I am someone who has always had very intense dreams during times of great conflict and change in my life. Their meaning often remains a puzzle to me; but I don’t fail to notice their increase in frequency, emotional intensity and my own heightened attention to my dreams during these times.
Last night (the night after I resigned from an organization I worked for for twenty years) I had a dream that I was carrying my cat in a messenger bag all over New York City (the city where I was born). I was flying with her in the bag slung securely over my shoulder looking for the address of our destination, first passing it flying too far north and then overcompensating flying too far south. She was getting annoyed by the sounds and lights of street traffic – headlights and car horns glaring and blaring up at us from the crowded street below.
At one point I saw another cat on the street that looked just like her and I thought it was her; I thought she had gotten out of the bag. So I landed on the street and took that cat and merged him with my cat. Together they made a kind of muted version of my cat, but extra furry. Then i realized the other cat wasn’t my cat at all – too furry and the beautiful mottling of her colors lost their distinct pattern in the extra fur – so i unmerged them back into two cats. I put my cat back into the messenger bag over my shoulder and left the other cat on the street in a semi-empty parking lot. My cat seemed somewhat free after the change, happy to be back to herself.
As I lifted us above the city streets, I held on tight to her. As we flew above the empty lot to be on our way, the other cat, was baring his toothless mouth at us, looking sad and confused.
I woke up confused. I have been having a lot of cat dreams lately and while I’ve always considered myself the crazy cat lady in waiting, this has been a bit much.
I think this dream is about leaving my job. My cat is my closest companion, subconsciously representing a part of myself – my heart, what is most precious to me. I thought my job was a part of me; now that I’ve separated from it all the fears I had about leaving are defanged (an animal without its teeth isn’t much of a threat). I can see the animal for the neutered beast that it is – isolated and ineffective. The dream ends with me leaving the beast behind. And then turning to look out across the city – my city – scanning for what’s next, holding tight to my heart as I head out on the journey.