The Floods last August in Louisiana.
The Floods three weeks ago in New Orleans.
NOLA, are you awake yet?
We are 12 years out. Have we learned our lessons? More importantly, have I? What was my truth 5 years after the BIG K? Am I living it now?
And oh yeah America, this is also your problem. If you aren’t asking yourself questions following this disaster, no matter where you live, I am sorry, but you are living in an illusion. Maybe this won’t happen where you live in your lifetime. But have you considered the lives of your children?
I know Charlottesville just happened and we are reeling as we are reminded once again how fundamental racism, white supremacy, and violence are to the fabric of our nation. And don’t get me wrong—racism and white supremacy and violence are the problem. One of the central reasons New Orleans has not recovered smarter and is still so horribly threatened by mother nature is because of racism and white supremacy and the violence that follows from it.
To me climate change and global warming are better named and understood as the ravaging of mother earth, the persistent imperialist, colonialist, racist, patriarchal, misogynistic, heteronormative, ableist, global capitalist materialist worldview….that is the threat to the earth, all of it, all together. And as intersectionality teaches us, it makes no sense to try to separate one aspect of this threat from another, for it is through our separation that we become weak.
Instead, take a moment to own up to it, this worldview is a part of me, and a part of you, and a part of all of us. There aren’t actually good guys and bad guys the way you like to think. And I know it’s comforting, to be able to fight against Nazis, I know that feels good, to be able to see your enemy in the flesh, and destroy it, but unfortunately this beast we are all a part of creating is a lot more complicated than that. We are all in this way too deep, every single one of us. If you’re in America, you are a part of this beast. Doesn’t matter where you live or what you do or how much “good” you are doing in the world or even how bad of a shake you got in life….we are all a part of this, and we will only get out of it together. The question is, are you courageous enough to face it in yourself, and act on it? Do you have the balls to love yourself even after you see the way your life is violent, oppressive and destructive to the lands that give you life?
We can’t live like this anymore…we have to make a change…we have to transform…we have to heal…we have to grow…we have to shift…so many incredible souls have awakened to this fact. But the question is will you put your feet and your resources where your heart is? Or will you continue to hold back because you’ve been hurt in the past? And perhaps most importantly, are you ready to sacrifice all of the ways this worldview is benefitting you?
>If you drink water, do you know where it comes from? Do you know which pollutants contaminate it and why? Do you know who suffers or profits when you buy your water?
>Do you ride in cars or travel by planes, do you use fossil fuels? Are you accountable to the harm the extraction of this resource causes?
>And where does your food come from and who is suffering, and what is suffering, and which lands are being desecrated, and which species are being wiped out, so that you can sustain yourself everyday?
…and it goes on and on….
Not knowing the answers to these questions is itself a form of violence and oppression against the land and waters that give you life. If we mean a robust intersectionality, then this form of violence and oppression must be acknowledged. And don’t get me wrong–I am very far from a purist in this. I don’t know the answers to any of these questions fully for myself. All I know is my ignorance is violence. This is not meant to shame you or blame you or guilt you. I’m not asking you these questions or suggesting you consider them so that you can become a “good” person or a “better” person. I’m asking you because if we don’t all start thinking about this, deeply, we are no longer going to be able to live on this earth.
Because this is what I know, from Katrina—the number one reason we have not recovered better than before is because we have remained in a state of denial. Denial about our racism and our deeply sick and violent criminal justice system, denial about our environmental vulnerability, denial about our misogyny, denial about our frail and selfish humanity. Until we wake up to the truth, nothing is possible. Yes the truth hurts—but trust me, it is better than this nightmare of denial. When we resist or deny our pain, we exacerbate our wounds, we act and speak from them, and we create more pain. And we don’t even know we are doing it, because we are numb to how it hurts. Until one day, the storm hits, and for a while, you just can’t deny things any more.
To humans on this earth–we are a part of this earth and it is hurting. That bond between life and earth and earth and life is getting stretched thin, the rope that binds us is fraying and so many things are dying, never to live on the earth again. The coral reef is dead, the whales are washing up on the shores, the forests are burning, the bees are not buzzing, and we are in a period of mass extinction on this earth. The balance between life and death has been tilted, and there is currently more death than life. Let yourself feel the way it makes you hurt, please, that’s truly all I ask. Please do not look at Hurricane Harvey and pity or have sympathy for anyone. Take a look at yourself and understand how you are a part of this. That is what I am trying to do right now, because to be honest this whole last cycle of storms and floods has reminded me that I’ve let myself fall asleep again.
