing. The man and woman to my left start to take their clothes off. I don’t want to see them naked and I don’t want to take my clothes off. I feel frustrated that I have to be so exposed.
Vulnerability is not a nice word in our society. Dictionaries generally define it as “capable of being physically or emotionally wounded”, “open to attack or damage”, “open to censure, criticism or judgment”. Not a very flattering state. Not one I have ever aspired to.

But in the dreamwork, it is about being with the Archetypes as our true selves without fear of rejection or judgment. In the archetypal realm, there is no judgment or rejection, only the truth. Sometimes, it might seem as if the Animus is judging. Really He is just being provocative, showing us some way we have of being which is not of our soul. But for many of us, in our outer lives we have experienced exactly the kinds of attacks, criticisms, judgments, censuring, etc. for which the word generally derives is meaning. So, if it seems that the Archetypes are judging or rejecting, it is a projection. We respond to the projection by taking a defensive position to protect ourselves. In the dream above, there is no trauma fear that comes up, but still the NO is there, the defensive position still wants to rise up. I feel annoyance, irritation at the idea that I have to be exposed. The pathology is slowly being cornered and outed, and, it doesn’t like it. “NO”, it says, defiant, petulant and perturbed.

I am training at a furniture store where I am going to work…All the sales people are sitting in front of a TV watching a cartoon. It is a cartoon that I am familiar with based on a book about a duck. I tell the woman I am training with that I don’t like the story. She says the owner of the store wrote it. I think that I don’t like it but I probably will watch it sometimes just like the rest of the sales force. I feel bored by the whole idea.
Here again, the pathology of the chatty, sales woman, the quacking duck in me has already been outed. I have no interest in trying to please the fancy shop owner. I am bored of the story. But there is still a piece of me that thinks I have to do the right thing, conform, or pretend in some way for fear that I will either be judged or rejected. But the truth is, in my life these days, it has gotten uncomfortable going to the old stories. They sound like bullshit even to me!

I have been told, during certain difficult moments, that what other people think of me is none of my business. Seriously? Who operates under that tenet? This is not something that I can just “do”. It is a byproduct of spiritual work. The more I am in my true self, the less I care what others think. The less I care about what people think of me, the easier it becomes to be vulnerable. If I pretend that I don’t care, this is more of the fa├žade. It is a fake, a fraud. I care until I no longer care. This is the warrior heart. To admit that I still care until this is no longer true. I see the progress in myself. But it is progress, not perfection. If I achieved everything I think I want so as to be “perfect”, then I would be my own god. It is in my imperfection that I can find the love and the acceptance. If I were perfect, there would be no need.

I am at some kind of convention or retreat. There are group of folks who are the governing body and some are new and will be joining the old group. I am supposed to take three of the new people and help orient them. There is a presentation about to start and one of the new guys and I take seats near the outer edge of the crowd. The man sits to my right. A woman to my left starts talking about wanting to do something after. I think she is talking to the man next to me, but when I turn back to him, there is a boy sitting next to me. He is about 7 or 8 and is mulatto with orange-reddish hair and yellow/green eyes. His hair is curly and his body is lean. I put my hand on his head and his hair feels coarse and springy and his head feels warm. I like the way it feels.
When I worked the moment of this dream with my therapist, tenderness came up in me. It felt like the shiver of pain across my shoulders when tears came to my eyes, to see him so different from everyone else. But mostly what I feel is simply longing. He, of course, is me. I see him and he is not ordinary. He is different, he is unusual, he is strange to me, but I am so happy to have him coming back into my life. When I closed my eyes to be the boy, what came to me is that nothing is wrong! I felt curiosity, perhaps, but there was no pain of trauma or fear that something bad might happen. No story at all. The boy can just be the boy. This is the truth.

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