Slipping Into Myself


I began recording and working with my dreams in 1989. In those early days, many of my dreams  had to do with conflicting feelings about my career.  This is one of them.
Dream #198: “Hiding From the Enemy”
Someone desecrates my small, primitive wooden house and ransacks my possessions while I’m away teaching writing classes.  It’s a dark night and the enemy is looking for me.  I’m in danger.  I hide, lying flat on the ground, pressed against the outside wall of the classroom.  I’m afraid to breathe or make a sound.  I know my tribe values my contribution and won’t give me away.
In dreams, houses usually represent the psychological condition in which we’re living.  So right away I’m being told that my inner life is cramped and primitive.  Moreover, it is a mess. But instead of trying to fix it up, what am I doing?  Hiding in terror behind a classroom! In other words, I’m using my focus on my job (I’m a college professor) as an escape, a way to avoid conducting some inner work and confronting an unknown enemy that’s really messing with my mind.
And who or what is this enemy that has my dream ego holding its breath and cowering in the dark?  When I had this dream I couldn’t imagine what it might be; dreams are, after all, dramatizations about the unconscious self.  But now I know and the knowing makes me sad for  my cluelessness and the needless anxiety I was suffering. I was a puppet of convention and terrified of my natural, authentic self!
At that time it must have looked to others as if I had the world by the tail; but inside a battle had been raging for over nine years between two apparently irreconcilable opposites. On one side was my ego that was growing increasingly unhappy with its lack of personal meaning and spiritual fulfillment, but still preferred the familiarity and safety of the status quo to the dangers of the unknown.  On the other was the compelling new voice of Sophia whose call to freedom from conformity was deeply attractive but felt dangerously subversive. Which side was right? Which was wrong? Nothing in my life had prepared me for this excruciating dilemma. How was I to choose?  Rejecting either one would have felt like a terrible mistake.
My solution was deceptively simple and came in its own sweet time. I listened to my inner opposites and tolerated the tension between them for nine long years without shutting down or rushing to premature closure. Gradually I grew more aware of a fuller range of choices and braver about making original ones that honored my inner life as much as my outer one. Then I had a big dream in which I was going against the current in a rushing river and walking back upstream toward my true home. This dream told me that something in my psyche had shifted. Without my ego’s full awareness I had changed directions and simply slipped into myself.  Why? Because I was taking my inner life seriously and paying attention. I was just trying to stay conscious.
It seems to me that the energies of life support two basic human endeavors: to become ourselves and learn to love.  And until we get the first one right, we can’t accomplish the second. That’s why making the unconscious conscious is my career now and nothing less will ever satisfy.

Join 5,847 other subscribers


0 Responses

  1. Hi Jeanie,
    Wow. I woke up this morning thinking about you. Thank you for this post and for sharing your journey. I wonder, why is it so scary to become our authentic selves? Is this at all gender related or related to how free we were to be ourselves growing up or a part of our current human condition – part of the journey of our personal and human evolution? What happened to your fear along the way? Have you ever experienced fear as a message saying “Watch out…this is truly dangerous.” or would you say most of the fear you experienced was part of your process of becoming your authentic self? Thanks again Jeanie for your work and sharing. What a gift! Love, Sandy

    1. Hi Sandy,
      Why is it so scary to become our authentic selves? I think it’s essentially about survival, or self-preservation. When, around the age of three, we become self-aware, recognizing that we ARE, and that we are separate from mother, etc., we instinctively know we are very vulnerable and need our mothers to survive! This is where the fear begins in all of us. So our mothers, our tribes, tell us what we need to do to stay safe and that need is so strong that most of us conform, some not as much as others, but enough to stay safe at least. And we become so conditioned in the ways we’re taught that we disown large parts of ourselves that are not in accordance with our tribes: families, religions, schools, cultures, etc. I suppose the deeper our need to stay safe and the greater our fear of losing our security the longer we ignore the inner “voices” that want to be heard, urges and instincts that want to be expressed.
      Yes, I’ve experienced fear as a message saying “Watch out” this is dangerous, and have never had a problem listening to that. The fears I’ve struggled to free myself from are the subtle ones that tell me that if I say or do a particular thing, or make a particular choice, I’ll earn people’s disapproval, criticism, or scorn. I think this one may be more common in women than in men, but I’m not certain of that, and even then, perhaps more in women who feel insecure in their mother’s strength and abililty to protect them. For a girl not to have a strong maternal role model is very undermining to her self-esteem in a patriarchal society. I don’t know if one ever completely overcomes this fear, but my years of dream work and listening to that encouraging, affirming “inner Mother” have emboldened me to feel my fear and choose to go ahead and do what I need to do anyway.
      Thanks for writing Sandy. I’m so glad you like this one. And I love it that you woke up thinking of me!!
      Love, Jeanie

