Your Dream Messages

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Descent is a vital process whereby a person can ‘sink’ into their unconscious depths to discover or learn about their deepest motivations, challenges, abilities, and needs.   Western cultures tend not to emphasize the Inner or unconscious dimensions of our psyches, favoring rather the Outer, surface appearances. This can be problematical, because we tend to “bury” our conflicts or sensitive issues, often resulting in unbalanced behaviors and emotions and ‘off-kilter’ attitudes.

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One of the easiest ways to take stock of your inner unconscious messages is through paying close attention to the content of your nightly dreams. You can establish a two-way communication with a deep level of awareness by asking for help in your dreams, then tuning in!

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Two very common forms of archetypal figures that might show up in your dreams are what Jung called the Shadow (or Shadow aspects of any number of archetypal forms), and animal figures.  The classic Jungian Shadow is a same gender, dark figure that appears to dog your footsteps or threatens you in your dream. Animal figures—sometimes representing what Jung would call Animus and Anima archetypes—may reveal aspects of yourself that you tend to project onto others and may need to “own” in order to better integrate your intrinsic strengths and awareness.

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A dream dictionary is a helpful tool (see the Art of Spiritual Dreaming, by Harold Klemp for this and many other helpful dream techniques). In the back of your Dream Journal, you can keep a log of the special dream images that show up in your dreams. Some of these will change in their appearance and in their significance or message to you over time. You are the best interpreter of your own dreams, so long as you pay attention and ask yourself what the message of an image or dream story is, to you.

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I went through a period of many years of dreaming about being chased by Tigers or Bears. I would admire the Animal, but then I would run from it, sensing that in its wild nature it would come after me; and then it would! Over time I came to realize these graceful, powerful animal figures represented my own strengths that I was not owning; I projected my own strengths into others for fear of wielding too powerful and thus possibly dangerous feelings. Once I was able to hold my own anima/animus powers in a balanced way, these dreams ceased.

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What are some of your own Shadowy figures that turn up and recur in your dreams?  What messages do they bring you? If you are not clear about their meanings, I invite you to engage in an active imagination. Go within, and ask to be shown what these images are meant to teach you. I did this once after a Bear dream in which after petting a cub, I realized the Mother would come after me and my sister. I sent my sister to climb a pine tree, and I clambered up behind her. Below me I saw this graceful, powerful Mother Bear scaling the tree as though on flat land. When I asked in an active contemplation two days later about the message of this dream, the whole scenario replayed before my inner eyes and I heard: “Even though you run from Her, she is pushing you to greater heights!”

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Hopes & Dreams; and: Touche! What I Learned about Transforming Self-Limiting Beliefs through Fencing (Best of Better Endings, Day 5)

Touche! What I Learned about Transforming Self-Limiting Beliefs through Fencing

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I am 5’3″ and weighed 110 lbs until around 30. I was a rather shy, skinny, short and nerdy sort of kid and I thought of myself accordingly; until, one day at high school in 11th grade, my friend Lawrence opened a conversation that would forever change my life:

“Say, ‘Yes’!”

“Okay! …What are we doing?”

Fencing! There’s a fencing class that starts this week at the Arts Center, and you and I will be there!”

Fencing. Who knew? I would learn more about life and about myself and others that next several years than I could ever have anticipated with that simple agreement with Fate in the form of my friend, Larry. I would come to revise my notions of what is possible in this world, a Life Lesson I would come to apply regularly, not only to my own choices and actions but also by imparting these lessons to those I would ultimately teach, and coach, later in life.

After the 10-week class in fencing I took with an exceptional fencing teacher who became a lifelong friend, I went on to fence on an intercollegiate team at SUNY College at Buffalo that placed in the top ten in the nation in 1975, a nearly unheard of result for our small college team. So, here are some lessons in transforming self-limiting beliefs or postulates that I learned through the art of fencing:

1) Focus. The “peak experience bout”, as I used to think of it philosophically, is one in which both fencers wholly incorporate their opponent’s ‘field’ within their own. That is, they are intuitively in tune with every action and intention of their opponent. This results often in “La Belle,” a very close match in which both fencers are so deeply immersed in the swordplay that they are not even thinking but they are acting and responding unconsciously, in the Moment. Both are winners, here!

