My dreams have been on fire lately; I'm remembering three or four a night and it's no surprise. I'm in a massive transition point in my life. I've just returned from a two year quest in South America to discover my passions and now I'm at the crossroads of putting into place all that I've figured out (although that's a story for another blog post).
The truth is our dreams are always firing away. It's just that sometimes they seem to hold more power, such as when we are going through a change. Sometimes we seem more receptive to remembering them, when we can really use some extra guidance.
The truth is, we all dream, even animals. Our bodies and brains are fine-tuned, life-sustaining, efficiency machines. Everything that happens within all of us is either a reaction or proactive course of action to keep us healing, growing, evolving and healthy. This is true for our physical bodies, but even for that which cannot be seen, such as our emotions, thoughts and ability to use language, to plan and to make choices.
In this context we dream because it is good for us, because they help us to heal and evolve. Our dreams hold transformative power. It is the function of dreams to bridge between our physical and ethereal selves, that of which we are aware and that which resides in our unconscious. And so there is always something that can be learned from a dream.
When I had made the decision to go to South America, I had lost my drive and love for the work I was doing. I wanted to leave management consulting and go to something else, but I wasn't sure what. As I started to consider going on a journey abroad, I also considered returning to my former company in hopes of the quickest path out of the toxic environment I was in.
I interviewed with my former company, made my case, got the offer and then set the intention to have a dream to help me decide what to do.
I woke up knowing that the dream I remembered was related to this big decision. In the dream I am at the beach with my family. They call me into the water and as a wave hits me, I realize I'm holding my laptop over my head. I go back to the beach to shake out the water and in doing so I get sand on it. I flip the computer over and over trying to get rid of the sand and water. Eventually, I decide to go inside to get ready to go out for the night.
In working through this dream, I realized that the laptop was representing my current work. Both the sand and the water (representing my current and former consulting companies) were a problem and what I really needed to do to best serve myself was focus on preparing for my journey abroad.
Based on this dream, I decided to turn down the job offer. I now understood that it was a distraction from the quickest course of action towards going after my passions. I set the intention to get on a new project to sustain me until I was able to quit and head south.
Dreams use symbols that hold energy to give us direction and they do it during the night while our bodies and our minds are at rest. This helps to take out the motives of our ego and rational thought processes and gives us the opportunity to tap into what is happening on a deeper level within us.
Our dreams are working on us even if we are not working with them. It's kind of like your body processing any food, even if you aren't working to give it the healthiest food. It will happen anyway, but you can make choices in your best interest. If you want to feel your best, I invite you to have a relationship with your dreams...to feed them healthy "food". It is a practice.
We can start by setting the intention to dream and pausing to notice how we feel when we first open our eyes. If we remember a dream, we can write it down, give it a title and note any themes, emotions and what questions the dream is asking of us. We can start to work with the symbols in the dream and understand that they hold energy and messages for us.
If we are not sure how to do this ourselves there are many resources to seek out including books, dream groups, workshops and dream practitioners.
The first step is just to notice. Notice the energy and emotions you feel around dreams and symbols in your waking life. Consider the possibility that the key to "living the life of your dreams" starts...well...within your dreams!