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 therapist, 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 my experiences as I work with him using a method called archetypal dreamwork. This method founded by Rodger’s teacher, Marc Bregman is loosely based on Jung’s dream theories. It focuses on the amazing inner world of archetypal relationships within our dreams. Follow my blog as the dreams take me on a fascinating journey.

Monday, June 9, 2014

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.

Monday, January 20, 2014

Glow Glasses




"The more you are aware of the forces of Light the more Light you create. Therefore concentrate on the Light. Think Light, see Light, be Light."
   -Eileen Caddy, Findhorn Foundation

"Change the way you look at things and the things you look at change."
   -Wayne Dyer

"Let there be peace on earth and let it begin with me."
   -Sy Miller and Jill Jackson

Are you aware of these “forces of Light” that Eileen Caddy refers to? Recently I had a dream where I got to look through special glasses as I traveled inside of a spacecraft. They made everything in the world look sharper, brighter, glowing. The stars were so clear and so close, it seemed like I could reach out and touch them. As my dream therapist Rodger and I discussed this dream, I could feel a kind of glowing throughout all the cells in my body. It’s a feeling I’ve had on and off since starting dreamwork. Have you ever felt something like this? It feels like being plugged in, like electric love.

Having a feeling is great – but where do we go from there? What if we took this glowing feeling into the world? Into our relationships and our connections?

What would it be to put on these glow glasses so that we can do as Eileen Caddy suggests: think Light, see Light, be Light? Unlike rose colored glasses, these glow glasses reveal the world as it really is, cutting through the haze of what we sometimes mistakenly think is true.

In the dream, the Animus (divine archetype) hands me the glasses after asking me if I’d like to take a look. This is an amazing moment where he wants me to see the world the way he sees it. I believe that he wants all of us to be able to see the world in this way.  If we can learn to live from the place that these glasses reveal, life as we know it can shift. Not only for us but for those around us.

Wayne Dyer says, “Change the way you look at things and the things you look at change.” The glasses offer a chance to do just that. 

In a dream, my husband Mark is telling some teen boys that he will loan them money to go to college. “Hey wait a minute!,” I say, “You didn’t check with me first!” I feel firmly justified in calling him out on this. In the dreamwork session, Rodger has me imagine being one of the boys receiving this offer. From this perspective I am excited and grateful. It opens up a world of possibilities for me as the teen boy. Now I step back and look at this whole scene through the glow glasses. It looks and feels totally different. Mark and the boys are “glowing” in a new way. I see and feel Mark’s generosity. I see and feel the boys’ gratefulness. As I step back and see the world through the glasses, the world changes. The issue of money and lack and “hey this isn’t fair,” fades as the glowing, loving place within me and within them grows. The glasses cut through my limiting beliefs allowing me to see and feel what is true.

Yesterday, I was confronted with a waking life situation where someone unfairly (in my opinion) questioned my integrity. Immediately I reacted with anger and justified my position. Embroiled in this reactive place I complained to anyone that would listen. As I complained, I could feel something else bubbling up along side the complaints – like a sense or an inclination to step back and look at this from another angle. Although I didn’t think of it at the time, this would have been a perfect time to slip on those glow glasses. Today, I had another person help me see this “unfair” situation in a new way by simply stating, “I’m sure there is more to the story than we know.” That one statement helped me put on the glow glasses and see things in new way. Immediately I switched out of my defensive mode of “this is so unfair” as I realized that she was right. There is definitely more to this story and it probably has nothing to do with me. If I can keep the glasses on, I may even begin to feel compassion for the person that questioned my integrity.

In every so called difficult situation that we are met with in life, there is always another way to see it. So often, we react, becoming righteous or justified in our position. We dig our heels in because we “know” we are right. What if we could stop and question our position for just a moment? What if we could put on these glow glasses and see and feel the “forces of light” in each other and in ourselves?

