Tag Archives: Lucid dream

Awake (& Alive) in the Dream

A dreamer’s reflections on ecology, activism, and becoming lucid

On Saturday night, during my stay at Rowe Conference Center for a weekend workshop to empower ecological activists led by Joanna Macy, I had what could be called a reverse lucid dream.

In a typical lucid dream, one becomes aware she is dreaming and can thus begin to exercise volition within the dream. In this case, during the dream I suddenly became aware that I was awake. The fact that I was, of course, incorrect, is not the point.

What is interesting however is that within the dream, when I (falsely) determined that I was awake, I had the same reaction I normally do when I’m dreaming and become lucid; I felt a rush of excitement and alertness. Whereas in a lucid dream I might announce joyously, “I’m dreaming, this is a dream!” In this case I called out in the dream, “I’m awake, I’m alive!”

Again, as in a lucid dream, each detail of the dreamscape, which I mistook in this case for my waking environment, took on a quality of ultra-real vitality. I stood at the foot of a staircase and in my newly awake and aware dream state I marveled at the grain of the wood on the steps below my feet, the gentle curve of the banister beneath my hand, and the rich hues of the carpets and walls. Most of all, I became acutely aware of the fact that I was present and experiencing all of this.

“I’m awake, I’m alive!” I exclaimed.

Waking that morning in a second floor bedroom of the farmhouse at Rowe Camp and Conference Center, where I’d been immersed in Macy’s program for environmental engagement in the face of devastating climate change, I realized the dream encapsulated perfectly the workshop’s message.

In this historical era of environmental plunder it is easy to slip into a communal dream and sleepwalk through our days, unconscious and disconnected, as all around us plant and animal species succumb to extinction.

But in the workshop with Macy, we were called to be present. Together we woke to the pain and suffering of our planet. We felt our frozen hearts melt into tears and laughter as we celebrated, mourned, danced, sang, played, told stories, and gave voice to each beautiful thing we would miss if climate disaster continues on its current course.

On the day of my dream, Macy led us through an exercise in which we took an imaginary voyage to the year 2214, some seven generations into the future, to hear from our distant progeny as they looked back on our time and wondered why we didn’t we do more—and how we managed to do as much as we did to protect the environment against the ravages of corporate greed. This exercise helped me feel how precious our existence truly is. Of all the people who ever lived on Earth, and all the generations who might come after us, we are the only ones here now to breathe air, drink water, and delight in the sunshine and breezes. We are the ones who carry life forward, and who can affect the quality of life that will be available to our heirs.

The dream gave me a new vision of lucidity, and Macy’s workshop renewed my motivation to carry it out. Yes, it’s exciting to wake within the dream—but it is even more so to wake within our lives: to feel the exquisite joy, pain, beauty, and fragility of our existence.

“I’m awake, I’m alive!”

These can be the watchwords of our ecological faith.

“I’m awake, I’m alive!”

These words can be a mantra keeps our spirits from drifting off to sleep as we confront the realities of our time.

“I’m awake, I’m alive!”

These syllables can shake us from our stupor.

Say it with me: “I’m awake. I’m alive.”

And so we begin to dream a new dream.

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For another take on lucid dreaming, click here.

To learn about 350 Dreamers, a group that dreams together for global healing, click here.

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

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 of which is the REM cycle during which most vivid dreams take place. The early sleep cycles, during which time the wine is most present in your body, are the ones with the shortest REM cycles.

The second part of the night, in which those dreamy REM cycles lengthen, can be interrupted by alcohol’s affect on your body. The bottom line is that you’ve slept well during the half of the night with briefer dream cycles, and are tossing and turning awake in bed during the second dream-rich half of the night when those luscious REM cycles would normally kick in.

Another reason people are often warned away from drinking before bed is that wine has a reputation for leading to nightmares and vivid dreams. For adventurous dreamers, those vivid dreams are a plus … and truly adventurous dreamers might be willing to risk a nightmare or two for the enhanced excitement of unusual and memorable dreams. Also, some dreamers report having more lucid dreams after enjoying a nightcap.

