Journalist Joyce Lynn writes about the power of dreams from her own experience and shares the stories of those she interviewed for more than two decades to inspire other women to remember, understand, and listen to their dreams. Here, she answers some frequently asked questions about dreams.
Q. I seldom recall my dreams or I only remember snippets. What can I do to remember my dreams?
Gleaning inspiration from dreams happens with some preparation and effort. First, before you go to sleep, ask to remember your dreams.
Then, record your dreams in a journal or a diary. Some dreamers keep a tape recorder by the bed and transcribe their dreams later.
Record the events of the day, preferably before you go to sleep, but upon awakening works, too. Record your dreams and your thoughts about what they might mean.
Keeping a record of your dreams in a journal or diary gives you a written reference and stimulates more dreams. Recording even snippets of a dream will help remember more of the dream and future dreams.
Sometimes, a “negative” experience with dreams, such as associating a dream with a sad occurrence, can interfere with remembering dreams. Realize your precognitive dream about the event did not cause it but rather likely imparted insights to help you through the occurrence.
Q. What about recurring dreams?
A dream may repeat sometimes over years, sometimes with the same theme until we hear and address its message, often a life-changing one.
Q. I had a weird dream last night. Why should I pay attention to it?
One image or a series of scenes appearing on our dream screen regardless of how surreal or zany can impart guidance.
These stories offer some examples:
* An aspiring documentary filmmaker dreamed a dog was chasing her. She thought the dog represented society’s attitudes toward her. Then she realized the animal symbolized her own fears and she could confront them. Within three months, she edited rough film footage gathering dust on a shelf into a powerful film. She arranged two sold-out screenings.
She resolved to pursue a career in the media and present positive images. Since then, as a television film editor, she is fulfilling her mission.
* This writer was planning a talking heads television program with health experts when a voice in a dream said, “You’re doing this all wrong” and dictated a revised script in symbolic form. The script became the basis for a documentary film.
* An artist dreamed she and other women artists were called to bear witness against the Gulf War. She thought artists were helpless to elicit social change. The dream led her to create a series of visual communiqués about war and peace and helped her make sense of a troubled world. Since then, she has created more than 150 collages from the dream.
* A dream told me to check every “Sequoia” in the phone book. This tip led to a director for a demo tape.
These writers and artists culled their dream experiences to understand themselves and the world and in the process transformed their own lives and helped bring healing to the world.
Q. What areas in my life can benefit from listening to my dreams?
Dreams can warn of illness, guide us to the appropriate care and treatment, or be the place where healing happens. Dreams can help repair relationships and provide comfort during times of loss and grief.
Dreams enable self-expression, identity, and self-confidence. Dreams guide us to our true path, touchstones to finding and amplifying our voice.
Sharing our dream narratives, images, and stories deepens our understanding of the dream.
Dreams like art reveal truth. That is why totalitarian governments and dictators silence, artists, poets, and writers. That is why publications like this one are crucial.
Q. I associate dreams with therapy, neurosis, indicating something is wrong with you, and you need a therapist to help. How is what you espouse different?
My approach to dreams – intuition or the Wisdom Within, if you prefer – is not medicine, psychotherapy, or New Age ritual. Instead, what we call Sacred Dreaming, a spiritual paradigm, focuses on the ancient tradition of dreams as a natural resource available to each of us to enhance our lives.
Q How did you become interested in dreams?
While writing a screenplay, I grew increasingly puzzled about how to craft the end. Then, a dream provided the answer. I dreamed of an etching framed on my wall. In the black and white drawing, five women were entwined by their work and play. The next morning, I jotted down this scene:
INT. JENNIFER’S LIVING ROOM
Wedding presents fill every available space; boxes line the walls. Jennifer in her nightgown goes to a box marked “Salvation Army.” She opens it, removes a typewriter, and puts it on the table. She returns to the box and takes out an etching of five women playing, writing, painting. She studies the picture, slumps in a chair, and stares at her presents.
Several scenes later, Jennifer, who midway through the movie had decided to give up her flourishing career as a television news reporter to marry Mr. Wrong, stuns her friends. At the altar, she announces she is calling off her marriage. She promises to return to journalism with a renewed social conscience and to find strength in herself.
Fortunately for Jennifer, her creator’s nocturnal message saved the heroine of this movie, Real Dreams, from a terrible mistake. Fortunately for this writer, at the time disillusioned with my own career, the dream launched my work in a new direction.
I remembered this first dream after years as a left-brained political journalist. The dramatic image imparted the ending for a screenplay I was writing. Then, confronted with a potentially serious health condition, dreams guided my healing. Subsequently, a dream directed me to a healthy vegetarian “eating plan” I still follow. I still continue to call on dreams in all phases of my life.
I rejoice in sharing my dream experiences and those of others I’ve interviewed for more than two decades so you, too can call on the healing power of dreams for well-being, positive relationships, successful work, and affirmative social change.
Q How can I incorporate dreams into my work and life?
Does your dream guide you in a specific or possibly new or renewed direction or does it offer you a perspective on what to say or how to say it.
Sometimes the dream’s value is immediately clear, sometimes its value will reveal itself as part of the creative process.
See the stories of how others have used dreams in Plum Dreams Media publications. See what ideas they inspire.
Take a recent dream or a memorable dream or a recurring dream and play with it until you have a sense of what the dream is telling you.
Then, consider how to incorporate the dream into your life, express its message, and act to make a difference in the world.