“Deep into that darkness peering, long I stood there, wondering, fearing, doubting, dreaming dreams no mortal ever dared to dream before.”
Edgar Allan Poe
WHAT IS DREAMWORK?
Dreams can show us aspects of ourselves and send us messages that we can’t access when we’re conscious. Often those messages revolve around how our lives are directed (and often restricted) unconsciously by rules we’ve told ourselves to live by. An example might be someone who believes they are responsible for others’ happiness: “If someone is sad, then it’s my responsibility to make them feel better. And if it doesn’t work, it’s my fault.” That incredibly common rule can keep us in a never-ending habit of putting others’ needs first – and our own needs second, third, or fifth.
We have all sorts of unconscious patterns, belief systems, and habits that rule us and bring comfort not because they are fair or fact, but because they are familiar and comfortable, but all they do is deprive us of joy. Dreams help us discern between our core beliefs and the unhealthy thought patterns disguised as truth.
SO, LIKE, YOU ANALYZE SYMBOLS AND STUFF?
Not exactly. Dreamwork is less about what happens during your dreams and more about what you remember FEELING in each dream. I don’t need to know the exact colors of the sky in that dream about your mother, or what the talking dog said to you during that nightmare – I want to know how you remember feeling as the dreams went on, and if those feelings are familiar to you in your conscious non-sleeping life. Many of us walk around in life motivated by unconscious desires that often keep us locked in cycles of self-doubt, false happiness, and restriction. Dreams help bring those unconscious patterns to the surface, so you can make the choice of whether you want to continue to abide by these patterns or not.
WHAT IF I DON’T DREAM?
You dream. You just don’t remember them. It can take some practice to successfully remember dreams (even just snippets suffice) but it doesn’t take long. Often when we have trouble remembering dreams, it’s because we unconsciously don’t WANT to. And that makes sense – dreams can be uncomfortable; the scenarios, people, conversations, and feelings can be unsettling or simply confusing, but I promise that writing down what comes to mind right when you wake up will train yourself to remember more dreams as the days go on. Write whatever you can remember in a text and send it to yourself before you scroll through Instagram in the morning – make it easy on yourself.
THIS FREAKS ME OUT
That’s OK! Dreamwork can be uncomfortable, but it doesn’t have to be scary. Dreams don’t exist to tell you some deep, dark secret about yourself that you don’t want to hear. That weird sex dream isn’t your subconscious telling you what you ACTUALLY enjoy in bed; that dream about your childhood isn’t a mental message that you’ve got hidden memories begging to come out; that nightmare about a past traumatic life event isn’t a sign that you’re broken and unhealable.
Dreams are simpler to work with than you might think. Even just a few scattered pieces of a dream can reveal powerful messages for us to apply in our daily lives. Dreams reflect our waking lives with astounding clarity, and they don’t judge or criticize what comes up while we sleep.
Choose dreamwork if:
- You feel there are rules and restrictions you abide by that don’t serve you.
- You have nightmares.
- You can’t remember your dreams and want to start.
- You often find yourself dating the same kind of person over and over and can’t seem to break the pattern.
- You feel your stuck on a hamster-wheel of undesirable outcomes and emotions.
- You are ready to have tangible and useful tools to combat the toxic behaviors that keep you from feeling happy.
- You feel “called” to look at your dreams.
- You want to cultivate better relationships with yourself and others.
- You want to supplement your current mental health work with something that explores your subconscious.