I haven’t read scientific studies that connect lucid dreaming and alcohol, but it makes sense to me. First of all, bizarre elements of unusual dreams or nightmares often tip the dreamer off to the fact that they’re dreaming, thus provoking lucidity. Also, I find I have lucid dreams on nights I wake and fall back asleep a couple of times. Maybe wine’s tendency to interrupt our sleep cycles also induces more lucidity during the snippets when we do doze off.

But that’s speculation. As usual, I encourage you to be your own sleep scientist. Take note of your own experience with drinking and dreaming – but always dream safe! Less is more when it comes to drinking. And anyway, isn’t dreaming itself is all the buzz you need?

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Some helpful hints when it comes to drinking and dreaming:

  1. To avoid alcohol’s negative affects on sleep, enjoy your glass of wine at least three hours before bedtime. That will allow the wine to metabolize and work its way through your system before you snooze.
  2. Don’t overdo it! Drink a glass of water for every glass of wine you imbibe. That will slow down  your alcohol consumption and keep you hydrated.
  3. If you are drinking wine to unwind before bed, find other non-alcoholic ways to slow down and sooth your tensions. Try taking a warm bath, meditate, or read a good book before bed, instead.
Compaii to the dreamer who asked this week's question!

Compaii to the dreamer who asked this week’s question!

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*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 WineStart here to visit more Corner View blogs.

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Through the Looking Glass–poetically

English: Old make-up mirror. Deutsch: Alter Sc...

English: Old make-up mirror. Deutsch: Alter Schminkspiegel. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

This fall I participated in a Psiber Dream Conference, where dreamers from around the world presented papers and entered discussions about the extra-ordinary aspects of dreaming, from lucid dreams, to mutual dreams, remote viewing and precognitive dreams.

The theme this year was “Through the Looking Glass” and a few of the papers I read suggested looking at mirrors as portals within the dream, then entering these portals to discover other amazing worlds.

I tried for three nights in a row to find such a mirror in my dreams. I came close on several occasions, but never was able to get lucidly aware enough to actually travel through a mirror into a different dimension.

Nonetheless, I did manage to write a poem about one of my near misses. The poem turned out to be a portal of its own into other realms of thought and imagination.

Through the Looking Glass

My smile melts,

skin sags, folds,

lets go of bone

just before it disappears

into the mirrored plane

of a dream about to end.

Let me be the beauty

that hides within.

But words can’t keep pace.

A new dream begins.

© 2013 Tzivia Gover

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My poem “Through the Looking Glass” represents the second poem I’ve written this month in an effort to write 30 Poems in November as part of a fundraiser for immigrant literacy. To sponsor me in my Poem-a-Day challenge, please visit: http://www.firstgiving.com/fundraiser/Tzivia/30poems

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BOO! What to do when a dream scares you …

Jack-o-lantern

Jack-o-lantern (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Q&A: A Halloween Guide to Nightmares (and why they are treats, not tricks, from the dreamworld)

Q: Actually, I’m glad I don’t remember my dreams. The ones I do remember scare me. Why should I bother to try to have more of them, let alone pay attention to them?

A: If you are leery of scary dreams, you are not alone. But what better time to confront this issue than now, at Halloween, when even awake we are faced with skeletons, ghosts, and ghouls.

I am not going to try to reassure you and convince you that all dreams are blissful and harmonious. The dreamworld is not all unicorns and rainbows, after all. This is one reason that bedtime rituals have historically included prayers and lullabies. These customs remind us that entering sleep is serious business. Eyes closed and physical senses dulled, our bodies are vulnerable, and our dreaming minds and spirits perhaps more so. We never know what we will meet when we close our eyes and drift into sleep.

From time to time you will likely encounter dreams that cause you to sit up in bed, heart racing and breathless, and reach for the light—both literally and figuratively.

You may want to splash some cold water on your face, reassure yourself it was “only a dream” and go back to sleep—and that’s fine. But dismissing these dreams altogether is a lost opportunity.

Nightmares are your soul’s way of waking you to some important truth. Sometimes they contain a warning, and often they are trying to help you see something you are avoiding acknowledging in waking life. If you can muster the courage to pay attention to the dream, discuss it with a friend or therapist who appreciates the significance of dreams (whether or not they are a so-called dream expert) you will likely find the gift in the nightmare that makes the chilling fear you woke with in the wee hours worth having endured.

