Surprising things happen when you give children a place to dream together.
I was in Bali last spring and my friends Susan Allen and her husband Susiawan invited me to hold a dream workshop for children at their Yellow Coco Creative Nest. This is a wonderful school for creative exploration and cultural unity.
Children are natural dreamers and they like action! Dreams and our imagination play well together and by activating the imagination you can build a dream on the spot. I drummed a conscious dream journey as the kids laid down and let their live imaginations bring them a dream.
We shared those dreams, and every child had a chance to be seen and heard. Give them time to articulate what they imagine and the next thing you know, you've built community. One dreamer will start, and a dream will enter the room. The next dreamer will share her dream and it may be that dream builds on the one just shared. Soon, everyone has a dream sparkling in the room and dream locales and characters weave in and out of everyone's imagination. And very often, a child will make it up as she goes along. How beautiful is that, to see a live, young creative mind, full of possibility, building worlds?
Dreamers like movement. We played with dream theater, acting out the dream with on the spot improvisation! Allow the dream to unfold embodied, and all becomes alive, animated, fun...even scary dreams.
Dream art...we had one young teen, and she was a little reluctant at first, as teens often are, especially when the other kids are younger. They have their own inner worlds to explore; introversion is a part of that. But when our energetic dreamers were invited to draw, she was fully engaged in stepping back into the her dreamscape.
Our two Balinese dreamers didn't speak English, and Susan translated our inquiry into Indonesian. They drew their dreams, too, and even though there were differences in language and culture, all the children dreamed together beautifully, and experienced something new together.
The surprise came at the end. We had all shared a dream and had acted in dream theater, and we each had a lovely dream drawing. One of the students suggested we join our drawings into one big dream drawing. Great idea! Someone thought of drawing a road from one drawing to another, linking them all in a visual expression of traveling this path together. Amid chatter and play, with pastels flying, a new dream unfolded, and with it a new idea for dreamwork with children conceived by the children themselves.