And yes, it weighs me down and destabilizes me, distracts me from my creative projects, from my ambitions, from my passions, all of it. Facing the threat climate change poses to my home, it can be a real mother fucker. But all I know is if I don’t do it, I feel like a fraud. I have every penny to my name invested in New Orleans and I love this city with my whole heart, but I don’t actually have much hope at all that my children will be able to see a future here. The myriad of threats New Orleans faces from rising sea levels to the destruction of the wetlands to subsidence to hurricanes to epic flash flooding is just too great. I feel like to live a life with integrity, I have to take this reality to heart, and my actions need to align with the truth my heart sees. And at the same time I have no idea how to understand this truth without exploding from the contradictions it poses.
The Floods two weeks ago in New Orleans.,
Now Iris churning in the Atlantic Ocean.
NOLA, are you awake yet?
America, are you?
Things are changing. These floods are just one part of our alarm. The very fabric of our environment that makes it possible for us sustain life in our communities is transforming before our eyes. Are we going to transform with it…i.e…adapt? Or are we going to keep our heads in the sand?
When you come to terms with the realities of climate change, what do you feel ready to change? How can you alter the way you interact with the land you live off of and the people you share your resources with? What gives you hope? What gives you solace? And most importantly…what is your dream?
I’d love to hear your thoughts…and I’ll try my best to answer that question in the part 2! Stay tuned, with all of my love,
I know–dreams about a relationship that has ended in a difficult way can be some of the worst dreams of them all. Just look at my face below!! That’s what it’s like!!
It’s never fun to be reminded of something you feel you have lost. But what if you can turn that narrative around? In the video below, I’ll show you how to transform your understanding of dreaming of exes into something that is empowering and transformative (as all dreams have the potential to be…) I hope you enjoy!
Have any questions? Comments? Concerns? Let me know in the space below! I love to hear your thoughts.
Do you dream of love? I know I do. In my dreams, love comes in so many forms. In the form of animals, or plants, or birds, of people in my life and people I have never before seen, of celebrities, of huge crowds of people, of children playing games together in a circle, of being told, “I just love you so much”, or “I just love taking care of you.” In my dreams I experience a purity of love that feels otherworldly, when I am singing to the birds who perch on my shoulder, or the way leaves seem to glimmer when I’m walking down a path in woods. I dream of loving so deeply, a love that transcends this binary world to create ease where there is tension, a love that nurtures a vision beyond the here and now that allows for courage, a love that meets every single person precisely where they are, and bathes them with what they need to flourish.
But more often than any of that, I dream of love’s absence. I dream of a wandering the halls, looking for my lover, feeling like we will never meet up. I dream of yearning, deeply, for someone, anyone, to love me, and feeling like it’s impossible. I dream again and again of my struggles to feel that love in my life, to live it as my truth, and to demonstrate my faith in it through my actions towards others. As someone who has historically jumped on any opportunity to critique myself and my every thought, feeling, and desire, my dreams at times have seemed to fill up this cup, demanding that I attend to them and their relentless reminders that I am not fully measuring up, that my life is not fully aligned with love.
This push and pull, from dreams of the extraordinarily beautiful to dreams of the mundane obstacles, is part of what makes them so fascinating—and confusing. Certainly, my dreams don’t want me to beat myself up, do they? Why do they keep reminding me of the ways I fail to love then? But recently, I have come to realize dreams are relentless precisely because they are so deeply in love with us. The experiences in our dreams are simply reflections of some of our deepest truth, our unique vibration of unconditional love—and a constant lesson on learning to embrace the wholeness of our humanity in love, no matter how dark or shameful it may seem.
Once you understand that dreams are expressions of unconditional love, the meaning of your dreams becomes more clear. What’s most difficult to comprehend, really, is the magnitude and degree of internal transformation that is often required to accept the truth of unconditional love. All of this may sound strange, especially if you are someone who often has scary or painful dreams. But dreams have taught me that our fear and our pain is not something to be ashamed of…but rather a direct road back to the love and wholeness that we crave.