When I was a girl, we sang a song at summer camp; “Let there be peace on earth, and let it begin with me.” It’s a sweet song and as a girl, it filled me with love and hope. I believe there is truth in it. “Letting it begin with me” could start with making a habit of slipping on a pair of glow glasses throughout the day. If we all got in that habit, you never know…this way of being may just start catching on. 

Friday, December 20, 2013

Live your best life, NOW!


Live your best life, NOW!” That is what woke me up from a nap the other day. It wasn’t exactly a dream. It wasn’t exactly audible. It felt like an urgent message pounding into my head. I sat straight up and laughed. Really? This simple message? Often dreams give me messages - but rarely are they this simplistic and succinct. I mean, if this is some kind of divine message – wouldn’t it be a little more, well… poetic or something? So I spent the day kind of shaking my head and laughing about it. But since then, it keeps coming back to me. Whoever sent me this message – my own higher self, an angel, some spirit guide or perhaps God himself or herself, the message was clear and simple. And maybe that is what I need right now… clear and simple.

So how do I live my best life, NOW? (there was an emphasis on the NOW part in the message). I think of my best life as being in the future. Do you do this? I don’t think I’m the only one. There is some future time when you will finally do the things that you’ve really wanted to do. Well, what are we waiting for?

I woke up early this morning. “Live your best life, NOW!” kept playing over and over again, urging me to do just that. So I said to whomever delivered this message, “OK, OK, I am listening.” I got up out of bed and wrote for this blog that hasn’t been written in for over a year. What else can I do NOW that I’ve been putting off for some future moment? This message is obviously universal – not just for me. What can you do NOW to live your best life?

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Clumpity Clump

This dreamwork experience is always full of surprises. It throws you so many curve balls that after a while you stop thinking that you have any possible idea of what to expect. My soul voice is starting to emerge. But I never dreamed (pun intended) it would come in the form of a child singing out,

       Clumpity Clump, Clumpity Clump, Clumpity Clump

The “clumpity” dream starts off with me wanting to take an art class. The class is full, but that doesn’t stop me. I open the next door and a woman welcomes me in. She (the Anima) fills my hands with art supplies until they are overflowing. This place of desire, met with acceptance and abundance is tender place for me. Learning how to live in that place is new. In the dream session, tears start to flow when I read that part out loud. But in the next part of the dream, this creative place of feeling and desire comes to a halt. Instead of digging my hands in and getting started, I sit there and wait. I don’t know what to do. I think that I need someone to show me how to do it. Everything stops. My desire, the tender feelings of acceptance, the knowledge of abundance. All of it stops as I sit there and wait.

The dream is showing my life to me. How I sit and I wait. I have strong desires within me. Desires to create and to sing and so much more. But instead of digging in, I wait. As if there is a right way to create or a right way to sing.

Now, in the dream I see a woman sewing smiles on stuffed monkeys. Rodger helps me to see the painful truth of this. Monkey see, monkey do. A sewn on smile. That is part of who I’ve been. And that is who I am when I sit and wait, thinking that I need to have someone show me how to create or to sing.

But all is not lost. The next part of the dream is full of hope. The dream shows that there is another way to be. There is another part of me that is emerging.

In the dream, I walk over to a man (Animus) and I start to sing a little song, mimicking the rhythm of a cow or horse when it walks or runs. I sing,

      Clumpity Clump, Clumpity Clump, Clumpity Clump

At first when I look at the man, I think he is angry, that he doesn’t like my song. But then all of the sudden he begins to sing with me. We are singing together with loud voices and in a round. It is so much fun.

There is wonderful hope and joy in this part of the dream. There is also a big clue about what holds me back.

At first I think that the man is angry. And if he hadn’t started singing with me right away, I probably would have stopped singing. The truth is that he is anything but angry. He loves me and wants nothing more than to sing a silly song with me. 

