Quote/UnQuote: The Gifts of Twilight (A Corner View* Post)

The solitude of a rainstorm, the beauty of twilight … these are times to turn inward to reflect and renew.

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Twilight reflections. photo by Tzivia Gover, 2015

For me dreaming isn’t just something I do at night when I sleep. I’m a dreamer all day long and I cherish long moments when my mind can wonder and wander. With distractions always at hand (literally in the age of the smart phone) the words of Henry David Thoreau become increasingly precious to me. (HDT does’t write in soundbites, so switch off the phone and settle in for a rambling read…)

“Some of my pleasantest hours were during the long rain-storms in the spring or fall, which confined me to the house for the afternoon as well as the forenoon, soothed by their ceaseless roar and pelting; when an early twilight ushered in a long evening in which many thoughts had time to take root and unfold themselves. In those driving northeast rains which tried the village houses so, when the maids stood ready with mop and pail in front entries to keep the deluge out, I sat behind my door in my little house, which was all entry, and thoroughly enjoyed its protection. In one heavy thunder-shower the lightning struck a large pitch pine across the pond, making a very conspicuous and perfectly regular spiral groove from top to bottom, an inch or more deep, and four or five inches wide, as you would groove a walking-stick. I passed it again the other day, and was struck with awe on looking up and beholding that mark, now more distinct than ever, where a terrific and resistless bolt came down out of the harmless sky eight years ago. Men frequently say to me, “I should think you would feel lonesome down there, and want to be nearer to folks, rainy and snowy days and nights especially.” I am tempted to reply to such- This whole earth which we inhabit is but a point in space. How far apart, think you, dwell the two most distant inhabitants of yonder star, the breadth of whose disk cannot be appreciated by our instruments? Why should I feel lonely? is not our planet in the Milky Way? This which you put seems to me not to be the most important question. What sort of space is that which separates a man from his fellows and makes him solitary? I have found that no exertion of the legs can bring two minds much nearer to one another. What do we want most to dwell near to? Not to many men surely, the depot, the post-office, the bar-room, the meeting-house, the school-house, the grocery, Beacon Hill, or the Five Points, where men most congregate, but to the perennial source of our life, whence in all our experience we have found that to issue, as the willow stands near the water and sends out its roots in that direction. This will vary with different natures, but this is the place where a wise man will dig his cellar…. I one evening overtook one of my townsmen, who has accumulated what is called “a handsome property”- though I never got a fair view of it- on the Walden road, driving a pair of cattle to market, who inquired of me how I could bring my mind to give up so many of the comforts of life. I answered that I was very sure I liked it passably well; I was not joking. And so I went home to my bed, and left him to pick his way through the darkness and the mud to Brighton- or Bright-town- which place he would reach some time in the morning.”

–Henry David Thoreau, “On Solitude”

ZZzzZZzz

*Corner View* is a weekly appointment – each Wednesday, where bloggers from all corners of the world share their view on a pre-arranged theme. This week’s theme is “Twilight.”

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Joyful Dreaming (CV)

Tzivia:

Dreaming of Joy! Here’s an uplifting post from the archives to get you smiling … Enjoy!

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

In 1902, in England, Hugh Calloway (aka Oliver Fox) discovered lucid dreaming*. This is a form of dreaming many discover spontaneously on their own, and others read about, study, practice and perfect it. Lucid dreaming is the hybrid dream state in which one is conscious he or she is dreaming, and so has the combined benefits of the malleable dreamscape and the ability to exercise volition to explore the dream as s/he wishes. Fox was 16 when he stumbled into lucid territory. I was about the same age when I first discovered lucid dreaming, too. Calloway, A student of science and electrical engineering, reported that the quality of his dream changed once he became lucid. According to his report:

“Instantly the vividness of life increased a hundred-fold. Never had sea and sky and trees shone with such glamorous beauty; even the commonplace houses seemed alive and mystically beautiful. Never had…

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The Dream Journey from Overgrown to Growthful (A Corner View* Post)

The untended garden

Recently a client brought me a dream in which an unkempt man, who the client described as repulsive, stormed into his home and found the dreamer’s garden untended and overgrown. In the dream, my client was furious at the interloper and also ashamed of the state of his garden.

But as we stayed with the dream and welcomed the intruder into our dream replay using active imagination, my client saw that this dream character was asking him to accept his own imperfections and embrace a more laissez faire attitude, rather than clinging to his impossible-to-meet, joy-crushing standards.

If we look at the antagonists in our dreams: The shadowy figures who give chase, the animals who bare their teeth, and even the environments that threaten to choke, drown, or bury us, we’ll find great teachers.

In this case the client looked at the situation from different angles, including the intruder’s point of view and even the garden’s point of view. Stepping into the unkempt man’s shoes, my client was able to see that despite his imperfections, this man was not ashamed of his appearance—in fact he was full of confidence.

As for the garden, it was simply doing what it enjoyed doing: Growing and creating life!

Unintended growthSunflower faces

Now the dreamer looked at his own character as reflected in the dream. Rather than being ashamed of his perceived laziness, the dreamer came to understand that he was taking a much-needed rest. Sure, he’d get around to weeding, but first he needed to accept the state of affairs as they were, and to see the positive aspects of what he reflexively judged as a problem.

Looked at with curiosity, and without judgment, our dreams can help us soften our resistance and consider new points of view. When we do this, we nurture the seeds of self-love, we create a sense of inner expansiveness and we make room for previously rejected, abandoned, or misunderstood parts of ourselves. In this frame of mind, it is easier—and more joyful—to pick up the hoe and go about our work of tending our inner—and outer—gardens.