What keeps us from experiencing love in our daily lives? Why does it feel so difficult to love ourselves? How can we cultivate lasting relationships that are built on a foundation of love? These are the questions that are at the root of so many individual struggles to find peace and a sense of wholeness in this world. And they are the precise questions that our dreams insist that we ask, and work hard to offer us answers.
When I began dreamwork in 2009, I had just graduated college. While my time in school had its ups and downs, overall I thought of myself as pretty well adjusted (spoiler alert: I wasn’t). But back then, I though my central problem was that I could not find a long-term committed partner.
It was all I wanted, really. I tried to make it work with a lot of different people but it never really clicked. I knew the problem was me. What was wrong with me that I couldn’t find a partner? How could I fix it so I could experience love? This was the motivation for me beginning my journey with dreams.
There is a part of me that thinks of my younger self as beyond naïve. It was sweet when I thought not having a partner was at the root of all of my problems. And it was a rude awakening when I finally did meet my now husband and realized, in fact, I still had many, many more years of work to do on myself before I would feel whole.
But in another light, I can feel the yearnings of my younger self and treasure them. Because without our desire to feel love in our lives, without all the myriad ways we dream of love manifesting in our experience, I don’t know if we would ever have the determination and courage it takes to truly grow, transform, or heal. It is our dream of what love can be that gives us the motivation and strength we need when it feels like love is nowhere to be found.
In this sense, I do think love, or perhaps more to the point, a yearning for it, is what makes the world go around. And it is precisely when we acknowledge this yearning that our dreams meet us, and show us the way back. When the flow of love feels blocked in your life, it can feel nothing is possible. And yet, if we can muster just the slightest bit of belief that love still lives, our dreams come to us, again and again, showing us precisely where to look for it.
And so I invite you on such a journey with your dreams. When we approach our dreams as consistent, intimate, and piercing experiences of unconditional love, a new world of felt experience opens up within us, allowing for a total transformation of our understanding of ourselves and our world. Allow me to be your guide in receiving your dreams in this way, illuminating the pathway back to the love you’ve always dreamed of. It’s a path for the courageous—only for those willing to be uncomfortable and confronted for the sake of healing, transformation, and growth. But I promise you, the joy of reclaiming the love that has always lived in your heart will make all the struggles of the path well worth it.
What’s the most powerful expression of love you’ve ever felt in a dream? Would you share it here? I would love it!
With all my love dreamers,
Want to learn more about my Dream of Love Coaching program?
Using Dreams to Become Emotionally Empowered and Aware
Most people assume that their emotional reactions are caused by external stimuli. For example, when someone cuts you off on the highway, we think, I feel angry because that guy cut me off. The external action causes a somatic sensation of anger, which the mind identifies and then reports back to you, in the form of your thoughts. But what if that isn’t how it works? In my work diving deeply into the feelings present in dreams, I have come to understand that this is not actually the most accurate model of how our emotions work. You can imagine my excitement then when a fellow dreamer sent me a link to a recent episode of the NPR podcast Invisibilia which reported on research that backs up an alternative theory quite similar to my own. They interviewed the psychologist Lisa Feldman Barrett, which posited that instead of emotions arising as reactions to external stimuli, we have a constant somatic sense of like/dislike and arousal/non-arousal that is affected both by external stimuli and internal constructs.
How does the mind reach conclusions about how we feel given the multitude of external and internal inputs at any moment? It uses its memory bank. We reference past situations where similar sensations were felt with particular external inputs, and use them to make guesses about what we are feeling in the given moment and why. So, the mind perceives both that someone has cut you off and a strong bodily arousal, and then the mind remembers that the last time this bodily arousal happened in the car, someone cut you off, so then you conclude—I am angry because someone cut me off.
To reach clarity about our feelings, and ultimately who we truly are, we have to get to know that internal world, understand its beauty, its truth, its pitfalls and its blind spots.
