Dear Claire,

I have read your articles in the Vail Voice and would like to add my recurring dreams for your consideration. The following dreams occur on a regular basis, and are in different settings, but the focus of the dreams are all the same: I am getting ready for some event (such as getting ready for school or work or church or an important event such as graduation or meeting someone important). During the dream, I am only partially dressed (i.e. in my undies) and I can’t find the clothes that I need to get ready. I can’t find any clothes or other items that I need. Time is up, and I am in a panic-that is how the dream ends with no resolution. Is this a common dream and can you give some ideas as to what it means?

This is an extremely classic and universal dream, which can come in many different forms—and involve varying degrees of “undress”. However, the constant, common theme in this type of dream will always be the important, missing item (or items) of clothing—and this missing item of clothing will always be one which leaves the dreamer feeling exposed, vulnerable, and open to potential public embarrassment, ridicule, and/or shaming. In fact, in many of these “partially dressed” dreams, the dreamers will often find that they end up in a total state of undress—total nakedness—with nowhere to hide. In this case, the dreamers must ascertain exactly why they are feeling so uncomfortably exposed to the world—or why they are feeling so vulnerable at this particular time in their lives. If the dreamers were to go back and closely examine recent events and exchanges which occurred prior to this type of dream, they would probably find that there was some instance or interaction where they may have felt that they revealed too much personal information to some person or persons around them. For example, perhaps a dreamer shared too much of what he was feeling, let down his guard more than he was comfortable with, or talked about a personal issue and later regretted it. This emotional discomfort and regret would be symbolized by varying degrees of physical exposure, with the extent of the physical exposure in the dream being dependent upon the extent to which the dreamer is feeling emotionally exposed in life—from missing pants all the way to being totally and publicly naked. If he merely shared a little more than he should have shared about his marital problems or a lack of confidence in some area which he is sensitive about, he may find that he is just missing his pants in a subsequent dream. However, if he broke down and cried in front of co-workers with whom he is not particularly close or comfortable, he may later dream that he is totally naked in front of them. Again, the constant in the dream will be that the missing clothing will reflect the degree to which the dreamer feels vulnerable and exposed to the outside world and/or people in his life.

In the above dream, however, the dreamer appears not only to feel exposed, but appears to also feel anxious, pressed for time, and under-prepared. The dreamer states that she is “in a panic”, “time is up”, and she “can’t find any clothes” or any of the items which she needs. This total lack of ability to access necessary clothing and items in her dream, as well as the emphasis in her dream on the level of undress, the state of panic, and the time-constraint, most likely mirrors how she is feeling in her life at this time—feelings of vulnerability, anxiety, and stress caused by being unable to find or acquire the resources and time needed to feel confident and prepared. And as to the reason why there is no resolution at the conclusion of her dream? Perhaps, that is due to the fact that there cannot be any resolution until the dreamer is feeling that she is at her best and “fully dressed” and equipped for what lies ahead. Furthermore, it is highly likely that this particular dream recurs any time that this dreamer has upcoming deadlines or obligations which cause her to feel unprepared, anxious, pressured, and less than confident. Feelings of this nature can generate unhealthy mental, emotional, and physical outcomes—and her subconscious mind may be sending reruns of this dream in an attempt to prod her into taking actions that will bring about the desired, healthier outcomes. Meaning, once the dreamer takes the time to prepare, find all of the resources that she needs, and “get dressed”—so to speak—her angst will subside, resolution will be found, and her subconscious mind will, most likely, stop sending her this type of dream.

(**End Note: If a dreamer is happy or relieved to be physically exposed/naked in his/her dream, that is, for the most part, nothing unusual or something to be concerned about. It is typically a reflection of the dreamer’s desire to be free and/or emotionally open in his/her world.)

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