Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Second Chances Dream Series: (Revised) The Rock

The second chances series started with rejected works that have been languishing in the studio that I decided to use for experimenting with new techniques. Working intuitively with mark-making and acrylic, I saw a theme begin to emerge around several dreams and revelations I had as 2014 came to an end. I'll post each one here on the blog as I feel led, along with the deeper meaning behind the piece. 

First up from a dream that seems to have layer upon layer of connected meaning: "The Rock". 

"The Rock" Mixed Media by Crystal Neubauer

 **I am updating this introduction after a reader expressed concern to me over my use of the word "Handicapped". I am grateful at her respectful and kind approach to me.

This post is a sincere and accurate accounting of a dream I had, in which the word "handicapped" was a part of the inner dialogue. I know it isn't a respectful term and isn't one that I use in my daily life. I thought about changing it as I wrote, but realized it was relevant to the deeper meaning of the dream and without it, it wouldn't be an accurate  reflection. 

One of the biggest rocks I've had to lay down over and over again is that of over-functioning, codependency and people pleasing. I tend to take on the responsibilities and feelings of other people as if it were solely up to me to solve their problems. With much counseling, I understand the driving force behind this behavior, the desire to be loved- and ultimately, the missing love and protection of my father growing up. But I've also come to understand the damage that can happen to myself and others when I take on responsibilities that I shouldn't. 

For those of you who come from similar backgrounds, the deeper meaning may be more readily apparent. To me, the thought that the rock was "handicapped" revealed the thought process I go through when I am acting out in my codependent belief system - that another person is incapable of solving their problem without me. It has nothing to do with their ability and everything to do with my faulty way of trying to be loved.

As you read the accounting of the dream and view the work that came out of it, I invite you to reflect ...What are the rocks you are struggling to let go of today?
"The Rock" Mixed Media by Crystal Neubauer

I'm leaning against a low red brick wall capped with white limestone. The air is still, not a cloud in the sky. I tilt my head to the warmth of the spring sun and feel calm in my heart. I sense that I am on the grounds of an English boarding school.  Idyllic rolling green hills surround me. I am wearing an old fashioned prairie style school uniform, pumpkin gold skirt and crisp white blouse. Other students are near, enjoying the afternoon sun and fresh air between classes. 

Suddenly a large gray rock comes tumbling awkwardly down a path of small darker gray cinder rocks that ends at my feet. As the rock comes to a stop, I lean over to look at it. It has a face, eyes and a mouth made of white crayon scribbles drawn around and around, floating just above the surface, animatedly blinking and trying to say something to me. 
"Oh It's handicapped!" I think to myself.

The other students begin heading up another path on the hill to my right, it is time for class to begin. I turn to follow, but I don't want to leave the rock. It has no arms or legs and won't be able to get there by itself. It is literally stuck in a rut where the path it tumbled down ends and the path to class begins. 

The mouth and eyes are moving quickly, as if pleading with me to carry it. I know if I do, it will be heavy and weigh me down. I look around for help, but none of the other students seem concerned about the rock at all. It's as if they think the rock has a choice. If it wants to get up the hill it can do so. But don't they see?? The rock is handicapped! It has no arm or legs. If I don't help it, how will it get up the hill? 

"The Rock" Mixed Media by Crystal Neubauer
I look back at the rock "Help me! Carry me!" it silently cries to me. It's face is sad. So sad, that rock. Now I am sad too. 

I look back around and see that the other students are walking right by, unconcerned for the rock or for my feelings about it. They are intent on making it to class on time, and I know, if I pick up the rock, I will not make it up the hill. It won't help the rock. And it will hurt me. Haven't I been in this place before? Haven't I tried to carry many rocks up that hill already?

I stare at the rock for a long time, willing it to stop being a rock and get up! My mind is swirling with possible solutions. A wheelchair maybe? Or perhaps a wagon? If someone else would just help me carry it! 

"The Rock" Mixed Media by Crystal Neubauer
But I know in my heart it will not work. I have to let go of the rock. 

And so I do, though I am torn; I turn away and start up the hill alone. Silent tears streaming down my cheeks as I leave the rock to find its own way.


  1. Crystal, BEAUTIFUL words, thoughts, dreams, love and work...simply BEAUTIFUL!

  2. Crystal, i love the piece... the meaning of the dream is remarkable and completes the story....