Dude, where’s my car?

Updated: Dec 21, 2021

I have always been a dreamer. Not a daydreamer, or a visionary like Martin Luther King Jr., but a night dreamer. I can remember dreams from my childhood as early as age seven. And I’ve been writing my dreams down for at least two decades. I find it to be an invaluable way to learn about myself.

Dreams are an incredible tool for discovering what your subconscious is thinking about, what your fears are, and even where to go in life. Once you start paying attention, you notice the symbols that reoccur, new ones that emerge, whether the dream takes place during the day or at night, and importantly, how you felt during the dream.

Shortly after Brandon and I moved to Port Angeles three years ago, to begin a somewhat longer-than-planned midlife timeout, I had a dream about my car stalling out in a parking garage. Cars in dreams are about how we move around in our lives. Our dream cars relate to our journey and how we are navigating it at the time of the dream. A parking lot in a dream symbolizes a temporary stop on your journey in life, either because you are stuck or because you consciously want to address an issue before moving forward. In the dream, my car made it into a large covered parking lot attached to a mall. I pulled into a stall just as the car stalled out.

A mechanic came over to me and I asked him what was wrong with the car. He checked it out and then said something to the effect of, “Your car is okay, it'll drive, but every once in a while it’ll break down with the same problem. You can keep this one, knowing that from time to time you’ll have to fix it, or you can get a new one.”

A mall is a place with a variety of stores. In a dream, it offers your subconscious self a plethora of choices about prosperity, abundance and freedom. The car dream was showing me that I needed to fix the mode of transportation that gets me through life, and gives me access to abundance and freedom, or get a new mode of transportation all together. I think that fairly sums up the journey I’ve been on for the past few years. Metaphorically speaking, I opted to get a new vehicle all together and I’ve been stuck at the mall trying to make a choice about the best way forward.

About six months ago, I dreamed that I was stuck in a different parking garage. I was desperate to get out, but I kept driving in circles unable to figure out how to get to the exit. I was getting very frustrated. The poor parking lot attendant took the brunt of my frustration as I yelled at him, “I hate this!” He told me that in order to leave, I had to have a talk with someone. This someone was laid out very clearly in the dream. I knew what I had to do to get out.

Most recently, I had a dream that I was at a retreat and was ready to leave but I couldn’t find my car. Afraid that it was towed, I walked over to some attendants and asked if that was possible. They assured me that my car had not been towed and advised me to retrace my steps to get back to the parking lot. I was growing impatient and wanted to take shortcuts but knew the only way to get back onto the right path was to retrace my steps completely.

I had to walk past a row of trees to turn the corner and get on my path. I was growing weary but only had two more trees to pass. “Trees represent your growth through life, with the roots connecting to where you come from and how you are grounded in your experience…they connect to the balance between your instincts and your intellect” (p.227 of Llewellyn’s Dream Book).

In reality, again metaphorically speaking, I’ve been searching for my car for a good long while. I am ready to resume my journey and move forward with my life. One day, I will be glad that I took a timeout long enough to get a new car so I don’t have to stop to fix the same old problem. When someone misplaces an object, we often recommend they retrace their steps to jog their memory. Apparently, this also works in the landscape of our subconscious minds. I walked away from my car to find a better one and lost my way.

To get unstuck, I must retrace my steps and complete my growth tasks so I can have an amazing second half of life. The journey has been long, it’s been beautiful, it’s been dark and illuminating. I am so thankful that I only have two trees left.

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