Here are some tips for coping with nightmares:

  1. Say your prayers: You don’t have to be religious to create a bedtime ritual that includes expressing gratitude for the blessings in your life and asking for protection and divine guidance as you enter the realm of dreams. Set an intention that your night’s dreams will come in the service of love and healing.
  2. Wake up in your dream: If you have a nightmare and become lucid enough to think, “This is a dream, I am going to wake myself up,” try instead to turn and face the scary elements in your dream (beasts, attackers, pursuers). Announce to your dream characters that you are armed with Divine Love, and request that they tell you what message they have for you. You might be surprised at how helpful these menacing creatures become.
  3. Arm yourself with Love: If you have a nightmare and wake up without becoming lucid, use journaling or a guided meditation to take the steps suggested in #2 above: First arm yourself with Divine Love (imagine you are draped in a cloak of Love, state that you choose Love, or use any other symbol of perfect Love to bring with you into your waking dream), then face your nightmare and ask who or what those scary creatures are and what they have come to tell you.
  4. Who (or what) is chasing you: If you have a dream that you are being chased, ask yourself what is pursuing you that you are fleeing from in waking life. The answer might be an emotion you’re avoiding dealing with, a relationship issue you are neglecting to confront, etc.
  5. Dreams of death: If you dream that someone is trying to kill you, or that someone is dying or being killed, ask yourself what part of yourself is ready to “die” or be released. Remember, dreams of death and dying are rarely literal, as dreams speak in symbol and metaphor most of the time. However, if you sense that the warning that comes to you in a dream is literal and real—by all means, check it out! You are ultimately the most trustworthy expert when it comes to your own dreams. Dreams work on many levels, and it’s wise to consider all of the possible meanings and messages.

So, this Halloween, I hope you will reconsider those scary dreams. It’s possible (actually it’s probable) that they have come to wake you up to important truths that will help you live a more joyous and loving live.

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Happy Halloween dreamers!

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If you’ve had a nightmare (or any dream that piques your interest and curiosity) and if you want to explore its messages or meanings contact me for a dream consultation. Say you read this post and get a Halloween discount of 10% off your dreamwork session!

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Q & A: Last But Not Least (CV)

English: On the roof, in a moonlit night, look...

(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Q. It seems like the last dream I have before waking is the most vivid and the longest of the night. Is there any reason for this?

A. Not only do we dream every night, we also dream several times per night. And yes, these dreams do vary in length. Typically we enter a dream cycle every 90 minutes over the course of a night’s sleep, and the dream periods increase in length as the night progresses. So, yes, it seems like those early morning dreams are the longest because, well, they are!

That covers the well-worn terrain of what science tells us about sleep cycles, but I’ve made other observations about the last dreams of the night as well.

My dreaming mind is a wonderful one-woman sleep laboratory, because I have unusually high dream recall; I remember three to seven dreams a night (and, on not-so-rare occasion, more). Over the decades of observing my dreams I have noticed that my dreams not only progress in length as the night wears on, but they also progress thematically.

My first dream of the night is usually, as science predicts, brief. Sometimes it contains just a few images and symbols, and very little by way of storyline. Dream by dream, those themes and symbols might repeat, coming up in different storylines, in different forms, and in different contexts.

For example, one night the first dream of the night was of a nurse in her uniform. The last dream I remembered was about me examining a wound on my foot. The night’s theme was clearly “healing.”

Recently, a full night’s dreaming started with people making television commercials, and several dream adventures later ended with me walking on “Market Street.” The theme of commerce (what am I “buying”? I asked myself on waking) was repeated in different contexts and unfolded over the course of the varied dreamscapes.

Also, sometimes the dreams have a certain narrative arc. For example, in a recent night’s dreams, I am leaving a hotel to go for a walk in the first dream, and in the last dream of the night I return to my house and go up the stairs to my bedroom.

I also seem to have more lucid dreams (dreams in which I know I’m dreaming) in the early morning hours. I suspect that is because our brain chemistry is beginning to shift from sleeping to waking consciousness, and this might create the ideal environment for hybrid states of dream consciousness such as lucidity.

