What are dreams? Where do they come from? Who doesn’t wonder about them? Dreams are mysterious but maybe that is part of what draws us to them. From the Greek mythological dream healer Asclepius to the more recent dream pioneers, Freud and Jung, people have been seeking guidance with their dreams. Today, there are tons of dream experts out there. I stumbled upon one of them as I listened to Oprah’s Soul Series radio program. She interviewed author and dream practitioner, Rodger Kamenetz about his book, The History of Last Night’s Dream. Since then, I’ve been hooked. Rodger sees dreams as gifts and I agree. I’ve had the privilege of working with Rodger since August of 2009. This blog chronicles this amazing dreamwork journey.

DREAM FOR YOUR LIFE offers dream services including: dreamwork sessions, dream workshops and dream circles. Visit www.kathysamworth.com for more information.

Let the Words Fall Out

I’m on the Rehoboth Beach boardwalk at a take out stand ordering food. When the food comes up it is not what I ordered. I tell the guys behind the counter, “No this is not what I ordered.” They say – “Oh sorry we will re-make it.” A woman standing next to me, turns and says “thank you.” I wait while they re-make my order. Now I see 6 huge brown bears in two rows (3 and 3) rolling out of the ocean – all sandy, tumbling up to shore in the ocean waves. It is astonishing! Am I really seeing this? WOW! Amazing.

For years I didn’t speak much within my dreams. I thought a lot of things but I didn’t say them out loud. This reflected how I operated in life. There was a way that I held back my words. It was a life long habit. Maybe it is something I started early in life when speaking up didn’t serve me well. Humans have an amazing ability to speak – but so many of us hold back. 

Sara Bareilles struck a chord in many of us with her song “Brave.”

     I wonder what would happen if you
     Say what you wanna say
     And let the words fall out
     Honestly, I wanna see you be brave…

I sang this song over and over as I practiced letting the words fall out.

I love this dream because it shows how I am changing. It may not seem like much to say, “This is not what I ordered.” But my MO before was to think things but not speak them. I might think hey, this is not what I ordered but not say anything. It has taken years to undo the non-speaking up habit. Dreams have shown me again and again the way I’ve lived in my head instead of speaking. Dreamwork is a mysterious process. It has a way of supporting you and encouraging you to be who you are meant to be. Somewhere along the line I finally started developing more courage to speak.

When we speak easily, genuinely, letting the words fall out, people appreciate it. Like the woman who turns to me in the dream after I speak saying “Thank you.”

Being genuine and open with our words, expressing how we feel, expressing what is true for us can open us up in some pretty wild and spontaneous ways. In the dream, when I "let the words fall out", something magical happens!! Six bears start rolling and tumbling out of the ocean! These bears are energetic, silly, lively, funny and spontaneous. This is the kind of energy that can be accessed! How crazy and awesome is that?

click here to watch Sara Bareilles sing "Brave" on youtube

Introducing DREAM FOR YOUR LIFE Services!!

If you knew that as you slept, your dreams came to guide you, support you and open you up to the person you were meant to be; would you listen to them?

DREAM FOR YOUR LIFE services was created to help bring this amazing nocturnal natural resource that we all possess – our dreams –  into our waking consciousness!

DREAM FOR YOUR LIFE services include:
One-on-one Dreamwork sessions – in person, on the phone or over skype/facetime,
Dream Sharing Circles and Dream Workshops

If you are interested in beginning your own dreamwork journey, or to learn more, visit www.kathysamworth.com.  

Soul Meets Body

I want to live where soul meets body
And let the sun wrap its arms around me
And bathe my skin in water cool and cleansing
And feel, feel what its like to be new
- Death Cab for Cutie

When I heard the first line of the Death Cab for Cutie’s song, “Soul Meets Body”, it stopped me in my tracks. “I want to live where soul meets body.” They were singing about something that I longed for.  Funny thing is that at the time, I didn’t exactly know I longed for it. But when I heard the song, something stirred in me saying – Yes! That is what I want…. I want to live where soul meets body.