2) I learned when to advance, when to retreat; when to initiate, feint, parry-riposte, or revise an attack. I learned how to stand my guard and not be intimidated by bluster or a nasty look. Being in the Moment and trusting your well-trained instincts and intuition leads more often to success than to failure.

3) I can do it!  Put all negative self-talk behind you and “go forth, brightly!” Be mindful, centered, aware, and ACT accordingly. Or as a fencing coach who was a former Olympian would put it, “”Suck it up!” Pull yourself together if you lose one point; focus on the present point only; exhale as you lunge! “Et, la!”

4) Whatever your personal characteristics are, you can use them to your advantage. Being short and lightweight,I was fast. I learned to maintain greater distance than normal from a taller fencer until ready to launch an attack; then I would use moves like a running attack (fleche) or a double-to-triple ballestra (short hops before a lunge) that would close the distance too rapidly for a taller opponent to counter. (An attack is made with the extended arm in foil; the tall opponent would not have room to attack with such a maneuver.)

5) Fencing is life. For my entire life, I am a Fencer. It doesn’t matter that now, at 59, I am out of shape and overweight. Fencing became and remains a way of thinking, a way of being in the world. I find myself applying the logic and wisdom of fencing daily, in all kinds of life situations.

Fencing–like any sport, musical instrument, art or skill that you hone with ardour and diligent practice (think, Karate Kid, for a more popular example)–can instill a healthy, positive self-concept and a balanced or “centered” point of view, a positive attitude of response-ability to life events. Of course, I often have to remember these lessons, hopefully more inthe mindful Moment; if not, then in retrospect, remise!

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Chela and Ariel–A Better Endings Pet Reincarnation Story

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I know that not everyone accepts or is interested in the idea of reincarnation. If not, that is fine, but please humor my story today. I want to tell a true, Better Endings story which I associate with pet reincarnation, but you are welcome to interpret the story however you like.

Chela was an orange tabby/calico cat that I shared my life with for 11 years. Chela was an amazing feline friend. She would ride around the house with me, draped across my shoulders. Outside, we would play a game where I would chase her in a big circle around the back yard; then I would turn around, and Chela would chase me! We were very bonded. Chela relocated with me on my “Big Move” from Buffalo to Arizona (see that story here from Feb.5). She also came with me for my dissertation study year at Zuni Pueblo, New Mexico. She was my touchstone there, or should I say a refuge of the Heart.

When I returned from Zuni to Arizona, I spent 6 months as an intern at the Museum of Northern Arizona. Chela couldn’t be with me then, so she stayed with a friend in Phoenix. At night in Flagstaff, though, I would close my eyes while sitting up in bed playing a recorder instrument to the tune of “Greensleeves”. I would imagine that Chela was with me then.

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Chela developed a severe arthritic condition in her spine, so I had to let her go when she was only eleven. She appeared to me about a week after her passing. In a dream just before waking, I went to pull an envelope with a picture of her from my chest (heart) pocket. Instead, Chela energetically walked out from the envelope, as if to say, “Don’t remember me as a dead form; I am here with you now; I am still living, as Soul!” Chela then led me to where she was staying on the ‘other side’. She brought me to a beautiful, verdant clearing in a wooded valley, full of trees on the perimeter, and colorful flowers, and animals of all sorts! There was a small, wooden stage in the middle of the clearing.  Chela jumped up onto the stage and addressed her animal friends:

“This is Linda; she’s the one I’ve been telling you about!”

So, I went onto the stage with Chela and said hello to her animal friends.

Around 11 months later, I had another dream one morning. I was returning in the dream from a castle where I had been visiting a friend who had been a mentor for me before she herself had passed on, my philosophy teacher from undergraduate college, Dr. Antoinette Paterson (Toni). She had been the person who had introduced me to Chela one day when I went to her college office for an Independent Study session.

               “So, do you want to see the most beautiful Being in the Universe?” she had asked.

