Recently, author and blogger, Jean Raffa, invited me to join her in a blog tour that highlights authors who write about intuitive understanding.
I believe it was Jean who introduced me to the concept of the Golden Shadow during a seminar for my first dream studies intensive in Charleston South Carolina with Justina Lasley and the Institute of Dream Studies. If this recollection is correct it is quite fitting, because when I met Jean, when I was a student in the Institute for Dream Studies, she became that golden shadow for me. Jean stood before our class delivering a lecture on “Dream Theaters of the Soul” (based on her book of the same name) and I saw an intelligent, compelling, stylish woman who was confident and articulate in helping me and my fellow students delve deeply into dreams. I wanted to embody those traits, too. I have since been inspired by reading her book, Dream Theatres of the Soul: Empowering the Feminine through Jungian Dreamwork. San Diego: LuraMedia. 1994. In that book Jean focuses on “Integrating fragmented aspects of women’s personalities and reclaiming feminine power” through dream work. (Introduction, p.13). So I am honored to have been asked to be part of this blog tour by such an accomplished woman, and one whose presence and work has inspired me.
I encourage you to visit her blog where she writes deeply and beautifully about her inner life, dreams, and healing. To learn more Jean and her work visit her web site athttp://www.jeanraffa.com and my blog athttp://www.jeanraffa.wordpress.com.
For this blog tour I was asked to answer four questions about my writing. Here are my responses:
What am I working on now?
As a writer and a prolific dreamer, I am busy creating awake and asleep. So, I am not working on just one writing project, but many. Here’s an incomplete list that represents the ambitions represented by various piles of paper strewn across my desk:
- Wake Up to Your Joyful Life (working title): The manuscript for this inspirational self-help book is due to the publisher on August 1. Like my previous book, Mindful Moments for Stressful Days, this one will contain tips and techniques to help add joy and meaning to everyday life.
- The Wake Up to Your Dreams Journal Experience: This will be a guided writing practice for dreamers and other curious and creative souls who want to sleep, dream, and live better. This book grows out of my Third House Moon Dream Journal, and brings the experience to a deeper level.
- I am also working on a proposal for a book about teaching poetry in nontraditional settings. This book is based on my work teaching teen moms poetry at a school in Holyoke, Mass. That journey is chronicled in my book Learning in Mrs. Towne’s House.
- Then there are the blogs: I write about dreams and writing at on my blog All the Snooze That’s Fit to Print, and about dreams and global healing on my blog 350 Dreamers.
- Oh, and I have a collection of personal essays and poems that are cooking on the back burner, too—but doesn’t everyone?
Working on all of these projects at once is a little like experiencing several different dreams each night … which I also do, by the way. My mind asleep is just as busy. I recall several dreams a night … which leads me to question #2.
How does my writing process work?
As a dreamer, my life is dedicated to process as much as product. I’m deeply interested in and engaged with the work and play of self-growth and deepening consciousness—awake and asleep.
As a writer I commit to the process, and try to let the products take care of themselves.
I occasionally ask my dreams to inspire my writing. I try to go to the writing table as close to waking as possible, when my mind is still groggy with dreaming. That way I capitalize on the highly associative and creative dreaming brain, and often bring images and ideas from dreams onto the page.
How does my work differ from others in my genre?
Genre? What genre?
In the dream world we’d say I have thin boundaries. The line between dreaming and waking is a dotted one at best. Waking and dreaming experiences influence me quite fluidly and equally. I dream consciously and am conscious of my dreams while awake. So I’m not one to see a line and stay on one side or the other of it. I use fictional techniques of dialogue, vivid description, and narrative in my nonfiction. My dream writing is grounded, practical, and informed by science as well as mysticism and psychology, and I bring dreams into teaching poetry and poetry into just about everything I do.
Why do I write what I do?
Like anyone who has lived more than a few decades, I’ve suffered my share of losses. One in particular knocked me to the ground and for some months I stayed there clutching my gut. But something inside poked up like the proverbial green shoot through the still frigid spring ground. It was an insistent thought that I must find something wonderful in the world. A tiny thing, even. Or I would never get up.
So, I began to count them – the wonderful things. At the end of each day I searched my memory for something beautiful or lovely. The task seemed destined for failure, and the first few nights I came up with scraps of other people’s laughter or dim bits of color. I worked my way up to ten wonderful things each evening. These nightly lists formed themselves into a rope by which I was able little by little to pull myself back to a life that was contented, happy sometimes, then joyful for longer and longer stretches.
For me, happiness became a learned habit, and in my books I try to empower others to take the reins of their lives and be responsible for their own joy. For me dreams, mindfulness, and writing are the ways I know to help to do that. So that’s what I write about—in various forms.
Thank you so much for reading this. And now I’m delighted to introduce the authors and bloggers who will continue the blog tour next week with posts about their own fascinating work. If you don’t already know them, you’ll want to check them out. You won’t be disappointed.
Sherry Puricelli, MHA, MDiv is an author, poet, minister, professional dream coach, owner of Connecticut-based AwakeNDream, and a regional representative of the International Association for the Study of Dreams. She leads retreats, classes, workshops, and sessions using her Transformation Dreaming™ technique and empowerment program combining coaching and dreamwork tools, embodiment, and ceremony. You can read her blogs at www.awakendream.com and http://dreamingglobalillumination.com
Justina Lasley, M.A. is the Founder and Director of the Institute for Dream Studies and the developer of DreamSynergyTM, an innovative and comprehensive process for uncovering dream meaning leading to personal transformation. She is an author of Honoring the Dream, In My Dream…, and soon to be released Wake Up! Use Your Nighttime Dreams to Make Your Daytime Dreams Come True. Justina shares her enthusiasm, keen insight, and talent for relating to others, facilitating rapid movement toward a more authentic, spiritual, creative and fulfilling life. She is a lecturer, a trainer for dreamworkers, leader of individual and group dreamwork and a facilitator of workshops. Visit her website at www.DreamSynergy.org.