Find 350 Dreamers on Facebook

Tzivia:

Please dream with us for global healing in the face of climate change on Monday night Sept. 22.

Originally posted on 350 Dreamers:

Dream With Us

What: We invite you to dream with us in our quest to use the power of dreams to help heal Planet Earth!

We dream together periodically … watch for updates at 350 Dreamers on Facebook.

Dream, journey and/or vision for the earth on the night of our group dream and post your dreams and reflections on 350 Dreamers Facebook Page in the morning!

Why: Because Global Climate Change is threatening our beautiful planet and because we have the power to create positive, healing change.

When:

Check our Facebook Page for updates.

Where: Wherever you are …

Who: We have dreamers signed up from Belgium, The Netherlands, Puerto Rico, Canada, Japan, Argentina, The United States … add your nation to the list!

RSVP: Let us know you’ll be dreaming with us by joining 350 Dreamers on FaceBook!

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Q&A: What do I do when dreams get confused with reality?

 Q.I sometimes have a hard time distinguishing dreams from waking reality. I can fool myself into thinking I’m dreaming when I’m awake if I try. It’s kind of disconcerting and un-grounding, like reverse lucid dreaming. What can I do to strengthen the boundary between dreaming and waking?

Signed,

Boundary Issues

 

A. Dear Boundary Issues,

Here’s what I’d like you to do: Take a walk outside today. Find yourself a collection of smooth, solid rocks, scoop them up and put them in your pockets.

No, I’m not being facetious, and I’m not speaking in metaphors. Go ahead, get outside. Select some pretty stones, smooth stones, stones that sit nicely in the palm of your hand—and pocket them. Let them help hold you on this earth.

This isn’t punishment or penance of any sort. I’ve prescribed this same therapy for myself from time to time. Now that you’re settled firmly on this sweet blue planet, let’s talk.

You see, Dear Boundary Issues, while I spend a great deal of my waking time and energy spreading the Good News about dreams: how we should pay more attention to them, honor them, talk and write about them … there are times when I know it is wisest to pull back a little and put our slippered feet solidly on the hardwood floor of waking reality, and honor time we have here, as well.

Dreams and waking are two ends of a continuum of consciousness. We slip in and out and between these states all the time, moving from focused problem-solving, to relaxed day-dreaming, to fantasizing, to going to sleep and having ordinary dreams, lucid dreams, and more. This is healthy and usually quite productive.

Skillful dreamers can slip in and out of various states of consciousness with relative ease. This can be a way to access hypnotic states, trance states, healing Shamanic journeys, and more. When done with intention, agility, and perhaps even a bit of training—this is a wonderful gift to have.

Then again, confusing wake life with dreaming can be a slippery slope to psychosis. Thinking you’re dreaming when you’re awake can lead to all kinds of problems, like deciding to fly off the ledge of tall buildings, for one.

Don’t get me wrong. I love to dance along the boundaries between states of consciousness as much as the next dreamer. And if you can move through dreams within dreams and delve into deep philosophical and metaphysical discourses about how all of life is a dream, and then suit up for work and navigate waking reality just fine, then no problem.

You might even choose to take advantage of having a thin boundary between sleep and waking states of consciousness. But if you do, take care. Such explorations require the balance—and ballast—of a rock solid sense of self. Check in with friends and a trusted therapist to see if you fit that bill. Then find yourself a salt-of-the earth spiritual teacher or guide who has her or his feet planted firmly on the ground, who has a clearly articulated ethical and moral framework for their spiritual work, and ask this person if you can study with them. Even then, keep in close contact with your trusted friends and counselors to get an honest assessment if you’re veering to far off into dangerous territory.

But first, let’s get back to those rocks that are weighting down your pockets. Let them be a reminder to mind the boundary between sleep and waking. Perhaps it’s time to start putting a little more emphasis on the latter. Give your dream journal a break. Drink plenty of water, chew your food slowly, and indulge your five senses.

