Friday, July 26, 2013

All I want to do is Dream

"All I want to do is dream..." (song by the Everly Brothers).  But what can you do with these dreams that float about in your mind at night?  They are intriguing; most people have found themselves curious about a particular dream experience they have had.  Maybe a flying dream, or a falling dream, or nightmares.  What about those reoccurring dreams? Do they mean something?  This blog will give you a basic introduction on how one could start a practice of remembering dreams and why one would want to work on unravelling the mystery of your dreams.  The following is one way to begin playing with dreams; it is a place to start...

There has been much fascinating research done on the role that dreams play in our lives, and for our brain development, including learning and memory.  The ancient cultures all had a practice of studying their dreams; the Egyptians, the Greeks, the Native Americans, etc.  In dreams amazing things happen to us and we are capable of awesome feats. To think; all of these stories are coming from your imagination!  So, do they mean anything? Is it just the effect of your midnight snack that has created these bizarre stories that play out in the night behind closed eyes? Or, is it a message from your wiser self? The answer is, yes to both; sometimes it's the snack and sometimes it's the wiser self.

Dreams are said to come from the unconscious mind. That is the opposite of your conscious mind. It's the part of you that is aware of all sorts of things that your conscious mind has filtered out.  It knows lots of stuff your conscious mind hasn't a clue about.  Your conscious mind is too busy thinking about whether you locked your door, or if it will rain tomorrow.  As my dream-guru, Dr. Carl G. Jung wrote, "Consciousness can keep only a few images in full clarity at one time, and even this clarity fluctuates.  The unconscious, however, has taken note of them and such subliminal sense perceptions play a significant part in our everyday lives.  Without realizing it, they influence the way in which we react to both events and people."  

So how does the unconscious relay information to us, if it's always unconscious?  You guest it, through our dreams.  When you have a dream that has emotional weight ( positive or negative ) for you, or is reoccurring, or simply arouses your curious nature, chances are it's worth exploring.  These dreams are thought to be a form of connection with our true selves, or our psyche.  The real you; not the side of you who shows up at the board meeting, or the book club.  These nightly visions of wonder are speaking to you in a symbolic language and through metaphors.  Your unconscious is very literal and loves a good fairy tale.

Looking at dreams through the lenses of myth and symbolic meaning is the key to forging a relationship with your dreams.  Dr. Jung had a process he prescribed called "amplification".  It involves making a personal association with your dream symbols and metaphors.  Let's say you have a scene from a dream, or an image; ask yourself "What does this remind me of in my life?" " How does this make me feel, or think"?  "What happened because of something else that happened?"  Then explore the language of your dream.  Do you have any play on words, or puns? Chocolate in a dream might be about the sweetness of life, the moon might be translated as the light in the darkness; meaning, the understanding coming out of confusion.  Ann Faraday a British psychologist gave the example of a tidal wave in a dream having to do with a person's title, as in privileged.  Record all ideas you have around a particular image from your dream.  Brainstorm and personalize on your images before consulting any dream books.  Dream books come in handy when you want to know about numerological meanings (a #1can mean a new beginning), and cultural/historical meanings.  The final stage is exploring how these interpretations apply to your current predicament.

 A person who is connecting to their dreams is connecting to their psyche.  Here is the chance to listen to your inner workings and get closer to your emotional world.  Regular dream work will enhance your understanding of yourself, your relationships with others and the world around you.  It can lead to healing, deeper knowing, and growth.

Call for a consultation if you'd like to do more dream work on a therapeutic level! (404-702-8474)
Or visit my website:

"Dreams can provide insight into the concrete problem of making sense of ourselves." Dream Researchers Morewedge & Norton.

"The dream is a little hidden door in the innermost and secret recesses of the soul, opening into that cosmic night which was psyche long before there was any ego-consciousness and which will remain psyche no matter how far our ego-consciousness extends."  C.G.Jung

Thursday, July 11, 2013

The Light of Poetry

Some time ago, a thoughtful and wise friend pointed out that people don't seem to pay much attention to poetry like they use to in the past. She thought sadly, it might be a dying art in mainstream culture.  We just don't hear it often, or read poetry much anymore. Evenings of poetry reading in libraries, cafes, or book stores no longer seem to be the thing to do.  Even school children, in my experience, aren't required to memorize a poem and recite it for the class.  The only poems we seem to read are in our birthday cards.  

I hadn't paid much attention to poetry's presence in my life until I started thinking about what she said.  It made me sensitive to my appreciation for poetry. It seemed important to not allow it to fizzle out of my life. And so I began to look for poems on line, I pulled my poetry books off my shelf, I read fun poems to my children, I even made a point of reading the poems in the beginning of novels. 
The usual "I love you" notes I would place in my son's lunch box were replaced with short quotes that inspired young minds.  Poetry became the art work decorating my mind. 

What really became apparent to me is that when a poem resonates with a truth that connects you to your own truth, it fills you with a warm calmness, reminding you that you are not alone in your experiences.
Poetic truth is something that has always been known, only its been tucked away in some corner of your heart where there was never any light, until the poem flipped the switch and that truth was "enlightened". Let's keep flipping the switches on.  Let's keep poems decorating the walls of our lives. 

It is difficult to choose the poems I want to share here now. It is like talking about movies, or books with a friend. You want to list them all so no one misses out on a good thing.  I'll start with two: 

Have patience with everything unresolved in your heart and try to love the questions themselves...
Don't search for the answers which could not be given to you now, because you would not be able to live them.  And the point is, to live everything. Live the questions now.  Perhaps then, someday far in the future you will gradually, without even noticing it, live your way into the answer. 
-Rainer Maria Rilke

Good people, 
Most royal greening verdancy, 
rooted in the sun, 
You shine with radiant light. 
In this circle of earthly existence
You shine so finely, 
It surpasses understanding.
God hugs you.
You are encircled by the arms of the mystery of god.
-Hildegard of Bingen

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Taking your First Steps to Therapy

If you have come to my blog you are probably thinking about counseling for yourself or someone you love.  Maybe this is your first time looking into therapy or maybe this is an old hat for you.  Either way, starting with a new therapist can be daunting.  Sharing thoughts and emotions with a stranger is unusual; but it is also very freeing.  A therapist is not interested in passing judgement, or giving you their life story as in "take it from me, I know what is best for you",like your best friend or your loving mother might do.  A counselor is interested in helping you decide what is best for you from the perspective of attaining a balanced, more satisfying life. You don't have to worry mid sentence "Am I talking too much about myself?" You're suppose to talk about yourself.  You have someone's undivided attention who has your best interest in mind; this is very comforting.  In fact studies have shown that this unusual dynamic of being listened to, and feeling understood by itself  has healing properties.  I encourage you to move beyond your doubts, or your fears and try counseling.  Even a few sessions with a trained professional can have lasting results! Visit my website, and call for a consultation.