Pipe Dreams and Synchronicity

When my twelve-year-old twins had a band concert, I was excited for them. One of them plays the clarinet, and the other plays the tuba. I’d heard them practice together, and they played well, harmonizing between the two instruments. I couldn’t wait to hear them play with the entire band. I think though, on a subconscious level, I must have been more nervous about the event than they were. It was their first big performance, and I hoped it would be a good experience for them.

The night before the concert, I dreamed I was the one set to perform. I realized I’d forgotten to practice any of the songs. I couldn’t read the sheet music. I couldn’t even figure out how to put my clarinet together. (In my defense, I haven’t played clarinet since middle school, and I’m a little rusty reading notes.) I woke up in a panic.

I’ve had different versions of this dream. Sometimes it’s a math final I forgot to study for; other times it’s a science class I forgot I was taking until the end of the term. I completed my doctoral degree over a decade ago, but in these dreams I’m back in high school. I guess I must have a fear of failing, or perhaps have some residual anxiety from high school. (Okay, honestly—who doesn’t?) Or there’s probably some other Freudian interpretation.

I think Freud might have trouble interpreting some of my other dreams though, the kind that seem prophetic because of the synchroncities that follow. Allow me to share an example.

When our boys were four, my husband and I hoped to get them into a wonderful pre-school. Second Street was a special place—the teachers were incredible, the kids ran around barefoot and fed the school chickens, and there was an amazing treehouse with a slide. The school seemed like a magical place. It was also difficult to get into because there was a long waiting list of kids hoping to be accepted.

We sent in our applications to the school, complete with an essay about why we wanted our boys to attend. I had heard it helped to call the school’s director over the summer to remind her of our interest and demonstrate that we were the kind of parents who would be involved in our kids’ education and volunteer for the school.

pipesI hadn’t called yet, but then I had a dream I was talking to the director. She was standing in the school yard. All around her were deep holes dug in the dirt. Black, snaking pipes protruded from the holes.

I didn’t know what the dream was about, but I decided to take this as a sign I should at least call the director, reminding her we were still interested. I made the call, and spoke with the director, exchanging pleasantries.

Then, out of nowhere, she mentioned she was having an issue with the school’s irrigation system. She asked if I knew someone who might be able to fix it. Unfortunately, I didn’t. Even so, about two weeks later, we got our acceptance letters to the school. I don’t know if the dream was mere coincidence or a true synchronicity, but I do think making that call helped us get into the school. And I know the experience of attending had a tremendous impact on my children’s lives, helping them get a great start on their education.

© Melissa Eskue Ousley 2016


4 responses

  1. When I was a TV news producer I had dreams like these all the time. I’d dream I was in my car driving to the TV station and I’d hear the opening music. Or the newscast would begin and there wouldn’t be a script.
    Mike cites a play called The Actor’s Nightmare where the actor is onstage but has no idea what the play is.

    January 23, 2016 at 10:17 am

  2. Yikes! Sounds stressful. Perhaps this is a common fear for creative types.

    January 23, 2016 at 1:38 pm

  3. Wonderful article, and your dreams are full of wonderful material to work with. I do a lot of dreamwork, and find yours rich and interesting. More Jungian than Freudian perhaps…and so interesting about how our children reflect elements of ourselves. So how was the concert?

    January 23, 2016 at 9:19 pm

  4. Thank you. (I always liked Jung’s ideas more than Freud’s, by the way.) The concert was amazing–all the kids were wonderful. I’m so impressed by how much they learned in just a few short months since being introduced to their instruments.

    January 24, 2016 at 8:59 am

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