Because here’s the bottom line, Dear Boundary Issues: Living in bodies is a unique and splendid limited-time offer. Even if we live to be 120, our time in skin suits is still a blink of the eye compared to the eternity our souls have to travel all the invisible realms. So while we’re here encased in flesh and bound by bones, enjoy all the perks. Gravity is a pretty cool phenomenon when you think of it … not to mention color, wind, rain, and skin to skin contact. Play with these earthly delights all you can. Don’t undervalue the eyes-wide-open opportunities presented by so-called ordinary reality.

And let me know how it goes.

Dreamily yours,

Tz …

…zzZZZZzzzzzzz

Want to learn more about your dreams? Contact me to find out about upcoming dream groups in western Massachusetts, or individual dream sessions by phone, Skype, or in person.

Have a Dream Question? Send it along! I’d love to hear from you.

 

 

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Q&A: Can Dreams Help Me Evolve Spiritually? (Namaste, Dreamer!)

Q: How can dreams best be used to evolve one’s spiritual being?

Signed,

Evolving

A: Maybe it’s because I just got back from my weekly yoga class at the Y, but for some reason your question makes me think of downward facing dogs and backbends. Hang in there with me for a moment, Evolving, Dear. That’s not as random as it might at first sound.

You see, we’re supposed to do yoga to become enlightened, right? We know there’s gotta be deep wisdom scrawled in Sanskrit somewhere between all those forward folds and cobra poses. But face it. We also love yoga because it’s a great excuse to buy fabulous form-fitting flared-at-the-knee Capris and pretty little Spandex tops. (Or is that just me and some elephant-headed god is going to toss a bolt of lightning at me for my blasphemous remarks? No worries. I’m willing to risk it for you, Evolving One).

The point is that just as some yoginis (yes, I’m guilty as charged) can turn this deep spiritual practice into an excuse to get a little fashion-crazy, so with dreaming too it’s easy to get lost in the metaphorical bling of the exercise. For example, some dreamers–(yup, I’m guilty as charged once more), can get so caught up in amassing closets full of dream journals, or flaunting their lucid dreaming prowess–that they seem to forget what we’re doing dreamwork for anyway.

But, Evolving one, as you seem to suspect, dreams are about more than just consciousness aerobics. In fact, as much as I love showing off my knowledge of Greek mythology as I delve into a dream’s archetypes and allusions, the real reason I’m hooked on them is that in dreams I get to slip into state of being in which consciousness is as detached from my physical body as it can get without me breaking any laws or checking out for good.

Dreams are in fact a nightly invitation to a spiritual training ground that’s as rigorous and profound as any master yoga class. It’s up to us to accept the challenge and deepen our experience.

But how?

Let’s go back to the sticky mat for a moment. In yoga class the teacher cheerfully invites us to bend our bodies into seemingly impossible contortions. Then, in the face of our burning muscles and shrieking joints she offers breezy instructions like: “Notice your body’s resistance, bring your breath to that area, and simply soften and release.”

At first you think she’s some kind of saccharine sweet sadist, but you go ahead and do what she says and next thing you know you can touch your toes, arc up into a backbend, or sit in full lotus position.

Let’s apply this same instructions to dreams and watch our spirits evolve. Try it: When you find yourself face to face with a monster, an enemy, or a dream character you have nothing but scorn for … soften and release. Consider the possibility that perhaps the character who represents you in the dream is wrong, and that the toothless old woman or the axe-wielding wild man in your nightmare is right. Where can you soften your resistance to a dream scenario? Where can you release a habitual judgments or attitudes and open to new points of view? Apply this principle to even the most mundane dream and the results can be soul-shaking and supremely growthful.

For me, a terrifying dream of being chased by a band of killers while I sped past a student from my poetry class, literally woke me up to the fact that if I didn’t start honoring my inner artist, I’d be murdering a precious part of myself.

A client I recently worked with found that the repulsive man who stormed into her home in her dream was really asking her to accept her own imperfections and embrace a more laissez faire attitude, rather than clinging to her impossible-to-meet joy-crushing standards.

Look into your dream, find the point of conflict, then breathe, soften, and release.

Yeah, I know, that’s more difficult than enduring the burn of chair pose. Ever hear of growing pains? Uh huh. Spiritual and emotional growth is uncomfortable, too, but if you breathe into the discomfort you’ll find yourself becoming increasingly (spiritually) flexible. You’re softening your identification with your ego and starting to align with your deep, divine, core. You’re taking an evolved stance, Evolving One, which is expansive, nonjudgmental, curious, and joyful.

