Monday, February 15, 2010

Follow Your Dreams—and You Won’t Have to Chase Down Inspiration!

by Joyce Mason

My favorite midlife musing: I found my husband, thanks to a dream, when were both 49.  We’re reunited childhood sweethearts, born ten days apart, and we celebrated our 50th birthday together.  We hadn’t seen each other since we were young teenagers. My dream was startling, and I “got” the message because I had been paying attention my dreams for years.  What if I haven’t listened?

If that doesn’t pique your interest about the potential for dreams to change your life, another enticing reason to follow your dreams is their relationship to creativity. Whatever it takes to remember, write down, and analyze your night movies is so worth it!

In the dream state, we free associate mental and emotional content to create stories, but the message of how they may help our waking-life dilemmas or needs for insight will be lost if we don’t bring them to the surface.  It’s like having a buried treasure just beneath our boat.  We’ve got to be willing to put on our scuba gear, plunge down, and pick up the gold doubloons.

What’s that? You say you don’t have time? Think of the time you’ll save when you actually get flash answers to your day-to-day problems.  When you become skilled at remembering, writing down your dreams takes all of 10-15 minutes.  Most of the aha’s and connecting the dream dots to daily life experiences will happen in the penning or computing process.  (I do my journal electronically then print out to a binder, in case I need to get into the sort-it details.  It’s easier that way for me to page back and forth to see developing themes.  It’s like reading a book where the dreams build on one another like chapters.)  The exercise of bringing your subconscious content to mind won’t just boost your insights and creativity; it will help you master your life and life’s purpose as you get to know yourself more deeply—your needs, hidden motivations, and roadblocks.

Getting Started

Dreams must be courted, like a sweetheart.  They need to know you’re serious before they’ll give you the time of day.  If you don’t remember many dreams, here are some tips to help you remember:

  • Get enough sleep.  Longer is better for evoking dreams.
  • Avoid stimulants, especially caffeine, beyond morning.
  • Avoid alcohol at night.
  • Anything deeply relaxing before bedtime enhances—lavender baths, meditation, tense/release of muscles.
  • Affirm your desire to remember and your willingness to be a student of your dreams.
If you already remember or once you do: Keep a small notebook and book light at your bedside.  Even if you sleep solo, dreams are most accessible and best recorded in that hazy time between sleep and waking.  The book light gives you just enough light to get it down if you wake up in the middle of the night.  Otherwise, do it first thing in the morning.  Brief notes and memory joggers will do, although as a writer, I like to pen mine as full stories on the computer. Flow with your own personal style.  With time, you may even be able to remember a dream hours later, but at first, write it down first thing upon waking.

Cracking Your Dream Code

Dream dictionaries are OK for starters, but the best interpretation comes by exercising your mind and intuition through free association.  Learning your personal dream code can only come from the effort of cracking it. It’s your inner language and yours alone.  Here’s a contrast: Places can be literal or a symbol for what the location evokes in you, such as Paris and romance. I used to dream a lot about San Diego—dreams that often involved a lost love I took decades to get over.  Eventually, I got that San Diego was a pun for “sandy ago,” because we met on a beach as teenagers, or perhaps more aptly, “sandy ache-o.”  Just keep at it and look at recurring themes and images.  With practice, you’ll figure it out all on your own—perhaps with the help of a trusted friend or a few of them willing to share their theirs with you in a dream circle. 

Applying Dreams to Waking

Here’s the best part of the application. It nearly always happens all on its own with barely any intervention by your analytical mind.  You’ve opened the door between the right and left hemispheres of your brain by regularly saying hello to your subconscious.  Now when you’re in the middle of a thorny dilemma in a board meeting, the answer just “bubbles up.” In the classic book, “Higher Creativity,” Willis Harmon and Howard Rheingold talk about how much these “offline” practices like dreams, play and relaxation stoke the fires of creativity for that very reason. Even if you didn’t analyze a single dream, just opening that door to bring dreams to consciousness also opens the creative and intuitive floodgates.

Want to learn more? The Dreamwork section on my website is tantamount a free introductory course.  Sweet dreams!


Joyce Mason is a seasoned writer and astrologer from Sacramento whose gift is seeing symbols as guideposts. She writes with gusto on these topics on her own website and blog. Here on Perrie Meno-Pudge, Joyce writes the new quarterly astrology feature, Perrie’s Planetarium . Visit her website for more information on dreams: . Her blogs are Hot Flashbacks, Cool Insights  and The Radical Virgo . Joyce is available for workshops and to help you set up dream circles, especially if you live in Northern California. Contact her:

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