“Dreams say what they mean, but they don’t say it in daytime language”….Gail Godwin
Getting Dreams to Stick
There’s two key things about dreams I have come to understand.
1. They are slippery little suckers (thanks Julia Roberts).
2. They speak in ‘tongues’.
Have you ever had the most amazing dream? You knew it was important. You were convinced you were going to remember every detail about it. Guess what? You didn’t. It slipped away in the fog. That happens so often. Even when I’ve woken briefly with the details of a dream uppermost in my mind, ten minutes later it’s gone.
The other thing most of us forget when it comes to dreams is they have a language all their own. They communicate in symbols.Often those symbols mean something different to what we think they mean! We need to shelf our analytical mind, our expectations and tap into a different part of ourselves if we are to get the messages that dreams often give us.
Recalling your dreams
Here are my list of suggestions for increasing your chances of remembering your dreams:
1) Set the intention before you go to sleep that you will remember your dream. Tell yourself in 3 different ways.
2) Keep a notebook and pen by the bed to record your dream symbols.
3) When you awake, don’t get up straight away. Linger over the dream in your mind. Instead of thinking about the dream as a whole, pick out the key symbols in your dream. As well as the symbols determine the feeling of the dream, the overall emotion of what you felt in the dream.
4) Then write those symbols and emotions down immediately in your notebook.
5) Add to your notes during the day if something comes to mind about the dream later.
Getting the meaning of the dream
Dreams are deceptive. They can be incredibly simple and clear or the complete opposite. Whilst I’m no expert on dream analysis, here are some ideas for interpretation that may help. One thing I do know though is that we all love sharing our dreams and talking about them. However, your dream is your dream. Its message is for you and whilst others may put their slant on it, the meaning you attribute to it makes it your dream, no-one elses.
1) List your dream symbols:
Places or environment – the setting for the dream
Things – books, furniture, houses, toys, cars, planes
Emotions – the overall feel of the dream
Any words spoken
2) Brainstorm alongside each symbol anything that comes to your mind. Almost like a word association game. You can also use a dream dictionary, but try with just your own ideas first.
3) Try and get an overall meaning of the dream based on the above. This could take a few days. What do you think it is trying to tell you? What insights have come to you?
4) Can you incorporate any ‘teachings’ or insights from your dream into your life now? Do you need to take some action or make some changes in your life as a result.
Grief dreams in particular can be very useful in helping to work through the gamut of emotions you may be experiencing. They can tap into your subconscious in ways that your conscious mind isn’t able to. This then allows you to excavate what is going on beneath the surface. Remember though that dreams may not always be what they first seem. Often loved ones may be there, but may not speak. They are near but they are different. You may want answers; they may not give them to you directly. Try not to focus on what hasn’t happened in the dream but what has.
Revisit the four categories of grief dreams in Part 1 and see if your dream slots into one of those. It may not. Use it as a guide to help you as you journey through grief.
To live is to experience so much of what it is to be human. To experience tragedy, challenges and struggle. I posted this article a while ago, “Have you got the L Word in your bag” and I wrote: “We cleverly find ways of dealing with the situations and circumstances that we find ourselves in. We’ve got our own little bag of goodies. Our own personal and unique arsenal full of weaponry to get us through.”