Friday, April 17, 2015

Portrait of A Younger Self

One of my student’s and I have decided to explore visiting our younger selves through dream re-entry.  The intention is to offer assistance to a past aspect of our Self with the hindsight and compassion of a wiser, older sibling.  This lets us revision a former self, perhaps healing a Soul part that might be injured or stuck from that point on in our lives.  Through the practice of dream re-entry, we can find a way to return that Soul vitality to our present time and present selves. 

The imaginal work that Active Dreaming encourages, just as Jung encouraged it under the name of Active Imagination and before all, as indigenous dream practices have done, is my favorite aspect of my dream practice, except for dreaming itself.

Synchronistically, I just found an artifact from my 11-13 year old self among my books; it’s a small white leather autograph book.  They were popular back then, I guess. I found that its pages contained handwritten well wishes from various friends, classmates and teachers, not to mention, from my older by two years brother. 

What a trip!  I read the whole book carefully, several times stopping to marvel at the piece of my past it brings back to me, making it so accessible to me, Now.  With this information, I can more authentically go back and dialogue with my sweet "pre-teen" self and discover more about her.

To honor the waking dream of finding this book and its great assistance to me in my exploration, I called my brother, who lives in the Midwest. I asked him what he remembers about that time in our lives, read him, (okay, teased him about) his entry, shared with him one particularly jaw dropping revelation and reminisced about the teachers and those days.  Funny how, given how much fun it is to talk about our past this way, we don't more often.   This is how  a dream practice activates our waking lives and animates our awareness of life's potentials.

If I empower the little girl I find in the pages of this book, a little book that she carried to school and passed to those whose signature she wanted, will she empower me, too, now?  My answer to that is, yes; definitely.

What do I really want?  Who am I really?  How do I empower myself to do what I desire to do, as best I can and with joy? A dream practice helps us each answer our own heartfelt questions in life, because it helps strip away the many ego illusions we're sold and kindly replaces them with a true mirror into Soul.

In his excellent book, “Dreaming the Soul Back Home” Robert Moss describes how dreams offer us endless opportunities for soul recovery.  In Active Dreaming, Robert uses shamanic soul retrieval practices as the foundation for a new direction in dream play he calls, "soul recovery."  A significant difference between soul retrieval  and soul recovery is that the former requires a trained and skilled shaman, while soul recovery connects each person to  lost soul parts through dreaming and dream practices.  Each person is his or her own shaman.

Although I'm thrilled for the energy my autograph book has generated for me, you don’t need any artifacts from any particular time.  You may find it helpful to pull out pictures or objects, but all you really need is your imagination.  I find re-entering a dream of a 12 year old girl, or of a dream location like the house she lived in, a school or other dream setting familiar to her, any of these is a powerful portal to the past.  If I dreamt it, it has energy for me to reveal and use for my benefit.  

Going back through old dream journals looking for a specific place or type of character is great fun.  I also practice meditating on the well being of that little girl and embracing all her wonderful characteristics as my own. I can release, sadness, shyness, disappointment, whatever, while embracing her good humor and kindness. Meeting her again brings me renewed energy by connection to the passions and freedoms that she carried in my heart at that time.

Living with a dream practice really does beat watching TV all the time