Monthly Archives

September 2012

Tending Your BodyMindSpirit Self

Blog Soul Coaching® September 30, 2012

Are you tending your body, mind and spirit self? In Denise Linn’s book Unlock the Secret Messages of Your Body (Hay House), she asks readers to make a list or pie chart of their personal categories and to rank them according to time spent on each. These include work, recreation, personal hygiene, meals, friends, shopping, and so on. Then, when it is all on paper in front of you, you can better assess if that’s where you want to be spending your time or if something needs to be tweaked. It’s a wonderful exercise to see where you want to be in your life and to make your way closer towards your goals. It’s also a great way to see how important the health of your body, mind and spirit is to you. If you were to do this exercise, where would you rank your health or your spirit?

I once totalled the amount of time I would need to record my dreams, exercise, journal, and meditate and transition between each activity and concluded that I could use a minimum of 2-3 hours of “me” time every morning just to stay healthy, creative and soulful. Do I take the time to do all that? Not daily but I do a lot, and short of getting up at 5 am, I tend to rotate what I do on any given day. It was overwhelming to see it all added up in front of me, but I chucked it down to what was both reasonable and sincerely desired.

 

It’s not a selfish act to take care of yourself yet there are still plenty of women who put everyone else’s needs ahead of their own. We can simply lift our gaze to Michelle Obama’s pedestal for a role model in making healthy living a priority, while still being active, caring and accomplished. Yet, she has to get up mighty early to fit it all in! Of course if we all had the staff she does, just imagine what we could accomplish! Nevertheless, before becoming the First Lady she was meeting friends at the gym at 4:30 am! Even in the regular world many forward-thinking companies make exercise time and facilities easily accessible to their employees, yet for those who don’t have a gym as the perk (although that perk isn’t always a “perk”….I personally hate gyms) that comes with our jobs, do we take the time to make our body, mind and spirit a priority when left to our own devices?

 

By charting your day or your week, as Denise suggests in her book, you can take control of your life in a way that brings health close at hand. But don’t stop with your physical health. Do this for your spiritual health as well. This exercise can be done for any area of one’s life including one’s dreams.  You can see how often you actually catch a dream and see how and if you’d like to change the amount of time you give to your dream life. We spend approximately one third of our life sleeping and the fact is, it is not “wasted” time unless we never pay attention to that part. How much time do you give to understanding your inner life? Dreams are the easiest way to access your inner world and understanding them is not just for those in therapy! Without working on your dreams, there will always be a part of you- at least one third of you- that is unknown. Whether you want to make more time for body, mind or spirit, or ALL of you, go and make yourself a priority!

Personal Growth: Over Easy

Blog Soul Coaching® September 29, 2012

Personal Growth-Over Easy

 

When it comes to personal growth, do you want it “over easy”? Have you ever noticed how so many people want instant information and instant enlightenment? People would rather get a psychic reading than do the work to figure their lives out for themselves. I find that is true of dreams as well. People want to know what their dreams mean rather than explore the dream themselves. When the synchronicities of topics repeating themselves happen, I pay attention.

Wanting easy answers is an interesting trend that I don’t actually believe is a new trend. It’s the complexity of human nature. We don’t want to be told what to do yet we pay people to do just that. I think it is similar to the Chinese proverb, “Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime.” If there was a proverb that covers this situation, it’s because people weren’t doing it! Back in the day—whenever that proverbial day was—people must have been saying, “Hey, man, can you spare a fish?”

So what does this have to do with you? Ask yourself, have you ever gone for a reading with someone in the Intuitive Arts field? Of course you have and so have I! It’s fun to get a reading and I’ve always told myself that these readings give me an objective overview and a perspective on my life that I might not see from up close. Okay, somewhat true, but really…. Don’t we just want to know what will  happen next? This is our nature as human beings but if we really want to wake up and catch our souls in action, it won’t be from the easy answers that a psychic will give us.

This also speaks to our issues with power. To do the work of awakening, being fully conscious of our choices, our lives and our personalities, we have to be willing to take back our power and become the empowered souls we are meant to be. I’m not saying we need to become powerful over someone else, but fully available to own our strengths and our gifts, using our energy for creating the lives we want. Ask yourself, if I were to fully allow my most powerful self to come through and live from the intuitive part that already knows the answers, what is the worst thing that could happen? When you get clear on your fears, then you can choose to shift them.

