Last night, Gillian had the strangest dream . . .
I ask Gillian to record her dream as though it is happening in the present. This simple step
helps the Dreamer to access dream emotions more easily.
I arrive at my exercise class and am surprised to discover my classmates looking at me with smiles of amazement. They are sweating and all have towels around their necks. They look happy, as though the exercise was positively exhilarating.
“What happened to you?” they ask. “The class started at 7:30.”
I feel so disappointed to have missed the class entirely. “I must have gotten the time wrong. Darn!” I think to myself. Then I awaken.
We begin the dreamwork with a question. I ask Gillian, “So, what’s the moral of the dream story?” (I take notes so I can rephrase her wording later.)
“Simple,” she says. “If you don’t pay attention to timing, you’ll miss out on healthy exercise with warm, lively people.”
“Now, can you make the moral of the story more general?” I ask.
“O.K. How’s this? Make sure you know the schedule for activities with lively folks, or you’ll miss out and regret it later.”
“Now, what is the moral of the dream story if you only pay attention to the physical message?”
“Hmm . . . Treat your exercise schedule with fun folks like any other important engagement and double-check the time, or you’ll miss out on both exercise and fun.”
I ask Gillian to close her eyes and deep breathe for a few minutes while imagining that she is enjoying a beautiful scene in nature with someone she trusts and loves . . .
Next, while Gillian keeps her eyes closed, I read her dream aloud. Then, using my notes as a guide, I repeat the “Three Morals of the Dream Story” back to her . . . Finally, I ask, “Gillian, does that ring any bells for you in your waking life—does this restatement of the dream morals remind you of any situation in your life . . . of anyone in your life . . . or, of some part of yourself—perhaps an attitude or a feeling?”
Within a few moments, Gillian looks as though she has had an insight—what is known in dreamwork as an “Aha!” “Well, my family and I live in various parts of the country and we are all getting together in the next couple of weeks at our cabin, but I haven’t checked the details of their actual arrival dates. I should since I’d be very disappointed to miss them through carelessness. And they are lively, fun folks.”
“How do the three morals of the dream story relate to the physical level?”
“Well, I may be missing out on health and happiness by not paying attention to a schedule for physical exercise.”
“Gillian, to conclude the dreamwork for the time-being, close your eyes and release all tension. Relax completely . . . Place one hand on your heart and the other on your solar plexus and breathe through your heart until you are aware of your feelings . . . Now, I’ll reread your dream story aloud . . . Tell me what you feel. How do you now understand the dream?”
“It’s my family. I need to make sure I leave at the right time—early, before 7:30 in the dream.
In my waking life, I was thinking of joining the family at the later part of the visit, but now, I feel being there when everything starts is important. So, I guess I’ll make some calls to find out when everyone is arriving.”
In the dreamwork, we explored only one technique and yet it yielded rich insights. In Gillian’s dream, the emotion of joyful anticipation led to disappointment and then regret. The dream gently nudges her to be aware of time.
In waking life, Gillian now has the opportunity to be on time in respect to her family. Her dream has come to bring her further along the road to health, happiness, and wholeness.
May Your Dream Wisdom Bear Much Good . . .