               “Yes!” I answered, and little kitten form Chela, who had been delivered to the Philosophy Dept. office in a box from a student, slept in my arms during our session and came home with me that day.

So, 11 years and 11 months later, in my dream I was leaving this castle area after visiting with Toni, and I saw at the entrance gateway a beautiful little female, fully grown, black-and-white-with-orange-splotches cat. I knelt down with my heart full of gratitude to greet and pet her as we felt like very old friends.

That very morning, I went to my university in Tempe, AZ  (ASU), where I met with my main mentor there, my Ph.D. advisor, Betsy. The first words out of her mouth to me that morning were:

               “Could you possibly take a kitten?”

               “Only if she is black-and-white-with-orange-splotches!” I laughed.

                “One of them is!” Betsy answered.

Ariel (that kitten-cat) was a Harlequin, tortoise shell, Calico. She had Chela’s orange-white tabby stripes etched lightly on her forepaws and temples! Ariel and I were close companion family for 20 years. Whenever I would play “Greensleeves”—as I often did—on the same recorder instrument I had played on in Flagstaff, wherever Ariel was and whatever she was doing, she would jump up onto my chest and purr loudly, rubbing affectionately. I played “Greensleeves” also on the day she departed again; this time, she passed away at home, in my arms. I felt she was graduating from the Physical plane altogether this time, progressing as Soul to become an angelic spirit-form. I have seen her since, but in forms I shall not venture to share here. As I say often to all of my pets now, our love is Forever, “twenty-four seven, times Eternity”!

3 REASONS TO DREAM BIGGER! by Jeff Moore

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(Re-blogged from) February 4, 2014 · by Jeff Moore, Life Coach and author of  Everyday Power · in Show The World Your Greatness. ·

What has happened to your past dreams? What happens when you get excited? How often do you tell yourself things like, “That’s not possible for me, I need to be more realistic?” I truly believe that we might not be able to do everything, but we sure enough can anything, something or even just one thing, that will make a significant impact, not only on our lives, but in the lives of others. In today’s world and the way communication and information is – there are just too many real life stories of people making a massive difference in the world, for us to settle for being ‘realistic’.

The time to stop talking yourself out of your greatest dreams, desires and goals is over!

The time for wishing is over.

It’s time to make it happen.
Here are 3 Reasons WHY YOU should dream BIGGER!

1. If it’s not BIG, you’re selling yourself short. Before I moved to India 6 months ago to live and teach, I threw a going-away party so I could see all of my close family and friends together. I could have kept it low key and invited about 15 people. Instead, I decided to go a little bigger and invited more than 70 people from family, high school, college and the workplace. What I learned is that whether it was 15 people or 70 people, the same amount of planning, stress and energy went into the situation. So why not have 70 people show up? Why not plan big, love big and in this case – party big!

          Our dreams and goals are the same way. Either way, we are going to be tired in the morning, tired from work and looking forward to ‘me’ time at the end of the day. Either way, we are giving tons of energy, attention and time to our work and our responsibilities. We might as well direct that energy towards larger and more impactful dreams and goals. It just makes sense.

2. Think about all the people you can help, inspire and give too.There is a world out there that needs great people doing great things. Be one of them.

If you don’t go for your dreams and goals, the whole world suffers.Live your largest life. Make the biggest impact on as many people as possible so when it’s all said and done, you know that you did not tip toe through life, you lived with force, passion and power. It’s possible for ALL of us! As the French writer, Emile Zola wrote, “I am here to live out loud!”

3. How do you want to be remembered? What do you want to leave behind? What do you want to give to your children, family, your community or charity? It’s about legacy now. What can you give and do that will outlast you. Legacy doesn’t come from playing it small. What would your life look like if you committed to your dreams?

Jeff

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On Saturdays we focus on First Principles of Better Endings. Dreaming BIG is fundamental!

What are your dreams?  Are they “big enough”?  How can you expand your reach even further? You are invited to write in and share your Dream!  I love the idea that in in expanding our dreams, we will be of greater benefit to others in the process of realizing our own highest potentials.