      1. Thank you, thank you, thank you Jeanie for your knowledgeable and soul nourishing answers to my questions! I deeply apprecaite you taking your time to share your expertise and personal experience. You write with such eloquence and clarity! A deep gift I treasure! Thanks again Jeanie for your reply to my questions and the additional insights. I loved them!
        Love, Sandy
        P.S. Yes, I am so glad I woke up thinking of you too! … and I’m still thinking of you! 🙂

        1. You’re so welcome, Sandy. I loved your questions; I always do. They help me clarify my thinking and give me the opportunity to address issues I hadn’t thought to. So thank you very, very much for participating here. You, and the other wonderful people like you who take the time to comment, make writing this blog a very special experience for me.
          Love, Jeanie
          Jean Raffa, Author Blog: Email: Fan: Follow:!/jeanraffa

  2. Beautiful, beautiful, beautiful. Thank you for your inspiring words and dreams. I just learned that my pre-ordered copy of your book is in and will be in my hands soon. With gratitude, Elaine

  3. “I was a puppet of convention and terrified of my natural, authentic self”. Wow, those words really hit me. Sometimes it’s just so hard to step out of my little comfort zone. The idea of a strong maternal role model is powerful and put me straight back into memories of my childhood (and my children’s childhoods).
    My experiences in the corporate world introduced me to a few women who were great role models for me, but only a very few. Many times, it seemed that the women were trying so hard to be men that they completely lost touch with their own natural, authentic selves.

    1. Yes, it’s hard for everyone to step out of their comfort zone. Much harder than we realize unless we’re paying very close attention to our true emotional state. The ego has all sorts of ways of rationalizing our behavior to cover up our fears.
      Good point about your lack of feminine role models in the corporate world. I’m counting on today’s women in the corporate world who are getting better at balancing their femininity with the masculinity that probably got them into their higher positions to be healthier feminine role models for the next generation of women. Changing widespread attitudes takes a long time, but every woman who manages to integrate her own masculinity and femininity makes it better for everyone who follows.
      Thank you for your comment.
      Jean Raffa, Author Blog: Email: Fan: Follow:!/jeanraffa

  4. Jeanie,
    As usual you make our tasks so clear! And with the moon’s eclipse of the sun today, then Venus eclipsing the sun on June 5, clearly it seems about the equal empowerment of the “feminine” aspect of life bringing them both into Gemini, this supports the tasks that lie before us all if we are to keep this Mother Ship Earth habitable for us: to know and to be our True Whole Selves as uniquely designed to be by a fabulous creative consciousness that works in and through us and everything. I believe we invited to learn to unconditionally love the messiness of it all as we learn to love others likewise, which you have helped give wonderful awareness and tools for. I’ve been learning to do both most of my life and feel the the urgency in my bones for a more radical surrender to this as these cosmic and worldly signs seem to be coalescing in a real crossing over,
    Don’t you think so too? The task before us is the cross of consciousness.
    I would imagine you are excited for your timely book on this to be widely released. Gratefully, Julie

    1. Yes, I do believe a real “crossing-over,” a uniting and transcending of opposites, is upon us and has been for a while. I love the way you say it, “The task before us is the cross of consciousness.” This shows that becoming more conscious is not just a psychological task, but a spiritual one. I believe it is, in fact, the spiritual journey we’re all called to take. It’s very exciting to be a part of this awakening; I feel very blessed to have the opportunity. Thank you for your support!
      Love, Jeanie
      Jean Raffa, Author Blog: Email: Fan: Follow:!/jeanraffa

  5. Jeanie, I have been pondering something you said in your earlier reply to my question. What you said resonated and I find myself wanting to hear more about it –
    “…perhaps more in women who feel insecure in their mother’s strength and ability to protect them. For a girl not to have a strong maternal role model is very undermining to her self-esteem in a patriarchal society.”
    If you feel inspired, would you consider talking more about this topic? Have you written about this in any other posts? I am thinking and feeling that mindfulness is one way to provide that strong maternal strength to “be” and to dive deep. Anyway, I would love to hear more from your experience and knowledge on this subject, if you feel inspired to pursue this topic. Love, Sandy

    1. I haven’t written anything about this topic yet, but will be happy to do so soon. It may take a while, but I’ll do it asap. Thanks for the request. I’m always wondering what to write about next! Jeanie

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Recent Posts