Having said that I just want to add one point. I have a lot of friends who give intuitive readings of one sort or another and they are wonderful people who want to help. And as a Mentor for Denise Linn’s Hay House course-Soul Coaching® Oracle Card Reading Certification-I really encourage people to use oracle cards to access their own innate talents and intuition. Clearly, I think there is nothing wrong with going to a psychic now and then. In fact, you never know if that reading won’t be the very thing that starts you on your path to wholeness and enlightenment. A better way might be to learn to be more in touch with your own intuition (it’s a skill that can be learned) rather than book a regular appointment with a psychic. Join a dream group rather than ask for an interpretation. Learn astrology and see what the stars hold. Look inside yourself in order to grow, not to someone else. Don’t give your power away to gurus, rather find your inner guru. I’m suggesting that we need to work at our personal growth with a little more effort than it takes to fry some eggs, over easy.

Thoughts On Emptiness

Soul Coaching® September 29, 2012

Thoughts On Emptiness

 

 

Over the years, I’ve had some thoughts on emptiness. A while back, I saw my daughter off at the airport, to catch a plane to who knows where. She wasn’t a baby, though she is my youngest and I say “who knows where” because she was spending a year away studying and she was right on the bridge between young adult and the rest of her life. It’s a time of changing directions, shifting friendships, growing new opinions and options; a time of choice. And that is as it should be. And I was left with an empty nest (I wasn’t counting the cat, who has subsequently and sadly passed on.)

To the Western mind, emptiness feels negative, lonely and drained of substance. It is associated with boredom and apathy.  But is it always the case? While I felt the spaces my daughter used to fill and noticing her absence, I can’t say I’m feeling empty, although the house is a little emptier. Yet the expression “Empty Nest Syndrome” which probably grew out of the experience of the 1950’s and 1960’s mothers who gave their whole lives to their children and had extremely strong maternal bonds, and suddenly had a feeling of losing their purpose when their children moved out.

Even so, it is very real today and there are plenty of women who still feel this emptiness. As a Soul Coach® I look at emptiness differently. I look at it as uncluttered space and as breathing room. Within emptiness is stillness to hear what your soul wants you to know about yourself. A woman wrote to me, inquiring about a talk I’ll be giving on this topic. She wrote, “I think my soul is so cluttered I doubt it is even there!!!!” Her soul is not gone, just covered over.

The Buddhists have a lot to say about emptiness. To the Eastern way of thinking, emptiness is a goal to be attained, not something negative. It is through a peaceful emptiness that we can see clearly and liberate ourselves from the suffering that is inherent to the human condition. I think we can learn a lot from this attitude. How often do we rush to fill silences that feel awkward when we are with other people? We fill up empty spaces on walls. We arrange our stuff, so our counters or shelves don’t “feel” empty. We leave the radio on, even when we’re not listening so we don’t feel the sounds of silence.

If you would like to shift your relationship with emptiness, you might try some “quiet time” to learn to be comfortable with and within yourself.

  • Don’t leave the radio or TV on unless you are really listening to it.
  • Consider a media “fast” of a few hours or a few days. Try it for a week. The world will manage without you for a little while.
  • Spend some time each day in silence, even if it’s just five minutes of quiet.
  • Try listening for the voice of your soul and write down whatever pops into your head. You may be surprised what you learn about yourself.
  • Practice meditation. Simply follow your breath as you deeply breathe in and out. When your mind wanders or begins to lecture you on how ridiculous an exercise this is, just gently pull your awareness back to your breath. Breathing in. Breathing out.
  • Write down your dreams. When the voice of our soul is drowned out by the clutter of thoughts, truth will find its way to your dreams. Then find a trusted friend who will hold your dreams as sacred and share the dream. If there is no one you can trust to hear your dreams with respect, then find a dream group. There are many groups in cities everywhere.

Well, that daughter returned to fill our empty nest and now she is preparing to leave, this time for good. (Although as Baby Booming Parents, we are certainly aware of the Revolving Door Syndrome!) I find I’m looking forward to more emptiness. When we can embrace the emptiness, whether emptiness of nest or self, we then paradoxically don’t feel empty in our lives and we’ve made room for our soul.