So Thank You, Jeff, for reminding us that by reaching for a Star, no dream is impossible.

“There’s Gotta Be More”, by Mandi (Caged No More)

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I am ‘guest re-blogging’ Mandi of Caged No More’s post from Feb. 3 on her site. She was hoping for some feedback but didn’t receive much then, so maybe we can give her some feedback from here. Our topic this week is “Better Endings” via dreams and dreaming. In this light, Mandi’s honest questioning is worth focusing upon, not as a ‘cautionary’ tale but as a reminder that wherever we are at, Better Endings are RELATIVE, often based on taking and celebrating one small step at a time.

And so, Mandi’s story:

There’s Gotta Be More…

Posted by Caged No More

So…There’s this battle inside of me, a war I’ve been waging for a few years now. It has nothing to do with my father’s depressing condition and quality of life, my Bipolar disorder, or past eating disorder issues. It’s personal, and circumstantial. You see, my world was shaken and changed forever in 2004. It wasn’t just the diagnosis of Bipolar, it was the dark, and tragic events that led up to, and followed that burned deep down through my veins, bleeding into my soul. I made decisions that were poor, but I did what I had to do to survive my inner struggles and to just make it.

At age 18, I had a complete scholarship at the private college I was accepted into;a full ride as they call it. Not only that, the V.A. or Veterans something where my dad is a Vietnam Veteran were happy to supplement any of my other needs at the time like cost of a new computer, transportation, help with shelter, and so on. Plus, my GPA and mile long list of honors and extracurriculars in high school made me look like a major asset. Basically, I had it made. I could have gotten my B.A. in Psychology for free. No student loans to haunt me for years to come. Maybe even some great help in continuing with my Master’s as well, if I had completed it all by a certain age. I think it was 25 or something. I had so many hours left for government help, but as I was in and out of college through the years, they expired on me. I strongly believe in never looking back, never saying I could have or should have. However, this was a bitter pill to swallow. Not only all of that, but my mental illness made my life a nightmare for a long time. Things most definitely did not turn out the way I had planned, or the way I designed my future in my sentimental scrapbook all of the senior’s in high school receive…

The plan was to complete my Bachelor’s degree in Psychology, continue with a Master’s focusing in Counseling Psychology, and finishing with a PsyD. Beyond there I would work my way into my own private practice, have a very nice, substantial income, and in the process fall in love! Upon falling in love, my soul mate and I would marry, honeymoon someplace exotic and tropical, and later have around 4 kids. I would be very, successful in my career, a sexy, slim and trim, wife, and at the same time an amazing mommy to my precious kids, that I’d dreamed of having for years. However I did complete 60 full college credit hours without debt…Hold up!

I am now at the opposite end of the spectrum. I’m living poverty line, but fortunate enough to be able to have very fast internet, allowing me to blog like this and keep up with social networking, a decent place to live, a nice car, for now, and food. Most of my clothes were bought by my mother. She has been such a blessing in these dark times. Oh yes, and most importantly, my biggest blessing is my health insurance. It’s the best available, but with this insurance comes a price…No, I don’t pay for it. At all. It’s just that in order to keep it, I must stay in the predicament that I am currently in. For a long time I declared myself a slave to the rules of our government. I became very bitter, and quite ungrateful for this priceless health insurance I currently have. In manic times, I considered going down to the government office that pays me and telling them “I quit!” I feel trapped. I tried the “Ticket to work” program, only to have it blow up in my face. My attempts were unsuccessful because the timing was off. I wasn’t mentally ready for that at the time. Though over a year ago I landed a job at a psychiatric hospital, I was unable to keep it. In fact, I only made it through 4 hours of just orientation. It would not have worked out anyway because the position required me to be aggressive with patients that lost control, do CPR, and handle chaos and crisis on a daily basis. I was high on caffeine upon applying for the position (It induces mania for me as it exacerbates my Prozac which is an anti-depressant, pushing me up too high into a manic episode).

