Q: I am housesitting a rustic cabin, and there’s a huge party going on with high school friends. I’m sort of the babysitter, but I don’t know why. I’m not clear who owns the house. I’m trying to be in control, though I don’t understand the whole situation. Then the party is over. A strange old lady and her friends come back to the house from a trip. I tell the lady about how I was taking care of the house and how the other people broke things and dirtied it.
A: Well, if ever we needed a dream to illustrate the subtle navigations of growing-up, we’ve got one here. For the sake of context, I’ll share with our readers that you’re an adult woman in your late twenties, and also that this is a recurring dream for you. The three primary elements of this dream that I want to highlight are the fact that you’re housesitting, the high school party atmosphere that you’re managing, and the strange old lady.
In each of these pieces of the dream, you’re navigating questions of power and leadership. Who’s in charge? Who’s the adult who can be trusted? As these themes arose in a dream, your dream, they’re highlighting for you questions of internal leadership. Again, the question is “who’s in charge?” What part of you is at the helm? It would seem that you’re actively wrestling with this question. What type of person, what form of leadership and maturity, is going to be running your house?
You are housesitting in this dream. This is different than a dream in which you are in your own home, or even in a friend’s home. Here, your ego-identity, your sense of self, is present, but it’s not yet familiar with where it is. And it doesn’t necessarily like where it is. Things are in flux. This is not a home you would generally want to find yourself in, and there are high school partiers around that you’re having to manage. What I like about this dream for you, however, is that you find yourself rather distant from the partiers (you’re growing past that stage of life), and you’re in the home of an old lady, symbolic of your developing awareness of a deeper sense of aged wisdom inside of you.
Your inner work now is to build a relationship with the old lady who returns home. Yes, you find her a bit strange now, and she’s also a bit absent, but as you transform, as you age and grow over the next months and years, I predict that the image of this old woman will transform too, as will her home. The more you engage with your wise, mature, feminine self, the more this inner woman will transform to reflect that. Soon, you won’t be babysitting parties and the old lady won’t be gone. Soon, she’ll be having you over for tea and cultured conversation in her beautiful, stately home. You’ll be very glad she is.
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Satya is a therapist in private practice in Portland, Oregon specializing in applicable dream work, the quarter-life crisis, and the stage of life between young adulthood and mid-life.