Maybe this is one reason I love dreams so much. For me, dreams are like the intersection of soul and body. It still feels like a miracle to me when “stronger than life” feelings come up in dreams. Often there is a kind of left over electrical energy that lingers after I wake up. The more I pay attention to dreams and listen to them, the more this kind of dream energy permeates my body and seeps into my waking life.  It seems like dreams open up a mysterious kind of channel that tunes into the world where our soul lives. 

But sometimes we get cut off from this soul connection and something else takes over. We have a reaction about something somebody says or does. We get triggered by something we witness. We get filled with worry about a loved one. Sometimes we get blindsided by a flood of reactive anger or anxiety that runs through our veins and we have no idea why. Other times, it seems that we have become nothing but a bottomless hollow shell.

It’s like an electrical circuit. At times the wires are connected, the current flows and soul meets body. And then – just like that… there is a gap causing a disconnection. I live with this back and forth - between connection and disconnection. It seems that the more strongly I feel connection, the more painful the disconnection. The “electrical wire” that links us to soul exists for all of us. Learning the ways it stays connected and also the ways it becomes disconnected can be part of our life journey if we choose. Dreams are an amazing resource that come to us each night to teach us how to reconnect and begin to live in this place where soul meets body.

Click HERE to listen to the song on youtube.

Reflecting Absence, remembering 9-11 then and now

Reflecting Absence was the name given to the 9-11 memorial fountains at ground zero

Sometime it is in the looking back and in the reflecting that we can find a thread of connection between moments and experiences in our lives…

September 11, 2001
Something huge shifts inside of all of us. The terror breaks open our way of being in the world. My initial response to the horrific events is odd. Numbness. I watch the repetitious TV videos of the planes crashing and exploding into the towers in a detached way. I witness people jumping out of the towers to their death. But strangely, I do not feel. I know something is not right inside of me. Despite the lack of feeling, something deep within me begins to stir on that day. In the months and years that follow, the stirring grows into a sense of urgency. I have a hard time putting a name to this urgency. I wrestle with existential questions about the meaning of life. My desperate search is answered in my dreams where I am able to feel in a way that I am unable to feel in waking life.

December 1, 2010
Some 9 years later, my dreamwork leads me to a dream where I am finally able to feel sadness about the events of 9-11 
I’m outside on a tour in New York City. The tour guide is talking about remembering the firefighters. I am sitting next to a girl and we both burst into tears. We turn our heads toward each other, touching them. We cry and cry at the memory of 9-11 and the firefighters who lost their lives. The crying comes unexpectedly but it feels good. I can feel the wet tears coming from my eyes and I realize I am crying real tears. We hold our heads together and weep.
The dream shows me that there is a place inside of me that does feel the deep sadness. Although I am not yet able to feel this depth in waking life, this dream helps me touch into it. The dream is a gift in that it helps me to connect to a place that has been missing in me for a very long time.

May 18, 2014 AM
I travel to a New York City synagogue to attend a workshop on dreams held by my dream teacher Rodger Kamenetz. He talks about the way in which upon awakening, a dream can quickly vanish “as if it never had existed at all.  There remains only this fleeting sense -- this trace --- a reshimu …. the presence of an absence.” I understand what Rodger is talking about when he speaks of the “presence of an absence.” On September 11, 2001, I was awakened from the “deep sleep” that was my life at that time. And upon that awakening, I could sense the trace of the presence of an absence within me.