So you see, I want to work. I want to be like everybody else. This is crazy because I’m the one that goes around preaching non-conformity constantly. I just have this ‘get up and go’ about me. I am most definitely a morning person, so upon waking up, I evaluate what I have to look forward to for the day, and desire to get out and get things done. Problem is…now there is nothing to get done, other than to go to appointments or the pharmacy. How did I get here? Why am I here? I was always a good person, except when under the grips of mania, or a deep, dark depression. As time went in during the short amount of time I was in college, my moods or emotions dominated me and all of my capabilities. I had to withdraw. In fact, a few times as my credit hours were acquired over a period of 4 years, which was not only devastating but humiliating.

Since all of this went down this past decade, I have applied and even enrolled in several online universities. Of course, I never went through with any of it. Now I am in a pickle as I ponder on the matter of returning to school, taking out student loans to pay for it, and questioning if I will even be able to work when I must get a decent job within 6 months after graduating to begin paying back these loans. I am not in debt in any way right now. I don’t want to create a large debt either. I don’t trust our government as this country I live in, the U.S., is in such a shape we’ve never seen before. Why take out loans now, when who knows what could happen in the next decade??? I just don’t want to set myself up for failure. Don’t get me wrong, I still believe in myself…but, how do I get there? Should I just try to find a job using the 60 hours that I have as a selling point? It worked at that mental hospital. Over the past few years, I have applied to several nice jobs that would make me feel good about myself, as I have college and worked toward a goal career. These jobs had higher requirements and standards. I never met the qualifications. The only jobs I was offered interviews for these last couple of years were for restaurants and things like PetSmart. There is nothing wrong with these if this is where you are. I do not disrespect it at all. It’s just not what I’d dreamed of. I need some type of technical degree for something like a medical assistant or something. I know I am absolutely not going back to a regular college or university to finish that B.A. as my memory is not what it used to be. I think that traditional college isn’t for me now, as I am on both Lithium and Lamictal, which even my psychiatrist agrees affects cognition.

All of this brings me to my actual point. If I take out student loans I am unsure of how that will affect my government situation, and I know for a fact, upon getting a job, after a very, very short period of time that fancy insurance of mine will cease. I will no longer qualify. How can people be so rich with health insurance and so poor financially? There is no middle class anymore. I am on 4 psychiatric meds, but have been blessed to get off of the most expensive one which was 900 bucks a month, and no I am not making that up. Then, I take a stomach pill for the damage years of Bulimia have brought me, a Thyroid pill due to my taking Lithium causing that, and inhalers as I am an asthmatic. So, could I pull off the co-pays for this stuff with a job? I am also very needy in the medical area. I somehow get injured a lot and am quite accident prone, but that’s beside the point. I need really great insurance because of my mental health condition and everything.  I go into therapy and get an entire hour with my therapist absolutely free because my insurance is worth millions.

What to do, what to do…

I am tired of feeling stuck. I just feel I am not living my fullest potential. I have so much more to offer this world. I am not ready to retire because I am not even 30 yet!!! On a more positive note, as I’ve mentioned here in the past, I am finally at my all time, optimum level of mental health! When I fill out this survey every time I go see my p doc, Its been a perfect healthy score these last 3 or 4 months! I am focusing better now that I am off of one of the medicines I began in 2006, I’m concentrating well, reading now, and showing interest in activities like reading, writing/blogging, movies, staying in touch with special people, being better at accomplishing things around the house, I am not scared of going to Church with social phobia anymore and everything! I have my strong points.

I know my posts are typically uplifting and positive, but I am just sharing where I am career wise with you guys. I feel there’s more to my purpose on this earth. I am totally open to any and all input from all of you. Please do comment if you have any thoughts, ideas, or suggestions. They would be so, very much appreciated! I am sending love to all of you this morning! I hope you have a great Monday, wherever you are and whatever you may be doing! Thank you if you have read this far, I know it’s a lot.

God bless!!!

-Mandi

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Dear Mandi,

Thanks for letting me re-blog your story. I wanted to do so because it is important for our blog participants to recognize that “Better Endings” is not all about Polyannish thinking or misplaced optimism. I am interested to see all the work you have done to cope with and to a large degree even to overcome many of the very challenging conditions you are blessed with. And yes, I do see your obstacles as blessings, as your own unique gifts that can help you to grow even in directions many people will not experience in this lifetime.

