Archive for Dreams
You’ve probably heard of The Bucket List, that list people keep of all they want to accomplish before they die. Well, I have another list for you. This one is meant to remind you that you’re really a very fine person – even in the face of criticism and dips in your self-esteem.
It goes like this:
Think of an event in your life that you feel proud of. It can be from any stage of your life. Don’t be shy. The list is just for you. It’s private.
Once you’ve come up with an event, close your eyes and re-create that experience. Visualize all you could see at that special time. Who’s present? What do you hear and smell? Take your time. When you’re ready, check in with the centre of your body. How does your body feel about this special time? Read more
Dreams, even if they’re bizarre or scary, are always benign. At the very least, they release feelings we haven’t been able to handle during the day. Dreams serve to keep us emotionally healthy.
Unless we’ve learned to control our usual bias, a scary dream will frighten us just as it would if we were awake. If we don’t know how to control our usual response to the story the dream brings, the message will escape us. Dr. Eugene Gendlin’s book Let Your Body Interpret Your Dreams explains how to get beyond our usual reaction so that we get to the actual message.
I believe our dreams often try to get our attention. Maybe there’s something we’re ignoring and need to be aware of.
In my book, Confessions of a Trauma Therapist, I cite the recurring nightmare my mother had when my sister and I were children. For me, it falls into the category of a dream that was attempting to make her aware that her child was being sexually abused. Unfortunately for me, my mother remained bewildered by the bad dream.
Throughout my youth my mother often told us about a disturbing, recurrent nightmare. It was always the same. She, her mother, my sister, and I were in a pastoral, grassy setting in the sunshine. The children were gamboling like lambs in the long grass. Suddenly there was a sinister change. Something was terribly wrong. The sky darkened and the long grass was wet and slimy. My mother was repulsed and horrified. She couldn’t stand the feeling of the wet grass on her legs. She tried to find her children, who were in great danger. She always wakened in a cold sweat from the nightmare. (p.180)
Too bad for me that my mother didn’t learn to interpret her own dreams. If the dream had managed to break through her denial, maybe she’d have protected me from the men in the family.
Dreams can bring us messages from our deepest, wisest selves. Maybe our heads can’t figure out what’s best for us, but somewhere inside we know what we need to do.
When our conscious controls are off while we’re sleeping, our dreams can guide us to the right decision.
It was 1983. I was trying to find a way to be with my spiritual teacher that respected my need to be true to myself. I was trying to decide whether I needed to change the nature of our guru-disciple relationship. This is what I dreamed.
A big, majestic bird is curled up in my abdomen. It grows to fill my neck and thorax with its body. Then I feel relief. A message comes. You have to let it fly. Don’t keep it inside. There’s a sense of a hundred birds flying up and out of me. A feeling of lightness and freedom.
The dream seemed to tell me that I needed to be free of my guru, but I needed to be sure. The next night I asked for a dream that would clarify the first. (You can ask for a dream about a particular issue just as you’re falling asleep.)
Here is what I dreamed: I open a window. There is a storm window, a second pane of glass. A large bird has been held between the two panes. It is dead and falls to the ground as I open the window. It seems to be a large seagull. I feel no remorse. It was dead before I got here, being held up by two panes.
Commentary: Birds are free. They fly above it all. They have a heightened perspective. My bird can’t soar.
Conclusion: I was ready for a new stage in my life, one of freedom to connect to my own wisest self.