The Lone Ranger of Writing Asks for Help


images-2Last week’s visit from Elaine Mansfield was fun and productive. We talked, walked, ate, laughed, and wrote a proposal for a workshop on loss and grief. And an especially wonderful thing happened. I, the Lone Ranger of writing who has always written and revised every word of every manuscript with no help from anyone until entrusting it to an editor, experienced a significant breakthrough.

Knowing Elaine had recently sought advice from friends for her Tedx talk, I asked her to listen and comment on my first rehearsal of my upcoming keynote presentation for the IASD convention. This morning’s dream had something to say about my “bold” new approach.

Dream #4615:  

I’m in the lobby of a large library. Before I can find and study an article I need for my work I have to be interviewed by a person in charge. When it’s my turn she grants me a permit, but by then it’s so late I have to leave.  As I gather my belongings I realize I have too much baggage to carry alone. Just then, Fred arrives to help me.

I find myself alone on the side of a very steep stone mountain outside the library.  The path is extremely precarious and as narrow as one of my feet. The trail ahead disappears into the cliff wall. My only support is a very slight bulge in the wall to my right.  When I grasp it it flakes off like disintegrating slices of cardboard.

The ground is very far away.  A jump or fall will kill me.  I feel no fear and trust that whoever created this path provided a way out. I look over my left shoulder and see a wider, more gradual slope about 30 yards behind me. It has no stairs, but a metal railing offers man-made support down the middle of this rock road. I must have been on that path before branching off onto this one. I wonder why I left it.

My only option is to return to that place of relative safety. I inch slowly backwards, trusting in my balance and supporting myself with a gentle touch on the crumbling ledge with my right hand. After a few steps I look down and am surprised to see the ground a foot away. I’m safe.

Unknown-1As usual, I had no idea at first what this dream could mean, but when I started reflecting on my associations to the symbols I soon realized it was about my speech.

Looking for an article in a library: My mental work of acquiring knowledge and writing.

Baggage:  Too much knowledge and too many memories to sift through. Which mental “stuff” shall I use for my talk?  Which stories, ideas and pictures are the most relevant to my topic?

Fred arrives to help:  My sweet helpful husband and an image of my Animus, both of whom are always there for me without my having to ask.

Finding myself alone on a narrow, dangerous and disappearing path on a steep mountain: My independent way of traveling through life is becoming increasingly challenging and outmoded. Something needs to change.

Trusting and feeling no fear:  Many dreams in recent years have placed my dream ego in situations that would once have terrified me but no longer do.  This speaks to my growing trust in the benevolence and internal guidance of the Self.

Walking backwards: Relinquishing my need to control my way of living and working; returning to a place (attitude and way of living) of more receptivity to help and comfort from outside myself. Even the Lone Ranger had a mother once! And what about Silver and Tonto, for heaven’s sake?  “Lone” may not have realized it, but he was never really alone.

Gently touching the rock with my right hand:  Staying in touch with my instincts and the physical world  which are always there to support me.

This morning I sent a summary of this dream in an email to Elaine, who, by the way, has arrived home safely despite the hazardous travel conditions. Here’s part of her comment: “You descended from the mental realms and hit the earth. It’s a promise to work through the huge amount of material available to you and pull all the ideas down to earth. And you’re already so close. Love, love, love that gentle right hand inching down the precarious rocks and going down backwards.”

imagesI’m so grateful that 26 years of dreamwork have taught me to trust my inner resources, especially the Self, to help me through life.  And I’m so grateful for a husband and friends who want to help.  Despite my unduly proud and independent spirit, I never really was alone, was I?

Jean Raffa’s The Bridge to Wholeness and Dream Theatres of the Soul are at Amazon. E-book versions are at KoboBarnes And Noble and Smashwords. Healing the Sacred Divide can be found at Amazon and Larson Publications, Inc.

Join 5,847 other subscribers


0 Responses

  1. What a time we had. A meeting of heart and mind. Today I wrote about using Active Imagination to get myself through the insecurities of traveling in yet another storm and I linked to your blog on Active Imagination.
    Our two days were full of stimulating ideas and a nearly completed workshop proposal. It was all about partnership. The Lone Ranger always had Tonto. It felt natural to continue with your upcoming IASD keynote. I was curious and captivated as I had just spent months creating a TEDx talk and got so much from the feedback and suggestions of friends. It was a pleasure hearing the very first draft ideas of your talk and knowing you were in a library of possibilities. The dream seems like a beautiful promise. Of course, I never had a doubt. I’m also grateful to Fred for his kindness.
    Hi Ho, Silver!

    1. It truly was about partnership, Elaine. It was fun and inspiring to work with you. The back and forth thoughts, ideas and feedback were powerful stimulants for my imagination and speeded up the proposal-writing process immeasurably! And your honest and relevant feedback on my talk was of immeasurable value.
      I read and loved your post this morning. Thank you for the mention of my post on active imagination. It may be time to repost that one—it was written 3 years ago and I imagine many of my newer readers haven’t seen it yet. We’ll see. Something else may crop up before then. Who WAS that masked man?

  2. I enjoyed how you walked us through your dream, and so happy for you regarding your “bold new approach.” I can’t agree more that we aren’t truly “alone” … whether the Other is a person or an animal or a plant or even a living landscape!
    Thank you to Elaine for sharing that link; not only was the post great but so were all the comments! In response to one of the comments, you said: “we all have our own unique places where the membrane is thinner” — so true. While I don’t follow Jungian AI, per se, I recognize the concept within the many forms of writing I play with, from fiction to contemplative, and the portals always allow something unexpected to emerge that furthers my inner growth. 😉

    1. So glad you enjoyed this, Darla. “I can’t agree more that we aren’t truly “alone” … whether the Other is a person or an animal or a plant or even a living landscape!” Yes, and I have to add, “or an inner entity that sends you valuable and totally relevant messages in your dreams!”
      As to Jungian Active Imagination, I think all the writing you mention has something in common with it: The conscious choice to imaginatively use and explore meaningful symbols. The left brain finds it difficult to understand this, but symbols are our doorway/portal into the unconscious, and any practice that uses them always leads to growth! Thanks for writing. I always enjoy your observations.

  3. Thanks so much for this Jean and sharing your dream and special time with Elaine Mansfield. I also much enjoy your comments above- and in other posts -always broadening widening encompassing ..

  4. Jean, I’m working with a client in the Orlando area who is in need of a female Jungian psychotherapist. Do you know someone you can recommend who has experience working with: child sexual abuse survivors embodiment boundaries Blessings, Melody LeBaron 407-716-6874 ~ inner and outer spaces supporting your best life
    2015 has been declared the “Year of the Soil” “The GMO Labeling movement has always been the lynchpin of a much larger movement to restore the health of of our families, our soils and our ecosystem. Our present system is dominated by monocultures, toxic herbicides, antibiotics, growth hormones, chemical fertilizers and animal prisons. It’s a soil-killing, soul-killing system, and we must reverse it before it’s too late. As the United Nations has warned, the only way we will feed the world, and heal the earth and human health, is to return to a system of organic, regenerative agriculture.” ~Organic Consumers Association (get involved:

    1. Hi Melody. I’m sorry to disappoint you, but I don’t know of anyone like this in my area. I wish I could help you out! Blessings on your important work, my sister.

Leave a Reply

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

Recent Posts