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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.

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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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The Guru at the Door

In the wide-awake world of constant connectivity and 24-7 access to entertainment and information, we tend to treat our dreams as if they were flotsam and jetsam, washed up by some mysterious tide, and we carelessly rinse them away with our morning shower.

But if instead we welcome those dreams with curiosity and a smile, we just might find that they can serve as welcomed companions—even wise gurus—that can support and sustain us throughout the day.

dream guru

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Open the door to your dreams: The first step to developing a healthy relationship to your dreams is to pay attention to them. Today, tell your dreams to someone, or write them down. When you let your dreams know you are listening to them, they’ll respond with images and stories that will support and sustain you throughout your day.

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Learn to develop A Mindful Way to Sleep, Dream, and Live Better at one of these upcoming workshops:

Weds. May 27 Dreamasana at VegaYoga in Holyoke, Mass.

November 12-15, The Yoga of Dreams at Sivananda Ashram and Yoga Retreat in the Bahamas.

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(Dream) Practice Makes Perfect

Dreamwork Podcast CoverWhat would it mean to have a dream practice, the same way some people have a yoga or meditation practice? (Hint: You don’t need a sticky mat, but prepare to fluff up your pillow!)  Listen in to learn more:

IMG_4811This episode of my podcast, DreamWork, was recorded at Sivananda Ashram Yoga Retreat in Nassau, Bahamas, during my stay there in November, 2014.

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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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Music inspired by dreams: A Conversation with Ted Murray Jones

You won’t be surprised to learn that one of the highlights of my year is attending the International Study of Dreams annual conference. At these gatherings several hundred people from around the world–including neuroscientists, psychologists, mystics, and artists spend several days together attending lectures, workshops, and symposia examining the topic of dreams from various angles.

During one of these conferences some five years ago, a gentleman with a warm southern accent invited my friends and me to sit outside, sip whiskey, and read tarot cards. (Yes, that’s how we dreamers have fun.)

Sharing music, poetry, and dreams with Ted Murray Jones.

Sharing music, poetry, and dreams with Ted Murray Jones.

That was how I met Ted Murray Jones, who I later learned was a talented musician and songwriter from just outside Nashville. Over the years I’ve become a fan of Ted’s dream-inspired songs. Top on my playlist these days is his album: Life and the Hereafter, which I hope you’ll listen to — but first, listen to our conversation about dreams, music, poetry and inspiration, which was recorded recently when Ted was a guest on my podcast, DreamWork.

Dreamwork Podcast CoverMore about Ted Murray Jones:

In 2000, Ted Jones founded Dream Train Music and produced albums for Jonathan Singleton and Josh Smith. After recording the acclaimed “Poet, Soldier, Wise Man, King”, a collaborative effort with Jonathan Singleton, Sergio Webb, and Bruce Wallace, he embarked on his solo career with the RM Series. Ted is a philanthropist whose gift to the world is a fresh, clever, sublime interpretation of the joy, hope, pain, and sorrow of life that each of us is so familiar with. With each new album, Ted approaches his art with renewed vigor and unwavering devotion to his cause. Indeed, writing is the life force which drives this modern day knight on a quest for truth, beauty, loyalty, and elegant simplicity.

 

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Listen Up: A Conversation about Dreams & Diaries

Do you remember when you first started keeping a diary?

Dreamwork Podcast Cover

I do. I was 12 years old and my mother’s friend gave me a little plaid diary with a gold lock and key for my birthday. I’ve kept a diary ever since!

I’m jealous of 12-year old girls today, because when their mom or aunt or friend of the family gives them a diary, it might just be a copy of The Oasis Pages, which was dreamed up by Grace Welker, and it happens to be the most beautiful and engaging diary I’ve ever seen for girls.  (Okay, I admit, I use it, too, even though I’m not quite a teen anymore.)

Talking to Grace Welker, creator of the Oasis Pages Diary for Girls, about  our dreams.

Talking to Grace Welker, creator of the Oasis Pages Diary for Girls, about our dreams.

I recently sat down and talked with Grace about the diary, how she dreamed up the idea to publish a journal for teen girls, and where inner guidance comes from. Our conversation is recorded on DreamWork, my podcast about how dreams work in our lives. Listen in here:

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One of my students writing in her copy of the Oasis Pages Diary for Teen Girls.

 

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A Podcast by Any Other Name …

What’s in a name?IMG_4100

My pet rabbit’s name is Honey Bunny. Yes, I know, that’s kind of like naming a restaurant “Restaurant,” or titling a book, “Story.” I generally explain that my daughter gave the bunny that pragmatic moniker; I’d have given her a more creative name. Or so I claim.

