Early one morning, as we drove from suburb into farmland, my friend’s dashboard emitted a worrisome DING and this warning appeared on the GPS screen:
Unverified Area? Like Brigadoon, Narnia, and wormholes? Caution, OK. And where are the dotted lines?
This all sounds a lot like... dream guidance.
So – how does dream guidance work? How do you actually let a dream help guide you in your waking life?
Perhaps the surprise GPS haiku will help: let’s take it line by line:
of the present moment, in which almost everything that is going on is unknowable.
We center down, breathe deeply, ground ourselves here.
As David Wagoner writes in his poem "Lost,"
“Wherever you are is called Here,
And you must treat it as a powerful stranger,
Must ask permission to know it and be known.”
Unverified area ahead
Every second, we inhabit the threshold between a world that seems recognizable, even predictable or controllable -- and complete bewilderment, utter mystery, complete unknowing. Aspects of this unverified area are called the “unconscious.” It is forever supporting and informing our waking world.
Exercise caution while driving in these areas
It isn’t easy to become more conscious of the unconscious. Dreams and synchronicities are just two ways we begin see the action of our unconscious. We also encounter challenges like eruptions of shadow, archetypal identification, and living in the grip of a complex. In “these areas” we learn to expect the bog, the fog, the both/and, the neither-here-nor-there. To navigate cautiously, we’re going to need something besides a GPS. The GPS is good at direction when we are on the map, but when we’re stuck in a persona or trying to integrate a shadow, we need something different. Dreams can help.
Use dotted lines for guidance
Dream guidance is more like discernment than direction.
It’s not “turn right, go two miles.”
Discernment is about alignment.
It’s intuitive and intelligent, instinctive and imaginative.
Just as a compass helps us align our position with the cardinal points and a destination beyond the horizon,
a dream can help us align feelings, thoughts, will, bodily presence, and soul
with the vaster reaches of inner experience and outer reality.
What are our dotted lines?
Dotted lines are the practices that help keep us both grounded in the moment and aligned to the beyond. Here are some examples and of course, all practices affect all parts of ourselves:
In our bodies – walking, yoga, breathing, gardening, working with our hands
In our souls – prayer, ritual, creating, play
In our minds – learning, thinking, writing, innovating
With others – eating, dancing, singing, serving, taking action
In dreamwork – we have dotted lines for dreamwork too: basic practices that help us receive and respond to the healing and wholeness that the dreams offer us.
-cultivating receptivity and journaling our dreams
- remembering that every part of the dream pictures a part of ourselves.
-trusting that the dream shows us both the problems we face, and creative responses to them.
- knowing dreams can picture us where we are right now in our lives and in society.
- watching for ways a dream will balance out our habitual waking attitudes with a richer, more inclusive vision we should integrate.
- trusting that even the nightmares and demons are here to help us see something we need to understand about ourselves.
- risking the richness of sharing our dreams with others by telling them to a trusted friend or opening them up in a dream group
- and knowing that it is more important to receive and relate to a dream than to work out an interpretation.
Dreams help us in the moment, but even moreso over time. Dream guidance can be very slow. Feelings, images, repeated themes and characters show up, shape us, change as we do.
For example, currently in my dreams there is a serious young horseman with a big plan. He is the grownup version of a little boy in my dreams that got my attention over a year ago. As he begins so show me why he’s here, he offers me the energies I need to integrate in my waking life right now. So I am taking my time to know him – his careful intelligence, his deep purpose, his altruism and strength of will - as well as his latent foolishness - before charging off to accomplish my own big ideas. He’s a helper, and I appreciate him.
When the GPS announced that I was in unverified territory, I smiled because I love this place so much. This place where the invisible informs the visible – just as the wind bends the grasses in the field, rustles the new leaves on the trees, lifts the roadside trash and brings the fragrances of spring through the car window, greening me heart and soul.
Let this be a beginning and a reminder that dreams can help us be both alert and at peace, lost and never really so.
Things to Love:
Poem: "Lost" by David Wagoner
Your YouTube Children’s Book this month:
The Red Book by Barbara Lehman
Here is a little miracle of a picture book (Carl Jung isn’t the only one who wrote a Red Book). This one includes maps, plus a whole different kind of global positioning imagination. No words, just music. Enjoy.
Climate Cafe at the The Resilient Activist
The Resilient Activist is a rich resource for climate activists, complete with courses, resilience practices, climate anxiety therapists, and the wise and wonderful director Sami Aaron.
Join us at the monthly Climate Café where I’ll be leading the group in some active imagination for dreamwork on Tuesday May 24 at 7 pm EST.
More at www.theresilientactivist.org.
My Dream Article for Spirituality and Health:
SUMMER AT FIRE BY NIGHT
It’s the summer of Travel at Last, and I’m not running any regular groups because you people are all thither and yon, adventuring. (Me too, a little bit.)
Instead, come to a Standalone Dream Group.
These groups will be different from the
intimate little dream circles we’ve always shared.
We’ll use a 3-part plan for these 2-hour meetings:
First we’ll work one dream together.
Next, we’ll share dreams in breakout sessions, using projective group dreamwork guidelines and each other’s intuition and experience.
Finally, we’ll reconvene for some further dream play as we individually explore our own dream through art, movement, and more.
Tuesday June 21, 7-9 EST
Sunday July 10, 7-9 EST
Tuesday July 26, 7-9 EST
Sunday August 14, 7-9 EST
How to sign up:
email me at Laura@firebynight.net
New and ongoing groups begin in late August and run through early December.
8 sessions. $200. Usually we meet every other week, but some dreamers prefer a shorter season with weekly meetings.
Contact me here if you want to put your name on the list, state your preferences for times, and I’ll be in touch with you soon.