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Meaning of Your Dreams: Eating disorders keep you on the surface. Dreams go deep. How to understand and benefit from your dream images

treasure chest victorian 2745 640* Eating disorder recovery requires deep work. Suppose this treasure was your dream image. How would you understand it? Would you go surface or deep?

If you attend to your image and wonder about it you have an opportunity to go more deeply into the meaning this image holds for you. This is more than an intellectual exercise. Feelings lost or unknown, forgotten memories and physical sensations echoing your past come into consciousness. What your eating disorder represses has an opportunity to ascend to awareness. That's when you have a genuine healing opportunity.

Suppose you have a dream in which you are offered a feast of succulent food served on golden plates studded with rubies. In the dream you are thrilled at the offering which means you are valued by great powers. But as you approach the plater you feel nervous, then fear then go rigid and shout, “No!” just before your throat tightens. You can’t speak. The image disappears and you wake up. You feel mild anxiety which passes quickly, and you wonder, “What was that about?”

Surface interpretations could include:

A bulimic or overeater might say, I was close to a binge.

An anorexic might say, I was tempted to eat far more than I can.

Anyone might say, It must have been dangerous in some way.

Or a person might say, The giver made a mistake. It wasn’t for me and once they found out I was not the right receiver I would be punished somehow.

Perhaps these interpretations are correct, but they are surface looks at the image and don’t reveal information about deeper meanings. They don’t reveal useful information that could help a person think about their situation in life and perhaps, make different decisions based on a new awareness.

Suppose you look for parallels in art and literature or memories in your life. Persephone wasn’t supposed to eat anything while she was in the underworld and had to refuse feasts offered her by Hades. If that’s the association then is there someplace in your life where someone or something is trying to seduce you into a life you don’t want to live?

Cleopatra lured Mark Antony to overindulgence on her barge and captivated him, bringing him against his wishes, to her palace. He didn’t say no and began his long, romantic and self-denying journey to disaster for himself, Cleopatra, Egypt and the Rome that was.

Or perhaps the jewels on the plate remind you of the jeweled wall in the film, “Journey to the Center of the Earth.” A character plucks an embedded jewel from the wall which weakens the wall.  The weakeness allows a flood to rush into the enclosure and threaten all the characters’  lives. But, in that story the terrible danger also opened the avenue to freedom.

If these were your associations to the dream image then in waking time you first speak or, preferably, write them quickly before you forget. As you think, write, remember and visualize the images and the amplifications you also will experience feelings. Your feelings are your entry to the deeper meaning.

Are you rejecting an offer or opportunity in your life? Can you sense risk and danger if you accept? Is it possible that what you fear and reject can lead you to a more expanded, lush and free life? Do you need to resist your weakness? Is your perceived weakness actually a letting go so more good can flow into your life?

Is your deep Self awakening you to choices your more shallow sense of yourself rejects? Are you being called to be braver?

What is the difference between shallow self-indulgence and profound wealth beyond the limits of your present imagination?

Exploring these questions, especially with your psychotherapist, is the journey of deepening yourself and your Self. You may be surprised at how much your life opens as you open your psyche to the world of meaning in your dreams.

Joanna Poppink is a Los Angeles private psychotherapist specializing in eating disorder recovery for women .
For information about her work see:  Psychotherapy with Joanna

To conact Joanna for a 15 fifteen minute telephone consulation e-mail:This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

*Image by Kim Newberg from Pixabay

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