Downward facing dog, anyone?

Dreamily yours,

Tz …

…zzZZZZzzzzzzz

Want to learn more about your dreams? Contact me to find out about upcoming dream groups in western Massachusetts, or individual dream sessions by phone, Skype, or in person.

Have a Dream Question? Send it along! I’d love to hear from you.

 

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Q&A: How Do I Make This (Recurring) Dream Stop?

Q: I have the same dream again and again. What can you tell me about recurring dreams? Why do we have them and is there a way to get the dream to stop repeating itself?

Signed,

Stuck on Replay

 

A: Dear Stuck,

Stop me if I’ve told you this one before …

I have a good friend, let’s call her Ann. Some years back, she was beginning to drive me up the wall. Every time we spoke she’d tell me the same story again and again.

It got to the point where I dreaded seeing her number turn up on my caller ID. If I didn’t love her so much, I might have just stopped picking up the phone. But because I truly care about her I stoically answered her calls, and then I griped to another friend (again and again, I might add) about how tired I was of Ann repeating herself.

This pattern wasn’t helping anyone, except maybe the folks at ATT&T who were pocketing the money we three spent as we racked up minutes on our phone bills.

This, Dear Replay, is exactly what’s going on with you and your dreams. Dreaming, is in essence, a conversation. Depending on your belief system, it’s a conversation between parts of yourself; between you and God; or between you and universal consciousness. Whatever the case, it’s an important relationship worthy of at least as much attention as my relationship with my pal Ann. So, like me, you have a couple of choices:

1) You can prop the phone against your ear and let Ann go on and on like a broken record, while you troll the Internet for the best deal on those cowgirl boots you’ve been coveting.

2) Or, you can step away from the laptop and enter into a meaningful conversation with her about what she is saying and why she feels the need to repeat herself.

The fact that you’re writing to me implies that you really do care, so Option 1 really isn’t an option at all. I care about Ann, too, so here’s what I did:

The next time she launched into her spiel I said, “Ann, I feel like maybe I haven’t been a good listener because I notice that each time we talk you tell me the same story. Is there something you’re not getting from me that you need on this subject?”

Ann paused, then told me she just really needed me to hear her and to validate what she was feeling. So, I asked her to tell me the story one more time. This time I really listened. I asked her questions and took a genuine interest. And guess what? After that we were able to move onto new subject matter.

And that’s what you need to do with your recurring dream. Show the dream you’re really paying attention. Write the dream down. Consider each part of it with a curious, open attitude. Talk the dreams over with a loved one or therapist, or bring it to a dream group. Ask yourself: What has this dream come to tell me?

Chances are, if you give the dream your full attention, one of two things will happen: Either, it will go away, or it will change.

If it goes away and fresh dreams arrive in its stead, good for you. This is a sign that you got the message and addressed the issue the dream was raising for you.

If the dream changes; good for you, too. This is a signal that you are making progress. Keep working with the dream, paying close attention to any alterations in the repeating pattern. You may even start to welcome the reappearance of this dream theme, because the ways it changes will give you clues as to where your daytime attitudes and actions need tweaking.

Give it a try and let me know how it turns out. And I promise to listen closely, so you won’t have to repeat yourself.

Dreamily yours,

Tz…

…zzZZZZzzzzzzz

PS: My dreams repeat themselves almost as much as I do! Read more about recurring dreams here.

…zzZZZZzzzzzzz

Want to learn more about your dreams? Contact me to find out about upcoming dream groups in western Massachusetts, or individual dream sessions by phone, Skype, or in person.

Have a Dream Question? Send it along! I’d love to hear from you.

 

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Q&A: Drinking and Dreaming … Do They Mix? (CV*)

Tzivia:

Over some glasses of Chardonnay and a beautiful farm-to-table vegetarian dinner last night, one of my dinner guests once again asked if the wine would impact his dreams. So, I guess it’s time to repost this Q&A from the S’News Archives. And my Q to you, Dear Dreamers … How does a nightcap affect your dreams?

