Dream Analysis With Bingo

Morning Walk

Heading off on the morning walk.

This morning’s walk begins as it always does, whether I have a dream to tell Bingo or not.

I snap on his leash and open the front door. Bingo rushes outside and dashes from one side of the porch to the other, sniffing all surfaces to the full extent of his extendo-leash.

“Let’s go this way, Mr. B.” Bingo leaps off the porch ahead of me and runs until the leash is almost taut. Then he slows to my pace.

About halfway up the driveway, Bingo discovers an interesting leaf on the ground under a madrone. He anoints it with his first pee of the day.

We resume our walk beneath the tall trees, heading toward the sunny lane.

Hey, Bingo.” Bingo slows and looks at me over his shoulder. “I had a dream last night.” He turns ahead and picks up the pace. Bingo prefers to conduct dream analysis in motion.

I tell him my dream, which climaxes with me chest-deep in pond water at night. I’d stumbled into the pond while walking at a garden party with a baby in my arms. I’m managing to keep the baby up out of the water, but I can’t climb the steep bank with the baby in my hands. It’s dark outside. Fortunately, another party-goer sees me, comes over, and I hand the baby to safety. The dream ends with me thinking that I’ll have to grab the grass at the top of the bank to haul myself out.

“So anyway,” I say to Bingo, “I’m glad that the baby is okay. But what a terrible dream! Why did I fall into a pond at night with a baby in my arms? What does the baby represent? What’s in danger because I’m not taking care of it?”

I think of all the nascent projects and goals I’m currently nursing. It seems to me that each one is either in stasis or crawling forward with excruciating slowness. In fact, for the past couple of days, overwhelmed by everything I have to do, I’ve had a hard time doing anything, and feel as though I’ve fallen even further behind.

“Could the baby be the new web site?” I ask Bingo. “I thought I’d get that done by the end of August, and here we are in September and it’s not even close. Or is it my unfinished art projects? Or maybe it’s the church—the committee I said I didn’t have time to be on? Heaven help me, I can’t get anything done! All my babies are drowning!”

Bingo abruptly sits and uses a hind paw to scratch under his chin. I think of my previous analyst, who died a few years ago. She was a master of the pregnant pause. I can hear her saying that she believed dreams were not about our outer life, but about our inner life.

“Then why do we talk about the outer life in dream analysis?” I asked her.

Pregnant pause.

“Because the outer life is related to the inner life,” she answered.

Out of the woods and into the light of day.

“So what are you saying?” I ask Bingo. “That maybe the baby doesn’t stand for the web site, the art projects, or the church committees? That maybe the dream is about how I feel about all that?”

Bingo finishes scratching under his chin and we continue our walk. It’s a beautiful morning, cool and clear, with the promise of warmth to come. We come to a turn in the lane. Bingo poops. We circle back toward home.

“I’ll tell you how I feel,” I say to Bingo. “I’m afraid. I’m afraid that I just can’t do it. I’m afraid that I don’t have what it takes to get things done anymore. I’m afraid of being a big fat failure.”

Even as the words come out, a spark of anger ignites inside me. The anger isn’t directed back at me (thank God), but at the fear itself.

I’m sick of being afraid! Poop on you, fear! What makes you think I can’t do stuff? Of course I can! And don’t forget that the baby is just fine!

Another voice speaks from inside—the voice of One who loves me.

“For God’s sake, Margaret, grab hold and climb out of the damned pond!”

We arrive home. It’s Saturday. Rather than try to catch up by working on the web site all weekend, I weed the labyrinth and finish a sewing project. Mysteriously, the big ball of fear in my chest shrinks down to size.

Sunday night I have a dream that climaxes with me running in an open field surrounded by puppies who were born at the start of the dream through a hole in my right thigh. I tell Bingo the dream on our Monday morning walk, and he loves it.

The analyst, at rest between sessions

Another week. Back to work. Anything worth doing takes as long as it takes. The baby is fine. 

sending love & blessings to all you brave warriors on the path of life,


About Margaret D. McGee


  1. Melissa Layer says:

    What a fabulous post, Margaret! I love your writing… your transparency and humor is so delicious and inspiring. What a wise and faithful witness you have in Bingo. Not to add anything else to your plate of creative morsels – but I can envision a future book about the early morning conversations between you and Bingo! : – )

  2. I am very happy you share this walk with Bingo and the photos of him, as well. I admire that you have a dog and that you can enhance your life with his friendship. Yes, I think a book or booklet of these walks with Bingo is a lovely concept. Countee Cullen, Harlem Renaissance writer, thanks his cat in the foreward to his storybook. The book is about imaginary animals that don’t quite make it into Noah’s ark. In my projects, I thank Simone the cat when I thank the other creatures. Fondly, Sharon

  3. Brad Offutt says:

    Here I am, sitting in the Hotel Grotta on Naxos, filled with real joy by this new Bench. It happens every time you post one, so imagine my excitement to see “September” on the home page! I especially like the image of you running across a field with all those puppies, born from within you somehow. All those puppies will grow in their own good time – no need to try to hurry them because puppies and ideas and projects don’t grow that way. What fun to watch whatever they become. Thank goodness you climbed out of “that damned pond!”

    • Thanks, Brad — I’m enjoying picturing you on Naxos.
      Sometimes I wonder if I’ll spend my whole life falling into that pond & climbing out again! It’s the human condition, I guess. The best way out, for me, is to tell about it.

  4. Anne Timlick says:

    Bingo! I say- {{smiling}}
    pondering along with you to the end of your walk,
    receiving your blessing and love,
    reminding us that we’re on the journey together.

  5. Of course Bingo would want to be a co-author on this new book, not only that but he would most likely appreciate a piece of steak rather than accolades for his dream analysis expertise…. Cheers Tineke