I notice that you have provided some possible answers to many of your own questions in the process of writing out your thoughts:

“I need some type of technical degree for something like a medical assistant or something. I know I am absolutely not going back to a regular college or university to finish that B.A. as my memory is not what it used to be.”

Since your health condition has improved and you have been able to stop some of your meds, this sounds like a good possibility, if it’s what you really want. You are obviously a very intelligent person, as is clear through many of your blog posts—compassionate, thoughtful, and honest.

With Life Mapping, I try to help people realize that anyone can “Live Your Dream, Now!” The emphasis is on YOUR DREAM and NOW.  Better Endings is not about tomorrow or pie in the sky. What is your Dream, that you CAN “Live, Now”, as you continue to define and live into your Life Dream? You are living with greater clarity since you transcended one drug. You are now in position to be able to contemplate the direction you would like to go, Here/ Now. You are learning from all of your hard won experience, lessons you can help impart to others facing similar problems.

I guess the most I can say, as to a friend, is, keep moving forward, one small step at a time. A flower bud is tightly wound at first and then it opens beautifully when it lets in the Sun and the nourishing force of Life which it draws from the core, from the soil and stem. Stay open to the nourishment and centered guidance of your dreams. Listen to your deeper Self, and…blog on! – Linda

I welcome Comments and Insights on behalf of Mandi, from all Readers & Dreamers!

How to Use Your Dreams for Better Endings–Just Ask!

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As an example of how you can use dreaming to bring about Better Endings, allow me to share about a time in my life when dreaming was fundamental in helping me to make a major life move. I grew up “back East” (from a Colorado perspective!): in Ohio, Pennsylvania and then upper western New York. My family lived near Niagara Falls when I was in high school and then I went to college in Buffalo for my bachelors and Masters degrees; so I lived in the eastern part of the country for my first 25 years, from 1954 to 1979.

After my Masters, I wanted to go on for a doctorate in Anthropology, and I had become particularly fascinated with the Southwest and Southwest Native American cultures from my Masters studies in Linguistics while in Buffalo. I took a wonderful cross-country bus trip with a friend to visit Sedona and Phoenix, Arizona, and after that I decided to apply for my graduate studies at Arizona State University. I was accepted into their graduate program, and that’s when my whole life was about to take a major shift, not only of location—Eastern to Western states—but to a fundamentally new way of being, for me, apart from my family and friendships I had forged in New York. “Going West” was a huge shift for someone whose whole family hailed from the Eastern states. So, I had to go through a major shift in perspective in order to accept this major life move. To do so, I turned to my dreaming.

Every night for over a year while I finished my Masters thesis and began to prepare for ‘the Big Move’ to Arizona, I sat for a ½ hour to 2 hour contemplation in my bedroom in Buffalo, and then went to sleep, to dream. Each night I framed a question that I would aim to receive an answer for in the contemplation or in my dreams that night. My questions all had to do with the upcoming move. For example, was I crazy to make such a huge relocation, from East to West, or shouldn’t I just give up on this wild adventure scheme and stay ‘Home’? I was going to drive my red Buick Special convertible; wasn’t red going to be too hot for Arizona? I was taking along my beloved cat, Chela; could she make such a long car trip? And, would I meet any ‘real’ new friends in ‘cowboy country’ (or again, maybe I should stay home in my ‘comfort zone’, after all!)

It was amazing, really, in retrospect. The technique was much like Jung’s nightly experiences with “active imagination” that he wrote of in his journal, The Red Book (check out this link for Jung’s images!). Every night in contemplation I would pose a question like those above that mainly challenged whether I could or should make such a huge transition, and afterwards, every night I would ‘be given’ a lucid dream that very clearly answered that specific question in the form of very direct and unmistakable inner guidance.  I was addressing my questions in contemplation to a spiritual Inner Guide, and he was helping me every step of the way, probably because without such clear answers, I would have found it harder to make this major change in consciousness that, spiritually, I really did need to make in order to move forward in my life.

