Three Keys to Balance

When life feels out of control the dream self sends messages to help restore balance, especially dreams about houses. The location and condition of the house are important since they symbolize the self.

Dreams are easier to understand if you interpret everything as parts of yourself that are trying to become conscious, meaning known and acknowledged by you.

For example, where is the house in your dream? What does it look like; is it run down or in good shape? Is it easy to access, or difficult to find? Is it too big or too small? Is the house full of threatening strangers, or are you with people you trust and who trust you?

How do you feel about what is going on in the dream house? Are you scared, surprised, or pleased by what you see? If you go back into this dream would you change anything? If so, does that tell you what you need to change about yourself?

An Unbalanced House

When you reject parts of yourself because they do not fit an idealized self-image you may dream you are in a house standing on shaky ground. Let’s say you pride yourself on how much you get done, ignoring the cost to your mind and body. The message of the dream is to look at the insecurity that causes you to drive yourself so hard.

Looking inside for the source of difficulties takes courage, since you never know what you are going to see. But reflection pays off with increased self-awareness.

As an example, if you admit you are envious of someone who has what you want, say, you are likely to recognize envy in all its forms. This helps you to accept envy as part of success, wisdom that makes you less afraid to take the risk you were avoiding.

When you are not conscious of what blocks your growth, you dream you are in standing in front of a house with a false façade (a faulty self-image). If you walk inside you see a living room full of clutter (too much going on in your relationships).

The kitchen in the dream house is outdated, (not nourishing yourself}, and the bathroom needs a thorough overhaul (the need to eliminate the old). The gloomy basement is packed with stuff from past generations (beliefs that don’t serve you well).

As the dream progresses, you notice there are no locks on the doors. People are walking around and taking what they want (poor boundaries). When you protest these intrusions no one listens to you; it is as if you are invisible (lack of self-assertion). When the dream ends you feel hopeless.

A House in Balance

Imagine you dream you are in a house that has a fence around it and locks on every door. The front of the house is similar to the inside: accessible, comfortable and inviting.
The tidy kitchen in the dream smells of freshly baked bread, the well-lit basement has a few boxes stacked neatly against the wall. No one walks in or takes anything without asking your permission.

As this dream progresses someone suggests you do something your instincts tell you to avoid, so you say no. When the other person backs down you are not surprised, since you trust yourself. You wake up feeling hopeful.

Remodeling Your House

If you ever lived in a house while it was being remodeled, you know how stressful the upheaval can be. The noise, dust and unexpected costs make you wonder why you ever got started on such a demanding project. The day comes when the last coat of paint signals the end of disruption.

As you look around at your upgraded home you are delighted with the outcome. The house is bright and cheerful, with everything in its proper place. You express gratitude to everyone who helped to transform a neglected house into a well cared for home. Under your breath you mutter to yourself, “never again.”

Similarly, remodeling your interior house can seem like an endless project. Just when you think you conquered another inner demon, an event or encounter brings it back to life.
Oh, no, I thought I was done with that, you say to yourself, just as you did when the contractor said the bathroom pipes had to be replaced.

Later, you were glad the contractor did not skip steps. The process of getting there was brutal at times, but it was thorough. Not only do you have the home of your dreams, what you learned is yours to keep forever: motivation, openness, and perseverance.


Motivation is a surge of energy that gets any change started. It is the push that propels you to act, rather than procrastinate. When desire is genuine it pushes through all fear and self-doubt.

Any change in behavior will be tested to see if you are serious about growth. You give up a habit only to discover “friends” sabotage you in subtle ways: “It’s only one drink.” Or, “What makes you think you can do that and make money?” Or, “Why aren’t you as available as you used to be?”

When you feel discouraged by naysayers, you are likely to have dreams where you can’t find the key to your house (personal power). Or someone steals everything in your house (identity). The dream self is telling you to listen to your creative self, not others’ fears.


New experiences rewire your brain by creating neural pathways that were not there before. By contrast, the brain loses plasticity when you stick with what you know. Being open to the unknown speeds up learning, and assimilation of what you are learning.

Exposing yourself to newness on a regular basis helps you to understand the steps toward any goal: the exciting beginning, the messy middle, and the triumphant ending. In the house and self-remodel examples, the difficult part is the middle, when there appears to be no end in sight. This is where you need the third key to balance: perseverance.


Motivation and openness fluctuate depending on what happens each day.How many times have you set a goal only to lose interest? The goal was unrealistic to begin with, or you underestimated what it took to get there. Enter perseverance.
Perseverance is the part of yourself that stays with you when life gets hard. It is not impressed by glamour, money or the world’s acclaim; it just likes to get the job done. Whether you are remodeling a home or yourself, the best strategy is: take one day at a time. Daily improvement gives you the confidence to take on bigger challenges.

When perseverance gets distracted by what is going on in the outside world, your dream self will likely show you an image of a craftsman giving his utmost attention to a project of his own design. The dream is telling you to call in your scattered energies and focus on what you can control. Turn everything else over to a higher power. Then life will get back in balance.

Nancy Anderson is a career and life consultant based in the Sacramento/San Francisco Bay Area. She is also the author of the best selling career guide, Work with Passion, How to do What You Love For a Living, and Work with Passion in Midlife and Beyond, Reach Your Full Potential and Make the Money You Need. Nancy’s website is

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