A Pilot’s Positive Thinking: What the World Needs Now

American AirlinesA typical airplane trip becomes an opportunity to dream together

Seated aboard my first flight to Charlotte, en route to The Bahamas, recently, I heard the dreaded announcement over the airplane’s PA system. Our flight, which had boarded on time, would be stuck on the tarmac for an indefinite period due to inclement weather conditions at our destination.

I could feel the collective anxiety level amongst my fellow passengers increase, as people began checking their itineraries to see whether they would miss their connecting flights.

Some 40 minutes later the pilot’s voice came through the intercom again. This time it was to tell us that we had been cleared for take-off. “There’s just one more problem. Once we land in Charlotte, we might be stuck behind other planes who’ve been delayed as well, so there’s no telling whether I can get you to the gate in time to make your connections.” There were groans of frustration from people throughout the plane, but the pilot wasn’t finished yet: “I know you’re all wondering the same thing: Will you miss your next flight,” he said. Well, he didn’t need to be a mind reader to know that: Of course that was what we were all thinking. But then he continued: “So let’s do this. We have 150 people on board today. Let’s all work together to channel our good karma toward an on-time landing.”

I looked to my left and my right to read the reactions of the other passengers. People, who moments before had been anxiously checking the time on their phones and watches, were now grinning broadly, shrugging shoulders as if to say, “Hey, why not,” or nodding. I for one was game.

Whether this experiment in positive thinking would turn out to be successful or not, the pilot succeeded in shifting the attitudes of all the passengers on board right away.

And sure enough, we made up almost all of the lost time, landed smoothly and safely, and arrived at our gate only five minutes behind schedule.

If one pilot can inspire 150 passengers on a commercial airline flight to improve their attitudes, and get a delayed flight back on schedule, just imagine what we can do personally and collectively with the power of positive intentions.

In 350 Dreamers, a group I lead where hundreds of people from around the world dream together several nights each year for global healing, we believe in this power to use our thoughts and dreams to affect change. What if more and more of us were willing to band together in the name of positive thinking at home, at work, and in wider and wider circles world-wide? Yes, it’s difficult in the face of so many looming problems, but starting small—one plane full of passengers at a time, for example—we can begin to test the results.

Of course skillful action is necessary to complete the picture, but thoughts precede words, and words precede action and manifestation.

In the meantime, I’d like to give a shout-out to one pilot’s example of positive thinking. May he be an inspiration to us all.

For more inspiration in thinking positive, check out a copy of my new book,

Joy in Every Moment.

Joy Cover


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Interpreting Your Dreams: What Your Drawings Can Teach You


This is a fun game to play that will give you a taste of the fun dreamwork can provide. Don’t forget, the only interpretation of your dream that is correct, is the one that gives you new insight or perspective.

Originally posted on Jess Witkins' Happiness Project:

And we’re back to the Guinea Pig Diaries – Sleep Study Month!  Last week we talked about Popular Dream Meanings, and we’re going a step further today with a fun drawing activity.  Our dreams can be symbolic or pure release of our subconscious minds.  But sometimes our dreams have a reoccurring symbol and that could have meaning.

The following exercise is from Sylvia Browne’s Book of Dreams and I found it really fun and interesting.  Here are the directions:

Grab a pen and paper.  Draw these five objects:  a house, the sun, water, a tree, and a snake.

STOP READING!  Finish your picture, then continue on. 

Here’s mine!

Dream Drawing

Now, I have to give the same disclaimer that Sylvia gave in her book, which is that these interpretations of dream symbols are not THE ONLY ones they could mean, but they’re some of the more common.  If you’re interested in…

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#2: Pastry and Conversation with Cindy on a Night When the Veils are Thin


C is for Conversation (in dreams)… with Cindy: I found this Dream Poem in the archives. For a year or two after she died of cancer, I often had dreams about my late colleague, Cindy. I thought I’d share it as I prepare for an upcoming writing retreat, during which I’ll be teaching a session on writing poems from dreams–as I’ve done here. (In memory of a friend, co-worker, and bright spirit.)

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

She looks good

Spiky hair, frosted,

The way it was between bouts

Of chemo. I call out to her

And we take seats in some cafe

Where we eat pastries and get caught up.

“How long can you stay?” I ask.

It’s good having her back

Talking, the way we used to in the office

When we’d sit at the lunch table

Stuff envelopes, complain about the boss.

She’s doing that now: complaining about her boss.