It’s a fine enough system, but it is never 100% accurate. In fact, I’ve found through working with dreamers that the more certain you are that a feeling is being directly caused by something external, the more likely it is that you are missing an important aspect of your internal experience. Certainly, the external world has a role to play in triggering our emotions but it is always in a conversation with our internal world—our individual set of memories, traumas, relationships, values, and identities. To reach clarity about our feelings, and ultimately who we truly are, we have to get to know that internal world, understand its beauty, its truth, its pitfalls and its blind spots. Then, we can learn to make better guesses about what we are feeling in a given moment and why. We can even learn to transform the nature of our guesses altogether, and create a new story about our experience that is liberating and transformative.
To me, this is where dreams come in. Inside of our dreams, the barrage of external information we are subjected to every time we open our eyes is gone, and we are left only inside of our own internal landscape. Sometimes, people judge the content of their dreams to be both boring and uncomfortable. Boring; because their dreams depict them situations that they experience in real-life all the time, and uncomfortable because they experience the same stress and anxiety they feel in those real-life situations, only magnified.
But I would argue that it is precisely in this quieting of external inputs and magnification of interior sensation that dreams offer us their most unique and delicious medicine. Since there are no external inputs in dreams, we can understand all of our feelings and experiences in a dream as originating within us on some level. Because of this, dreams highlight situations in our life when we are overly focused on the external causes of our emotions, or where we are lost in projections.
For instance, in the case of the individual who became angry when they were cut off in traffic, they might have a dream of a very similar experience, which would be easy to write off—oh, I dreamt of being cut off because I was cut off in real life. But what if that person actually has a form of road rage? It would be easy enough for them to deny this, because in their waking life perception, every time they react angrily in the car, it is because of something wrong someone else did. But if they are dreaming about this anger, especially consistently, it suggests that there is an internal origin of this felt experience that the dreamer needs to pay attention to. If you have dreams like this, I would invite you to concentrate on the feeling of the dream as you experience it in your body, not the external details.
Becoming dutiful and consistent observers of our ingrained internal reactions and stories about our somatic emotional experience is vital to living in a more authentic and integral way.
The more you concentrate on the internal experience of the feeling, the more likely you are to recognize it in your waking life. You may even find that you are feeling some level of anger as soon as you get into the car—way before anyone does anything that might trigger a strong reaction in you. When you accept that some level of your anger originates inside of you, you can learn how to process and contain that experience in healthy, empowering ways.
There are other ways dreams can illuminate ways we may be projecting or externalizing the source of our feelings. One rule of thumb I like to use is whenever you “just know” something in a dream without there being much external evidence, there is a good chance you are experiencing a projection. For example, if an unarmed man is simply walking towards you in a dream and you “just know” that he is going to rape or murder you. Reflecting on the dream, you might simply conclude, I felt afraid because this man was going to harm me. You might even think this dream suggests a man will harm you soon. But actually the dream is trying to teach you about the projection you may be carrying in waking life. Remember, there are no external inputs in the dream, there are only aspects of your own internal landscape—in dream land, it all originates from you. So without any external evidence that he was going to harm you, how did you “just know” harm was approaching? If you are having dreams like this, the dream is suggesting to you fearing men is an internal filter your mind is using to explain your emotional experience. When we meditate on the felt experience of the dream internally, we can then become more present and aware of when the feeling is originating inside of us and when it is coming from outside of us.
This is not to say that feeling this fear is illegitimate, invalidate, or not a useful emotional response in certain situations. Given the statistics of violence and sexual violence at the hands of men, this projection is understandable. It is simply to suggest that becoming dutiful and consistent observers of our ingrained internal reactions and stories about our somatic emotional experience is vital to living in a more authentic and integral way. After all, if we simply assume external factors are the cause of what we feel and then make assumptions and take actions based on those assumptions we discount the vast, intricate, and ultimately beautiful array of internal factors that exist inside of each of us. Do we need any more evidence than the ongoing and despicable tragedy of police violence against black people of how harmful it can be when humans engage in this behavior?
Understanding the degree to which our emotions originate inside of us and getting to know our subtle, emotional body is one of the most practical and transformative things you can do with your dreams. And I couldn’t be more excited that psychological research is catching up with this understanding. If you are ready to dive deep into your internal world and learn what it means to really love yourself, consider joining my new program, Dreams of Love. In this immersive experience, your dreams will reveal your interior emotional landscape with a depth, beauty, and grace that is as intricate as it is universal. I honor all of the dreamers out there that have the courage to walk alongside their dreams with devotion.