The Dream

Christine Alfery

Posted on January 09 2022

The Dream

Read Part 1-4 of Christine's Christmas Eve Dream

Part 1 - Don't Rock The Boat 

I wrote up the dream's description shortly after I had the dream.  Time has passed and time changes all things.  So, my reflections on the dream written about 2 weeks after I had it reflect how much time I had to think about it – and wonder, did I make too much of a big deal about it?  Was it really what I thought about it?  Why would I get a message from God when there are so many who ask for Him to speak to them – why me?  Through all this thinking that feeling I had when I woke up won’t go away – for that I am very grateful. And for that I continue to take one day at a time, one step at a time, and they are baby steps, and I love feeling the glorious glow the dream gave me.

My Dec. 24th Dream - Part I

I had a dream last night filled with struggle, scary creatures and critters, battles, falling, finding solutions to a problem and blissful flying. Things were topsy-turvy as they usually are in a dream and out of sequence. And then, there were wonderful patches of white glittery wonder and safety. I have had those patches before in my dreams and they always cast a safety net over the world. They are glorious! In this one, animals were coming to drink. I have had these patches of glittery white substance before in my dreams. This might be why I love snow globes so much with their chaos and then the order. When I was slowly waking up and wanting to finish the dream, the dream filled with extremely wonderful glorious ideas and themes which I had to put together once I actually woke up. It is these ideas that I want to cling to and never let go. It is these ideas and imaginings that I can only assume are what the surrealists are talking about when they define dreams and imaginings as reality.

The reason I loved the dream so much and felt it was a miracle is because of these unrealistic, yet realistic imaginings. There were two different ideas tugging at each other in my dream. As I slowly began to wake, I began thinking and trying to make sense of it. When all the sudden, I started talking out loud about it – gloriously- to my hubby. I went on an on and became more and more excited about the meaning of the dream and I quickly went into the studio and wished Christ, "Happy Birthday.”


Part 2

Featured image: Emerging Dragonfly

In a mixed-up surreal way, my dream was all about where things appear to be realistic but aren’t. It seems, as I reflect back on the dream, that I have tied the dream to the two series I have been working on called “The Middle Is Not Grey,” and, "individualism," which as it turns out is all about the individuals who live in the middle.

The two ideas tugging at each other in the dream were non sensical, but each side had two opposing objects that they used to try to solve the problems. One of the objects was made of metal and the other consisted of an invention made of a very hard flexible plastic. For me, in the dream the team with the metal object was the bad guys, as they destroyed life. They were the guys that believed in polarities, or extremes such as good and bad or black and white. They are the guys who believe and promote a middle that is grey. The other team had made an object that had the same objective as the metal object, but it did less harm, valued life, and was extremely flexible. They believed in the value of imagination. At times, their object was like Wonder Woman's whip as it coiled around bad things, snake like. They are the team that believed in innovation, and creativity. (in part 2 of this dream I will talk about these two teams more.)

The two ideas tugging at each other, were confusing in the dream. The team with the metal objects thought that their object was the better object of the two. The team with the metal object thought there could be no improvement on their object. They believed that the others should not disagree with them nor their goals and values regarding this object because they believed only they could be right. They believed in change, but they could not offer a better way for change to happen.. They made those who disagreed with them uncomfortable by using physical force to get their way and have their ideas unchanged.

The other team thought differently and disagreed with the opposing team. They were not afraid to suggest ideas and objects that would perhaps have the same end results. They came up with an object that had the same end goals but, and this is a big but, without the loss of life. This team kept, running away from the other team, and each time they ran, they put their heads together and tried to come up with a different idea. Each time that they came up with a different idea, their object changed, improved and allowed others to see and think about possibilities.

When I awoke from the dream, and put all the chaotic images and ideas together, I came back to how my dream ended with my waking up and talking about possibilities and filled with glory. As I was waking, the team that came up with a different object was definitely filled with the same positive glory in my dream.
The dream was filled with differences. It was filled with the differences that people in the middle experience, not the differences that should be accepted uncritically as with the team with the metal object. The team with the object made of plastic was able to take the many abstractions that surrounded the metal object, deal with them and see beyond the scope of the immediate moment. They kept trying to “think differently.” They wanted to rock the boat and they were not afraid to do so. They knew that the middle was not grey and willed with the utopian idea of not rocking the boat. They knew that to not rock the boat meant that we must all think alike. If we would all cooperate and compromise utopia could happen. What they didn’t take into account is the individualism of the folks in the middle and their uniqueness.

