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In Your Dreams

Anxiety Dreams Play Off a Slice of Life


Dear Cynthia: An avid golfer all my life, when I have played amateur tournaments I have managed to get into the "zone" quite often and play some of my best golf. But I have a recurring dream in which I am playing in a tournament and my name is being called to the first tee. I cannot find some item of equipment--either my golf shoes or my clubs are missing. In another variation, I tee off with my group, but my ball gets lost, and I can never quite catch up with my playing partners. It's quite frustrating, because I know I can compete, but I can't quite get back in step. I either wake up or realize it's a recurring dream.

I am sure there is an obvious answer, like I'm disorganized or not truly interested. What do you think?


Middlebrook, Texas

Dear Ed: Your dream does not indicate that you are disorganized or not interested in the game of golf. My sense is that you love the game and are good at it, so your subconscious mind uses golf as a metaphor for life. You probably care deeply for others and want to do your part. But perhaps at times you worry about letting others down or not measuring up. When your name is called, when others are depending on you, will you be ready and prepared? Or will you fall short in their eyes and let them down? Will you have all the tools you need, when you need them? Will you fall out of step or out of the fold? And will you lose something essential to the process?

Nearly everyone has had a dream of this nature. Each of us dreams from our own frame of reference. For you, personal responsibility is represented by a golf game; for someone else it might be the idea of showing up for a school exam with no memory of the subject. Or playing a role in a play when the lines won't come to mind. Each of these and many other versions symbolize anxiety or fear about performance and the desire to do a good job and not let others down.


Cynthia Richmond is the author of "Dream Power: How to Use Your Night Dreams to Change Your Life" (Simon & Schuster, 2000). Fax your dreams to Cynthia Richmond at (818) 783-3267 or e-mail them to Please include your hometown and a daytime phone number. In Your Dreams appears every Tuesday and should be read for entertainment purposes only.

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