Dear Dreamers,

After a long absence, a return…This is my first blog since January. I had some challenging life events to navigate, and now I have new dream stories to tell.

Sometimes surprises come that are more than difficult, but usually a gift shows up in the experience, and if we are alert, dream magic. My hip hurt, and I found myself hobbling around for half a year until I eventually couldn't do the things I love, like hiking, swimming, and walking to my car.  I had severe arthritis in my left hip.

One May evening I went to an arthritis lecture given by skilled and caring Dr. Thomas Peatman, and asked him if driving my beloved Subaru Outback with manual transmission was bad for my hip. Oh yes, depressing the clutch was certainly not helping things, and I really should be driving an automatic! Ugh! I loved my well-cared-for, seventeen-year-old car and couldn't see how I could possibly get a new car soon. Plus, I really like shifting as I drive, especially when listening to upbeat music as I go.

Custer Car 1924, IMage from http://weareelectricity.blogspot.com

Custer Car 1924, IMage from http://weareelectricity.blogspot.com

I limped from the lecture hall to my car, looked at the night sky and asked the Universe to give me a sign. Should I replace my car immediately or try to make it through until the end of the year?

That night I had a dream…I'm driving on a bridge across the Bay and my car is inside a long transparent tunnel. A massive wave hits the bridge, crashing over my car, but I'm safe inside the tunnel. I woke wondering what turbulent times may lie ahead.

That morning I drove over the Richmond bridge to see a friend for a soothing Reiki treatment. I felt a little clunk as I approached the bridge but nothing happened and I made it easily to Mill Valley. Just as I was preparing to drive up a winding road to my destination, my car crunched and died, a block from a nice little independent car repair shop. I was safe, as in my dream. And what died in my car? The clutch! I heard the message. I sold the car to one of the mechanics, and adopted a shiny new champagne-colored Outback with an automatic transmission.

I had hip replacement surgery in June and was able to drive again within two weeks, something I would not have been able to do with my old car. My recovery has been remarkable, and I love my new car and my bionic hip, and I can hike, swim, and walk again. 

Tunnel of Love

Tunnel of Love

One final dream worth mentioning...many months before I had any idea of what was to come, I dreamed I was unafraid as I was wheeled down a hallway to have surgery. I knew all would be well, and had friends there to help me in the dream. They were the same beloved friends who were my angels during my recovery. The dream helped me go into surgery with confidence, and my friends helped me recover. 

Golden Dreams in the New Year

"Peace comes from within." - The Buddha

"The purpose of our lives is to be happy." - The Dalai Lama

Happy New Year Dear Dreamers,

Does this sound familiar? I had all kinds of intentions of getting tons of things done to close out the year. Only a fraction of those things were accomplished, and my dreams have reflected my over focus on work. I’m working by day and in my dreaming at night... my dreams have been, well, mundane!

On the night of the Solstice as I turned out the light I asked for a big dream, something inspiring. In the early morning I dreamed I was in a huge convention center, like a giant version of the jewelry trade shows I attend, and on the outskirts of this “village” live the shamans, the healers, and the psychics. I stopped to talk with a woman of power and said “I think it would be good for me to get a reading.” She answered, “I’ll be happy to advise you but in exchange you’ll need to bring me a sacred jewelry object.” I woke happy and intrigued.

Coincidentally, my first client the next morning brought four sacred items that my dream woman would like...a vintage gold Rolex watch, two Victorian-era gold medals of honor, and my favorite: a little golden Buddha object d’art...an adorable Chinese laughing Buddha, with a fat little belly to rub for good luck. My dream guide asked for a sacred jewelry object and I can’t think of anything better than that little Buddha. It’s a great synchronicity.

Go ahead! Rub my belly.  PHOTO: JANE CARLETON

Go ahead! Rub my belly. PHOTO: JANE CARLETON

I love the symbolism here. Time is precious: how do I use the valuable time I have to live my best life? Two medals of honor...how do I honor myself and the two sacred gifts I have in service to others?  And taking a moment to gaze upon that little Buddha, I smile and feel delight and peace. In that moment I feel I can meet that voice within me that reminds me of why I’m here. I feel relief. It reminds me it just takes a moment to pause and dream myself into that deeper, restful, inspired, perhaps laughing place.

Robert Moss calls me a Dream Appraiser. As a gemologist/jewelry appraiser and a dream specialist it’s been challenging this year to manage two careers. I opened my new office in May, with a gem lab/appraisal office combined with a sweet room decorated with Asian art for private dream sessions and dream groups. Gratefully, I’m busy with both, and there is still so much to do to create the balanced life I envision for the year ahead. Sometimes it feels like I’ve taken on way too much. But so many people feel this way. We all have so much to do. The week of this dream I really needed something to perk me up.

Finding an object that reminds me of my heart’s desire and connects me to my deep soul helps. When life feels too mundane, a talisman is a portal to a memory of a deeper, brighter, perhaps more golden way of looking at things. The alchemists knew something about this. That little Buddha made me laugh and was another unexpected reminder of something encouraging that runs through the fabric of life, popping up at just the right time. I offer the little Buddha to the woman of power in my dream, and to you.

May you have all kinds of surprising golden dreams in the year ahead!



Esalen Sunset Photo: Jane Carleton

Esalen Sunset Photo: Jane Carleton

Dreams and Gems

If you have an impossible choice to make, how can a dream or two help you make that decision? In my case, I’ve learned to be alert for a certain voice that shows up on the fringes of consciousness that brings clarity and comfort. I’ve written about how this voice led me to meet my ancestors and my brother in an essay for Chicken Soup for the Soul: Dreams and Premonitions, and how that literally changed my life.