Apply this principle to even the most mundane dream and the results can be soul-shaking—and delightfully growthful.

…zzZZZZzzzzzzz

Learn more about how to develop A Mindful & Yogic way to sleep, dream, and live better at these upcoming workshops:Weds. July 22, 6:30 p.m. at VegaYoga in Holyoke, Mass.and November 12-15 at Sivananda Ashram and Yoga Retreat in the Bahamas.

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.

*Corner View* is a weekly appointment – each Wednesday, where bloggers from all corners of the world share their view on a pre-arranged theme. This week’s theme is “Overgrown.”

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

Tzivia:

To learn more about the Yoga of Dreams join me TOMORROW EVENING Weds. July 22, 6:30 p.m. for a workshop in Holyoke, Mass. (See post for details!)

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

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…

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Strike a (Dream) Pose

Tzivia:

To learn more about the Yoga of Dreams join me Weds. July 22, 6:30 p.m. for a workshop in Holyoke, Mass. (See post for details!)

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

The Yoga of Dreams

In Yoga, postures are physical poses that we practice for improved health and over all well-being.

Dreamwork, too is a practice to help us improve our health and well being. Bringing conscious awareness to our dreams means paying attention to how we go to sleep, what we dream, how we wake up, and how we respond to our dreams in our waking lives.

Posture refers not only to how we carry our body, but the word posture also refers to a spiritual attitude. In that sense, conscious dreaming is also about posture—in the sense that it’s about the position we take toward sleep and dreaming. In particular, it is a mindful approach to entering dreams in order to align with our true self and our divine aspirations.

In dreamwork we pay attention to our dreams to further our commitment to self-study and self-reflection. As a result we develop more mental…

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Morning Light (A Corner View* Post)

Just as my mother began to slip into the morass of forgetfulness and confusion that we later learned was Alzheimer’s Disease, she wrote the following paragraphs, which I saved along with her other computer files that she had hoped one day to craft into a memoir. These paragraphs (which I’ve left exactly as she typed them) describe her early morning routine:

I am an early riser and so over the years I’ve worked out a morning routine. I pull on my workout clothes – my favorite washed out gray tee shirt, my shabby running sneakers; my worn-out blue cap that says the “Open— However, before I run out, I sit on the carpeted floor to meditate for about fifteen minutes and do some yoga positions. I sit so I can see the large window in front of me. There is a row of old brick tenements. Fire escapes…

Finally, I go down on the elevator and out the door to the busy street. Before I start to run, I stand on the top of the stairs and look up and down the street. A few years ago, my youngest daughter saw the block as Sesame Street.

People sit on the steps – men and women walked briskly to work; gray old men walk slowly to pick up the newspaper; a few women gather together to chat; children carry —

(Jane, January 14, 2009, 3:47 p.m.)

My mother’s words fade, mid-sentence, into unnamed possibility—which is how (or so it feels to me) her life ended at the close of clear-light day this spring.


*Corner View* is a weekly appointment – each Wednesday, where bloggers from all corners of the world share their view on a pre-arranged theme. This week’s theme is “Morning Light.”

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A Mindful Routine for Sleep and Dreaming (A Corner View* Post)

The first step in dreaming, of course, is going to sleep. So let’s look at a good routine to enter sleep mindfully, and begin to recall and honor our dreams.

1 – Plan your evening so you can get into bed before you are fully exhausted. Just as when we eat mindfully we stop before we are full, when we sleep and dream mindfully we go to bed before we are maxed out with exhaustion. This can be the most difficult step of all for many of us, when our schedules become so packed we can barely squeeze in time to eat well, let alone to get enough sleep. But this is also the most important step, so it is worth reviewing your day to see how you can make a commitment to moving into sleep at a reasonable hour.

2 – Meditate in the evening; sometime between dinner and bedtime is ideal. Even a short ten-twelve minute meditation will help you reconnect inwardly, and begin to calm your thoughts and nervous system to prepare for sleep.

3 – Prepare the body for sleep with a few stretches or yoga poses that are known to help sooth anxiety and still the mind such as a few rounds of Cat/Cow, Down Dog, Forward Fold, and Legs up the Wall Pose.

4 – Be a grateful dreamer: Studies have shown that people who go to bed grateful, sleep and dream better. So go to sleep counting your blessings, and you’ll find this is even better than counting sheep!

5 – Before you lie down in bed, practice pranayama, or breathing techniques, to help settle the mind and calm the body. Alternate nostril breathing is very helpful in balancing and settling the mind before bed, as is a simple breath retention practice like the 4-7-8 breath, in which you inhale for 4 breaths, retain for 7, and exhale for 8. Breath retention practices such as this one can also help you enter lucid dreams, especially if you use them when you wake in the middle of the night to use the bathroom, for example.

6 -Say you prayers. A bedtime prayer that asks for protection and in which you set intentions for sleep is very helpful. Remember, entering sleep is like stepping through a portal into a realm of unlimited possibilities. Therefore it is wise to move through this transition with respect and intention.

This simple routine is a helpful and healthful way to enter sleep and dreams. You may not be able to do all of these practices every evening, but integrating at least one or more per night can make a significant difference to your sleep and dreaming experience.

*Corner View* is a weekly appointment – each Wednesday, where bloggers from all corners of the world share their view on a pre-arranged theme. This week’s theme is “Path”.  

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