Children’s Dreams #1 Giant Mutant Worm
“One day I had a dream that a giant mutant worm tried to eat me. When I was sleeping I heard a noise outside. I went outside and couldn’t see the giant worm. It was right behind me. It tried to eat me, but when I turned back, I woke up because I was so scared.”
Understanding dreams is the same as reading a book, only instead of narrative, the language of the dream is metaphor. It is helpful to know the child who is being described in the dream because it adds the kind of detail that the dream doesn’t fully give, but it is not totally necessary. When you can read the metaphor, you can understand the meaning of the dream. You can also read what is known in NLP (Neuro-Linguistic Programming) as submodalities such as size, color, shape, speed, distortion, loudness, texture, pressure, etc..
Since children live in a land of giants, that is, everyone is much bigger than they are, many of their fears are registered by the submodality of size. In this dream, an animal that normally lives underground and is very small is transformed into huge proportions. This is what makes the animal so fearful. If it were small and in the ground doing what it does best, it would be creating air in the soil. A positive worm helps by making the solid earth have more air. It puts space between the particles in the soil so it isn’t so compact. In the metaphorical world, the world of non-physical reality, soil or earth represents some of the qualities that teachers love most such as perseverance, responsibility, and reliability. What happens to many children is that under the pressure to perform their earth like qualities, they become extremely compact and then they have a hard time achieving excellence. The way a positive worm helps is to make things much lighter by giving more air. In the metaphorical world this is something like having a sense of humour. So you can say that a positive worm can dig into places where people are feeling compact because of pressure and then make them feel light. Laughing makes it easier for them to achieve because they get a lot looser.
A negative worm is someone who makes his way into a person’s space and then makes them feel bad about themselves. You can see from the drawing above that the child and the worm are drawn together which means that the child has become the negative worm that is ruining other people’s lives rather than helping them. If the two were drawn apart from each other, you could assume that the worm was someone else. But this child has really become a worm and now the worm is even going to get him.
Fortunately he wakes up when he sees that the worm is about to get him. What I told the child was he needed to stop being a worm and start being more positive with others. He could even start telling more jokes to make people happier. It wasn’t a shock to him that he was a negative worm. He knew it. By turning around and seeing himself as a negative worm it woke him so that he could start to become positive.
Reading a metaphor: To read a metaphor you simply ask yourself, “What is a …..?” Then you start differentiating the elements of the metaphor. After you have analyzed the elements, then you can begin making equivalents with the non-material world. Most living things have a positive and negative side such as a shark can either be frightening or it can be a metaphor for biting into new things.
The metaphor of sleeping means being asleep in your life or being unaware of his positive self. He was so busy being a giant worm that he couldn’t recognize who he was. But now he knows that he doesn’t have to be the worm, that he can be positive and do helpful things with others especially making them laugh.