Portals, Transformation & Snow Tires

Blog Soul Coaching® September 28, 2012

I know you don’t usually see blog posts about portals, transformation and snow tires, but here’s the deal. I’m a little disappointed in myself. Here it is November 11, 2011, 10:37 am and the much hyped (dare I use that word?) 11:11:11, 11:11 am portal is about to come into alignment and I’m sitting in a tire shop waiting for my snow tires to be put on. I had great plans to be home meditating my way into the new world and yet here I am, sitting square in the old world! Here in Canada it is Remembrance Day and there are certainly many fallen soldiers- from past to present wars- to pause to remember. But it is the 11:11:11 opening that got me thinking about transformation in terms of everyday life.

This excitement around this number has to do with numerology, synchronicity and the Mayan predictions and it’s hard to know what is true, what is conjecture and what is social networking nonsense. Let me just confess that I do like it when 1:11 or 2:22 appears on my digital clocks and I will often look up Doreen Virtues “Angel Number” definitions and meanings. But when I look outside myself for hidden meanings and definitions, then I am once again, giving over my knowing and power to someone else. I think I’ll cut back on looking those meanings up for awhile.

It’s hard to know from the vantage point of earth-bound souls, caught in this time-space continuum, but I practice a very pragmatic spirituality. Here’s what I have figured out for myself:

  • The times they are a changin’– Okay maybe Dylan figured this out first but I’ve seen it to be true in my own life and the life of friends and clients. What has worked for humankind in the past is no longer a reality that many of us what to live. Whether by choice or circumstance, life is changing. This has given many of us challenges that we never imagined we would have to deal with, but though hard, it is good. We’re growing our soul.
  • Shift Happens: If 11:11:11 is really a shift in all life as we know it that ushers in a New Age, the Age of Aquarius and all that , then we have a choice to transform toward enlightenment or stay stuck in the quagmire of history. Even as we try to heal our emotional pain and trauma and raise our vibration, we still need to live IN the world. So the fact that my portal shift found me in the tire store,  temporarily disappointed, I have chosen to shift the meaning I find in this. I have come to conclude that putting on my snow tires when my schedule had an opening, is an act of self-care. Besides all the safety issues for which snow tires make sense, I have decided that if shift happens, I want to be ready to roll into transformation. My wheels are ready!
  • Time Machines:  I was always fascinated by Sci-Fi stories that focused on time travel but I’ve come to believe that time isn’t linear, except from our limited experience here in our human suits on Earth. When we unzip these suits, shuffling off our mortal coil, then we will find that all time is happening at once. I did get to experience this once in a dream, and in that momentarily experience I felt the truth of this in my very cells. This means that 11:11 am came and went as I wrote this and it doesn’t matter. It is still “11:11″ in the moment I do put my attention to opening, shifting and transforming into a more enlightened version of myself.
  • Portal, Shmortal: Sometimes we take ourselves too seriously! In my pragmatic practice of enlightenment I am still going to chop wood, and carry water (or in my case it’s more like: run errands, change tires) no mater what level of vibration I can raise myself to. I would like to suggest that this portal is opening within us. Transformation cannot happen on a certain day, or particular hour, just because 11:11:11 seems like a good day to transform. The shift happens in every small decision, in every small choice; one choice at a time. So choose to heal, choose to help, giving service to others for the greater good, chose to love and forgive on your own timetable, when you are ready. 11:11:11, 11:11 is always NOW.

 

All that being true, I will have a do-over choice-point tonight, should I decide to hook up with the energies at 11:11 pm. Will I be up meditating and praying tonight, or will I give in to the truth and wisdom that I can access in my dreams? What do you think?

Soul Growth: The Next Generation

Blog Soul Coaching® September 24, 2012

There are a lot of people working on soul growth and if you are reading this, you are likely one of them. There are many of us who have been transforming since the 60’s and 70’s when the Age of Aquarius captured public imagination,  and we are classified by Doreen Virtue and other authors as “Lightworkers”. We are normal people trying to grow and are often in the healing professions, or wishing we were, yet we are still slightly neurotic and have to work very hard at not being nice or dysfunctional.

Creation

Image by Suus Wansink via Flickr.

The next generation were the “Indigo Children” (first written about by Lee Carroll and Jan Tober) and later followed by “Crystal” and “Rainbow” kids who are being born now to aid in the ascension process for the planet. This next generation is a lot more comfortable following their bliss and leaving situations that don’t serve their higher purpose, where Lightworkers will stick with it far too long, trying to heal the situation. So while their Lightworker parents (or grandparents) are still talking to their therapists and feeling guilty as they heal and change, these kids will just say “I’m outta here”. They have no trouble being authentic and living in alignment with their truth while their parents wonder how their kids will be able to contribute to their pension plans.

