Before I ever thought to relinquish my previous life—to shed books and dishes and clothes and furniture, to surrender winter blankets of snow and move to Hawaii—dreams were undulating in me, sending secret waves through my sleeping body. I’d wake in the morning with a vapor of salty air all around me, my hair tousled by sea breezes.
It was late fall in Minneapolis, and I’d never set foot upon the islands of Hawaii. For weeks I dreamed in the cadence of freedom: skies peach and purple opening wide at dawn, foamy waves cresting high and wild, lush green vines curling. I dreamed practical dreams too: I was seeking a waitressing job from an acquaintance I knew who’d moved to Hawaii, feeling into the willingness to work, to support the rare life I sought. Before I ever knew I could be so impetuous, so guilelessly devoted to beauty, my dreams were preparing me to take flight. The dreams enticed my senses with delight, and gave me enough courage to look at a map of the islands, to point to the island of Kauai and to say: there. That’s where I belong.
I’ve heard some people say that dreams are static, the unprocessed detritus of our waking life. I believe this is only true insofar as we refuse to attend to their presence, and learn their language. At many times in my life, I have kept a detailed dream journal, and I’ve found that this practice clarifies and brings me into intimate relationship with my desires. I begin to notice synchronicity in my daily life. I notice my own beauty, the beauty of others, and the earth’s beauty. Sometimes this means a sojourn in Hawaii, and sometimes it means noticing two cardinals on the branch outside my kitchen window, their vibrant red feathers a boon on the last grey days of winter.
Art - it seems to me - should simplify.
The art of dreamwork is to discover a personal gallery of symbols for ourselves, symbols that can serve as guideposts on the journey of transformation. The more we look and listen and feel, the less we perceive our dreams as a dive into chaos. Instead, dreams become a way of returning lovingly to a heart we remember well, one whom we long to know better. Dreams are a reminder that our imaginations are vastly rich, and can always be enriched by our own choices. And we also learn, through sharing our dreams with others, that we are not dreaming in isolation—our personal symbols are shaped by the collective, and we also influence the collective when we follow the wisdom of our dreams.
Last night I dreamed I was abundantly pregnant. Someone asked me if I was ready to give birth. No, I said, I don't think the baby is ready to come yet. As soon as I spoke these words, I felt waves of energy undulate through my belly, my whole body: this baby, these dreams, coming through me, ready or not. Like patches of moonlight on the path ahead, a subtle stirring awareness waking, our dreams get out in front of our changes, and light the way to our new home.
If you’re ready to gain greater intimacy with yourself through your dreams, to support the ways you’re changing, please join me for an Earth Day dream circle. We’ll be asking ourselves and each other freedom-inducing questions that enable us to go deeper into our own mythology of symbols: we’ll cultivate curiosity and openness to receive the beauty of the new selves we’re birthing.