Monday, February 20, 2012


These were unpleasant dreams. This material is  painful. Dreams do not always pay us a compliment.  That is why I feel compelled to share this rather humiliating one.

1. I was in the high school football tryouts in my hometown. I saw the coaches looking over all the players. I sensed that I would not make the team again and this was my junior year- now or never. I could tell the coaches were excited about their chances for a winning team but also that I had nothing to offer them. It was a sick feeling. I was also carrying resentment about the process and it leaving me out.

2. I was at my family sporting goods store. I was a clerk. All the football boys were there shopping. I knew them and they were friendly  to me but I knew I was an outsider, not being on the team. Some of them were mischievously writing on the store window. I started to intervene in my clerk role and ask them to stop but I decided not too.

3. I was in the high school hallway. C.Y., likely the most outstanding football star, was coming my way. I debated whether to speak or not. I knew he would speak back but also knew I had nothing he was interested in. I spoke but sort of wished I hadn't.

4. I was on the lake on a deck where my boat was safely parked. I had 'the keys' to the boat. I felt my good friend, who made the football team, was interested in football more than in our friendship. To some extent I had the feeling, 'to hell with you.' He did not even want to go for a boat ride. As I went up the hill a lot of kids were gathered there. One who I hardly knew tried to get me to give him the keys to my boat. He said one of my brothers said I would give it to him. I told him that insurance would not cover him and there was too big of a risk of an accident. I was confident he was totally trying to use me.
'You've Gotta Be A Football Hero'

REFLECTION: These were unpleasant dreams. This material is very painful. Dreams do not always pay us a compliment.  That is why I feel compelled to share this rather humiliating one.  I think they are reminding me just how important I had let playing football become and how I idolized those who were seen as the stars. I knew being cut from the team back then hurt but the dreams even make it worse than I let myself know then. I also must have repressed the resentment I had toward the coach and to the ones who made the team. I still wonder, to a slight extent, if there were not some negative politics working against me. My dad was the superintendent and my brothers ran the store where the school purchased all their athletic supplies. Of course, on the contrary, they could have given me an undue advantage for political reasons but were honest enough not to. I don't know the truth. There were far more boys that got cut than there were places on the team. It is unfortunate and not sound education that all who really wanted to play did not get a chance. My best objective evaluation is that I likely had less than average athletic ability but had a strong desire to play. I do not think the coaches missed out on recognizing a champion. It was likely as it should have been.

I think I did experience the archetype of the hero in the sense of wanting to be him. So this disappointment is not anything to be proud of. It is an example of being possessed and driven by a living self promoting archetype. It is likely very good for me that I did not actualize such a longing. It may have led to a rather fizzled out life as it does for many a football shining star.
The Hero Archetypal Myth Lives In Every Age

But if some of the question I still carry about my personal development. and the possibility that I may yet make a substantial contribution to my peers, have some substance; perhaps I am still living out such a desire to be a hero? I have absolutely no evidence that I have not already made the fullest impact I will ever have on the lives of others. If so I need to accept the fact that I am still laboring, to some extent, under the archetypal exaggeration of my own life's importance. In that case I've grown little but have only shifted the venue of such longing from football to some kind of spiritual philosopher caricature. In other words I may still be 'not speaking' to the actual heroes and resenting the system for 'holding me back.'. What makes me think and hope this is not the sad case is that, unlike then, I have been for 25 years far more consciously focused on more fully 'experiencing love' in various dimensions  than on any public achievement or notoriety. If I should more fully experience such  love any public power, wealth or notoriety would be far more an inconvenience than anything needed or striven for. Obviously I still have a desire to score, to win, but the game is a very different one. Only my remaining years can answer this question.

I can say the dreams are at least insisting that I accept the deep unpleasant feelings I had regarding not being recognized as a football player in my high school days. It is likely saying that this dynamic and the archetype that drives it are somehow still alive in me now. I like to think in a much more complimentary and mature way than when I was a youth. I hope that I am not still similarly negatively possessed and driven by it. I hope I, by grace, have become positively connected to the hero myth in such a way as to receive and be a blessing to some others in my mortal life.
'Keys To The Kingdom'
The dreams show me 'having the keys to my boat.' . This reminds me of another archetype, an example of  which appears as  Jesus giving the 'keys to the kingdom' to Peter, words that have given authority to generations of popes. Maybe even as a  struggling teen I felt there was something about  my story  that was 'more important' than making the football team. Perhaps I 'had the keys' to something far more important and meaningful. The boat has been a symbol in my dreams of traveling with some success the higher and lower domains of the 'collective unconscious' and retrieving some of its treasure, not just for myself but maybe for a larger portion of my culture. Water, in my youth, was  a place I was very much at home. After all I am an Aquarius.  It was my 'saving' element as a teen, a relief from the self imposed pressure of excelling in such less reasonable areas like football. It shows me perhaps finding the 'real keys' to my life in areas that are more natural to me. Maybe I was even less conscious of this extraordinarily ambitious archetypal backup plan than I was of the resentment of not completing a far less important temporary goal of football star. If this is true then I still do not escape that there is a self interest continuing to work in me at even a higher level. There is no way these dreams allow me to escape some version of my own shadow being present all along and even now. But I have claimed the belief for many years that a very real acknowledged shadow is a necessary part of the dynamic of life for both human and God. So I am called by the dream to be humble enough to accept the shadow in myself whether only for 'delusions of being a high school football hero' or for something in the future more spiritually significant than that. I have no way of knowing which one is the most true or should be the most embarrassing. Jim H.

No comments: