Dream Telepathy

Once upon a time I wrote my newsletters and blogs more frequently. Two years ago I opened my fine jewelry appraisal business, and (imagine!) it's thriving. Which means I have less time to write. It's a mixed blessing because I love to write these blogs, but the beauty is, with commitment to take action what we dream up will come to pass. 

The busyness of my life and work left me feeling hungry for some fresh dream magic. I was ready for a little effervescence, and in June I attended the International Association for the Study of Dreams Annual Conference, where dream scientists, psychologists, artists, philosophers, and dreamers of all kinds come to gather and share.

A highlight every year is the Dream Telepathy Contest. During one night of the conference, the person chosen as the  "Sender" randomly selected a sealed envelope with an image from four that were previously prepared. During the night she set her alarm to wake every two hours and looked at the image with the intention of telepathically broadcasting it to the sleeping conference attendees, including dancing and singing and embodying the image. (Thank you, Maureen!) And during the night or in the morning the contestants filled out out a form with their dream reports. The next morning the reports were submitted and the one that came closest to the actual image wins first place. There were many “hits” by attendees during the night, including dreaming into the three images that weren’t the selected one.

That night I dreamed a long dream that included two children, a boy and a girl, which I observed at the end of the dream standing with their backs to me, slightly turned to each other, engaged in looking at something. I was watching them from above. As I woke I remembered the contest and kept my eyes closed as I asked to see the image. I then had a vivid image of a large round red sun on the left side with horizontal lines of colors in oranges, yellows and reds, warm sunset colors. 

I was surprised when I saw the selected image the next morning and won the contest! 

Dream a Little Dream: The Dream Telepathy Contest Image

Dream a Little Dream: The Dream Telepathy Contest Image

I missed the Santa Claus, the toys, and the window. What I find interesting is how the two dreams blended into one. The two children in my dream were modern children but were positioned in the same way, and the sun on the left became a fire in the fireplace, with the round form present in the wreath. The warm colors and the horizontal lines were similar. In my dream the children seemed to be looking at an object, perhaps a toy. Not a perfect, exact dream of this image, but enough is present to make it fun.

My predictive dreams are usually like this. They are not typically an exact representation of a waking life experience, but carry elements/symbols and feelings that manifest later, usually within a two week time span. And sometimes they're a blend of more than one waking life experience. I've learned this by reviewing my dream journal, where I find surprises like this. It's one of the fun features of keeping a dream journal and reviewing it periodically, and I'm convinced you'll find similar surprises in yours. 

All dressed up for the dream ball, where we come dressed as a character from a dream. I was Fire.

All dressed up for the dream ball, where we come dressed as a character from a dream. I was Fire.

The International Association for the Study of dreams is a marvelous resource to connect with other deep dreamers. Attending their annual conference is a great way to learn about recent dream research, and to be inspired by participating in lectures, dream groups, art events, and other fun experiences like the Dream Ball and the Dream Telepathy Contest. https://www.asdreams.org

Dreaming Again Like a Child in Bali

Dear Dreamers,

I returned to the land and people I love in Bali during the past two+ weeks, and what a gift a little time to dream there was!

I'm super inspired by a workshop I led for children, aged 8 - 12, hosted by holistic educators Susan Allen and her husband Susiawan at Yellow Coco Creative Nest, their marvelous center for children. Dreaming with children is absolutely magical.

Here's what we did during our two hours together, and if you feel drawn to do something similar with the kids in your life, please do. Take what feels fun and make it your own, experiment, play, and give children the opportunity to share their dreams with each other in empowered ways. It will inspire them to value their dreams and imagination, and the seed you plant may be with them for life. I remember vividly my favorite teacher, Mrs. Berlin, sixth grade, who reminded me to always value my imagination, even when I grow up, so that I won't lose it as so many adults do. I took it to heart, the best advice ever for living an interesting life.

We started with questions and answers, leading to surprising dialogue and dream sharing. Kids ask astute questions. I was stumped by some of them. One question was, "If dreams come from us, why don't we know what we're going to dream ahead of time?"  It's OK to say, "That's a good question. I don't know the answer to that." This leads them to ponder their own creative answers, and models the truth that we don't always know the answers to everything, which is perfectly alright.