My dream told me that the idea of utopian consensus did not work. Of course, I was already pointing that out in my series “The Middle Is Not Grey.” But, my dream just confirmed it. My dream spoke of the fact that we don’t have social harmony because it is an unrealistic idea. Instead, it is an unrealistic idea because we all have different ideas. Anytime that we take the same attitude of those with the metal object, that is an attitude of "we are right and you are wrong." This type of attitude only creates hostility and fear, uncertainty, bitterness, and mistrust. If unequivocal definitions and inflexible goals are barred from social and public discussions, then those in the middle are forced to struggle to hide how they really think and feel out of fear. When this happens, they become deceptive in how they speak and present their ideas.

The individuals I paint that are in the middle do not hide and are not deceptive in how they speak and present their ideas. They are respectful and listen. They offer alternatives and discussion, and follow the golden rule of, "Do unto others as you would do unto yourself."

My middle is not grey but filled with different colors, shapes, lines and ideas that are not hidden. The middle that is grey is asking them not to rock the boat. That is unrealistic if we are to respect the individuality of everyone.

I was being told in my dream that I was on the right path and that I should keep putting one foot in front of the other and moving forward. That is what I woke up to. I awoke knowing that I should not have a fear of offending others. The dream told me that it was ok to speak of the abstract concepts in my work – like the team with the plastic object did. It told me that it's ok to come up with a different solution, one that involved change. It was such a wonderful, glorious message that it could only be called a blessing or a miracle.

The caveats within this dream; I am a constitutionalist – I believe the principles set up in the constitution work as well today as they did when they were originally written. And the other caveat, I believe in the second amendment. The metal object in this dream was a gun, the plastic object in this dream was also a gun. However, the plastic object did not destroy the life of another human being. It merely stopped a harmful deed from being done as it had the ability to deal with the situation in a reasonable manner. My dream told me that it is ok to rock the boat.


Part 3

Featured image: Red Winged Black Bird

Why can’t we get along? Why can’t we get along? I hear those two statements over and over today, which is why I started painting my series called, “The Middle Is Not Grey.” I am not sure why people think that all things are black and white, and I am not sure why some paint the compromise between black and white as grey. I believe the middle between black and white is anything but grey, my dream on December 24th, which I called a miracle the next day, reinforced this idea. That is why I called it a miracle, I have never had a dream so surrealistically real and yet talked to me the way that this one did. I have never had a dream that said to me, "Your journey, your belief in creativity is a good path to travel, stay on it and keep traveling."

I have written about the concept of the “individual” many times, but I have never said that there isn’t just one way to understand the idea of the individual. Generally speaking, the word individual used to mean; singular, separate, as being distinct from a group or class. But the word has changed. It no longer means singular as in the sense of one individual standing alone on an isolated road. Rather, it means that one individual is standing with 1000’s of others and they all are called individual because the group that they are standing in all have one characteristic that is like all others standing in that group. They definitely are not separate from a group. They are labeled as abstract expressionists, surrealists, black, brown, tall, short - you get the idea. But what about the one person in the group, perhaps you? What happened to the unique, one-of-a-kind you? I believe the individual you in that group no longer exists.

Many individuals who become part of a larger group of like thinking folks think that if we all think alike that it would solve the problem of not getting along. They believe that it would bring harmony to all, because everyone would have the same mutual understanding and good will goal that the others in the group have. Right there, that very thinking is where you lost your uniqueness and one-of-a-kindnesses. I used to paddle with groups of other paddlers to remote areas of our country. I was a paddler – but I was the only women in the group. Hummm – see what happens – that is just a simple example.

When you stand in a group that sort of, kind of, thinks like you do, but you notice there are exceptions and that not everyone thinks the same way, then you have to ask yourself, “Is this for my happiness? Will this make me happy?” Whenever you stand in a group, your one-of-a-kindness disappears, your uniqueness disappears, and you become grey.

This is why I say the “Middle Is Not Grey” but the “Middle is motley” not monochromatic. The middle is assorted, a conglomerate, diversified, mixed, rainbow colored, kaleidoscopic. The reason we don’t get along is just that simple. But do we really not get along in the middle? I think we do, but when we are labeled as a group and really don’t fit that label that is where the problems lies. I was a paddler and I was a women and I was in a group. We were all different. When we all are labeled and fail to recognize the differences within the group we begin to distrust the label and we become upset because we don’t fit. The middle is not one size fits all. The middle is made up of one-of-a-kinds and uniqueness.

