I keep having this dream. The details vary slightly but the storyline and imagery are always the same.
I am lying naked in a dark room on a hospital bed. My childhood pediatrician stands over me in scrubs with a nurse at his side. He tells me I need open-heart surgery. I am given no anesthesia. I'm terrified but I trust him.
He gently draws a tiny scalpel from my clavicle to my sternum, splitting my chest in two. The pain is excruciating. I take a giant breath in and begin to cry.
Then, as I exhale, in one giant rush, at least 2 dozen beautiful white doves come flapping out of my chest cavity and into the room. I lay in shock, watching these magnificent birds exiting my body, flying around the room and out of the open windows. I reach for a blanket to cover up my exposed organs and find that my chest has been sewn up, with only a long, thin scar running down my torso. The doctor and nurse are gone.
As I lay alone in the cold room and watch the doves fly away, I feel the most wonderful sense of relief.
When I wake up in real life, I always feel lighter and freer than when I went to bed.