Later that afternoon at the 9-11 Memorial Fountains:
The sound of water rushing into the deep footprints of the fallen towers drowns out the noise of the busy city streets nearby. There is a solemn feeling that fills the air as I run my fingertips over the inscribed names of those that were killed. The flow of water into each memorial fountain leads to another deeper, darker hole in the center. I find myself staring into the black emptiness of it. I am touching into a sadness that is deeper than the hole. The word I learned earlier in the day floats into my consciousness. reshimu. The presence of an absence. I do not want to leave the fountains. I am drawn to stay with the stirring of deep feelings that I am experiencing here. Like the way in which I want to stay with the wisp of an unremembered dream when I awaken. There is this “fleeting sense – this trace --- a reshimu.” In December, 2010 I was given the dream where I was able to feel the sadness of the events of 9-11. Today I am beginning to feel it in my waking life. I feel it deep, deep within my heart. It is painful. But like in the dream, it feels “good,” maybe because I am connecting to a feeling place in me that has been asleep for a very long time.

June 15, 2014
I am back in NYC and I feel pulled once again to visit the 9-11 memorial fountains. As I stand and run my hands across the names, I realize that I did not personally know anyone who died here. There are people all around me, possibly family member and friends of the victims, also touching the names. Some push stems of flowers into the space that was cut to create the name of their loved one. So many names. So much pain. I pick out a random name to reflect upon. Ramon Suarez. I wonder about his life and his death. I wonder about his family and those who loved him. The sound and sight of rushing water alter me into a dreamy state where I find myself falling into a feeling place. Again the word reshimu comes back. A trace of some kind of knowing or remembering. I touch into that depth of remembering.

July 18, 2014
I am jogging in the little town of Napa, California and I happen upon what looks like a collection of some jagged, rusted steel beams placed upright in the ground. When I take a closer look, I see that this is a 9-11 memorial site. I read the sign posted there. After the 9-11 disaster, the town of Napa had these steel beams sent to them in order to create this memorial. Along side the beams are huge glassed-in structures holding the list of names of those killed. I stand and gaze at the mountains of names. The list goes on and on and on. Thousands. I stand and reflect as the list of names towers over me.

September 11, 2014
I turn on the TV and listen to the 9-11 ceremony at ground zero. Names are read out loud of each fallen person. Thirteen years ago at this very minute (10:29am ET), tower two was collapsing. As I sit here in my kitchen and feel into that image, I stop and stay with what is coming up for me. I can sense the edge of deep terror connected to this image. This is a much different experience than the one of numbness that I had right here in this same kitchen thirteen years ago. Perhaps, at that time I was not yet ready to feel. But what I did experience on that day was reshimu – a faint remembering of something forgotten. That seed took hold in me, and it continues to grow. With every feeling I experience, there is a remembering. Some feelings like the ones attached to 9-11 are difficult to feel, but they can open us up to all of our feelings. Perhaps, in all of this there is an answer to the urgent “meaning of life” questions I wrestled with in the years following 9-11. The way I see it now is that to have a meaningful life is to experience all of life – in its full range of feelings. 

Explosion of Expression

“There is a divinely inspired potentiality for creative expression within each one of us that the world needs and is awaiting.” - Eric Butterwortth
“If you hear a voice within you say ‘you cannot paint,’ then by all means paint and that voice will be silenced.” -Vincent Van Gogh 
If we listen to them and allow them to, dreams have a way of opening us up to new ways of being. There are so many facets of our lives that can change with inner work such as dreamwork. For many, one of those facets is the desire to express creatively. There is a societal meme that only certain gifted people are creative. I used to buy into that. But now, I believe that everyone has the potential to be creative. Creativity is not as much something you do as it is an expression of your soul that wants to come through you. That being said, there is something that can feel extremely vulnerable about creating. Perhaps that is why many of us shy away from it. It can be helpful to find a friend or mentor, to help you get started. Luckily for me, the opportunity to find a creative mentor kind of fell into my lap! Here is the story of how it happened….

Christine, a new friend from my writing group is discovering ways to help people tap into their creativity. I excitedly volunteer to help with her endeavor. For years there’s been a longing inside me to paint. A fantasy has played out in my mind… the array of colors, the textures, the brushes, the white canvas waiting. And now I’ve got an opportunity to live it!

