The Play = Literally

Flying from Montreal to Munich. Long flight. It took me a while to finally fall off to sleep. You have no idea how many times in the 50 years I have heard dreamers describe how they arrive at the exam room in high school and have no pen, or forgot their material… can’t open their locker… can’t get to the classroom, etc. So funny how I have never had that common dream myself. Well Montreal/Munich on my way to Amsterdam was finally my turn to experience the dream I hear from so many clients.

For me, though, it wasn’t an exam. Worse! It was a play, to be performed in front of a large audience. It’s a musical, so not only do I have to know my lines, but I have to know the songs….some of which are solos!!

It’s simple. The actual play and I am meaning to tell you it is opening night. The audience is packed… an I have NEVER rehearsed even once. Right. I do not know one line. I do not know one song. Chorus songs included. Nada. Nothing.

I am standing there in shock just before the curtain is going up. That’s it. I awoke, my heart pounding with dread.

What? Do I actually hear you asking if I went back to sleep? Hello? No. That was it Montreal/Munich.


The whole time before I left everyone was asking me if I feel excited to travel to Europe. I don’t know what it was with me. typically I am very excited to travel. Maybe it’s because I am here for the first leg without Andy (my husband), and I am so far away alone.

Though I knew/know that once I get where I am going I am always happy. My sense of adventure kicks in. So I didn’t “rehearse” my feelings. I never expressed any worry or concern that I was going so far away alone. I didn’t express the excitement either, nor did I express any angst about the 2 presentations I am giving in the coming week… Nor have I really set to rehearsing one of the presentations in particular!

While Freud was always looking back and Jung was more looking “around”, Alfred Adler proposed that the dreams give rise to an emotion that helps move you “forward” towards the goal. In this case, the goal is a) to express my anxiety about traveling to a city I have never been to alone, to stay in a place I have never seen, and to give presentations, one of which I haven’t rehearsed enough… even though I will be reading the material!


1. The play = I used to be in plays years ago and LOVE the excitement, so while I am not experiencing the joy of that aspect in the dream, the fact is I LOVE being in a play and so the backdrop of the dream is my unconscious mind reminding me that I do love plays and that once the curtain goes up, anxiety never mind. I always fare just fine and enjoy the experience.

It is very helpful to be reminded by yourself what your typical outcome from similar experiences has been. That is precisely what the dream does by choosing a play.

2. The second gift of the dream is the solution in the way that Adler described. The dream gave me the panicked emotion that has spurred me to start rehearsing my presentation OMG! I have been reading it aloud twice a day since I arrived and am already SO much more comfortable with it. Today is Thursday and I won’t be presenting until Monday so at 2 times a day till then I’ll be very rehearsed and comfortable enough to be looking up at the people in the room from time to time as well.

3. The “play” = a play on words. It’s a double entendre! I am reminding myself to relax and PLAY!!

And the dream has served me well, because I HAVE been playing! I love it here. Amsterdam is a beautiful city and I am enjoying every minute! What could be bad about spending all of yesterday morning a foot away from over 500 originals by Van Gogh? Amazing.

The hotel? An absolute dream!

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