I’ve also noticed that the last dream of the night can be super-charged with light – so much so that in those dreams I am often squinting and unable to fully open my eyes. I’ve always assumed this has something to do with light beginning to enter the room as the sun rises, but since it even happens on dark winter mornings, I wonder if it has more to do with the re-activation of the physical senses as our waking consciousness begins to come back on line. (If there are any scientists reading along, I’d love to hear your feedback on this theory!)

On a practical level, the last dream of the night is the easiest one for most people to remember – and so it is significant in that way, too.

In any case, when it comes to dreaming, “last” is far from being “least.”

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And you? Do you notice trends or patterns in the way dreams unfold for you over the course of the night? Is the last dream different from the first?

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If you’d like to learn more about your dreams, schedule an appointment for dreamwork, purchase a dream journal, or buy a dreamwork gift certificate, visit me at Third House Moon.

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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 last but not least. Start here to visit more Corner View blogs.

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Q & A: Is it Okay to Control Your Dreams?

Q: I don’t want to try lucid dreaming because I don’t want my ego to interfere with the natural flow of wisdom and information from my dreams.

A: Many people shy away from lucid dreaming, and some people even wake themselves out of lucid dreams, rather than “risk” imposing their ego’s desires onto the dream.

But why?

Technically speaking lucid dreaming occurs when you are consciously aware that you are dreaming. Trying to take control of your actions in the dream is optional (but often very enjoyable!) while in the lucid state. But to say the lucid dreamer controls the dream is a vast overstatement.

In lucid dreams, unlike ordinary dreams, the dreamer has some agency over their actions within the dream. Robert Waggoner in his excellent book on the subject uses this analogy: The lucid dreamer doesn’t control the dream any more than the sailor controls the sea.

However, in both cases it is wise to become skillful at navigating the terrain.

This is true both awake and asleep. Think about it: In your wake life you may decide to go on a picnic, but you can’t control whether it rains. There is not harm in setting the intention to eat outdoors, but circumstances beyond your control might well alter the outcome. i.e., you might end up eating your sandwiches in you kitchen, instead.

We don’t hesitate to “impose” our will on our wake life, but we do use our will as skillfully as we can to navigate and make the most of our experiences. Awake and asleep, too much ego-driven will and a lack of acceptance of situations that are beyond our control is unhealthy. However, it is also unhealthy to abandon any responsibility for directing our lives. Awake we see merit in choosing one path over another, and making decisions based on our values, goals, and desires.

So it is in dreaming, too. When lucid in a dream you might decide you’d like to fly. Give it a try and maybe you’ll take off and maybe you won’t be able to get your feet off the ground. You can decide to visit China, but you might just end up in Japan. Some of your plans and designs will be successful in your dreams, others won’t.

But lucid dreaming is much more than the dream world equivalent of playing around. Sure, it’s fun while lucid to have  romantic encounters, travel to exotic locales, do back flips, or climb a mountain in a minute. You can also choose to use this hybrid state of consciousness to request guidance, healing, and information to help in your creative, business and/or personal life. Again, the choice is yours.

Lucid dreaming is a powerful mind state that offers access to amazing stores of wisdom, beauty, and extraordinary experience. I encourage you to be open to the possibilities it contains, and to bring your best self to the experience – and then enjoy!

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To learn more about lucid dreams or to learn what your dreams mean,schedule an individual dreamwork consultation by contacting me here or at Third House Moon.

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Good Evening—Good Dreams (CV)

A good night of dreaming starts with a good night’s sleep. And a good night’s sleep starts with a good evening routine.

"The Bedroom" Van Gogh

Here are some of my favorite tips and tricks to wind down toward dreamtime that help promote a sound sleep:

Z After dinner, have a cup of calming tea. Some of my favorites are Celestial Seasoning’s “Sleepy Time Vanilla,” Chamomile, and my all time favorite: Tulsi Tea–I prefer the Rose flavor, which is billed as being relaxing and magical … what better for dreamtime! But you can also go the more traditional route and get Tulsi for Sleep.

Z I love a late evening snack. Sleep-friendly after-dinner snacks include bananas, low-sugar cereals, milk or kefir (I prefer kefir!), or a turkey sandwich (yup, it’s true, turkey makes you sleepy).