Since 2006, when I decided to pursue my academic study of the healing power of dreams I’ve felt a tension between my two careers. I like gems and jewelry, and I’ve worked as a gemologist since 1984. It’s been my livelihood and my other passion. How can I walk away from that? And is it crazy to try to do both? I really didn’t know what to do about this.

Then that familiar inner voice came in a dream, stating boldly...”dreams and gems”. OK...I noted it in my journal.

Followed by more internal struggle about this as I continued working my day job as a freelance jewelry appraiser, and my evening/weekend work as a dream specialist.

Another dream came. I woke with the voice saying...”Ask for help.” I was thinking of how I could open my own fine jewelry appraisal office without the financial resources I felt I needed. So I started asking for help, as hard as that was. And it showed up in marvelous ways; support for my project came from friends in the form of donated furniture and cheers. Peers in the world of gems supported me with advice, some equipment, and cheers. And my dream community supported me with opportunities to do my dreamwork and to teach, with cheers, too.

1.48 carat Carletonite cut by Art Grant, photo by Michael Bainbridge

1.48 carat Carletonite cut by Art Grant, photo by Michael Bainbridge

Dreams and Gems. I’ve realized I don’t have to choose. As I reviewed my dream journals I saw the dreams have been telling me this for quite a while, but worry and narrow thinking prevented me from listening. Dreams do come to help us expand our habitual way of seeing the world and ourselves if we allow our old patterns to drop even just a little. Worry is a difficult habit to break.

Another little dream symbol came to me last week. I received a newsletter (well worth subscribing to!) from gem company Pala International, with a delicious article written by Accredited Senior Gemologist Elise Skalwold honoring the life of master gem faceter Art Grant. And I saw something I didn’t realize existed...a gemstone with my name, Carletonite, which hit me with a big "AHA". I saw it as a personal symbol of my ability to blend of the world of gems and dreams. The faceted gem has a wonderful dreamy inclusion cluster that looks like a little galaxy, and the rough crystal has two distinct areas of color that coexist quite beautifully, like gemology and dreamwork...all nicely packaged with my name on it.

Carletonite Crystal, photo by  Luciana Barbosa

Carletonite Crystal, photo by Luciana Barbosa

So, to honor my dreams and my livelihood, I’ve opened my new office in Walnut Creek, CA. It has two rooms: an appraisal lab, and a waiting room/dreamwork office. And both are so marvelous I find myself grinning as I work. It is many dreams come true. I'm convinced everyone has life clues hidden as little gems in dreams to help us along.

Incubate a Dream Tonight

“One of the most adventurous things left us is to go to bed. For no one can lay a hand on our dreams.” - E.V. Lucas

It’s a good season to incubate a dream. Yay for spring and new life!  The hills are still carpeted in green, the multi-colored wildflowers are waving hello in Northern California, and the days are warm and just right. Swim season has begun and outside in the fresh air, marvelous things are growing. Inside you new growth is forming, too.  

Try indulging in a peaceful moment before you go to sleep…slowly breathe in and out…and set your dream intention for the night. You can simply ask for a dream you can remember. Or you can be specific. Would you like to fly tonight? Or find a solution to a challenge? Do something adventurous? Maybe have a healing dream that helps you wake refreshed and vital? Or travel to someplace marvelous? Or have a visit with a guide or someone you love? Dream incubation often works. We can ask for a special dream and sometimes they actually appear that night. Sometimes they show up later, with patience and perseverance and a continued nightly focus on what you desire. Write your dream incubation in your journal and be ready to receive a dream. It’s always interesting to look at the dreams you have after setting an intention for the night.

Magic Spring by Michael Parkes

Magic Spring by Michael Parkes

I was surprised two nights ago to find I had incubated a dream without realizing it. Thursday night we talked about visitation dreams during the university course I’m teaching this semester. A visitation dream has the appearance of a departed loved one, or an ancestor, or a guide of some kind, and are typically felt to be inspiring and spiritual. We watched a deeply moving Tedx talk by Dr. Christopher Kerr on dreams and visions of the dying. He speaks of his experience working in hospice where he witnesses the sacred passing of individuals at the end of life, and has been inspired by the peace and comfort that is possible at this initiatory time when a departed loved one appears.

You can find the video here.

That night I saw my friend Dana in a dream. We were dining at a large round table with friends, and he was talking in his oh-so-Dana way, giving advice, and laughing his Dana laugh. I woke so happy to feel something of his presence and to remember him again. I was delighted that I had a visitation dream, which are such special dreams, apparently incubated without effort after the discussion we had in class.

The idea of dream incubation is thousands of years old, practiced by multiple ancient cultures, and it still works. You can experiment with this any night you wish, and you may even find you have a dream come true.

Indian Summer by Michael Parkes

Indian Summer by Michael Parkes

A Surprise Romance

Dreams can change your life if you jump in and consider the possibilities, even when you don’t really know that’s what you're doing. Here's an inspiring dream story.

A friend dreamed several recurring nightmares in which a man she knew fell asleep at the wheel while on a long road trip and had a terrifying accident. The person in the dream was a healing practitioner she regularly saw, and was not a close friend. Even so, the dreams were so intense and insistent she was truly concerned for his wellbeing. She learned he was going to drive over 500 miles to attend a conference, and she volunteered to drive him. She made arrangements to spend the weekend to do this, and all went well. On the drive home, he was so tired he slept much of the way, and our dreamer feels she may have prevented an actual accident by following up on the dreams in this way. 

We’ll never know for sure. But I suspect it’s true. She may very well have saved him from that event. The happy second outcome of this dream is that they deepened their friendship at that time, and they eventually married…happily so for many years now! Two dream bonuses in one!