When I complained that my car was red (How could I take a red car to Arizona?), that night in my dreams I was taken to a hotel in Phoenix (I later learned it was a Ramada Inn that really exists there!). This hotel has a rotating restaurant at the top. I was taken to that overview where I looked down at the parking lot. Guess what? It was FULL of red cars!

When I complained how could my precious cat endure such a long road trip, that night I was shown myself and her taking the trip. I was driving a big van that had a PIANO in the back! Over the piano was a quilted comforter, and stretched out in pure comfort along the piano top—with soft music playing—was, yes, you guessed correctly; my cat friend, Chela!

But would I meet any real friends? I was shown that night a truly prophetic dream revealing four specific persons whom I later met and recognized when I met them from that night of dreaming! One became my good friend whom I later married for 3 years, Franco. Another became a best friend and graduate school cohort for several years. Another would be my PhD advisor, Betsy. And the fourth became somewhat of a personal spiritual advisor while I was in Phoenix.

But, did I really have to make this trip? Would I be happy? Two dreams followed from those two questions. In the first, I was shown that there would be hard times to endure but they would be necessary for my spiritual unfoldment. In the second, I was walking with my Grandmother along a Phoenix city street. There was happiness in the air as I sang a lilting tune which I awoke with: “I’m leaving; But there are a few doors left to close, before I get over there!” For the rest of the year before I made the Big Move, I sang this song daily, in the morning at the university where I was teaching English and at night. I was leaving. I did clear up whatever remaining business I had in Buffalo before I could go.

When I reached Phoenix, these dreams had prepared me perfectly for all that was to come. Things went smoothly, and I learned what I needed to learn along the way. After only one night of tears when I realized I really had separated from all I had ever known, I adjusted rapidly and undertook one of the most significant and edifying phases of my life.

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Have you had this sort of “tandem” relationship with your Dreams? As an explanation of the method I used that you can use, too; it can be summed up very simply: Just Ask!

I would love to hear about your insights and experiences too! Feel free to comment and share YOUR stories!

Change Your Dreams, Change Your Life!

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Dreaming.  What a mysterious, profound topic. We speak of dreaming as a state of consciousness producing visual activity while our bodies are in R.E.M. sleep. We also speak of our Dreams, as goals we strive to achieve. Day-dreams are flights of the imagination we take while awake, that may help us to envision the fulfillment of our desires and can help us problem-solve in a non-directive way.  Thomas Edison reportedly never really slept; he took catnaps for around twenty minutes at a time to stimulate his creativity and productive dream activity. Lucid dreams allow us to be aware while we are dreaming in a manner that can help us achieve visionary truths, prophetic visions, or to answer questions we are striving to understand. And some speak of “waking dreams” as a form of synchronicity: when an outer event or situation can be interpreted as one would interpret a meaningful dream symbol; bearing a meaningful message.

I dreamed I was a butterfly, flitting around in the sky;

then I awoke.

Now I wonder: Am I a man who dreamt of being a butterfly,

or am I a butterfly dreaming that I am a man?

                                                                                                                                – Zhuangzi

Zhuangzi’s famous riddle reveals a paradox about dreaming. This paradox unifies all of the facets of dreaming mentioned above. If our outer life is as much of a dream as our nightly dreams, which quantum physics and many mystical religious traditions tell us it is, what does that mean for us in terms of what we can do with dreams to fashion “Better Endings”…(or, not)?  Dreaming—whether in our waking life or while ‘sleeping’—is imaginative and constructive. It can allow us to also “de-construct” what might only appear to be fixed or predictable. If we can DREAM something, we can in one manner or another bring that dream into our Reality.