Z We all know we’re supposed to stick to a regular sleep and wake schedule to promote good sleep hygeiene. I don’t know about you, but I find this difficult to accomplish. But here’s a tip that helps me on the nights that I resist getting to bed on time: Don’t hit the snooze button the next morning. That’s just making a bad situation worse. Rather than sleep in, take a 20-30 minute nap in  the afternoon to make up for the sleep you missed. This will help you get caught up without compromising your sleep schedule too much.

Z You suspect it and studies prove it: Being on the computer, the smart phone, iPad, etc. in the evening hours are all compromising your sleep. Even watching TV is bad for sleep. But face it, even though we know the light from our e-readers and other screens is interfering with our sleep, we can’t give them up altogether. So, consider these modifications: If you use an e-reader, don’t use back light feature. For other screens, look into getting a blue light filter, as it’s the blue light that’s been linked to sleep interference. Here is a link to a site that offers other tips and apps to help make your screens more sleep friendly.

Z Meditate in the evening. You can even meditate in bed if you wake in the middle of the night. Not only does meditation relax you, it increases your chances of having lucid dreams.

Z Wind down with a few yoga stretches. Legs up the wall pose, plow pose, and easy forward bend are a few good choices. Here’s a link that gives more information on helpful yoga poses for enhancing sleep.

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Do you have a favorite relaxing tea, ritual, or routine? Share, please! After all, we could all use a better night’s sleep!

Boston Moonlight

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If you’d like to learn more about your dreams, schedule an appointment for dreamwork, purchase a dream journal, or buy a dreamwork gift certificate, visit me at Third House Moon.

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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 evening. Start here to visit more Corner View blogs.

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Hop a Dream to Somewhere Else (Corner View)

Summertime…

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Is the right time …

to hop a dream … IMG_2480

IMG_2527 to somewhere else … 
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Dream big!

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Dreaming is free … it’s easy … it’s safe!

No passport required! 

So close your eyes,

and fly away!

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These dreamy images are from Vieques, PR …

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Where do your dreams take you?

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Travel through the blogosphere to somewhere else by visiting more Corner View blogs. Corner View is a weekly appointment – each Wednesday, where bloggers from all corners of the world share their view on a pre-arranged theme. 

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The 14th Way of Looking at a Blackbird: Dreaming Awake (Corner View)

Enlightened Tree 2

The tree after the blackbird flew away.


I do not know which to prefer,

The beauty of inflections

Or the beauty of innuendoes,

The blackbird whistling

Or just after.

from “13 Ways of Looking at a Blackbird” by Wallace Stevens

A week ago, I woke from a long stretch of lucid dreaming, in which I consciously entered one dream after another. Finally, a couple of hours later, I woke from the dreams and into a beautiful spring Sunday morning. I threw on a pair of jeans, a sweatshirt and sneakers, and headed outside for a walk in the meadows.

It was a magnificent day. The air was dry, the light crystalline. There were no other people around at 8 a.m., so I was left alone to marvel at the delicate buds on the trees, the green of the mountains just beyond the river, and the new grass covering the fields. The whole world, it seemed, was newly awake.

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Then, stepping off the walking path onto the dirt road, I came upon a line of trees, and sitting about three-quarters of the way up in the branches of one, sat a red-winged blackbird. I tilted my head to look at it, just as the bird cocked its head to look at me. Suddenly I felt as if I’d stepped back inside my lucid dreams: the light intensified, and the air seemed to charge itself with a stronger current of aliveness. As if in a dream, the bird seemed to be conscious of me, as I was of it. The branches of the tree, the buds, the air, and the  hard-packed dirt of the road beneath my feet — all seemed to be  vibrant, connected, awake, aware, and alive.And then, the bird flew away, the magic receded, and the ordinary miracle of a spring morning returned.The memory of the ecstatic beauty was almost as good as having been inside of it.  I knew that though this waking lucid dream was over, it would always be there, just behind my ordinary experience of the world.

Enlightened Tree

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To learn more about lucid dreaming, or dreaming in general, visit Third House Moon.

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To visit more Corner View Blogs around the world start here.

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