Dear Cynthia: What does this mean? A man is chasing me. I run fast, taking giant leaps, I flap my arms and fly away, soaring in circles in the sky. I lose gravity, but land safely--only to be chased again.
In a similar dream, I am free-flying, soaring happily. I am wearing a nightgown. When I wake from this dream, I am happy and refreshed. When I wake from the other, I feel tired and gloomy.
Dear Reader: In the first dream, you are trying to avoid one of your life's circumstances--giant leaps can represent a desire to run away from something--but you can't get away forever. Indeed, remaining in a circular pattern, you never actually get away. Going around in circles brings you back to where you began.
Each time you return to earth (your real-life circumstances), you must deal with the problem again. You are like Scarlet O'Hara in "Gone With the Wind," saying she will think about her troubles tomorrow. It buys some time but doesn't eliminate the problem.
In the second dream you are rising above your life's circumstances for perspective. You gain insight and feel relaxed (as evidenced by your nightgown).
None of us can avoid life's problems entirely. Try to determine what issues plague you and take steps to deal with them, to take control of the situation, so you don't need to escape. The second dream is one to cultivate--and enjoy, like a mini-vacation.
Dear Cynthia: Your recent response about a house representing one's body was very interesting. My recurrent dream finds me unable to make my door stay closed. Although I repeatedly slam it to get it to latch, and then lock it, it still opens easily. Should I be concerned?
Dear Reader: Doors in the language of dreams represent new opportunities, or transition to new states of being. In the metaphor of the house as a symbol for the body, the door may represent the heart. Are you willing to open your heart to a new opportunity for love or a transition in matters of the heart? Since you slam the door shut and lock it, I wonder if you have been hurt and are protecting yourself.
Since the door opens easily, are you fearful that you fall in love too easily, or are too accepting? If you have lost yourself in relationships, redefine and reinforce your sense of self and venture on. Apparently your unconscious mind wants you to be open to new possibilities!
Dear Cynthia: I have been interested in dreams for more than 20 years and have kept a dream journal for the past 10 years. I find it fun to try and interpret my own dreams and the dreams of my friends. However, sometimes I don't have a clue as to what they mean. Please help me with this one:
I keep throwing up. I see the colors orange, brown and (I think) red. Can you tell me what this means?
Dear Reader: Throwing up means you are rejecting something, releasing something you swallowed (consumed, accepted, took in) without first evaluating it, something that doesn't sit right with you. What could it be? Let's look to the colors for clues.
What comes to mind when you think of orange, brown and red? Generally, orange is associated with spring; but it also can connote something acidic and corrosive. Brown relates to the earth: It can symbolize your foundation in rich soil. Red can mean courage, passion and sexual energy.
Perhaps you recently made a new friend. This person impressed you early on as stable and grounded.
You embraced this person and enthusiastically brought him or her into your circle of friends. But as you got to know the person a bit better, you found a corrosive, unstable personality that could threaten your happiness. You now reject the person and remind yourself to use better judgment in the future, before taking someone else into your circle.
Does that work? Please let me know.
Dear Cynthia: I have a recurring dream in which I am being chased by tornadoes. I am running down the street in my hometown in England. I duck into a church to get away.
In a variation on this dream, I am running through a field as tornadoes touch down all around me. They never seem to hurt me, but I wake up feeling threatened.
Dear Reader: In the language of dreams, tornadoes represent turmoil, conflict, danger, a sense of being out of control. And any dream that involves your childhood home can represent issues you dealt with at that time in your life, or an old pattern repeating itself.
Was your childhood one of conflict and unpredictability? Are you feeling as vulnerable as a child at the present time? Church often represents a safe place or neutral zone. Perhaps you prayed for protection as a child.
In the second version of the dream, as you run through an open field, the tornadoes/conflicts are all around but never actually touch you. This brings to mind a second interpretation of tornadoes: Tornadoes are fast-moving air, and air is symbolic of consciousness, intellect and thought. So it would seem that the whatever is upsetting you is more mental or verbal than physical.
Are you a major worrier? Are you surrounded by argumentative people? They don't pick on you ("they never seem to hurt me"), but you are nevertheless unsettled by their proximity.
Avoid these high-drama people and situations if possible, as they can be destructive. Don't let them suck you into their conflicts.
* Behavioral therapist Cynthia Richmond's column appears every other Tuesday. To contact her, write to "In Your Dreams," Life & Style, the L.A. Times, Times Mirror Square, Los Angeles, CA 90053; send a fax to (213) 237-0732, or E-mail her at firstname.lastname@example.org. Please include the name of the city where you live and a daytime phone number. Letters should be no longer than 100 words and cannot be returned. "In Your Dreams" should be read for entertainment purposes only.