Have you ever awakened from a nighttime dream and felt disturbed about how it ended (or you awoke before it was complete)? One very effective “dreamwork” technique you can use is to go back into that dream and either finish it as you would prefer for it to end, or change the ending! So, here is a connection to our principle of Better Endings. Dreams are the very fabric that our lives are made of. Since you are ultimately the Dreamer of your own life circumstances and conditions, this means that with free will and focused imagination and creativity, you can create the life of your dreams. Well, we do anyway, so we might as well aim to fashion the life we choose to live. Working with our dreams—outer ones and inner ones—brings amazing opportunities. If we can change how an ‘inner dream’ ends, by means of our creative imagination, we can also bring about Better Endings in outer circumstances and conditions, here and now. I do not mean to say that everything is possible, since the conditions we have already created in our lives due to longstanding habits or even genetic predispositions will not quickly or easily “dissolve” just because we dream that they will. Even so, envisioning more positive conditions may lead us to insights or practitioners that can help us to heal or change our habits over time. We are still subject to the constraints of the world we are in, but we can always effect changes in our conditions and attitudes.

This week I invite you to DREAM of Better Endings! And as always, I welcome all of your insights and stories! Poems, random thoughts, artwork, lyrics…all are INVITED!

What Then?

dreamcatcher_1

What are better choices? If we can assume that a choice is meant to bring us to a desired state of being rather than to a less desirable condition, then first we need to consider what the destination is that we hope to arrive at through our choice, and then the ‘right’ direction should be more clear. No one else, though, can tell us what is the ‘right’ course to take. A better choice is one that ‘rings true’ with your own deepest self.

I remember when I had a choice to make of what college to attend after high school. I had applied to and been accepted by three universities in the State University of New York system. I visited all three but that only made my choice more difficult, as each had special qualities I liked. Someone gave me a good idea which helped a lot. I wrote positive and negative considerations in two columns for all 3 choices and then I looked to see objectively which choice had the most positive aspects listed. But then, I asked myself how I felt about that choice, and I knew instinctively that the one with the most ‘positives’ was not the one my heart was interested in.  I chose the college closest to home because I wanted to maintain some cherished friendships. That proved to be obviously the right choice for me, down the road.

Here is a poem by William Butler Yeats about ‘better choices’:

What Then?

His chosen comrades thought at school
He must grow a famous man;
He thought the same and lived by rule,
All his twenties crammed with toil;
‘What then?’ sang Plato’s ghost. ‘What then?’

Everything he wrote was read,
After certain years he won

Sufficient money for his need, Friends that have been friends indeed;

‘What then?’ sang Plato’s ghost. ‘ What then?’

All his happier dreams came true —
A small old house, wife, daughter, son,
Grounds where plum and cabbage grew,
poets and wits about him drew;
‘What then.?’ sang Plato’s ghost. ‘What then?’

The work is done,’ grown old he thought,
‘According to my boyish plan;
Let the fools rage, I swerved in naught,
Something to perfection brought’;
But louder sang that ghost, ‘What then?’

Yeats’ poem has an almost eerie quality to it in relation to the matter of discerning ‘better choices’. How can we choose proactively rather than having to look back in retrospect to see whether our choice has led to personal fulfilment, or not? Some of you might be familiar with the book The Journey of Souls by Dr. Michael Newton. This book puts the topic of better choices into a much larger scope. It deals –(whatever your personal approach, this book brings in  reincarnation as described under hypnosis by people being regressed)–with the question of whether in a given lifetime we have fulfilled our goal or learned our lessons of that lifetime! A more popular example of this idea is in the fun movie “Defending Your Life”, one of my favorites. Here, Albert Brooks plays a man who never takes risks, and in death he is put on trial, literally, to defend whether he made enough progress to “move on” or not. Meanwhile he has fallen in love in this afterlife realm with a character played by  Meryl Streep who has been a real hero in her life so she will obviously graduate to a higher plane! I like the general question being posed by both of these, and Yeats’ poem too. What is your life purpose? Why are YOU Here, in the largest sense, not just day to day?

My notion is that we should not wait until we are elderly, or until we pass on, to ask ourselves what we would really like to be fulfilling NOW, with THIS life, whatever the afterlife might have in store. (And BTW, what might be fulfilling to one might be as simple as an act of kindness  or learning to give love unconditionally.)  Here and Now we do have some control over our conscious choices. For myself I intend to ‘accomplish’ all I can spiritually, and take that forward.

Do you have a Life Dream? That may be all the North Star you need to arrive at your own better choices.