Friday, November 23, 2012

Dreaming With Children in 2020

I’m happy to have met an amazing young man of 14 who came to our Robert Moss/ Gore Mt. dreaming retreat early this month with his mom, a wonderful dreamer participating in a Dream Practice Intensive training I’m leading.  He is so cool, sweet and true.  It’s very obvious that he liked what he experienced because he wants to come to some dream classes with his mom. 

I think young people and children like Active Dreaming because it stimulates imagination and reveals the fun it is to play with your dreams in a group of creative dreamers.  Our young mountain dreamer shared one of his dreams with our group and then directed us in Dream Theater, a game where the dreamer casts people to play out his or her dream. I got to play his cat, a part I enjoyed immensely, as I love cat companions and he has a really cool one.

Every time I share Active Dreaming with children and young people, I see how much they really appreciate innovative, imaginative ways to learn.  I’ll paraphrase what I heard renowned child psychologist and author, Dr. James Garbarino, say in a keynote to educators; ‘it’s a challenge for children to “survive the crashing bore” that is our conventional public and private educational system in this country.’  It’s a system that’s economically impoverished, yes, but the real poverty is in the curriculum and the structure, (not the teachers, with some exceptions). In other words, it’s the Spirit of education that in 2012 is impoverished.

As a teacher, I’ve always dreamed of unleashing, not harnessing and curving, our children’s curiosity and energy.  My vision of primary education is a lot of outdoor, nature based running and playing with very little time spent sitting and listening to adult blah, blah, blah.  Yes, they’d be guided in learning about many things in which they show an interest and the skills of reading and writing would be encouraged in them in creative ways, but learning will always be experiential, not rote and mechanical.

Young adults will be out in the community learning from gifted people in the fields of interest they choose. Dream explorers teach wonderful programs for children of all ages, including adults, to initiate and develop the art of dreaming.  Musicians, dancers, poets, actors, scientists and experienced spiritual healers, all of them dreamers, staff our educational programs.

I’ll add an idea proposed by a young mother in our Gore Mt. Group to my 2020 vision for education; our communities have created cyber classrooms in a central location we might call a “school” where through our amazing technologies, youngsters connect with others from all around the world and learn about each other’s cultures and life.

Dreaming the future to the year 2020, I see that our educational system is diverse and creative; its aim is to open the doors of imagination and to dreaming so that each child finds an authentic life path. Art programs will flourish as children manifest their dreams creatively and science will be based on developing the now revered powers of imagination. We all understand that consideration for all living things and the planet can drive our technology; we value strong dreamers in all fields and promote all creative activities. Einstein, of course, was way ahead of us;  “Logic will get you from A to B, imagination will take you everywhere.” 

Right now, while dreaming this future, the best way to open dream gates for children is for their parents to open their own, first.  When parents know how powerful, wonderful and energizing it is to be connected to dreaming, they’re the very best teachers for their children.  As for dreaming itself, children are the experts, many spiritual teachers say it’s because they are newly transitioned from dreaming dimensions.  The most important practices for adults to learn are: to listen, not judge, not analyze, respect the dreamer and the dream, and offer only what might delight or truly help the child, like back up to face anything scary and to create something positive out of the fear.

Here are some great articles from Robert Moss’s DreamGates blog and two of my own posts on this topic:

Here’s a story about my own experience-teaching children about dreaming:

What does your dream of future education look like?  What can we do now to make our children's future brighter and deeper?

Sunday, November 11, 2012

In Gratitude

Pundits are arguing about whether the election results issue the government a mandate; I revel in the joy of feeling that the mandate was issued to every person living in this country.  I think the mandate is to live and dream from our hearts, mindful of the impact of our actions down to the seventh generation on this earth, as native wise ones teach.

I'm in awe and gratitude to the voters of this country who clarified for elected officials what we truly care about, besides the economy.  I think we’ve only just begun to dream our best dreams into this reality and it's heartening to know there are so many people passionate about making a difference. 

I collect “dream” songs.  This is one of my all time favorites and it’s augmented by the fact that it’s talented author, Stevie Ray Vaughan, is on the other side, hopefully dreaming this dream even bigger.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Post Storm Dreaming on the Mountain

When a natural disaster strikes, many things occur, none of which are business as usual.  "Nature Trumps" would be a good bumper sticker on our foreheads right about now.

I live in CT one of the states where Monday’s hurricane left an indelible, and for very, very many people, a painful mark.  My elevation from the beach defended against flood waters that loomed ferociously imminent and luck kept any of the magnificent trees in our neighborhood from coming down, though some neighbors dealt with very large tree limbs falling.  We never lost utility services; our lives resumed as normal, except for the sorrow at our friends and neighbor’s troubles.