Then we moved into an opportunity for the students to experience their live imagination. Stepping into guided imagery led to excited sharing. The secret is using guided imagery that is non-specific so the dreamer finds their own place in the imaginal. "Close your eyes and get comfortable. (Lying down is great.) Imagine right now you're somewhere beautiful in nature. It can be a place you dreamed, you make up right now, or a place you've been to in waking life. You're moving through this place and you come to a beautiful body of water. Look at the edge of the water and see if you can find a helper there. Perhaps it's an animal or a bird or a sea creature...this is your friend. What happens next?"

Every child found a place in nature, a body of water, a friend, and had an adventure! And they loved sharing that with each other, as engaged storytellers.

Dream Theater is Fun!

Dream Theater is Fun!

A quick watermelon break led to Dream Theater. We acted out two dreams with the dreamers acting as directors for their dreams, with guidance from me. Both were nightmares that had left an icky impression and the dreamers were eager to create a new, better ending for them. They liked the idea that these dreams are like a story, unfinished, and that they have the power to change them. We had a spider-spitting scary man in a dark room defeated by a blazing Phoenix leading to a new open doorway,  and a murderous teacher struck down by a lion, given the opportunity to become a nicer person. The light shone in the eyes of the dreamers, and the consensus was that this was "awesome!", and there was a tangible sense of relief for the original dreamers.

Notice at no point did we do dream interpretation. The idea is to alert the children to the fact that they have power as dreamers, and are not just observers of their dreams or their lives.

Did I mention It's fun?

Did I mention It's fun?

Next, the kids were outfitted with drawing supplies. I drummed for them as they closed their eyes and allowed a dream to form, with the instructions to open their eyes and start drawing when they felt ready. I continued to drum for about ten minutes as they drew, and it was remarkable how focused they were during the drumming, with no fidgeting, jostling or distractions. They were creatively engaged in their dream worlds. Afterwards, a few were not finished with their drawings and said they would like to finished them later. They were eager and happy to share their drawings with each other and their parents. 

Drumming up a Dream

Drumming up a Dream

It was a resounding success. At no time were the children bored. They engaged with each other and listened to each other. They played and laughed, and encouraged each other, even when working with a scary dream during dream theater. They left wanting more!

You can do these things with kids. Encourage your children and grandchildren, your students and friends, to talk about their dreams, and to find power in them. Find moments for little impromptu dream theater, even at home. Play with it. 

If you would like to learn more about this, I'm available as a consultant and facilitator. I am a former school teacher and my final Master's Degree project was teaching dreaming at the famous Green School in Bali. 


Dreaming Spring Growth and Change

It’s spring and change is in the air for all of us in some way. How are you dreaming your way into new growth? Dreams, hunches, chance encounters, sudden insights and messages from our surroundings can certainly guide us along the way. It’s often surprisingly helpful to give it a little nudge by asking for ideas from the universe, and watching for interesting coincidences in things you see and hear as you weave through your day. 

And it’s helpful to play with an oracle deck. This week I had the delight of joining an open-hearted gathering of fabulous women of wisdom, hosted by my friend Anna Dorian of Vibrant Reiki in San Francisco, for a day of play. We dreamed up our own oracle deck and in the process gained brilliant insights and laughs. I love doing collage, and found the act of seeking images from magazines, cutting them out, and pasting them together in the form of a new visual dream to be magically surprising and so much fun.

These are two of my images and the corresponding readings that emerged. It’s all about change for me… and as I made my Changes card, I heard David Bowie singing in my head…”Ch, Ch, Ch Changes….”

Happy Spring and Buoyant New Growth!

Dream #15

Sink in. Travel within and through the Dream Gates to your own inner wisdom. There you will find what you seek. Your helpers are waiting to guide you along. All you have to do is ask. Tonight, before you sleep, ask for the dream that will give you the answer. Receive the dream that will come to heal you, right now, in this very night. You are an adventurer and your journey awaits.

Change #25

Change is good. Turn and face the change, walking tall and with courage, your ally at your side. What Golden Newness is waiting to be birthed, even as the fires of the Goddess flare and cleanse in all their magnificent intensity? You are not a witness to your life. You are the creator of unknown universes alive with gems of beauty and lasting effect. Step into this initiation in your full power.