Originally posted on All the Snooze That's Fit to Print:

English: A glass of port wine. Français : Un v...

(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Q: I like to have a glass or two of red wine in the evenings, but I’ve heard that alcohol can affect your dreams. Is that true?

A: In a word, yes. Drinking wine before bed is likely to affect your dreams. But is this good or bad, and should you change  your drinking habits because of it? I’ll leave that decision up to you.

Common wisdom says that drinking wine at night may relax you and help you fall asleep, but it negatively impacts the quality of sleep overall by causing you to wake in the middle of the night and have trouble returning to sleep.

This is obviously problematic in terms of getting a full and deep night’s rest, but it can also negatively impact your dream life. Here’s why:

During the course of the night we move through various sleep cycles, one…

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Q&A: Bad Dreams? Good News.

Q: I follow you on Facebook and am interested in joining one of your dream groups. The timing is especially good because I’m going through a big change. My husband recently moved out after over twenty years of marriage, and I think it would be good for me to join a group. Here’s the problem, though: I only have bad dreams. Why would I want to sit around and talk about them?

Signed,

Bad News Dreams

A: Dear Bad News,

I truly empathize with your situation. Well, half of it anyway. You see, some six years ago, my partner of nearly 20 years moved out, just after my daughter went away to college.  I was blindsided by all of the changes … well, I knew my daughter would be going to college, but everything else knocked me off my feet. I knew my partner and I had problems, but I thought we could work through them together. Even more, I was totally unprepared for the emotional pain that the breakup unleashed in me. I’ve always been a strong, independent woman, but now I was reduced to seemingly unending tears. And yes, I had my share of disturbing dreams, too.

However, unlike you, Bad News, I’d long ago learned that my bad dreams were really good news. You see, awake we can distract ourselves with Netflix, Facebook, outings to the mall and back issues of the New Yorker. But asleep and dreaming, it’s just us and – well us. Those nightmares show us what we might be shutting out during the day. I knew if I looked mine in the eyes, they’d reveal what I needed to see. I knew, too, that unless I did, I’d get the bad news in more bad dreams, over and over, until I finally relented and paid attention.

This is kind of a tough sell, I know, but I want to sell you on it. Not because I want to sell you on a dream workshop, but because I’ve stood where you’re standing now—and my dreams showed up for me like a best best friend who’s not afraid to call me out on my denial, my bravado, or my bad behavior; a friend who, with all the love in her heart, will tell me what I don’t want to hear.

So, when I received your question, I wondered how I could convince you of the merit of looking into those dark dreams in a group of supportive others. I thought I could tell you what my therapist told me: “The only way out is through.” But I so much hated it when my therapist told me that that, that I figured you’d hate it too. Then I thought of all kinds of profound stories I could tell you to drive home my point. And then I thought, just tell her the dream.

So here it is — a dream  I had when I was in the depths of my despair after my breakup:

I am stranded at the side of a highway in the middle of the night beside an abandoned tollbooth. My car is gone. I’m all alone.

Then, I hear a disembodied voice telling me to look up to the sky. But I see only black emptiness above.

Look closely, I’m told. All I see is darkness.

Keep looking, the voice instructs.

Little by little I make out the tiniest pinpricks of starlight.

Finally, those little hints of light increase until before I know it the lights are intensifying and magnifying.

Now I am looking up into the most beautiful display of light; a combination of fireworks and falling stars all mixed up with a sense of cosmic celebration.

And wouldn’t you know it, I woke up feeling happy.

Happy, not because my situation had changed, but because now I understood: There’s no way, out, I realized, except (well, yes, my therapist was right after all) through.

I had to stand in the dark and look directly into the biggest scariest void in the universe (that void was in my heart, not the sky, you understand). It wouldn’t happen all at once, or even according to my timeline, but eventually I’d be happy. Truly happy. Maybe again. Maybe for the first time.

That’s what we do with our dreams, Bad News, we look them in the eye–even if it’s the eye of a Cyclops, or the eye of a raging storm. We squint till we find the pinprick of light in that anxious or scary or terrifying darkness. And you know what? It’s always there: a glimmer of hope that, if we let it, eventually grows into a light show that dazzles even the most frightened heart.