In news reports we hear regularly that this area has no power and people often say; "I had no power..." I avoid using these terms, as you see.  Here are my reasons:

A)   As a society we've managed to enslave ourselves to generators and electrical grid sytems for our survival, obviously a bad idea in the long term.
B)   “Lost power” isn't a good term to use psychically to describe our utility situation.  Our psyches visualize and image, so what's the message we're giving ourselves in the wake of situations that requires great strength and heart?

I won’t say “I didn’t lose power” to explain my good fortune, nor will I say someone I know "lost power.”  Electricity isn't my power, in the true spiritual enduring sense of the word. That we've allowed a modern convenience to threaten our own and our culture's survival is something to think about.  Aren’t we smart enough to come up with a more sustainable infrastructure in the long run?  Yes, I think, if we think with our hearts, we can.

I’ve just returned from a wonderfully renewing weekend with Robert Moss and a deeply loving dream community of friends on Gore Mountain.  My mind is a kaleidoscope of experiences that I’ll be journaling and blogging about for months.  As I  often heard this weekend, the time is Now, so I’ll begin my story with a shamanic dream journey we all shared and Robert led very relevant to our present moment in time, our journey to the year 2020.  Our quest was to dream the future we want, not tied to politics and elections, but rather to envision what we want realized by that year for the highest good of all. 

We take this journey because if we dream the future, if we imagine what we want in rich and brilliant detail, we can realize it in this waking reality.  Dreaming cultures steeped in spiritual dream practices  believe this reality is only one of our soul’s experiences and not necessarily, except for the breathtaking beauty of the Earth and the immense joy of loving one another, the best one.  Indigenous dreaming cultures today are trying to dream healing for the planet and teach non-dreaming cultures how to dream the same. They're trying to teach us to visualize with our imaginations the positive outcomes we want so we can know what steps to take in this moment of time to make this healing dream come true.

The message being taught is to be one with Spirit; to care more about what is divine and less about what is impermanent.  I’m fond of asking what is it we really can take with us?  Maybe that’s what Jesus meant; “separate the chaff from the wheat.”  Spiritual power can’t be lost, but it's thrown away by lack of mindfulness, dreaming, imagination and respect for Earth.  

I listened to so many wonderful visionary suggestions from my companion dream trackers that I'm inspired to continue my positive creative visioning and invite you to add to it as well.

In my vision, we value everyone's contribution, and together, we create only earth respecting technologies.  Yes, I know there’s a powerful oil lobby, etc.  But if we all really, really want it, dream it, imagine such a world for ourselves, but more importantly for all the children of this planet, then we can create it.  As John Perkins puts it from the wisdom of his indigenous shamanic teachers, “The world is as you dream it."

In my vision, we each carry this motto in our hearts:  “We need Nature and Nature needs us.”  or as I would prefer, “We need Gaia and Mother Gaia needs us.”  We began this dream journey on Gore Mt., sacred lands of native ancestors, of bear and fox and deer, of the birches and pines.  In my dream, when it came time to depart from our mountain dreaming, each of us leaves in a beautiful spirit canoe, gently, surely paddling the river in all directions, accompanied by our power animals and guides, passionate to spread this vision, each in our own way.  Our experience dreaming together teaches us spirit power is alive and love prevails. 

We each have the natural spiritual power to connect to what is dearest to us, to what makes us know our own divinity and helps us find our soul’s true home.  We can access that power in different ways. One is definitely to attune ourselves to dreaming.  The yin/yang of existence is the dance between realities, conscious living and active dreaming.

Robert Moss is a great teacher of shamanic wisdom traditions.  I’m very grateful for his passionate, committed and brilliant leadership as a dream teacher and author and for the rich tapestry of dream roads his work offers dreamers. 

To honor this journey, this post storm dreaming on the mountain, I want to make a wish. My wish for the very, very near future is that people vote as if their vote really, really counts.  I pray that people will stop and consider what they want their vote to count for.  There are consequences to electoral choices because we entrust decision making power to officials of the government.  I want to elect leaders who truly understands that continuing to suck nature dry without thought for damage and consequences will cost us a lot  more than money; it threatens our human survival and that of untold animals, of the entire planet.  I want someone who gives a shit about future generations of children and about children right now. 

So vote with your heart, not your wallet.  Don’t forget, it’s worn on your ass for a reason.

I intend to continue sharing with you about the weekend; love to hear from you and may our best dreams come true.