Halloween, Samhain and Ogoh Ogohs

It’s that shadowy time of year....Halloween, where moving through our normal day and night we see unusual characters....and the veil between the worlds is said to be the thinnest, like the edge of a leaf.

Since we have ghoulish things moving about this weekend I’m thinking of Balinese Ogoh Ogohs. They come to life in March, on the last night of the old year, before Nyepi, the New Year, begins. Samhain is today, the Gaelic New Year, and with Halloween her sister, they all speak of transformation.

                             Shaking Hands with an Ogoh Ogoh,  Photo by Jane Carleton

                             Shaking Hands with an Ogoh Ogoh,  Photo by Jane Carleton

Ogoh Ogohs are scary. Artists in Bali make huge elaborate bamboo, foam, and paper mache' statues of the scariest things imaginable, like witches and demons. They spend many weeks making them, for Pangrupukan, a ceremonial day leading into a parade and festival that lasts late into the night. Every village and city participates. It’s an amazing sight to see these intense heavy statues, lit up, sometimes with roaring sounds, moving through the streets carried by dozens of men, led by the heady rhythm of the gamelon, with beautiful Balinese women moving in procession. Smaller versions are carried by children, and everyone enjoys the spectacle. It’s great fun, and it serves a purpose.

                                           Ogoh Ogoh, Ubud, Bali, Photo by Jane Carleton

                                           Ogoh Ogoh, Ubud, Bali, Photo by Jane Carleton

The idea is to prepare for the New Year. The shadowy, negative, scary, dark aspects of people and evil spirits are embodied by these statues. All this noise is made to entertain and confuse the demons. It's a wild night and the energy is intense. And what happens is the shadowy bits are acknowledged, and in the process perhaps transformed. 

Those dark spirits are not very smart. They can't turn corners and are easily tricked. And they enter into these statues because they like all that commotion. At the end of the night's festivities, the statues, with the darkness, are burned, cleansing the island. 

And then...the next morning all is still and in silence. The island of Bali shuts down for a full day and night, even the airport. People are not allowed out on the streets and the village security police make sure everyone is complying. No electricity is to be used, no TVs or entertainment, no noise, no vehicles, and no travel or moving about. Voices are to be low, or ideally in silence. And because everyone is quiet and there's no movement, evil spirits think the whole island is deserted and they pass it by.  It is a sacred day for contemplation, meditation and prayer. 

Imagine if we did this here. First, highlighting and transforming the shadowy bits, and then how marvelous to spend a whole day contemplating the sacred nature of your life, to begin your initiation into winter, the time of gestation and going deep. 

                             Image from National Geographic: Mysteries of the Unseen World

                             Image from National Geographic: Mysteries of the Unseen World

Dreaming My Way to My Family

Dreams really do come true!

I've just returned from a heart-full week in Washington state where I visited, for the first time ever, my long-lost brother and his family. Two dreams led me to my family and I wrote about this in the newly published Chicken Soup for the Soul: Dreams and Premonitions. Sometimes the healing trajectory of a dream can span decades.

The first dream arrived in 2001, in the form of a waking inner voice experience that literally told me to go to ancestry.com. There, I met my fathers's first wife, Helen, and she was doing genealogy research for her family, including my brother Mark. I didn't know about Mark until I was well into adulthood, and we had never met. Helen shared interesting information about my family, and I was happy to meet her. Life went on.

Then, in 2007, dream number two came. I dreamed I was discussing how to have a healthy relationship with a dream character who was supposed to be one of the brothers I grew up with. But it wasn't his face. In the morning the inner voice nudged me to Google my grandfather's name. A photo of a high school football team from 1913 appeared, and I burst into tears as I recognized the face I had just dreamed. Remarkable...my father had been a foster child during the depression and I had no exposure to his family, and no idea of what my grandfather looked like. The ancestors were calling, and I picked up the trail.

Which led me to my first brief meeting with my brother just a few years ago. And to our wonderful extended visit this week, where I experienced the love of family that I didn't know my Soul was seeking.

Really, if you get an inner nudge from a dream or a hunch, follow it. It may be just the thing. And try not to wait. I realized today...if I hadn't poked around ancestry.com when I did, the small window of opportunity to answer Helen's call may have been lost. And if so, I would never have found my family.