So I shouldn’t have been surprised when my youngest daughter—who is probably an Indigo—sprouted some wisdom that it takes the older generation years to figure out, if we figure it out at all! She said she “prayed [about a certain situation] but knew I had to do my part too.” These kids are just walking Metaphysicians! If you recall all the hoopla about the “Secret” with the unfortunate emphasis on material gains, you may have realized that all that wishing and hoping doesn’t get you what you want. I think the Universe really wants us to take the first step. “Where attention goes, energy flows.” When I first opened my practice (a thousand years ago), I had no clients. But I felt that I had to start somewhere…. “I” had to start. I rented an office in a wellness center in the heart of Toronto and by “coincidence” an article appeared that same week in Massage Magazine about the Rubenfeld Synergy Method® et voilà, I had clients! If I hadn’t taken that first step to be visible, my clients would not have found me.

When we take the first step, we become partners with the Creator. In fact, we become co-creators. And often it’s the children who can teach us how to walk our path with ease. Sometimes we are so focused on our own path that we forget that we have these evolved beings walking among us. Out of the “mouths of babes” come some amazing insights, if only we can pause long enough to hear them. My daughter’s wisdom reminds me that we can’t just wish ourselves into our future, we have to take action, move in the direction we want to go and walk in partnership with Spirit into the future of our dreams. I hope to see you on the path of action!

IMAGINE THAT!

Blog Good for the Soul September 23, 2012

Imagine that you have come to the end of your life. You’re not sick or infirm but you somehow know it’s the end. Imagine that you walk slowly up a path that leads to the top of a gentle, rolling hill. From the top you can see for miles around and at the base of the hill, people have gathered. These are people who have had contact with you, who know and love you, but also people who have heard of you. Your reputation has grown over the years and you are known as a person of wisdom and insight and have touched many lives. Imagine that you are on that mountain top to tell everyone what you have learned in this life. They are waiting and you begin…

“We cannot know everything”, you say. There is Mystery in life and we need to allow and make space for the unknown. But we can come close if we listen to our dreams. All the clues that we need to decode our own lives are there for us if we pay attention.” You pause and breathe. Then you continue, “Take the time to pause, breathe more deeply, and open your heart without fear and guarding yourself from the pain of being hurt, abandoned or unloved. Don’t be afraid to love. You are safe. Play more.”

And finally, because it’s the end of your life and you are so much less concerned about what people think of you than when you were young, you start to sing, “Row, row, row your boat, gently down the stream. Merrily, merrily, merrily, merrily, life is but a dream.”  All the people join in singing with you because they understand what you mean.  They understand that you are telling them to row, meaning they have to be co-creators in their lives and do their part. They know that you are saying that they can do it gently, by rowing down-stream with the current, without resistance or struggle. They can do it with merrily with joy and finally, life is a dream. “All the world’s a stage” and they are playing their various parts, trying different roles in order to grow their souls, whether over many lifetimes or just one.

What if we were to actually do this? What if we climbed to the top of a mountain and surveyed the road we have travelled, looking at our lives from a higher perspective and then shared the wisdom from the journey? If you haven’t been to the top of your mountain lately, you might want to consider the possibility of getting a new perspective on your life, your problems as well as your joys and triumphs and then sharing it with the world. You can do this by taking some time for yourself to pause and reflect. It doesn’t have to be a huge chunk of time. It can be done in an hour. But you do have to take the time to step back and survey the land by raising yourself up to a higher vantage point. From there, your life and your problems may look different. Then share what you’ve seen with someone you trust.

Know this: You have touched more people than you can possibly know and there is an intricate web of connection between you and others, between your thoughts and the ideas that are “out there” and your life. You have touched your family and friends, but also all those “strangers” who are gathering at the foot of your mountain. I imagine that they are waiting to hear from you.

RADICAL DREAMING

Blog Heart-Centered Dreamwork September 22, 2012

Dreamers unite! It is time to take back your power. Do some radical dreaming and when it comes to your dreams, don’t accept the status quo! You may think that you don’t understand your dreams but all that you need is inside you. You know enough. You do not need to defer to some random authority or trend in dream work. You do not need to learn one particular system or philosophy either. All you need to understand your dream symbols is yourself. Here are a few steps to get you started or deepen your dreamwork.