This is a theme that has been showing up again and again in my dreams and in my life. This idea that I think people are angry or upset with me. In some cases that may be true, but 95% of the time, it’s just a story. I’ve been living from a place of constant vigilance. I listen for a tone of voice. I see a look on someone’s face and I think – oh, I wonder what I did wrong. I wonder why they are angry with me. I’ve been operating unconsciously in this way for all of my life. The dreams are bringing this to my attention. And the dreams are showing me that it is not true. This unconscious belief and pattern affect my relationships in my life and they are affecting my ability to connect in the divine archetypal realm with the Anima and Animus.

This dream session (and this dream) was a big one for me. It was filled with pain and with joy. I felt despair in the way that I’ve been living my life and the hope of acceptance and abundance in my desire. I felt joy when I had the courage to sing my silly song with the Animus, despite my misguided fear that he was angry. Rodger kept driving home to me the idea that I can break this misguided pattern. And I must break this pattern in order to move forward in all aspects of my inner and outer life. I felt the enormity of that. I still feel it.

My homework was to sing with the Animus, “clumpity clump, clumpity clump” any time that I think that someone is angry or upset with me – by the look on their face, the tone of their voice or anything else.

I was surprised at how often I came upon these “clumpity clump” moments. Just how often I think that people in my life are upset with me for some reason. And the lie of that is starting to break. I am bringing the voice, the rhythm and the vibration of my soul – clumpity clump, clumpity clump -- along with the support of the Animus into these moments.  Who knew that the voice of my soul would take the form of a simple, silly, child’s song? Well, now I know. And I love it.


Monday, August 13, 2012

Voices

There are voices in my head and voices that I speak. Some of them are me and some aren’t. I am not suggesting that I have a clinical psychological disorder. Although as I write this it does make me pause, wondering if what I am getting at here could have a connection to such things.

For most of my life, I’ve lived inside my head. So often there are things that I want to say that somehow get stuck in there. Some unnamed fear holds me back. These voices are me. Finally, they are starting to find their way out of my head. A few years ago, I had a dream. I was with a tiny girl that was just learning to speak. She seemed to be afraid to speak in front of the tall adults nearby. What touched me so deeply in the dream was her courage to speak although it was just a faint whisper. I can still remember the feeling of her soft breath on my ear as she whispered to me.

The girl is me. She is the soul me. At that time, she was just beginning to whisper. That is starting to change.

There’s been another voice in my head.

Dream:
There is a pool and I am about to dive in.  A woman says, “Don’t go in there. It’s not safe.” I ask why and she says there is a chemical in there. I think that maybe it will be safe to go in tomorrow.

I’m excited, ready to dive in! But then I hear a voice. It’s a voice of caution, hesitation, uncertainty. That is another voice that has been living in my head. For years and years, that voice has been much louder than the tiny whisper of my soul girl. It’s the voice that stops me from diving in.

This has been a life long pattern. I become excited, enthusiastic about a project or interest and then – poof! it disappears. It leaves me standing there at the edge of the pool wondering what just happened. I’ve been confused and disheartened by this pattern in my life.

That voice in my head has made its way to my speaking voice as well. In a recent dream session, Rodger detected that voice. When he asked me how I felt about something I said, “I don’t know.” He asked me to say it again. When I repeated it, I could feel and hear the low, drawn out frequency of it.

I   d o n’ t   k n o w

At that moment, the voice was revealed. The voice is not me. It is the voice of the woman by the edge of the pool. It’s the voice of pathology that stops me. It’s a parasite, that has been living inside me, sucking up my energy. But now I know that it is not me.

Since it was revealed, I’ve heard myself using that voice. But now, I am on to it. When I catch myself speaking in that slow, indecisive tone I know it is not me. When I hear a voice inside my head that is full of caution and hesitation, I know I don’t have to listen to it.

When I take my attention away from the “I don’t know" voice, the faint whisper can begin to grow and change into a vibration that will let the truth of my soul voice emerge.


