Tag Archives: Dreamwork

Dreams From the Box – Exploring Transformation With Jail Metaphors

hallway with window
Photo by Jimmy Chan on Pexels.com

Nov. 26, 2018

The reason I like to explore transformation using the metaphor of jail is because when strong negative emotions are operating within us, they can imprison us within walls of fear, anger, jealousy, sadness, etc. I like to think of the ego as being exactly like a prison wall, trapping the True Self within seemingly impenetrable cement walls, high spiky fences and cold steel bars. The reason jail is such a good metaphor for ego is because when someone sets out to develop new capacities within them Self or to strengthen their skills, then it is as though they are setting out to demolish the inner walls of fear. Every time we wake up to a new truth about our self or about others or about life, it is as though we are operating a wrecking ball & bulldozing our way out of the inner jail which contains us.

Everyone can have the “feeling” of being in a jail. When we work at a job which we don’t like, it can feel like we are prisoners within our own workplace. When we live in a neighourhood which doesn’t bring us joy, this can feel like being jailed. When people are living in poverty or have very limited financial means, it can feel as though they are prisoners – wanting to do more with their life but having no way to get there. When a woman lives with a man who is abusing her, physically or emotionally, this can be like a jail. When a man works hard for a steady and strong income, but his wife takes his money and spends it frivolously, this can be like living in a jail. What I am trying to demonstrate here is that regular day-to-day life can “feel” like jail when there is an abuse of power in the environment, whether at home or at work.

When I hear dreams from prisoners, often times I find that before they were in jail physically, they were already “feeling” like they were in jail metaphorically. They wanted things for themselves and their families but couldn’t see how to get them and they couldn’t see how to change the feeling of being trapped so they tried lots of ways to try to get what they wanted, in the hopes they would no longer feel trapped, but sometimes the things they did hurt others and the outcome was that they were arrested and wound up in jail. Now there are two challenges ~ the inner condition of feeling jailed which all humans can experience, and the outer condition of living in a physical jail.

What I tell the inmates who call me to share their dreams & nightmares is that they have very little control over the conditions around them but they have ALL the control when it comes to their inner condition. When they can identify a huge challenge, fear, or issue that’s coming up in a dream and we can work through it until it’s no longer an issue, then it is like being released from an inner prison and it is so freeing. This is the same approach which works for everyone, but for the inmates it’s all the more powerful because they face a real-life jail every day.

When we do the transformation work on our inner Self then we begin to see changes in our outer world. When we first think of our metaphoric jail and free our Selves from it then we can find an abundance of opportunities in our environments which weren’t available to us before. This is an incredibly empowering process which can truly change everything.

Dreamwork For Inmates: March – October 2019 at a Glance

From March to October 2019 the Dreamwork For Prisoners initiative continues growing. Numbers soared since February increasing from 14 participants to more than 50. There were 7,516 calls made to the crisis phone line during this time. As inmates get transferred or released they stay in contact, which opens us up to work with more and more jails across Canada. We now have inmates calling from Maplehurst, Toronto South, Penetang, Lindsay, Kingston, Thorold Detention Center and Springhill Institution. We are running four phone lines to handle the volume of calls and are actively seeking to train more volunteers to receive calls.

We also continue to connect with friends & family of inmates offering encouragement, support, resources, etc.

The most remarkable transformation takes place with the inmates who call regularly, sometimes daily. In our calls, we talk about some of the biggest challenges the inmate faces but also discuss their greatest strengths so that we can visualize a very bright future for the inmate. Often times inmates or their family members share dreams with me and I give an interpretation which provides a key to unlock their positive potential so that they can get really uplifted and excited about the many opportunities in life for growth.

On any given day, there is an average of 5-7 callers who talk anywhere between 20 – 60 minutes. I often take the phone

with me while I’m grocery shopping, or cleaning the house, or out for a run. In this way, I’m able to do the regular day-to-day things around the house and also support the callers with the issues they are facing.

Many of the issues which show up are related to childhood trauma & sexual abuse, addictions, patterns of anger or violent tendencies, feeling a lot of disappointment or dealing with strong feelings of guilt or remorse for the actions associated with their charges. Many of them either have court coming up or have just return from a court hearing and are often feeling discouraged with the lengthy trial process.

In addition to the therapy work I do with the inmates, I also sometimes support them with legal matters. I’ve written three letters of reference for consideration during sentencing or parole, attended the sentencing hearing for an inmate, and researched components of a case to help the inmate understand the legal jargon and case law related to his trial.

In July 2019, the Community Transformation Foundation (CTF) was created, a non-profit organization which seeks to support victims & perpetrators of crime. CTF is supported by volunteers and donations which keep the phone lines running, the letters flowing, and the program growing. If you would like to donate to CTF or offer time or skills to our programs, please click on this link to contact us. We look forward to hearing from new volunteers.

