Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Meaning of Dreams

I don't necessarily think dreams are portentous or overly meaningful, but they are interesting windows into the inner workers of our subconsciousness. I have the typical dreams: climbing stairs and never getting to the top; finding myself back in high school (or is that a nightmare?), wondering what I need to do to graduate even though I've already got a couple college degrees; having to give a presentation and being clueless about the topic. The ones I like the best are about flying or being able to breathe underwater.

But the other night I had a very vivid dream that made me wonder what the heck is going on in the inner workings of my little pea brain. I wasn't sleeping well (which isn't particularly unusual, just particularly annoying because I had a busy day the next day). And, you know how dreams put together disparate parts or people or places and they seem to make sense within the dreamscape? Well, in this dream, I was doing KISKA's mission, but had my OPS and XO from MAUI. I think we were still wearing desert cammies, and somehow there was a fancy D-FAC mixed in.

But the gist of the dream was that we were being tasked to conduct an escort, and I couldn't get any information on the details about when the escort was, where we were supposed to meet the escort vessel, or even who we were supposed to be escorting, who we were working with...you know all the relevant and enabling details. I tried talking to the command center watchstander, and while she was mostly polite, just would NOT answer my questions. I tried being super specific, I tried getting high and mighty and slightly pissy, I threatened to talk to her supervisor, but in the end, I just could not get the information I wanted. She treated me like I was a bitchy annoyance that was just too stupid to get the job done. Apparently the information had already been passed on to OPS.

So off I went to talk to OPS and XO. OPS and I had a somewhat rocky relationship while we worked together (in reality), so I approached him with that baggage. I tried my questioning routine again. When did we need to get underway? When was liberty going to expire? What did the WQSB look like for the evolution? But mostly, when did we need to get underway?

I started out calmly, with a hint of frustration from my conversation with the watchstander, but clearly asking my questions. I thought. Somehow I ended up *screaming* at them both, trying to get through to them. They just looked at me with a complete lack of interest.

I woke up frustrated, annoyed, feeling like a cat who just had its fur petted the wrong way. And wanting to apologize to all of them. So, MAUI OPS and XO and imaginary-dream watchstander, so very, very, very sorry that I yelled at you, spit flying, hair standing on end, in my dream. I *NEVER* want to be that boss or coworker.

Obviously, there's something going on in my head about communications. Writing it out like this, it sounds more like about being invisible and ignored, but in the dream, it was about not being able to get through to someone. I've been working on a couple papers lately that I'm not really sure what I'm saying in them, so maybe that's it. And working on a presentation on the theory of the coming Singularity that both scares and fascinates me, but that I just can't seem to get my head around.

But I think it just reinforces to me how important I think communications are. The first dozen or so times I saw the model of a message having two parts, the sent message and the received message, I just kind of glazed over it, on to the next portion of the LE training, LAMS training, TQC training, whatever. Somehow this dream brought home the sending/receiving model in a way that hours of classroom discussion never did. What do *I* do that prevents my audience from understanding the importance and relevance of the information they have that I need? What can I do differently to make sure my message is comprehensible and accessible to a wide ranging audience? How do I know when I have a message worth communicating at all?

It's an ongoing process, thinking about and honing my communication skills. But one that is so critical and worth putting the effort into.

And again, so sorry Ceebeemcghee and SDubs, for yelling at you. In my dream or in reality. It didn't help things *at all!!*

4 comments:

CG said...

just FYI, the best dream book IMHO, is by Will Phillips, _Every Dreamer's Handbook_, excellent because it does not rely on Fruedian imagery or even ask you to come up with your own, but takes you through a set of questions that has never failed to help clarify dreams for me. The very very vivid ones (like it sounds like this one was) are always saying something and really, it behooves us to listen.

Just a Girl said...

Oh how bloody annoying...I had a great comment written, went to publish it, and the damn net ate it. Grrr.

Anyway...CG, thanks for the recommendation on the book. I totally agree about listening to what our subconscious tells us through dreams.

I thought some more about the whole message sent/message received thing. And realized that one of the most important things is for the speaker to actually know the point she wants to make. If she doesn't know what she wants the audience to understand, how can she expect them to actually pick it out.

When I write a blog post, I usually just start out, kind of stream of consciousness. And by the time I get to the end, I've figured out what it was that I meant to say in the first place. It's a process that works okay in the blogosphere, but not so well in a leadership role, or in any other situation, really.

Which means that I usually have to sit down beforehand and actually figure out what my point is, so that I don't end up just blathering on in front of an audience, hoping to eventually stumble onto something that I think is worthwhile saying. It tends to be a pretty time consuming process unfortunately. But one that's important if I want to be the good communicator the job demands.

Azulao said...

Girl. Come on. You're the boss and you're a good one and you don't blather unnecessarily. That means your messages are worth hearing, whatever they are. Don't second guess that; instead, spend the time on making sure that people are actually hearing what you're saying.

I heard yesterday about one of our most dysfunctional departments on campus -- one of the reasons they're dysfunctional is that nobody reads email. They're all these incredibly visually oriented people and they can't stand to read. Then of course they blow their stacks when things *happen* that they didn't know about because they don't read. Maybe the department chair should consider cartoon strips.

Meaning of Dreams said...

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