For two days I’d been feeling disoriented. Now the beauty of living in a scientific civilization is that one immediately thinks everything that happens has a cause. And that cause can be discovered, the thinking goes. So I wondered (as we post-mythical people do) what was disorienting me.

What could it be?

Confronted with a mystery, I donned my detective hat, cosmic detective I.

I knew life is a complex system and that disorientation is feedback that the system is destabilized—my life slightly out of equilibrium. OK, so what thing from outside my life complex had perturbed it? New actions? No. New goals? No. A new person behaving as an integrated element in my life? Maybe.


The first day I woke up disoriented, I’d had 2 strange dreams. I like to pay attention to my dreams for Jungian reasons, so I thought about them.

Mermaids, snakes and warlocks

I’d been in an elaborate circus, with carousels and booths and things, and over the tops of these, silhouettes of snakes crept elegantly. It was all very stylish. And there, on surrounding lawns, were mermaids planted in the grass, but they were living women with fish tails, dancing in the grass. For entertainment, it seemed.

There were also warlocks—male witches you know?—on the green lawns. They seemed to be visiting the circus like I was. Ever so often, a warlock would do this thing where he “charged up” and turbo-boosted out the exit in the far distance. These warlocks were black, featureless shadows.

Nothing about the dream was ominous, rather it was all whimsical and fairytale like.

With my niece at the supermarket

My niece is the most precious 13 year old imaginable. I walked with her and a friend of hers in this second dream, through the most dingy supermarket I’d ever seen. Yuck. Yucky environment. Dingy light. We went upstairs, the 3 of us, and while there I realized I had dreams to write down. Urgently I wanted to buy a pad and pen. We had to move a chair out of the way to get to where they might be, and just then, my niece and her friend needed the bathroom.

So, my niece’s friend turned into her younger sister, one she doesn’t have in real life. I complained to her because I really wanted to go buy the writing things

I took them to the bathrooms and waited outside, impatient to go buy the damn pad and pen. At one point I wanted to ask my niece to stay with her sister in the bathroom until I’d bought my stuff. Buying these things had the urgency one has when needing the bathroom.

No one needs dreams like this. I woke up feeling generally like “something the cat dragged in” (yeah, a Vonnegut phrase).


So I was just off kilter all day. The second dream bothered me because I’d put my pads and dream-writing habit before my niece, whom I love to bits. Bad priorities. Remorse.

As far as meanings go, I assume it means I’ve given my spurious dreams priority over someone I love.

Yup. Sure enough that was a main cause of the awful sense of imbalance—I’d forgotten rule #1 of life, which is…

Love is stronger than justice

(It’s the title of a song by Sting, conveniently.) Once you love someone, (be practical, but) dreams come second.

Here’s a freebie: love is the strongest desire you can muster, that the person you love has the best life you can imagine. Ask people with children, they’ll verify this ;)

Stands to reason, then, that dreams shouldn’t come in the way of the best you can imagine for anyone you love.

Yes dreams are that disposable, that replaceable. And yes that’s rule #1 (for now).


That first dream with the fairytale carousels, mermaids and warlocks could mean lots of things. Here’s one.

My life will be a circus as long as I’m living in a fairytale with grounded mermaids and silhouette warlocks and snakes.

The warlocks would be hidden (silhouetted) magic forces propelling others to sudden achievement of their goals—the stuff of dreams, and the childish beliefs of secret societies. Achievement takes slogging and time, even if I’m working smart. At least in the real world.

The silhouetted snakes would be hidden lies I unconsciously believe.

Let’s leave the grounded mermaids alone, yes? (Ahem, magical loves for magical women.)

Whimsical beliefs make your life a circus, and that’s the other reason I was off kilter. I was living in fairyland a bit.

Back to life

So, I stop magical thinking and get back to work.

And if I love someone, I make that person more important than my dreams and schemes. That’s what my mind is for—to come up with schemes that give me and the person(s) I love the best life I can imagine.

Because if people I love have good lives, that makes my life better, richer, too.

Boa noite e boa sorte