DreamWORK – It’s not all fun & games … but is worth it in the end

17 August 2017

I’m going to write this to give you an idea of the way I work with a nightmare in very specific detail.

The dream scenario was that I was in my room and sensed something was wrong in my daughter’s room. When I went into her room I found a man had invaded our house & was standing over her with a shotgun pointed to her face. I froze.

So to work through this dream first I have to understand the threat of the man & the gun.

Since it is a man unknown to me then this means it is a cultural issue and it not showing up in one specific man who I know but that all men have this potential threatening part to them. That’s pretty easy to understand since we live in a culture which is still male-dominated and incredibly debilitating to and for women.

I freeze in the dream and that means that the solution will be about my learning to move, spiritually and literally.

So how do I get out of the mental habit of freezing when I am threatened? How do I learn to keep moving even when things are a bit scary?

That’s where the WORK part of dreamwork comes in.

First I worked through the issue in a session with Richard Hastings from Dreams For Peace. He gave me some homework to do and now whenever I feel myself getting stuck I just do the homework.

Here is an example:

I can ask myself:

  1. What is the biggest challenge I am facing today? or What is the biggest challenge facing my daughter today?
  2. How does it make me freeze?
  3. When do I remember this type of challenge first showing up (usually in childhood or teen years)?
  4. What did I do in the past to deal with this challenge? What can I do differently now?

In this case, the fear I have is that someone will hurt me or my daughter. This is a natural fear any mother has. My own personal fear is heightened because I face many financial obstacles which leave us a bit more vunerable than if we had a bit more money at our disposal.

So I can think about who in my daughter’s life may hurt her and how and then I can think of what I can do differently so that this can be prevented.

The solution may bring up my own fears and so I need to work through those before or at the same time as preventing her from getting hurt.

As I resolve my own fears I can then easily move forward to ensure she is protected and safe.

Resolving my fears involves a visualization exercise.

I can recall someone who hurt me in the past and I can think about how I may fear they may hurt me or her again.

Then I can just turn down the volume on their negative voice and even erase the image of them in my mind as though they are disappearing. And then the fear is not so strong.

When they are gone out of my mind I can move forward exactly as I want and need feeling fearless and brave.

This is one of the types of exercises I do to work through a fear which showed up in a dream and to learn a new skill which increases my own confidence & courage.

When I move forward in this positive way many good opportunities open up for me and my daughter! 16507903_688004734714732_4993852702777196850_n

How Dreamwork Heals Negative Patterns of Thought

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What I’m writing about now will likely sound radical to some but will sound like nothing much to others. Dreamwork heals negative patterns of thought which lead to abasement in life by giving the dreamer a new way to deal with negative emotions. Dreamwork is NOT about just getting rid of the old negatives; it’s about increasing the positives.

Dreamwork can really help people who have experienced trauma. The emotional pattern of the trauma/fear is stored in the amygdala in the brain. These fear-patterns show up in dreams in what some people call nightmares. They show up in real life too, when someone decides they will or won’t do something because of the presence or absence of fear.

By working through the emotions which show up in a dream and by taking small steps daily to build up positive qualities such as Confidence, Courage, Flexibility and Peacefulness then new emotional patterns can develop and essentially re-wire the brain. In this way the entire emotional experience of the dreamer can undergo a 360 degree change.

 

Nightmarish Dreams – Monsters & Mayhem, What To Do When They Show Up When You Sleep and How To Wake Up To the Gifts They Present

05 July 2017

Typically people seem to think nightmares are bad and happy dreams are good. Dreamwork takes the process of transformation to a deeper level by suggesting that nightmares are not bad at all.

While the feelings they bring up might feel “bad” they are not at all. They could be originally thought of as negative in nature, in the way that Anger is less advantageous than Justice, or Fear less productive than Courage. However, by shifting a focus away from the idea of “having to get rid of these bad feelings” and just listening to and understanding the message of the emotions, then some really great positives can emerge.

The key is to become friends with the negative feeling, not to shun it like an enemy.

In my dream last night a scenario showed up of a monsterous land-shark who was swimming ghost-like through a large forest attacking people whom I cared about.

The negative emotion this brought up was fear. Fear of the unknown. Fear of being hurt. Fear of my loved ones being hurt. I solved it in the dream by being able to track the monster’s actions, predict where she was going next and then catch her in a trap. I knew right from the beginning that I was going to out-smart her but in the middle when she was harming people we loved it seemed like mayhem.

This is an example of how fear can be transformed into Courage. A monster in a dream is just a symbol for parts of ourselves which we are not familiar with yet. The unknown is scary because it is unclear at times but the more we become familiar with and become friends with the unknown parts of ourselves, others or situations than the more and more Fearless we can become.

Then we can accomplish anything in life and the possibilities for growth are endless!

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Sun = Inspiration/Higher Power/Creator