“In heaven? You have a boss there?” I ask.

She nods. I begin to wonder.

“You did make it to heaven, right — ”

She brushes the question aside.

“Heaven basically sucks,” she says.

She tells me she has a little house there, a job that almost pays the bills,

and lots of people to talk to.

“Then death is just like life,” I say.

I’m pleased to hear it. I want to keep…

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B is for Bedroom

The ABCs of a Better Night’s Sleep

If you want to sleep better, begin with the basics. Your bedroom doesn’t need to be beautiful to ensure a good night’s sleep, but putting some thought into making your bed and its environs cozy and calm is certainly beneficial. Here are a few suggestions to help make improving your sleep environment a breeze:

"The Bedroom" Van Gogh

“The Bedroom” Van Gogh

  • Eliminate clutter to make your bedroom feel relaxed and spacious.
  • Remove distractions like televisions or computers, as well as any reminders of work or finances that might trigger stressful thoughts.
  • Use heavy curtains or shades to eliminate as much light as possible. A dark room is essential for a good night’s sleep.
  • Backlit digital clocks and electronic equipment all emit light. Limit or eliminate the number of light sources in the room.
  • Switch your cell phone to “airplane mode” so that it doesn’t send and receive signals while you sleep. This will eliminate the possibility of being woken by a text message or call, but will allow you to use the phone’s alarm clock, as well as the voice memo feature to record your dreams.
  • Check your mattress and pillows. Are they still comfortable? If not, it may be time to replace them.
  • Candles, incense, and some decorative cozy pillows can give your room a cozy, inviting feel.
  • Use a lavender-scented eye pillow to help you relax into sleep.

Today’s blog post was brought to you by the letter B…

So that you might dream and be well!


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The “A List” for Dreamers

Dreamwork: From As to Zs

There are many lofty things I can (and do) say about dreams, starting with the fact that dreamwork is a great way to keep connected with your soul. And yet, I don’t claim to know exactly what the soul is. We can’t see it, smell it, or measure it–and yet we sense that it is there.

I can feel mine when I’m praying with others in synagogue, or when I read a poem so beautiful it makes me cry, or when I listen to the crickets singing at night (as I’m doing right now) and I grow very still inside and feel inexplicably happy.

But if I’m not paying attention, it’s just as easy to forget about the soul’s needs and get wrapped up in the hustle and bustle of daily life.

Dreams, however, provide a nightly window into the workings of the soul. Dreams let us know if we’re neglecting our inner selves, if we’re straying off course from our soul’s journey, or if our souls are feeling properly fed and watered.

So it’s worth taking a few minutes before bed to prepare for a good night of dreaming. You can do that by addressing what I call the “A List.” These are 5 areas (conveniently all beginning with the letter A) that touch on different aspects of our soulful selves. In your journal before you switch off the light to go to sleep, answer these “A List” questions:

  • APPRECIATION: Did I feel gratitude and show appreciation today? What do I feel grateful for right now
  • ADORATION: Have I felt love, awe, or reverence for something today? What did I miss that I might have expressed these emotions toward had I been paying closer attention?
  • ATONEMENT: Where did I fall short of my intentions to be my best self today? Do I owe anyone an apology? Do I need to ask myself for forgiveness?
  • ANTICIPATION: What am I looking forward to about tomorrow? Can I feel the joy of anticipation in my heart as I look ahead with optimism?
  • ASK FOR IT: Bedtime is the ideal time to pose a question to your wisest self, God, the divine, or the universe. You can ask for guidance about a problem, insight into a pressing issue, or you can simply request a restful night’s sleep. Ask anything you want. Write your question in your journal, and watch for an answer in your dreams, or in the thoughts that come to you when you wake in the morning.

When you’re done with your “A List” writing prompts, turn off the light and settle in for some well-earned Z’s.


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Dream Journal as Magic Tracker

Another reason to write down your dreams

It happens to me in big and small ways: I dream about an acquaintance I haven’t thought of, let alone seen, in months or years, and the next day I bump into him at the grocery store. Or, I dream I see a little girl carrying a metal bowl shaped like a kidney bean, and then next day I see a child of the same age balancing just such a bowl in her hands. Sometimes it’s a dream of a place I’ve never seen, but then stumble upon, or of a stranger who tells me something, that days or weeks later I hear someone else tell me in waking life.

