Here’s my confession: I have lost track of my dreams. Or perhaps my dreams have lost me…on purpose. When I began working with my dreams, I had a teacher. It was kind of a therapeutic/spiritual teacher type format, where we would have appointments each week, I would send my dreams and we would do that kind of intensive work that can happen in a 1 on 1 container.
Years passed. I started doing dreamwork with other people, and training in a more focused way to a specific method. Eventually I changed teachers, still doing the same kind of work, then changed again. Eventually I stopped going to sessions altogether, although by that point I had was doing sessions 1 on 1, which I still do today. Around that time I started doing weekly dream groups. So I was still having regular interaction with my inner life, although less so. And then I got married in March and started renovating my house, and I stopped hosting those weekly groups, and I wasn’t going to a teacher, and somewhere along that way…the dreams stopped coming in as clearly as they usually do.
To the point where even when I started doing weekly dream groups again this fall, there were multiple weeks where I had barely anything to draw on. And no matter how many times I told myself, I am gonna remember my dream tonight…a trick that has worked like a spell every time I go to sleep, when I awoke it would just slip away.
I’ve had to face the reality–I have dropped the ball when it comes to being in my relationship with my dreams. Dreams always respond to our receptivity to them. Where had my connection gone? And why? I tried to stay open to it…open to the unknowing…open to the signal of it. Maybe dreams aren’t truly for me? I can’t lie–it’s been pretty scary. I’ve felt a lack of confidence and direction with my 1 on 1 work that I hadn’t felt in years. I’ve been totally committed to a path of dreams pretty much since I began with them, and here I was, faced with being a dreamworker that can’t remember her dreams. Confusion doesn’t quite cover it…it’s been super disorienting.
But also a reckoning. I don’t think it’s a coincidence that I am just at the end of my Saturn return, prompting a review of all that has happened to me since December 2014. Right at the start of 2015, I received a clarity about what my purpose in my work is: “Make dreams a thing”. When I say a “thing”, I mean a commonly used tool for humanity’s spiritual and psychological growth and prosperity. A thing like yoga or meditation or EFT. And it’s fairly clear that if those modalities were only disseminated to people on a 1 on 1 basis, with hourly costs of up to $50-120, and where results could only be realized on a relatively long time frame, they wouldn’t have the scope and reach that they do. So dreams weren’t going to become a “thing” using the same container I received my teaching in. I needed to find a way to do powerful dreamwork that was accessible and could be done in the comfort of people’s homes.
But there was one part I was avoiding–deeply exploring exactly how to do that! I think somewhere I still felt that I needed a 1 on 1 teacher to figure out what my dreams meant, even though I tell people all the time that this isn’t true. Where there’s avoidance, there is fear. Fear of what? I think truly, of what “making dreams a thing” actually means–stepping into my own power and knowing as a teacher and lover of dreams, no ifs ands or buts.
So yes, first, thank you for witnessing me here. I am completely overwhelmed every time I consider how much support I’ve received on this dream path so far—most incredibly, by the exquisitely beautiful people that I’ve had the privilege to work with over the years. But truly the whole reason I am writing this is to announce to you–for accountability’s sake–I am fully committed to figuring out what exactly what I’m talking about when I say make dreams a thing in 2018.
In 2018 I will explore how to cultivate and nurture a relationship with my dreams that is as transformative, healing, and inspiring as I know they can be—outside of the 1 on 1 container, i.e., primarily with myself. This intention of mine actually formed when I began creating the 2018 Dream Wisely planner this fall. Each and every month includes a lesson and exercise designed to jumpstart a thriving dream practice…all designed to help you determine how to work with your dreams in a way that is nourishing and transformative. And I’ll be there right alongside all the other dreamers working all the exercises and sharing all I learn along the way. To follow along, join the Facebook group Dream Wisely here. I’m filled with ideas…possibilities…fears…and the unknown. And eager to connect with anyone else out there that is ready to make 2018 the year of their dreams as well. I would love to walk this talk alongside you, as we discover together what our dreams mean to us, and how they can be a bridge between our inner and outer worlds…and ultimately to the world we all want to create.
With all my love,
P.S. If you’re in New Orleans, I’ll be hosting a Dream Wisely New Years workshop–2018: Year of the Dream January 6th. Check it out here!
This past Sunday I was invited to give a talk at the First Unitarian Universalist Church in New Orleans. It is always a great pleasure and honor to do so, especially this week, where the theme I was given was hope.
Hope is a topic I’ve always thought a lot about, and especially in the past year since the election of Donald Trump. So I recorded my talk yesterday to share with all of you. In it, I speak about where I find hope on a daily basis, how I have found hope and vision in dreams, including a long series of holocaust dreams, and the amazing hope and inspiration I found through the actions of members of the UU church in New Orleans after one of their members was attacked in New Orleans this summer.
They are partnered with the Center for Restorative Approaches.
I hope you enjoy!
Have you ever had a dream about someone who has died? In this short video, I explain how you can understand these dreams and even use them in your grieving/mourning process.
Do you have a dream of someone who’s died that you’d be willing to share? I’d love to hear it. And if you’re in the New Orleans area, I’ll be holding a special space for people to reflect on those dreams together on Nov. 29th at the Glitter Box New Orleans. Let me know if you have any questions!