The creative meditation happens over the phone. My heart beats excitedly with anticipation. Christine begins, “Take a deep breath…. allow your body to sink down as if it is connected to the earth… feel that connection….” Resting into this space I feel my body soften. As I continue to melt into this place she asks, “Does an image come to you?” Searching in my minds eye there is nothing. Panic sets in and a voice inside says, What if nothing comes? Maybe this isn’t going to work. I disregard the voice. More blankness. Nothingness. My patience is tested as I wait in this void. Finally, an image comes. It’s like remembering a dream. It just appears there. It’s a sphere and there are sharp edges covering it. The edges scare me. There is a hardness to this prickly sphere. Christine asks me about the image and the feelings that are coming up. Anger comes. Now there is a black square framing the sphere. The anger is there still but now it is energetic and painful in a way. Christine asks if I want to let go of this anger and if so, what do I need to do to let go of it. A red swirl appears in the box, over top of the sphere. It’s moving in a counter clockwise direction. When Christine asks about it, the word “swoosh” keeps coming to me. I say it a few times. The word goes with the image. Swoosh. Swoosh. There is a lot of energy in it. She asks if there are other colors. I see some yellow. The swoosh breaks through the right side of the square, breaking it open. Tendrils of energy are released into the space there. There are all kinds of colors that sparkle out there with this energy. Blues, greens, pinks, yellows. A magical place.

Our next meeting is at her art studio a week later. The white blank canvas is there. The brushes sit there waiting. There are tubs of paint with tons of colors to pick from. The art fantasy I’d been imagining for so long is now is materializing. I’m diving in!!

Christine takes me through a short meditation as I hold the blank canvas close to my chest as if I am blessing it with my heart and soul. There is something that wants to be expressed here today. Let it find its way to the canvas.

Its time to create the image from my thumbnail sketch. Christine is casual, relaxed. I follow that lead. This is fun! I start with the black square. This is really happening. I can do this. Now comes the swoosh! It’s like I’ve been waiting for this. There is energy that sweeps around and finds its way outside the box. Swoosh. Swoosh. But soon I hear a voice. You aren’t doing this right. You don’t know how to do this. This isn’t turning out right. Maybe Christine senses this. “Don’t hold back.” she encourages. The dark voice lifts and I start to have fun with it. No holding back. No thinking. Just grabbing color on the brush. Eventually the swoosh with its escaping swirling energy is finished. Now it’s time to add color outside the box. Vibrant colors catch my eye and I use them to paint some circles. I add a little texture and I glob on the paint. As I finish up the circles, it seems that the painting is finished.  I realize that I’ve been here for 3 timeless hours. Christine has been like a steady, encouraging presence for the entire time. It feels like she’s been the midwife for the birth of this new baby of mine. I name the baby, “Explosion of Expression.”

Immediately after arriving home, I hang my new creation on the wall. Excitement quickly shifts as something else stirs inside me. What is this? Disgust? Shame? Disappointment? Rejection? Something is not right about this painting. It does not make me feel good. (Had I thought it would?) The swirl inside the box is ugly. Every time I walk past it, I cringe a bit. This painting needs to be fixed. I shift it 90 degrees. That’s a little better. Now it looks like long flowing hair. I know! Maybe I can paint over it in some way to make it look prettier. I’ll call Christine and see if she can help me salvage it.

A few days later I turn the painting back to its original position. It hangs at the bottom of the steps so I pass it often. There is a moment when I stop resisting and I find a way to accept the painting as it is. I don’t exactly know how that shift occurs but somehow it becomes clear to me that this painting is my soul’s expression. Some of what it wants to express is not pretty. The swoosh that escapes the box seems to be full of rage mixed with passion. There’s been a huge wall of resistance holding in the swirling energy. But there is an explosion, breaking down that wall. It breaks through to a world filled with color and wonder. The painting is not only a snapshot of me in present time, it holds a memory of my past and knows my future. 

Christine works one on one with clients and groups helping them go within in to find and birth their creative dreams. See http://www.christinesartworld.com for more information.