Sunday, September 26, 2010

Dream Mojo: Nightmares Big and Small

I'm still feeling the loving support of my angel dolphin guide from the dream I wrote about last Sunday; it's like the high from a great therapy session and it didn't cost any money.

Dreams are my connection to Spirit. The older I get, the more dreaming and waking interweave the experiences of my life and underscore the truth of this connection. In the Way of the Dreamer DVD series, program 2, Robert Moss says; "I know this about dreaming, it's all about soul."

After so many years of paying attention to my dreams and reaping dream rewards, I scratch my head at how dismissive or fearful some people are about their own dream life. It's understandable, but puzzling. Why dismiss direct and uberpersonal information that can benefit your mind, moods, body and spirit? How do you know it doesn't mean anything if you don't pay attention and you don't learn the language?

Some people say that all they ever remember are nightmares; these people would just as soon forget their dreams. I spend a bit of time on nightmares when I do dreamshops and presentations because I've heard this so often. I have several previous posts on nightmares, but let me reiterate my views on scary dreams and nightmares. Number one, it's extremely important to be sensitive to the source of these nightmares. Many people suffer from post-traumatic stress related dreams that require great sensitivity and knowledge of trauma in order to help the dreamer through these dreams. No one should presume one theory covers all. However, nightmares in ordinary circumstances are usually our best friends, as Robert Moss teaches in this youtube clip from the DVD program I quoted earlier:

Following his challenge to dreamers to face their nightmares, Robert gives a wonderful example from a dream re-entry in one of his workshops. In Active Dreaming there are many ways, like through dream re-entry, dialogue with dream characters, or other numerous creative approaches, to harness the energy of a nightmare image for our good and growth.

The other special consideration I take with scary dreams and nightmares is when I'm teaching children how to address their fears and get beyond bad dreams to good dreaming. I have a theory that part of the reason children are prone to nightmares is the size and power difference between their world and the adult world. Also, some children have more external supports and a higher degree of personal security than others; this is a factor to consider in guiding them concerning dreams. Here's a story that illustrates how much children can benefit from an Active Dreaming approach: (Robert asked me last week if he could post a story I had written to him a few years back on this topic, so here's the post at his blog, DreamGates on Belief Net

Dreaming with inner city kids

Thursday, September 23, 2010

"Let It Be" Sung By A Chorus of Thousands

In my previous post I share a dream that was an answer to my prayers; "Angel Dolphin, Where Have You Been?" I needed that spiritual reassurance to get back on track. One of the practices of Active Dreaming as taught by Robert Moss is honoring a dream by manifesting it's energy in the waking through some tangible action. That's why I often do drawings from my dreams; I've shared with you several incidents of uncanny, unpremeditated results.

Another way to honor a dream is to journey back into it, not by falling back asleep, but by slipping into the mild trance of daydreaming and continuing or extending the dream from any point of choice. Robert calls it "Dream Re-Entry"; it's similar to journeying practices in many shamanic cultures and to what Carl Jung called Active Imagination.

Angel Dolphin was definitely a dream I wanted to re-enter and to my delight, I got to share this dream re-entry with a dear friend. Here's my journey back into "Angel Dolphin":

When I recognize that my guide is a dolphin, I lose my fear. I slip off the raft and into the sultry ocean waves. Swimming under the dolphin, I emerge on the other side of him in my Mermaid form. I'm singing the Beatles song, "Let It Be" to the music being performed by a band on shore. Everyone joins in singing the song; the dolphin, my cousin, who has also taken mermaid form, and then voice by voice, thousands of others, merpeople and dolphins everywhere. It's our anthem to our Lady. I am a small voice in this chorus, but the joy I derive from singing it is immense.

When we shared our trips, my friend's journey had many features in common with mine, and also extended to areas that I welcomed as more insight to my dream. Later that evening, along with her musician son on guitar, we sang our rendition of "Let It Be." I've learned the lyrics and sing it periodically as a centering practice and a way to honor my dreams.

Some may consider dream re-entry a frivolous flight of the imagination; I find it's an excellent intuitive tool for Self balancing through dream play.

The picture above is "Our Lady of Good Counsel" (a fitting a.k.a. for the Lady in my dream re-entry); it's a picture I took recently of the church I attended sporadically as a teenager. It's also the dream setting for one of my most treasured Big Dreams, "Howling Mary." Let It Be.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Angel Dolphin, Where Have You Been?

I've mentioned before how there's a rhythm to my dream recall and my dream play. Sometimes I experience a dream drought, a time when I'm not remembering much of what I've been living in the sleeping state. Not everybody has these dry periods; some people, who may not even be keeping track of their dreams, remember their dreams every time they wake from sleep. I do get jealous, but it doesn't really matter. One dream remembered from ten years ago can change your life now if you pay attention to it. Still, when I have a phase where my dreams slip away too fast for me to catch them, I do miss them very much.

I know many people have experienced what we're fond of calling depression. We might go through the paces of life, but there's no zeal or passion for the life we're living. Some people turn to religion to fill this void; I find my dreams are my surest source of comfort, inspiration and teaching when I feel this way. Even though I'm in a drought, I still ask for their help most every night. During a recent bout of the blues which had me adopting a rather scaredy-kitty approach to life, I went to sleep asking for a dream that would help me get back to feeling my Self again. I remembered this brief dream in the morning.

I'm floating on a raft, my cousin is with me on her own raft, and we're floating feet first out towards deep ocean. I'm relaxed and comfortable, feeling the wonder and beauty of the Caribbean blue/green ocean, looking up at the clear, beautiful blue sky. I notice that the light is beginning to go golden, signaling sunset is not far off. I tell my cousin we need to turn around and head back, I don't want to be drifting in the ocean at night. She turns on her stomach and begins swimming her raft towards shore. I stay on my back, holding her raft with my left hand and swimming the back stroke with my right. I look out to the right and see the glistening blue-grey skin of a large fish with a fin diving into the water about 12 feet away. At first I fear it's a shark and hold my breath, but quickly I see it's not; it's a dolphin. It's obviously guiding us back to shore. It continues swimming along side us till we get to the beach, then turns around and swims back out.

I drew a very fast sketch, just a few lines with colors from the dream and the quick unthinking strokes I use for dream drawings. I looked at my scrawls and judged that the shape of the fish was all wrong. The fish looked like it had wings. I thought, that's not what a dolphin looks like. Eureka! They are wings; angel wings, I realized. My dolphin is an even greater guide than I first apprerciated, so I titled the dream: "Angel Dolphin." I also wrote on the drawing, "Where have you been?"

Receiving this great spiritual reassurance that my guide is with me, in deep water and on shore, made all the difference to me. I could feel the blues evaporating and my energy increasing. I took this dream to one of my favorite dream friends to gain even greater insight by journeying back into it together. I'll post more on dream re-entry soon and perhaps share more of the insights this little dream opened to me.

Dreams can provide, in just one image, a metaphor that anchors the soul in times of trouble. They can open the door to deeper possibilities in the practical matters of life and they can lead us back to emotional Terra Firma, where we can find our footing and move on.

Finding a spiritual guide is one of the most profound gifts of dreaming. If you pay attention to your dreams, they will surprise you with allies in the most wonderful guises, bearing just the right tidings, just in the nick of time.