My spiritual awakening coincided exactly with my political one, as I decided to commit fully to my individual spiritual path while I was a radical organizer at Occupy New Orleans. I’ve tried to thread the needle between my devotion to my soul’s journey and my radical convictions ever since. It’s not always easy. A recent spate of articles in mainstream media reviewing the modern wellness industry poured gasoline on the debate that goes on regularly inside my head.
On one hand, the fierce anti-capitalist in me reads Lindy West’s journey at GOOP and nods repeatedly. She beautifully articulates the excessive materialism fueled by celebrity worship that has become a hallmark of certain alternative wellness circles. As hurricanes and sea-level rise continue to threaten my homeland, the idea of being a part of a movement that celebrates consumption at the expense of the earth is heartbreaking.
On the other hand, I seethe with when the NYT and NY Mag mock my industry. The articles make no mention of the ongoing American health care crisis that forces so many to look for alternatives, simply assuming that our mainstream health care systems have solutions when they often don’t. Chalking up the entire movement as the playground for the over-resourced is far too simplistic and downright patronizing.
Can these sides of myself learn to get along? I hope so, for my own sake. If there’s one thing all the voices in my head agree on, it’s that we need to change our way of relating to each other, the earth, and ourselves if we are going to have a positive future on this planet in the years to come. So what will it take for us to bridge the gap and build a collective movement that can truly change our world, as so many of us pray for everyday?
For one, we have to be willing to face questions like the ones posed in these articles. Too often, I observe troubling socio-political behaviors in spiritual circles without any clear path for dialogue or understanding. More than once, I’ve been shunned or silenced when I tried to speak up. Sometimes, these concerns can be labeled as “low-vibe”, “too rational”, or I am gas lighted, told that my issues are simply an emotional problem I have to solve within myself. But by shutting down dialogue or communication, we risk keeping these beautiful circles in a bubble and prevent them from reaching as many people as possible. Feedback is never easy to grapple with, but I feel strongly that if you are putting yourself in the position of leadership and/or mentoring others, keeping lines of communication open is vital.
A great way to prepare for dialogue is to wrestle with the difficult questions on your own first. How do I prevent my facilitation and healing work from being controlling and oppressive, reiterating harmful patterns found in our schools and workplaces? How do I cultivate spaces that nurture and make room for the full diversity of human bodies and experience? How do I respect tradition and indigenous ways without perpetuating colonialism, white supremacy, and patriarchy—traditions that may very well be steeped both in jaw-dropping beauty and deep-seated prejudices? How can I spark fruitful and supportive discussions of religion, race, power, money, sex, trauma, and death before they cause conflicts and fracture communities? When is it best to be tender and supportive versus confronting and firm? And finally, and perhaps most important, what more can I do to ensure that I am in righteous relationship with the earth’s resources I utilize to sustain my life and do my work?
These questions are constantly on my mind, and if I am in spaces where it feels like lots of these issues have never even crossed the minds of the facilitators, I bristle. Without them, too many alternative wellness practitioners fall into the traps the articles highlight—being overly image-conscious, opportunistic, ego-driven, and just plain harmful.
In a lot of ways, I can trace all of these questions back to a single source: a demand in my heart for all that feels real—no bullshit, no sugarcoat, no glossing over. This is probably the main thing my spiritual and political self share. If anything feels even the slightest bit saccharine or inauthentic it makes it nearly impossible for me to be present in a situation. When we deny our own hurts or inner conflicts to any extent, we end up living in a somewhat illusory state, keeping ourselves from the full picture. These illusions simply grow when we sustain them in community.
But when we open up our throats and let it all out—well it’s amazing how quickly the illusions can fall away. Let’s nurture those precious and gorgeous moments of release—by keeping it vulnerable, flexible, and responsive to the moment. The external world has become increasingly uncomfortable, unsafe, and decidedly un-nice. If we honestly believe our spiritual paths can do something about it, we have to make being real primary to our spiritual life—above feeling comfortable or even good.
After all, it is the love that remains after the acknowledgment of pain, grief, loss, violence, trauma, destruction, and abandonment—the love that remains in the face of every single aspect of our humanity that is the most powerful love at all. This is the kind of radical, no-holds-barred, totally jarring and wholly unreasonable love that makes my heart sing. As the realities of climate change lap at my doorstep down here in my home of New Orleans, I feel ever more certain that it is precisely this love that humanity needs if we are to thrive in the years to come. There is no willing away the contradictions of being human on earth, right here and right now. Choosing love and light without acknowledging these contradictions always leads to an energy of fakeness that everyone can feel, even if most people keep their mouths shut.
So how do we keep it real in the Now Age? By asking questions, staying open, and allowing room for the full spectrum of experience, even when there are conflicts. Let’s not walk away at even the slightest hint of tension, disagreement, or hurt feelings. Find the strength to stay and speak your truth with clarity. Seek with devotion and determination what feels most potent, visceral, and embodied to you, and don’t be afraid to disregard anything that doesn’t resonate. And when you find that truth, live it out with all the conviction you can muster, and don’t settle for anything less. The more we make room for the wholeness of our humanity, the more space we create for any and all human beings who wishes to usher in this age of transformation on this earth with grace, dignity, and courage.