This isn’t as “out there” as it may at first seem. As someone who works with dreams professionally, I find myself talking about dreams with people from all walks of life, including accountants, engineers, carpenters, doctors, and more—and even those who say they don’t believe in things they can’t put their hands on will often admit that there was this one time that they had such an inexplicable experience. It’s probably happened to you, too: Something from a dream pops up in waking life, and you feel a little jolt of recognition.

So, why not be prepared? Keeping a dream journal is one way to track the magic in your dreams.

Exhibit A: The Dream Report

The written dream report helps us document extraordinary dream events such as precognition (knowing something before it happens), synchronicity, and mutual dream experiences with others (two or more people have the same dream or dream elements on the same night), by providing a dated, and written record of what we dream.

So, go ahead and write those dreams down. And when you do, follow these guidelines:

  • Always write the date at the top of the page.
  • Give your dreams a title, and make a sketch or drawing when words just won’t do. Titles and sketches also help you locate dreams more easily when you’re trying to find the one that proves your point.
  • Keeping your dream journal electronically (on your laptop or tablet, etc.) has pluses and minuses. But when it comes to finding a particular dream, the search capabilities can’t be beat.
  • When you do have an instance of precognition, clairvoyance, or any extraordinary dream experience, mark it in your dream journal. I make notations in the margin, or you can keep a running index at the back of the journal noting the date, dream title, and nature of the event.
  • And most of all, have fun doing it. There may well be ordinary explanations for what we dreamers call extraordinary, from selective perception to the law of chance. But either way, being on the lookout for patterns, meaning, and magic, tends to lead to a life filled with beautiful patterns, meaning, and magic—so why not!


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How to Listen So Your Dreams Will Talk

Conversation? What conversation?

In a previous post I discussed the importance of writing down your dreams … But what if you’re sitting down with your journal, ready to receive the wisdom of your dreams, and they don’t show up? In short, you’ve decided to listen to your dreams, but they’re not talking.

When people tell me they don’t remember their dreams, I ask what they think about dreams in general. Usually they say they think dreams are meaningless, or just plain bizarre and not worthy of their attention. Maybe they had a soul-shaking nightmare, and they don’t want any more of those. As a result, they close their eyes and ignore everything that happens from when their head hits the pillow to when the alarm wakes them in the morning.

In short, they’re not listening to their dreams. And now, the dreams aren’t talking.

Face it: Most of us don’t treat our dreams with the respect and consideration we show to a stranger on the bus—let alone a close friend. Too often we wake up, bolt out of bed, and let our dreams wash down the drain with the shower water. And then we wonder why we no longer remember any of them.

A good way to remedy this situation is to think of dreams like a dinner companion; they don’t enjoy a one-sided conversation. Who does? And if you stop listening to this person, after a period of time, they will simply stop talking.(Or in this case, the dreams dry up).

Or maybe the person in question responds to your lack of attention by telling you the same story over and over, hoping that eventually you’ll listen. (Enter the recurring dream, the one you have again and again each time you close your eyes.)

Either way, one day this person will really need to get your attention because maybe they see you are about to hurt yourself, or hurt someone else. So, they start talking really loudly, yelling even, until you can’t help but pay attention. (That’s when you wake drenched with sweat and shaking to the core because you’ve just had a heart-thumping scream-choked nightmare.)

But you’re still not listening and now you’ve got a really good excuse. “Why should I pay attention to my dreams?” you ask, “They’re either full of nonsense or they scare the daylights out of me.”

That’s when you decide to put the pillow over your ear and ignore those dreams.

Now, if this conversational pattern were happening between a husband and wife over time, we’d suggest couples counseling, wouldn’t we? And the first thing the counselor would likely do is to help these two learn to listen to each other.

Happily, developing a more productive relationship with your dreams isn’t as complicated as fixing a damaged relationship, and you’ll never have to buy your dreams a dozen roses to get them talking again. You nurture a healthy relationship with your dreams by adopting these simple habits:

  • Before you go to bed quiet your mind with meditation or relaxing music, or by reading something soothing;

  • Keep a notebook and pencil by your bed (or a voice recorder) to record your dreams with;

  • When you wake up, spend a moment in stillness and silence before you get out of bed in order to allow any dream memories to come to you.

  • If you remember a dream or dream snippet, write it down, sketch it, or tell it to a friend.

If you pay even this much attention to your dreams, before you know it you’ll begin to recall more of them, and the dreams you have will gain clarity and resonance with the issues you are dealing with in your daily life. It might just be the start of a beautiful relationship—with yourself!

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