In my dream, I recognized that the polarities that are created today cause a problem, and that the way, not the only way is to recognize the unique individual and be able to recognize the unique individual in yourself, your soul and your spirit. Another personal example is when I began to paint seriously. I used to tell myself that I needed a blank sheet of paper and I could let happen what happened and the art would become a thing in itself. I no longer believe in being able to get rid of yourself and create something that never existed before. All things come from something. I am sure my dream came from my thinking so hard about creativity and the imaginary. But, the difference with this dream was that something like that had never happened before. And it happened on Christmas Eve. I was being given a unique present and wonderful present.


Part 4

Featured image: She Dances In Fields Of Golden Wheat

In my dream, I recognized that the middle isn’t about compromise, and mutual understanding, and good will for all. Rather, it is about just the opposite. It is about finding yourself, honoring yourself and your uniqueness, recognizing where your energy and power is leaking from yourself and plugging it up.

When I stepped back and looked at my art work, and asked myself, " Is it mine? Really mine? Is it part of my authentic self?" I had to say truthfully, "No." And why wasn’t it? Well honestly, I was only following what others had done. I hadn’t developed my own marks and my own thinking about my mark-making. I hadn't developed my own thinking about sets of colors and how they went together. I was only following what others had done. To find myself in my work I had to set down some clear objectives as to what I wanted to accomplish and I had to work for them.This in turn meant that I was working for myself. I formed my own foundations, and fundamental principles, and I began to incorporate them in my work. I became a conceptual abstractionist. This means that I take abstractions and develop a concept that fits – a concept that others can grab ahold of and think about. That means something, that means a great deal. I began to write about what I was trying to say with my mark-making. I realized I liked doing both even though I remember at one point I believed that one was better than the other. It is all about communicating about my values and my beliefs and finding others who are like minded but motley in their own way. I respect their motley-ness as they respect mine and we learn and grow from our creative thinking. We don’t learn and grow from thinking for others and telling them what to think. Instead, we learn from our ability to creatively make space for others who think differently and to respect them and learn from them. We decide for ourselves whether we agree with them and discuss with them how perhaps their idea might exclude “me” because I don’t think that way.

My dream reinforced just how important creativity is, and the imaginary is, and the unique individual self is. It is ok to disagree. It is not ok to force another to agree with you when you disagree with them. Rather, when you have a very strong value you hold, ask yourself, "If I force someone to agree with me am I asking them to go against themselves?" For the most part I would say, "Yes, you are." At least that is how I always feel. And because I feel that way and don’t want to hurt their feelings, I am quiet. I don’t want to rock the boat so I don’t say anything. Is that right? My dream said, "No, it is not because you are not respecting yourself and your beautiful uniqueness and who I created you to be." So how do we go about responding without disrespecting ourselves and others? My dream told me to do it creatively like when the team that created the plastic object and kept revising it and revamping it and making it better. We can do it by listening to the ideas of others, respecting them and asking, "Well, let's see how that might work." When you are creative about how you go about things, at least many authentic artists have found this out, you are respecting all sides of the discussion and through discussion. What is wrong with having a very motley space rather than having a monochromatic grey one? Why can’t we think of motley as harmonious like we do the color grey? I think we have forgotten how to discuss and respect, to set goals and create and imagine. That is what harmony should look like not grey. When we do that the space is motley yet harmonious. The way it is in reality.

How does all of this relate to art? Historically the history of art is filled with stories like mine, artists who don’t fit because they respect their own individuality and uniqueness. Historically, these artists aren’t recognized until they die. It is then that we look back and see that perhaps their direction wasn’t so bad. Van Gogh, whom I have talked about recently, was one of those artists, Toulouse-Lautrec, a favorite, I repeat favorite artist of mine, was another. Dali, Picasso, Monet, to list a few were all like that, and they honored their unique selves.

So, as I move forward into the new year I am going to talk about abstraction and how it not only is part of art but also of science. I am going to talk about the environments in which many artists who were “different” handled their situation. They stories tell me it wasn’t easy. Perhaps, that is why we can’t all get along and respect each other because we want it to be easy.

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