Throw out your dream dictionaries. At best, there are some that will give you a jumping off point for your own associations. The worst of them were based on ancient dream dictionaries and that’s not who you are. If you dreamt that your teeth fell out, the ancient dictionary of Artemidorus (pictured above, 200 c.e.) would tell you that your upper teeth have to do with the death of someone in your household; the lower teeth refer to the less important household members i.e. your servants or your slaves! Can you relate? Of course you can’t!

Make up your own dictionary. Start by recording your dreams. I know I’ve said this before but it’s required! Without the details of your dreams, you will quickly forget what you dreamt and when you dreamt it, let alone the context for your life when you had your dream. You will also have difficulty seeing the patterns and commonalities in your dreams and dream themes that connect them over time. Next, ask yourself these few questions to unearth your own dream meanings. These are based on the work of Gayle Delaney who empowers dreamers to say what their own dreams mean. (In Your Dreams, 1997)

Let’s chew on the teeth theme, for example. Imagine you had to explain teeth to someone from another world who didn’t know anything about our planet or our culture. What are teeth? What are teeth used for? Why wouldn’t someone want to lose his or her teeth?  What were your feelings in the dream when you lost your teeth? Do these feelings connect with feelings you have had in your waking life? You can do this for anything you can dream up, whether object, setting, characters and so on. Most generally, describe the object in the dream. Ask yourself why we have them (or use them, or what they are like) and how you feel about them in general. The more subjective your response, the easier it is to get at the metaphor. This process doesn’t require accuracy in your definitions. What is important is for you to unearth your associations, prejudices and preferences, not someone else’s theories.

Years ago I had a series of dreams about me driving on a highway that I frequented on my way to work. So I asked myself “What is a car? What is a car used for?” Once I knew what it meant to me (notice I’m not telling you what that meant because I want you to figure out your own car associations) I then asked myself about the type of car I was driving. Was it my current car? Was it a car from my childhood or something totally different? Was I even the driver? I continued on in this way, looking at the highway, at the action in the dream and what that meant to me (as I might describe it to an alien). And finally, when I had some good associations for everything in the dream, I looked at the feelings and looked to see where they connected with what was going on in my waking life at the time. It was an extremely important series for me, all the more enriching and insightful because of the self-dictionary that I developed. Now when I dream of cars, I have this shorthand that emerged through this exercise, that takes me right to the message.

You can start your own dictionary doing this too. If you have a lot of animals in your dreams, start by describing the animals that appear most often. Do you dream of owls? Do you associate them with wisdom, fear, evil, night vision or something else? Remember, one dreamer’s nightmare is another dreamer’s exciting dream. Whatever common dream themes or objects appear frequently for you, start with them. If you have a nightmare or dreams that you can feel strongly in your body and your emotions, start there. Start wherever you are and become a Radical Dreamer, defying dream theories, dream authorities, and even gravity as you soar to great heights in self-understanding.

Defy Gravity

Blog Soul Coaching® September 18, 2012

Last year, about this time, I experienced the strangest weather ever. It was a “defy gravity” kind of moment. The wind was blowing, up to 100 kilometers per hour, and it was mixed with rain, fog and bits of dirt that filled the air. It was extremely frightening. I was in Jerusalem and praying (a good place for that) that the winds would calm before I flew home the next day!

I started thinking about the wind and how mysterious it is. The very air that we breathe, that is generally unseen (smoke, fires, dust and smog notwithstanding) relates to the mental realm of thought but also to Spirit for me. When I am in sync with my spirit, it is easy to trust. The trust that I had to have last year—trust that I would get home safely and that all would be well in my world, certainly got tested at a time like that. We may like to think that we are in control of our lives, but a simple thing like extreme weather (and Mother Earth is giving us plenty of extreme weather to contend with) can blow that philosophy to pieces.

Breath and spirit are linked and this is reflected in many languages including English. The words spirit, inspire, respiration and more all come from the Latin words spiritus (breath, spirit) from spirare or ‘breathe.’ Spirit also refers to our mood or the alcohol we drink to deal with our moods! Of course one way to access our “Spirit” is through our breath. We can mindfully and simply meditate by following our breath. Breathing in; breathing out. Our breath can both calm an anxious mood and help us access that trust that will, in turn, calm our spirit further. So to get to our Spirit we need to use our spirit (breath). The opposite is true as well. When we can’t catch our breath, because we are anxious or worried, we can call on our Spirit to help calm our lives, whether physically, emotionally, or spiritually.