After all, I recently started a podcast, and given the opportunity to name a new entity I came up with something quite utilitarian. My program about dreams and dreamwork is called: DreamWork.Dreamwork Podcast Cover

You see, I’ve come around to the idea of choosing a descriptive name. Our rabbit is indeed a honey of a bunny. Her name fits. As for the title of my podcast, I wanted to let people know right from the outset that dreams work. While many people write dreams off as bizarre or useless, many others mine their dreams for ideas for songs, stories, books, businesses, scientific innovation and invention. Dreams do work. So the title DreamWork fits for my series of interviews and lessons on how dreaming is useful in the lives of artists, musicians, publishers, and more. If you give them a chance, your dreams can do some heavy lifting for you, too.

So, I stand by my decision to give my podcast about the magical world of dreams a straightforward, no-nonsense title.

I invite you to take a listen. And if you like what you hear, please leave a rating or review on iTunes.

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(My daughter’s name, by the way is Miranda, which means: Wonderful, worthy of admiration, and miraculous. And I must say, the name suits her quite nicely.)

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My first guest on DreamWork is my fabulous friend, the author Lesléa Newman. You can listen to our conversation here:

How to Find Inspiration in Your Dreams: An Interview with Author Leslea Newman

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Lesléa Newman is the author of 65 books for readers of all ages including the poetry collections, Still Life with Buddy, Nobody’s Mother, and Signs of Love. In 2012, her novel-in-verse, October Mourning: A Song for Matthew Shepard, received a Stonewall Honor from the American Library Association and was named a “Must Read” title by the Massachusetts Center for the Book. Ms. Newman has won many literary awards including poetry fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts and the Massachusetts Artists Foundation; the Burning Bush Poetry Prize; and second place runner-up in the Solstice Literary Journal poetry competition. Her poetry has been published in Spoon River Poetry Review, Cimarron Review, Columbia: A Journal of Literature and Art, Evergreen Chronicles, Harvard Gay and Lesbian Review, Lilith Magazine, Kalliope, The Sun, Bark Magazine, Sow’s Ear Poetry ReviewSeventeen Magazine and others. Nine of her books have been Lambda Literary Award Finalists. From 2008-2010 she served as the poet laureate of Northampton, Massachusetts. Currently she is a faculty member of Spalding University’s brief-residency MFA in Writing program. Her newest poetry collection, I Carry My Mother will be published in January 2015 by Headmistress Press. Visit her website at www.lesleanewman.com

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Dream Catching

When we lose out on sleep we lose out on dreaming, too. This is a situation worth remedying.

Science tells us that REM sleep, when most dreams take place, helps with problem solving, emotional regulation, and much more. In addition, the practice of doing dreamwork, including dream analysis and sharing dreams with a counselor or loved one, has been shown to improve relationships, heal post-traumatic stress disorder, reduce stress, and amp up creativity.

To encourage dream-filled sleep and to use your dreams as a resource for increased happiness and meaning in your life, consider these suggestions.

Night notes: Keep your journal by your bedside, and before you turn out the lights write about the highlights of the day that just passed. This helps clear your mind so you can sleep and dream better. When you wake, reach for the journal again and jot down your dreams. Recording dreams helps to increase dream recall, and helps you pay attention to the messages and information contained within your dreams.
Dream time: When you wake, before you move or speak, take a moment to reflect on any dreams you might have had. There’s no need to analyze or even understand them; simply review them as you would look back on an eventful day. Scan them for any information that might give you a new perspective — that might startle, amuse, entertain, or inform you.
Dream sharing: Make it a practice to ask your bed partner or family members about their dreams. Again, there’s no need to analyze or even interpret the dreams. Simply by taking an interest in your dreams and those of your loved ones, you are inviting new opportunities to deepen your connections. As an added bonus, the process of talking out dreams sometimes sparks surprising insights.

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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.

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Ancient Wisdom and Modern Science Confirm The Healing Power of Dreams

“An unremembered dream is like an unopened letter from God.”

The average person dreams from four to seven times every night. That means that by the age of 80, they will have had between 116,800 and 204,400 dreams. However, most people are confused and mystified by their dreams, and as a result they largely ignore them. When asked why they don’t pay attention to their dreams, many say dreams are too complicated to understand, or that most of their dreams are nonsensical at best and disturbing at worst.

But while dreams may have fallen out of favor in modern Western cultures, people around the world have long known that dreams can help them in down-to-earth, practical matters. In fact, an ancient quote posits that, “An unremembered dream is like an unopened letter from God.”

This traditional wisdom, is now backed by scientific research. Dreams have been shown to help with everything from emotional regulation to increased creativity. And studies show that working with dreams in a therapeutic environment can help people gain insight into problems and issues as well as heal from the loss of a loved one, or recurring nightmares caused by trauma.

In addition, dreamwork promotes concrete, positive changes based on deep understanding of the dream. People from all walks of life, from artists to scientists, have credited dreams with major inspirations and breakthroughs. And everyday people regularly receive guidance about physical health, interpersonal relationships, professional problems, and more through working with their dreams.

