Friday, November 5, 2021

Microstory 1750: Wolves in the Woods

Every night it’s the same thing. I’m creeping through the forest, trying to find a safe place to hide. Even though I dream of the same place every time, I don’t always remember at first what it is I’m running from. Sometimes I’m not even running from anything, but towards something good. Only later do I learn that there are wolves all around me. One is angry, one is sad. Another is guilty, and yet another is hateful. Some of them try to attack me, but mostly they just attack each other, fighting over prey. I try to keep them apart, but that usually only makes things worse. They battle it out, and whoever wins is how I’ll feel in the morning. The wolves do not merely have these feelings themselves, but represent them. It’s not just an angry wolf, but the wolf of anger, and every time it wins, I wake up angry. Of course, the wolves aren’t real, this is just my subconscious preparing me for the day ahead, upon a foundation of the days behind. I’m not angry because my anger wolf won. The anger wolf won because I’m angry. Presumably, I heard The Tale of Two Wolves when I was young, and it stuck with me in a profound way. Everyone supposedly has two wolves inside of them, fighting each other, which determine your personality. The one who wins is the one you feed. I don’t feed any of my wolves. I guess I’ve always considered that their problem. None of them has died yet, I’ll tell you that much, but honestly, the wolf of contentment hasn’t been looking too good these days. I dream of nothing but my wolves. One of my many therapists once suggested I keep a dream journal, because he figured I actually was having other dreams, but I was just so focused on the one that I never remembered the other symbolic stories. He was wrong. It is only the wolves in the woods.

I’m seeing a new therapist today who specializes in hypnosis. I’m hoping she can get into my head, and perhaps take the wolves out. It would be nice if I could dream about something not so bloody on the nose. I mean, the wolves are a metaphor, but it’s so obvious, it makes me feel like such a basic person. My subconscious mind can’t come up with something more clever—maybe something slightly more difficult to interpret? Really? Hell, I’ll take walking into school with no clothes on, or my teeth falling out, just to get some variety, even though those are still basic. The hypnotist sits me down in a chair, but after we get to talking, she decides that hypnosis is not for me. She doesn’t think it’s going to help, but she thinks maybe I can handle the problem on my own. My issue is that I have no control over the dreams, so they consume me. It’s like the wolves are deciding who I am without giving me any say. If I want to interact with them, I have to assume control. I have to learn how to have lucid dreams. She says to restart the dream journal, that it will help me, but also gives me some books which spell out some other techniques. Not all methods work on everybody, so I need to find what fits me. I read the books cover to cover, and formulate a plan. Then I go to sleep, and enter the woods. All of the wolves are in one place this time, sitting quietly in a pack, apparently waiting for my instructions. “All right, wolves,” I say. “We’re gonna do this in an orderly fashion. No more fighting for scraps. We hunt together, we dine together. Everyone gets their fair share.” From then on, I continue to have the same dream, but I’m in charge now. The wolf who wins is the one I feed? If that’s true, then I’m going to try to stay balanced, not even bothering to kill the negative wolves. I’m going to feed them all.

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