All of this brings me to Oz. Maybe it was a recent revisiting of the music from Wicked, maybe it was my Australian colleague’s invitation to do a workshop in Oz, but most likely it was the wind that continued to howl for quite a while last year. Everything was blowing horizontally, and I remember walking, head down in the wind, praying a house wouldn’t land on my head. It was then that I remembered Dorothy who had the ability to return home all along. She had the ability– seemingly through the ruby slippers that she wore—but she had to go through the journey to get to that place where she could access this ability that was within. The shoes were only a symbol. The journey home to which I refer, is the journey home to our Spirit. Sometimes external forces or experiences, symbolized by the wind and other events in life, help us get there, and sometimes we just breathe ourselves home (meditation or internal forces). Other times, we can use the help of synchronicities and I often use the inspiration of music that pops up on the radio (or on my iphone when the music is in “shuffle” mode) to help me catch my spirit/breath and these lyrics from Wicked popped up for me and can help you get there too.

“Something has changed within me, something is not the same… It’s time to trust my instincts. Close my eyes: and leap! It’s time to try defying gravity.
I think I’ll try defying gravity! And you can’t pull me down!”

May the winds of Spirit help you defy gravity and reach the heights your soul is meant to travel!

Dreams: A Holistic Kind of Learning

Blog Heart-Centered Dreamwork September 17, 2012

Did you ever think of dreams as a holistic kind of learning? It’s January and the kids will be back to school soon. They are probably learning reading, writing and ‘rithmetic as the old song proclaims. They study history, science and many other subjects depending on their age and stage. Schools, if they are good ones, engage a child’s mind and allow their innate curiosity and creativity to blossom. But I worry about their hearts and souls. Are they taught compassion? Is the practice of kindness encouraged? Are they taught how to calm themselves through meditation? And of equal importance, are they taught how to understand themselves; their feelings and emotions, their likes and dislikes, their hopes and dreams?

What if dreams were taught in the classroom? It has been done in small samplings around Canada and the United States when the teacher was following his or her interests but never in an official way as a regular part of the curriculum. Studying dreams offers the perfect holistic learning vehicle. One could study the history of dreams, social and cultural studies through tracking all the inventions, innovations and creative masterpieces that have come to scientists and artists through the ages in their dreams, practice creative writing, and perhaps most importantly, they can learn how to understand and work with dreams in a simple age-appropriate way. This will ultimately help them understand themselves. Perhaps that would even cut down on the number of people who drop out in later life to “find themselves”.

Last year I went into a grade four classroom to talk to 9 year olds about their dreams. Not only were they interested and full of questions, they were actively engaged for nearly two hours! Their questions were brilliant, rivaling any adult’s questions. Here are a few—all in the children’s own words:

  • Are my dreams something that will happen or something that has happened?
  • Can two people have the same dream?
  • How do dreams come to your mind?
  • Do newborns have dreams?
  • Why can’t we wake up from night terrors?
  • Do nightmares try to teach a lesson?
  • Why if you have a dream, sometimes it repeats over again?

I’ve also talked about dreams with other age groups and the reaction is always the same. First they are amazed that their dreams mean something then, they want to be taught to “crack the code”. Their excitement tells us that not only are they intellectually interested in the topic but it deeply resonates with their emotional needs and curiosities. Dreams are the perfect holistic and integrative subject that encompasses so many important goals of learning but most importantly, addresses body, mind, emotion and spirit. Ask your child’s teacher if they can do a unit on dreams! If they don’t know how to get started, refer them to me!

It’s time we take dreams further into the classroom and teach the children about themselves and their best dreams.

Potty Chairs and Other Dream Messages

Blog Heart-Centered Dreamwork September 17, 2012

Dreaming of Potty Chairs? Really? Yes, and in spite of the seeming strange topic, dreams are sometimes so clear, so elegant that they take my breath away! Take this little fragment that I caught when the rest of my longer dream got away. I will include my own resistance, which is just like yours, I might add, so you can laugh along with me!

I dream that my mother is in a hospital bed, situated smack in the middle of my home office. I am in the next room which we refer to as the family room, trying to poop on a toddler potty chair. My mother’s helper (not from waking life), an Asian woman, is straightening up in the family room. A woman who I casually know from waking life, who is in her early 40′s, walks through quickly to visit my mother, sees that she is asleep and turns and leaves. I briefly wonder why she wouldn’t leave a note saying she was there. 