Tuesday, July 3, 2012

A New ID



Dream:
I walk into a room and a woman wants to show me something. She says that she is giving me a new ID. It is something I will be wearing on a permanent basis. I am not so sure about that idea. She also says, “I am not quite ready to give this to you. I am still working on it but you can take a look at it.” It is a small black case the size of an ID or a credit card. In it is a stack of cards and I pull them out. The one on top is a picture of a boy (about 5) whose legs are sticking straight up and his body is bent completely forward to his legs. It appears that he is being held that way. There are red marks in rows on the backs of his legs. I feel really scared and horrified. It feels like the boy has been tortured. The next picture is of a child (same age – not sure if it’s the same child) who is being held in some type of wooden device. His head is stuck sideways in an awkward position. This is much too scary for me to look at. I quickly put the pictures away and give them back to the woman.

This dream is touching on a deep place within me. Since beginning the dreamwork, the dreams have been pointing to some type of trauma around age 4 or 5. It has been a mystery. I grew up in a typical suburban household, the middle child of three. Although I remember feeling afraid during family arguments (I played the role of mediator), I have no memory of trauma. This dream helps to begin to unlock the mystery. There is a deep memory within me of a young boy being tortured. Perhaps it is from another lifetime. The anima wants to show it to me. By showing me the cards, she is helping the memory surface. She is doing so gently, letting me see as much as I am willing to look at. It is a very scary, painful place. It is part of my true identity. My permanent identity. As I write this, I can feel the energy of fear growing in my body. 

In the session we talk about how I don’t want to face what is being shown to me. I get just a glimpse and that is enough. I want to turn away. I want to put the cards away. Forget about it. Hand them back to the woman.

We talk in a little more detail about what I saw when I looked at the cards. A boy (about 5) being held in an unnatural position, regularly spaced red marks on the backs of his legs. My sense that perhaps the red marks indicated restraint. Perhaps he was tied down, tortured in some way. The next card. Again, a boy being held in a seemingly torturous, unnatural way. This time his head turned to the side, held by a wooden block. I briefly look at the second card before quickly putting it away.

The dream is showing me a glimpse of some deeply held memories. The dream is also showing me my reaction. An automatic response of turning away. There is another dream that we talk about that shows this same pattern.

Dream:
There is a video playing on my iphone. I keep trying to turn it off but it won’t turn off.

The video is a memory that wants to be revealed to me. But I don’t want to have anything to do with it. I want the control to be able to turn it off. Turn away. My automatic reaction is to press the off button. But pressing the off button is not going to work for me any more. Not with this new ID.

These dreams are about trauma. But they are also about how I live my life. How I turn away. Rodger says that by turning away, I am missing the opportunity of feeling deeper in my life. Another recent dream suggests that I turn away from the pain of others as well. In the dream, I am a physical therapist. Joe Biden (animus) walks in with some pain. I do not ask him about the pain. I’m all about bragging that I get to work with Joe Biden. The dream is suggesting that perhaps this turning away pattern shows up in my job as a physical therapist. It is hard to look at this but I know it is true. I remember a time when I worked with a young child in her home. As I stretched her legs, she cried. She was in pain but I ignored it. I was so caught up with doing my job of stretching her that I dismissed her cries. Her Grandmother asked that I not return. At that time, I knew there was something wrong. There was a disconnect within me. It felt like an evil character flaw. But Rodger was quick to say that this is not a character flaw. It is the place that operates in me to keep me from feeling a deeper place.

My homework was to feel the gesture of putting the cards away, feel that turning away place and see where that comes up in my life. There was something satisfying about that gesture in the dream. To just put the cards away. Be done with that. The day after the session we left for a vacation on a sailboat in the Caribbean. It almost felt like the vacation itself was a way to turn away. Go live in this other world of beautiful clear water and colorful fish. It was a great way to escape from the terror that lives underneath my conscisouness. The trip allowed me to put the cards away. Of course though, they are still there. The archetypes want me to see them. They want me to feel into a new ID. I know that with their help I will. It’s the ID of my soul.