As a Certified Dream Therapist and as an individual who has benefited greatly from my dreams for years, I am passionate about helping others learn to listen to and understand their dreams. Toward that end, I am offering discounted dreamwork sessions (in person, by phone or Skype) all summer long, as well as a new ongoing “Listening to Dreams” workshop series that begins on Aug. 20th. For information on individual dreamwork consultations or workshops, please visit me at CLINIC Alternative Medicines or view my web site http://www.thirdhousemoon.com.

 

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Q&A: Working to Understand Dreams

Q: Do you have any suggestions for how I can work to better understand the messages contained within my dreams?

Signed,

Seeking Understanding

A: Dear Seeking,

Did you know that in my other life I’m a poetry teacher? Yes, I teach teen mothers, and other young adults and adults in literacy programs. My students have had a wide range of educational experiences—well, not such a wide range, really. Their experiences range along a narrow band of really bad encounters with the public school system. They have a great deal of trouble spelling some of the most basic vocabulary words, like through and maybe, and knee. And it’s my job to introduce them to the works of Rosetti and Whitman, Plath, and Poe.

I had no formal training in how to be a teacher when I first set foot in a classroom, so I stood clutching my folder of poems before a room full of teens whose babies were downstairs in the daycare, or whose pregnant bellies peeked out from of the unbuttoned waistbands of their jeans.

I decided right away to skip the whole “what do does this poem mean?” discussion. Shakespeare’s “wandering bark,” Dickinson’s “mechanical feet” going round on their “wooden way” were baffling to my students—as they were to me the first several times I read them. Instead I asked: “What does this poem make you feel?” and then “Oh, really? What in the poem makes you feel that way?” After a while I might press further: “Any idea why someone would have written about all this stuff?”

Oh, but you were asking about how to work with the messages in your dreams, right? I guess it was that word work that got me thinking about teaching, because that’s technically what I do for work. And work is hard and I don’t want to work, I want time to play and experience life. And I definitely don’t want poetry to turn into work. Poetry is mystical and mysterious and beautiful and totally accessible as long as no one asks me what it means and as long as I don’t ask anyone what it means.

So, to answer your question, Dear Seeker: Put your feet up, get yourself a drink with a paper umbrella in it. Stop working so hard. A dream isn’t something to decipher like a message tapped out in Morse Code; it’s the creative musings of your inner poet wooing you with sweet somethings.

But you want to know what it’s saying? So, listen.

Z Tell someone your dream. Your cat will do if there’s no one else around, and if there is no cat, talk your dream into the voice recorder on your phone. Let the images, the colors, the quality of the light, and the sense of movement in the dream wash over you. Notice how you feel. Which parts make you anxious? Which parts make you sigh? Where in your body do you feel it? Let yourself sink into a state of wonder. Allow your curiosity to be piqued. Marvel at the view.

Z Write the dream down, slowly. That’s another way to listen deeply. Grab some color pencils or crayons and sketch it. Wait for the message to unfurl like a morning glory opening to the sun.

Z That might be enough …. but if not … go ahead and dive into each image. Associate and amplify to your heart’s content.

 Z Find a dream group or a dream therapist. (Okay, that’s a little shameless self-promotion there, but a dream therapist has to eat, too, right?).

Z And since I am, after all, a poetry teacher…why not try writing a poem from your dream. You can find instructions elsewhere on this blog by clicking here.

Dreamily yours,

Tz…

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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.

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My Dream Business is Growing

“We grow great by dreams.”

Woodrow Wilson

Dreams have a new home on Main Street in Northampton.

Dreams have a new home on Main Street in Northampton.

My dream business is growing … and that’s good news for me and you!

Dreams on Main

I have new office space in downtown Northampton, at CLINIC Alternative Medicines, 98 Main Street.

More Dreams for You

This means you now have more opportunities to learn about what your dreams are telling you and how your dreams can help you live a more joyful and meaningful life.

I am available to work with you on your dreams Wednesdays from 3 p.m. to 9 p.m. and Thursdays from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. in person, by phone, or Skype.

We’ve Got Class

I will now be offering dream classes and workshops on Wednesday evenings. The first one, Dreams 101, takes place Wednesday, July 9, 7:30-9 p.m. Click here for details.

Chaaarge it…

I now accept credit card payments for dreamwork, in addition to PayPal, checks, and of course cash never goes out of style. Take advantage of discounted prices this summer. Visit my Third House Moon website for details.

Book It—Online!

You can now book appointments for dreamwork online by clicking here and choosing Dreamwork from the menu.

Let’s Talk About It

I’d love to hear from you. Contact me with questions, comments, or to set up an appointment.

Clinic Noho Office

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This is a Corner View Post. Corner View is a weekly appointment – each Wednesday – created by Jane of Spain Daily, where bloggers from all corners of the world share their view on a pre-arranged theme. Travel around the world by visiting more Corner View posts starting here.

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