Minimize The Dream’s Importance

 Most dreamers like to write off their dream themes and details saying, “Oh I just saw a movie, or had this conversation, or saw that person” as if that explains the dream’s details and no further meaning can be elicited. I can do this just as well as my clients! But our Dream Maker doesn’t work this way. We see, say, think and experience millions of things in the course of one day, so why “this” detail is used and not “that” indicates that the symbols in our dream are specific and meaningful. “Resistance is futile” so we have to work at getting past this resistance to connect with the dream’s meaning even so.

Too Much Analysis 

Sometimes, it’s not the dream analysis that doesn’t resonate, it’s the fact that we jump right in and lead off with too much thinking! Sometimes, we need to let go of what we think we know (what did I need to let go of, with my mother taking up space in my office and me trying to let go in the family room?)  and just feel the dream and it’s events. As I reread my dream I had to admit that this scenario took me by surprise. My mother had a brain bleed last summer and a visit to California and frequent long-distance calls are now part of the landscape, but I didn’t think that this situation was filling up so much psychic space in relation to my work, the setting in my dream story. It became clear to me that I had to look at this dream without assumptions about what I thought I knew about my life and my dreams. The “beginners mind” of Zen practice was required. So I paused to feel and be in the dream. When you can’t remember the feelings, you can go back into the dream and feel them from an awake but relaxed place. You can also use your body and emotions to feel and gauge your reactions to different possible meanings. If you feel it, there is energy there and something is waiting to be discovered!

Arguing with myself

I thought about what it felt like to be on a child’s potty chair. It wasn’t a good fit and I was straining. But, I argued with myself, I don’t feel like a little girl in regard to my mother! Well… mostly I don’t. I suppose we are all our parent’s children until they are no longer here….. and of course the topic to potty training came up recently in regard to my grandson! (see Resistance #1) And why did I dream about that woman who I hardly know or see? What happened to me in my 40′s that might also be part of the dream’s message? And the Asian support worker (a foreign part of myself?) was fussing about and why didn’t I really feel embarrassed (just a tad) given what was going on in the potty chair? Back to feeling….

Why Bother to Write it Down?

So many resist this one because they A) Are too tired and too rushed in the morning, when most dreams are caught, B) They don’t want someone to find their journal and therefore don’t feel secure and  C) They have no one to share it with so why bother? I didn’t write this dream down until a day later. And I only did it then because it was still hanging around! To my rational mind, I thought, ok, that’s a funny little fragment…yawn…. but my psyche had a message to deliver and made sure it kept popping into my head. Unlike people who don’t do dreamwork,  I do know enough to not fight this for long, but like potty chair effort, I couldn’t release the dream fragment. Because I generally focus on other people’s dreams in my dream groups, and for entirely selfish reasons, I have trained my husband to work with dreams for my benefit! This is a great thing to do for those who are in a trusting, respectful relationship. If not, friends who share this respect and interest in dreams is also a good choice. Finding or starting a dream group will have the same benefits, multiplied many times over.

The Inner (and outer) Masculine to the Rescue!

This tip isn’t “resistance” but some general good advice: give body function dreams to a man or a 10 year old boy to mull over!  It was my husband who nailed it. He went from my description of “pooping” to other words for excrement,  and finally got to doodoo…”doodie”… And then the light bulb turned on for us both. He said “You are trying to do your duty towards your mother!” Bingo! That resonated. And when it does, you will feel it in your whole body, and it will be so much more than a thought. The other two women in the dream reflect two other sides of me and how I cope with my mother’s health challenges and the main news is that the situation that I thought was taking up space in my working life, isn’t what I thought it was. It’s my mother and her failing health, but also about the MOTHER (achetype) or the Feminine. Exploring this on a deeper level could be about connecting with the Feminine energies and this takes my dream exploration even further. I can reflect on what ideas had I swallowed from my mother, possibly around the time of toilet training that I am now ready to release, as well as the possibility that this mother/daughter/feminine archetype story IS my work and that’s why it is in my office! Is there a mother/daughter story here for others? Probably.

Sometimes our dreams are deeply mysterious and take a lot of unpacking to find the message, but other times they are simple as poop and one’s “duties” in life. Even the smallest fragment, or even a single word is all we need to get us started. As the Talmud says, “A dream uninterpreted is like a letter unopened.” That was one letter that I finally opened and I’m glad I did… and I’m still laughing about it!