A few years ago, a new word burst upon the internet, and we learned about hygge, or “cozy comfortable conviviality” – which summarizes the Scandinavian approach to surviving a long cold winter*. (And whoo, it’s been cold!) One great part about the hygge tradition that you get to read. A lot.
Mostly novels, for me, but I’ve also been rereading some of my favorite picture books. Do you remember those truly wonderful children’s books? The ones that found you, and grew your imagination, and showed you something of your own heart? They aren’t just books: they are soul-makers. Whether they were read to us as children, or we read them to other children, or discovered them along the way, they live in us, shaping us like dreams do. And unlike some dreams, they are irresistibly sharable.
Here is a good one, given to my boys long ago by a friend who understood bookish delight for children and their parents. I’m sharing it with you here because it is a lovely story and because to me, it pictures some things to remember about dreams and inner work.
Please oh please spend a few minutes letting the magic of this little story wash over you.
Mole Music written and illustrated by David McPhail...Watch and listen: (7 minutes)
This is beauty sufficient for the day, and you can stop here if you like.
But, if this story were a dream, what might you say about it?
Here are a few projections:
In my dream, I see my little inner Mole soul, learning to align to the true Self, through the bliss of music and long years of practice.
I feel a great tenderness for this part of me. My inner Mole is already mining the depths, but then receives a vision beyond my familiar territory that connects me to my core. I love the moment in which my inner Mole sees the violinist on TV, experiences the impact of the golden shadow, and follows that gold.
I see the little Mole part of me persisting through the terrible early months of skronky screechy musicmaking. The racket nearly kills the young tree aboveground, but over time, my inner Mole learns to play music so beautiful that it helps the tree thrive, as well as the birds, animals, and people who gather near it.
In my dream, I see that inner work is also inner play. Connecting to the music dominates everything in my inner world. (Jung call that tending the Ego-Self axis.)
It is true (also both sad and wonderful) that my Ego - or anyone’s - will never know the extent to which inner work and play makes such a difference in the outer world. It matters, but the outcome is not my concern (neither is the income, for that matter).
This story feels like an invitation to be more open to what moves me with longing, creates divine discontent, and asks more of me than I imagine I have to give. It reminds me that whether my dreams are beautiful or terrifying, Mozart or Mahler, they are coming through the organizing action of the deep Self that creates exactly what I need to hear for the next day’s thriving.
Mole Music reminds me that dreams do their work whether or not I recall them. And when I don't remember them, I can pick up a picture book or fairy tale ( odd ones are good) and let it be my dream for now.
Wishing you the comforts of good stories, deep dreams, and people to share them as you wrap up tight these cold nights -
Since you asked…”What is individual dreamwork like?”
Dreams are here to help guide your individuation journey; that is, to help you turn into the self you were born to become. It’s the most important work we do, because as we live from the place of deep authenticity, we become more compassionate and creative people.
Individual dreamwork involves serious play and creative work to explore the life-giving but bewildering energies ...conscious and unconscious...that your dreams ask you to integrate.
When we come to a dream session, you bring a dream, or maybe several. You also bring an innate knowledge of what the dream is saying. I help you sense for yourself what is going on and why it's important. Listening for points of energy, excitement, and resistance, we explore your associations and symbolic dream language. We look to your waking life for relevant energies…we might re-experience the dream from the viewpoint of another character or image…we tend the emotions in the dream…we explore archetypal implications and repeated themes. I may make projections to see if anything sparks an “aha” for you. I'll offer some Jungian ideas that may help you orient to the dream world. You’ll learn to sustain deep connection with shadows, anima or animus figures, persona and ego identities. You’ll practice dreamwork techniques that work best for you as you work through ordinary dreams, nightmares, and recurring dreams, and you’ll find ways to relate with the dream's wisdom as it guides you over time.
As a dreamworker, one of my goals is to teach you the skills to do more satisfying dreamwork on your own. I’m not a therapist, so we don’t step into therapeutic work. And if dreamwork isn’t really your thing, I can help you find other ways of spiritual listening.
If you’re curious about personal dreamwork or spiritual direction, we can schedule a free 20 minute conversation. Email me at email@example.com and we’ll find a time soon.