Over the weekend, I had the pleasure of spending some quality time with two of my oldest friends. They are both extremely smart and had a lot of questions for me about the Dream Caravan and dreams in general. In talking it through, I realized the difficulty of trying to explain the work and approach I have towards dreams. The foundation of my understanding of dreams is that they are completely unique and individual–which means there’s not that much I can say about them broadly.
This difficulty is something I’ve encountered before, and is something that my dreamwork elders are also in tension about, as it came up at the practitioner’s retreat we had before the Dream Caravan. A core value of our understanding of dreams is to never simply interpret or explain them away. Instead, the focus is put on experiencing, savoring, and embodying the moments of the dream in order to feel its wisdom on a deeper level than our surface mind consciousness.
The process is meant to be collaborative. A credo that I live by is that no one can ever understand your dreams better than you. You are the final arbiter of what your dream may or may not mean, and it’s really important that you trust yourself through that process.
And so—where do I come in, or dreamworkers in general? If we are the ones who can understand our dreams best, why talk about them to anyone else? It’s a fair question, and one I’m currently struggling with. On one hand, I came into dreamwork through the model of speaking one on one to my dream teacher once a week for over five years. I was subsequently trained to do dreamwork through this model and this is what I’ve done with a wide range of people since I started doing dreamwork. I’m so grateful for the opportunity to work with people this way and through my own work and my work with others I have witnessed profound journeys of transformation and self-understanding.
Why does speaking with someone one on one help the dream process? Well, for the same reasons it’s easier to do anything with a guide rather than going alone. If you’re seeking wisdom and guidance from your dreams, that means on some level you want to be able to look at things differently than you are looking at them right now. Fastest way to get a change of perspective? Let someone else into your little world and trust them enough to listen to what they see when they’re inside there. This is especially useful with someone who is experienced with the terrain and has guided the journey of many other dreamers.
On the other hand, I can understand why people are resistant to working with their dreams in this way, especially if they feel like they do have some sense of what their dreams might be telling them and/or they have any difficulties trusting their own inner voice. Letting someone else suggest or collaborate with you about what your dreams might mean may feel pushy or just too intimate. Dreams are such a tender place for the individual—it can be hard to let anyone in. Plus, the dreams have a way of cutting right to the core of whatever internal issues we may be dealing with in the moment, and sometimes in ways that the dreamer might not even realize before they start talking about a dream. For all these reasons, I can see why it would be valuable to have a technique or method of working dreams that was more independent rather than a one-on-one coach.
This is what I am working on developing right now, and I definitely don’t have all the contours worked out yet. One tangible thing is that I’m going to be holding a Dream Circle live in New Orleans tomorrow night (7pm @ Libre Wellness). My intent with this circle and another I’m holding in a few weeks is to create a space where I can start to experiment and explore with various exercises and techniques I’ve learned about dreaming along the way. I am basically trying to develop an outline for dream exploration that can help boost and support the development of one’s dream practice when they aren’t quite ready to commit to the intensity of a one-on-one process. If you’re in the New Orleans area, I’d love to have you join in these circles–they’re going to be open, experimental, and a lot of fun! If you’re not around–have no fear! I’m definitely going to update you on my progress with this one as I go along!
Do you have any thoughts on working with dreams alone vs. working with a teacher, dreamworker, or friend? Please let me know in the comments below! Happy dreaming!