So, why would you want to sit around and talk about your bad dream? Because your bad dream, Bad News, joins someone else’s bliss dream, and someone else’s crazy repeating dream about mail stacking up on the stoop of her childhood house (oh, that one’s mine … well, anyway), and we put them all in the circle and we find our way through to the healing seed that’s in the center of each one. And then that seed grows.

Got it? I hope so. ’Cause we’re saving a seat for you.

Dreamily yours,

Tz…

…zzZZZZzzzzzzz

Want to learn more about your dreams? Contact me to find out about upcoming dream groups in western Massachusetts, or individual dream sessions by phone, Skype, or in person.

Have a Dream Question? Send it along! I’d love to hear from you.

For another take on nightmares, click here.

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Q&A: Help … I See Dead People – In My Dreams

Q: What is the significance of dreaming about someone who has died?

Signed,

Mourning Dreams

 

A: Dear Mourning,

Back when I was 21, I woke from a dream that my Grandpa George was standing in front of a bank of elevators wearing the same rumpled trench coat he wore the last time I saw him. He was upset and asking me for help.

I sat up in a bed I’d built myself, in the second-floor apartment of a drafty old farmhouse in the college town where I still live. Back then I worked part-time in a Greek bakery and was finishing my undergraduate degree. In my spare time I rode on the back of someone’s motorcycle looking for the next adventure. In short: helping the people who I still thought of in that lofty category of “adult” was the last thing on my mind. And helping an adult who was, well, dead? Honestly, I wasn’t interested.

But in the few months since I’d stood beside my father at my grandfather’s grave as my relatives took turns shoveling dirt over his plain pine coffin, I had seen Grandpa George several times. In each dream he was disturbed, disheveled, and asking me for help.

The dreams become frequent and frightening enough that I mentioned them to a friend who suggested I speak to a medium. I needed help from the world beyond, she told me.

As a child, I’d had séances and worked the Ouija board with my friends until we were too scared to sleep. I thought I’d outgrown all that. And anyway, I couldn’t figure out why, if he needed help in the Great Beyond, my grandfather would be picking on me—rather than his wife, his two adult children, or one of his four grandchildren who’d recently graduated college. I decided that Grandpa’s spirit must have gone around to each of us while we slept, trying to get our attention. And I, the last in line, must have somehow left my dreaming mind’s door ajar. And in he came.

Grandpa’s visitations upset me in part because they revealed that my dreams were not just my own creations. Not to mention that they were inconvenient—and costly to boot. If I were to follow my friend’s advice and see a psychic medium, I’d need forty dollars to pay the fee. On my minimum wage salary, that seemed a princely sum.

The money, it turned out, was well spent. The medium found a spirit helper to work with my grandfather, and after that I didn’t see him in my dreams for some time. When he appeared again he was back to his cheerful, tidy old self.

My grandmother died some years later. She visits me in my dreams, too. The last time she was standing at the edge of a golf course; short, hunch-shouldered, and smiling broadly, just as I remembered her—except now she was wearing a loud pink pantsuit and a pair of over-sized black sunglasses that made her look like a comedienne from a late-night spoof. But she has never asked anything of me.

Older now, and wiser myself, I wouldn’t mind a bit, even if she did.

Yes, yes, I’ve done it again. I’ve gone on and on about me and have offered so little to you. But that’s okay, because you knew the answer to your question before you even wrote it down.

You see, Dear Mourning, you already know, as I do, that our dreams of deceased relatives and friends are worthy of our attention. Sometimes they offer comfort; sometimes they reignite our longing. They can be an opportunity to tie up loose ends or an invitation to remember and reminisce. Sometimes they are no more complicated than a cup of tea with an old pal. Other times, action is required.

You know you don’t need to interpret these dreams, but simply to experience them, and to continue to love—or learn to love—those who have left this world.

So how can I help? I can give you permission to believe what you already know about your dreams.

Permission granted.

Dreamily yours,

Tz…

…zzZZZZzzzzzzz

Want to learn more about your dreams? Contact me to find out about upcoming dream groups in western Massachusetts, or individual dream sessions by phone, Skype, or in person.

Have a Dream Question? Send it along! I’d love to hear from you.

 

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