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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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