Dreaming Like a Child in Bali

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.

Yellow Coco Creative Nest, Bali

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.

Yellow Coco Creative Nest, Bali, Dream Workshop

Family Dreaming Across Time and Space

We know we're connected to each other in the great web of life, and it's one of many gifts of dreaming when those deep and mysterious connections are revealed. Here's a wonderful dream story.

A dreamer at one of my workshops shared a dream image that came to her when I drummed a short conscious dream journey. She perceived serpents weaving in and out of her body, and frankly, she was a little concerned.  But after playing with the serpent energy through movement, and talking about the archetypal symbolism of the snake, she felt the incredible vitality and transformative nature of the serpent and was no longer uncomfortable with the dream. In fact, the dream brought her to a new awareness of the vital kundalini energy that fuels and births life, and of her loving relationship with her husband and child. 

To paraphrase a brilliant observation mythologist Michael Meade made...when we meet the sacred we're having a meeting with power and this requires a sacrifice of some kind. Our dreamer's offering was to dance in the workshop with the scary power of the helper that came to her in the form of the snake. She had to have courage to do this. The allies are not always cute and cuddly. They are meetings with big medicine, and they lead us to our deeper self.

The next morning, our dreamer shared a photo of a drawing her little daughter, around 5 years old, had drawn that evening, at a great distance from her location at the retreat. The drawing was so interesting her husband had sent it to her. It appears her little girl is witnessing the sacred loving dance of her mother and father, complete with hearts, the drawing reflecting the energy of the dreamwork that unfolded that same day. And what is that on the ground near her father's feet? It appears to be a serpent. This drawing is a snapshot of the beautiful connection of love in this family, and of the mysterious presence of the serpent archetype and energy of creation we explored that very day.

Father's Day Dream Story

This weekend is Father’s Day, and I want to celebrate the love of fathers, and all the complexities, challenges, and joys of our relationships with our fathers. Dreaming was the final healing piece for me to transform the father/daughter wound, later in life, when I was 45, during a 5 day Esalen workshop with my now friend, Robert Moss. I came away from that week, after doing a menu of Active Dreaming processes facilitated by Robert, completely healed of the anger and sadness I had carried for a lifetime. This was truly a miracle for me, and I saw and felt my long-passed father in a brilliant new light, one of understanding and forgiveness.

My father was hardworking, creative and adventurous…he went to night school to earn his bachelor’s degree and then his master’s degree, while raising his family. He wrote a science fiction novel, was a skilled photographer and reporter, an amateur astrologer, and he loved to dance to Santana in his Bermuda shorts and black socks in our living room.... Every Friday he left a little bag of pistachio nuts in my dresser drawer, and when it was time for dessert in my family, my father would ceremoniously unlock the bedroom closet that held bags of all kinds of cookies and chocolates for my brothers and me to excitedly select from. He died in 1989, and never knew all the things in my life I wish I could have shared with him. A few years ago, I thought of him as I was driving my car one day, and I played the oracle game...I asked for a message from the universe…was my dad watching over me from the other side?  I turned on the radio to see what the message might be, and there was his favorite Santana song playing. He was dancing in my imaginal world in that moment.

Dad Boxing.jpeg

He was also tough, very tough, as a retired military man, who served in the navy during WWII as a teen, then went on to explore the army, eventually retired as a Master Sergeant from the Air Force, then worked for the Civil Service, for the Defense Department, a true believer in fighting for his country. We had different world views, and he was hard on me, very. But he loved and protected me the best he could in his way.

Seeing my father with love instead of anger changed so much for me! The weight I had carried my whole life was gone, miraculously replaced by   a freedom to live differently, without anger. This was huge, and was a pivotal moment in my life, eventually inspiring my decision to study with Robert and to eventually return to school to earn my graduate degrees in Dreams, and Consciousness Studies…the healing power of dreamwork is real, and I wanted to learn more. 

Now, when I think of my father, I laugh at the goofy things he did, and I’m delighted by the creative parts of me that I seem to have inherited from him, and I send love to the challenging memories of our time together. Sometimes he visits me in my dreams, and that is always a gift.