Swimming pools and septic tanks: Am I about to swim in shit?

I am spending the weekend in beautiful Ojai, California.  Ojai is nestled in a valley off the coast north of Los Angeles and just south of Santa Barbara.  It is a truly beautiful location and I am very fortunate to have a place where I can go every once in a while to relax and write in solitude and serenity.

I consider my weekends here at the ranch to be a blessing where I can not only get away from it all, but I can also do some deep contemplative work and that usually includes my dreams.  I petitioned my dreams last night – that is, I asked myself to have a dream that I would remember that might give me some insight to what I am going through right now.

Currently in my transpersonal journey, I am doing some deep father-wound work.  Now this is not about my father, it is about the father-wound.  Since our world is experienced in polarities, everything can be looked at as a function of which end of the continuum something relates to.  Up/down, day/night, masculine/feminine, father/mother, father-wound/mother-wound.  And since we are the children of our parents, the wounding that we suffer as human beings is originally played out in the realm of our family dynamics.  In this way, we can most easily understand ourselves through the lens of these dynamics.  So while I may no longer be at odds with my actual father as he was in life, in my interior landscape, there are wounds I have that are associated with behaviors and patterns that had their first incarnation in that relationship.

My father was not a kind man.  He was, in fact, rather brutal and could be very verbally abusive.  Additionally, he was enraged at my mother for leaving him and as her “favorite child,” I was often the target of his venom.  I was a naturally sensitive and loving child and we both had difficulty in relating to each other in any sort of a comfortable and satisfying way.  Any time that I bump up against issues where I think my life is lacking in generosity or affection, I know that I am dealing with this original father-wound.

So here’s the dream.  I am in my father’s house as my adult self.  I see out of the window that a bulldozer drives into the yard and toward the back of the house.  I know that it has come because I have decided to build a swimming pool in the back yard and it is about to dig the hole.  My father looks at me disapprovingly and I know that he is thinking that I have forgotten about the septic tank.  If the bulldozer goes ahead and digs up the back yard, it will certainly destroy the septic tank, leaving the sewage to spread everywhere.

Since I am my present-day self in the dream, I know that this is a snapshot of where I am currently in my development.  That the house is my father’s means I am investigating who I am as a result of how I was parented by him.  A swimming pool holds a small amount of water for the purpose of comfort and recreation.  Water is emotion and the desire to build a pool in my father’s back yard connects to a need to manage and contain the emotional issues around my father-wound.  Of course, what I have neglected to think about is that if I dig too deep, too fast, without care and consideration, I will run the risk of having shit all over the place.

The disapproving look from my father may not feel all that pleasant, but the message is positive and helpful: He is not saying “don’t build the swimming pool,” he is saying, “be careful how you do it so you keep the system that effectively processes the dark, shadowy stuff (in this case, poop) in tact and functioning well.

And the journey continues.  I absolutely desire to be able to enjoy and benefit from the emotional content that emerged from my childhood as my father’s son.  And I also want to have an effective way of dealing with the shit that comes up along the way!

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