I am a pretty practical gal and this is really important when you're on a "spiritual journey." It is so easy to get overly concerned with your "progress" and status -- especially when you get what I call "dreams of grandeur," like I do. Don't get me wrong. I love thinking I am the queen of the world and that I have special powers, but I know this is just an illusion of my ego ... wanting once again to be noticed, be special and be somebody. So I am grateful for the dreams that I have that not only knock me down a few notches (you know those dreams where you are infested with lice and vermin?) but also provide me with mundane and practical advice.
I have what I call dreams and then what I call dream experiences. In dreams I feel this sense of something more ethereal, where I am bit removed, more of an observer in the process. With experiences, I feel like I am engaged in the action -- there is something really happening and I am participating. Sometimes I can even use my mind to influence the events as they unfold, which is really amazing. Then there is this other category and I am not sure what is going on there, but I just hear sentences or words in that between space, when I am just waking up, that seems to be really practical and directive. My sense is that it happens during this time in my sleep process so that I can remember the "gift" of insight and figure out a way to apply it to my life. Sometimes this information is directly related to something I am working on in my waking life and then other times this feedback comes out of left field.
I will give you and example of both.
One day I heard a voice when I was waking up that said: "Brush your teeth with baking Soda." I had to laugh. I was in no way thinking about dental care for weeks before. I did not have an appointment to get my teeth cleaned nor was I wondering if my smile was getting dull. It just came seemingly out of the blue, but you know what I now do? I brush my teeth with baking soda. No question. It can't hurt can it?
The other was directly related to a long term project I have been working on. I am making a film on what it means to be a woman or more precisely what it means to live feminine power and values in this culture. My whole life I have been confused about this because I was raised with a Western masculine worldview so everything I do, think and know has been influenced by those values (which I also claim as part of me, the masculine part.) I want to know how can I reclaim the essence and power of the feminine given the stranglehold my masculine-influenced psyche has on me and live a more balanced life? How can I do this? How I ask you? But that is a longer discussion.
In my research for this film I had been reading other women's stories of struggle and liberation, but they were a bit off topic. One morning I awoke and was told this full sentence -- "dance of the dissident daughter' which to my knowledge I had never heard before. It was early in the morning so I wrote it down and went back to sleep, but I remember thinking at the time how clever that was and maybe it could be the title of my film because I am a dissident and a daughter. I forgot about it until a week later when I was going through my dream journal and came upon it. A quick Google revealed this -- Dance of the Dissident Daughter is a book by Sue Monk Kidd. The subtitle is - A Woman's Journey from Christian Tradition to the Sacred Feminine. Right ON TOPIC! Needless to say I read it and was able to relate to her journey from the voice of the external Christian patriarchy to leaning how to honor and be guided by her own inner feminine voice.
I am so glad when the guidance is direct. I mean that was so clear wasn't it? But what about when a dream is all convoluted, non-linear and confusing? Well, I am no expert at dream interpretation, but I find that if I hold the imagery or the feeling of the dream -- don't speak a word of it to others -- in my mind and heart then something may come to me, like a knowing, a thought, an image, a word that helps me understand the dream symbology. It just takes a bit of time. And then of course when I am lazy and impatient I just ask someone I know who knows more than me, which is not what this inner journey is about. This journey I am on to discover the feminine inside has a lot to do with listening and discovering the symbolism of my own life AND I have to do it.