The Reluctant Dreamer

She said she never remembered her dreams. She said she felt intimidated about working with dreams because everyone else has epic dreams with many scenes and incredible characters and she doesn't have those kinds of dreams.

I asked her if she could remember anything at all from the last few weeks. She paused. "No," she said. "Nothing." Pause.

"Although I do have a theme."

A theme? How was that possible if she hadn't remembered any dreams at all?

"Well," she said, "the theme is houses."

Aha! We were on to something here. I asked her if she remembered any of the houses.

"Not really. I mean, there was one house, a beautiful Victorian." And then she described an amazing house in full detail. I could picture it in my mind, she described it so well. I knew this was my chance.

I asked her if she would be willing to work that dream.

"Dream? That isn't a dream, it's just one image."

I told her even one image, especially one remembered in such detail, counts.

We proceeded. I asked her to become the house through a technique called gestalt, and asked her to answer questions as if she were the house. When she finished, I proposed she read the answers imagining she was reading about herself and not the house.

At first she was silent. Then she clucked her tongue, shook her head, and widened her eyes. I wasn't sure if I'd bombed or hit the nail on the head.

"Wow," she said. "That's amazing. It totally tells me about myself right now."

From there, I asked her to feel where the dream lived in her body, which led to more insights. This is why I love dreamwork. It brings us home, right to the center of ourselves, and shows us what we haven't been paying attention to.

All you need to work a dream is one image. Even if it is in black and white. Even if all you can say is that you remember an elephant. Or a pencil. Or a bush. You can tease a lot out of an image: what feeling does it evoke? What does it remind you of? Even those two questions can take you on an amazing journey of self-discovery. It doesn't have to be fancy, you don't have to know about archetypes and symbols, and you don't have to have an advanced degree in mythology. All you need is a little time, the dream image, and a mind and heart that are willing to hear what your soul wants to say.


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