After working with dreams for nearly forty years, I know that even the worst nightmares contain a kernel of hope or healing. The following nightmare took me a long time to understand. I had several repeats until it finally “hit” me what this dream offered as its healing insight. The dream took a while to sink in perhaps because it chose as the motif of one of my greatest fears: hitting a person while driving. To make things worse, in the dream the feeling of hitting a person was so realistic—as if it really did happen.
I am driving very slowly because I sense some danger. Then, a group of kids surges in from the left. I see a young boy of 4 or 5 years old either fall or lunge into the left front of my car. Although I slam on the breaks, I hear the thud of something hitting my car. A shock wave of raw realization explodes from my chest as the force of emergency breaking flips the car on its side, throwing me on to the ground.
Stunned, I jump up and grab the child my car struck, looking for injuries. He has a little welt on the right side of his forehead, but otherwise seems well. A huge sigh of relief surges through me and I embrace him in my arms. I see his mother, the other kids and his father at a distance. Oddly enough, they just look at me and smile. They do not seem to be worried so much about the child as about me. Somehow, I know that they won’t take this matter to the police.
On waking the first impulse was huge relief from the realization that this was just a dream! Then, the fear arose that this might be an event which will happen in the future because so many of my dreams, especially the realistic ones, often manifest in the material world just as I dreamed them. I reviewed the dream, looking for clues to indicate this wasn’t such a prophetic dream. While the dream was extremely realistic, especially the feeling I had when hitting the child, there were elements that seemed symbolic. For example, I noticed that in the dream my car was red. I don’t own a red car and probably wouldn’t buy one since I find the color too intense to look at for long periods of time. So I decided that this dream wasn’t prophetic of actually hitting a real child and left the dream alone.
For a long while, and after several repetitive dreams which clearly were begging for attention, I finally summoned the courage to look at this dream. I chose to use the dreamwork paradigm of everything in the dream as being a part of myself. The young boy in the dream, because he was male, represented something work related, and because he was young, represented creative potential that was still developing. The age of the boy indicated a work related project that has gone on 4 or 5 years. I thought of my creative and meaningful work in teaching dreams which had gone on for about 4 or 5 years. A sinking feeling in me told me I was hitting on the correct interpretation. At the time, I indeed felt like this child of my creative labors had taken a hit, not by anything deliberate on my part but just because of the choices I felt compelled to make as I tried to earn a living. Each time I had this dream of hitting a child, I was considering putting my major efforts and energy into taking a well-paying but less than desirable job that would meet my financial needs. However, in doing so, I would endanger the growth of this child. The guilt, grief, and horror were rising to consciousness. Fortunately, the kid’s parents, perhaps representing my higher self, were telling me not worry. They understood. Indeed, when reflecting on this dream while still in bed, a voice from my intuition said in a gentle but informative way, “Don’t make a big deal of this!” Just getting this message provided an odd counter balance to the guilt, grief and horror.
While the child took a minor hit, it was OK. After I felt the child was safe and comforted, I wondered how I would upturn my car to get on my way again. Now, the real problem was how to get back on track after such a near disaster.
Since then, I noticed that every time I considered taking a paying job rather than taking the financial risk of continuing to do the creative but less financially reliable work of writing, teaching and life coaching, this dream of either hitting or nearly hitting a child would repeat itself. My dreams were telling to trust more and continue to nourish and not endanger the creativity within me. Later, as if to confirm my interpretation, I dreamed of three children telling me they want to take me some place I considered special. It gave me hope and made me realize that failing to nurture my creative endeavors would be as traumatic as hitting a child.