Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Dream Interpretation - Sex isn't always sex

Many of us have dreams about sexual encounters that we would never imagine, or even want, in our waking lives.  So where do these dreams come from and what do they mean?  The people, setting, relationships, appropriateness and emotions of such dreams are all clues.

Dear SMYD,

I am a more than a little embarrassed to send this dream to you, but I really want to know what it is about:

I dreamed I was trying to make love to my supervisorat work!  Every time I had him in my arms or near a bed, we would be interrupted or he was distracted or even disappeared.  The dream was upsetting and frustrating to experience.

When I woke up, I felt confused because as much as I admire and respect this man, it has never occurred to me to have a sexual relationship with him.  For one thing, we’re both married to other people.  But even if we weren’t, he’s 30 years older than I am!  He is patient and kind, full of wisdom and humor – all things I admire.  But I am not attracted to him in “that way.”

If I think of this dream at work, I can barely look my boss in the eye!


Embarrassed by My Own Dream

Dear Embarrassed,

A good place to start with your dream will be to recognize your supervisor not as himself but as a representative of the qualities you admire in him and want for yourself.  That might help you move past the embarrassment!  You mention several qualities you respect and admire in your boss – kindness, patience, wisdom and humor.  Are these qualities that you find yourself lacking in some cases, at work or at home? 

From there, think of the purpose or function of actions or objects in your dreams.  Most notably, making love:  Among other things, the act of love-making satisfies a yearning to integrate or become one with someone, or as in your dream, with the things that someone represents.   You want to become one with the qualities he represents.

In your dream, you and your boss are interrupted or distracted; he even disappears on occasion.  This could be indicative of your failed efforts to show patience or kindness when it is most needed.  Where in your life do you find yourself paying only superficial attention, or losing your patience with those around you?
Your dream includes your boss, but is it set at work or at home?  The setting of your dream can be key in clarifying where you need to / hope to improve.

Maybe you allow stress or the details of less important things to draw your attention away from key opportunities to be gentle with those you love.  Perhaps you’re not truly “present” for those around you, allowing distractions from elsewhere to intrude – too much time at work or too little recognition of the needs of your family. 

Be honest with yourself, Dear Dreamer.  Your dream brings you a persistent prompting to improve your relationships.

Sweet Dreams to You!

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Dream Interpretation - Rise to your dream's challenge!

Sometimes the simplest dreams, or the shortest ones, are ones we are likely to toss aside as “probably nothing.”  But to paraphrase the old axiom, the best messages can come in small dreams.  Even a dream containing only one image and no dialogue or interaction between dream characters can have a powerful impact on your waking life and attitude if you know how to respond to it.

Dear SMYD,

I don’t remember many dreams and don’t really have a lot of time to think about them.  This one has really stuck with me, even though there’s not much to it.  Anyway, I decided to ask you about it in case it means something.

I dreamed the stars were moving around in the sky.  In the dream, I just looked up to see that the stars were shifting their positions.  That was the whole dream.  What could such a short and simple, one picture dream, possibly mean?



Dear LAM,

To understand your dream we must take it at face value.  So, for you, the stars are changing position.  Think of the expression, “The stars are aligned.”  It speaks to a positive change, doesn’t it?  

Your own choice of words is revealing:  You say you “just looked up” and saw that the stars were moving around in the sky.  How many times have you heard the expression, “Things are looking up!”?  It means the prognosis is optimistic.  Things are getting better.  In your dream, when you look up – have a more optimistic point of view – you can see that the stars are lining up for you.  Have you been one to focus on the down side of things, always playing it safe in case something bad happens?  In this little dynamo of a dream resides a strong positive message for you! 

But take note – yours is not a passive dream.  It shows you one of the most powerful laws of the universe at work:  Your mind, your attitude, creates you daily reality.  If you have had the habit of keeping your eyes downcast, you might never see the possibilities coming your way.  Most likely, you would even negate opportunities by dismissing their existence.  Your dream directs you to take the simple step of looking up, creating a positive attitude.  That in itself will set the stars in motion and create a more positive waking life for you.

If you have been one to wait-and-see, Dear Dreamer, or to assume the worst, take note:  Your dream says you must look up now.  That act of faith can be the catalyst for the change you luck you may have given up on. 

Your dream is not an oracle that arrives with THE WORD for you, the lowly dreamer.  It is a call to action.  You must respond to reap the rewards.  Your dream functions as a challenge saying, “Take a leap of faith.  Behave as if you know the stars are changing regardless of what you are facing on ground level.”

Sweet Dreams to You!

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Dream Interpretation - Dreams of the dying bring comfort

Right before dying, many people experience vivid and meaningful dreams, according to accounts across cultures and throughout history, as well as current research conducted among patients in hospice care.  

Dear SMYD, 

My grandmother passed away recently.  I got to spend a lot of time with her in her final weeks and enjoyed it so much.  We reminisced about her life and I got to know her in that short time better than I ever had before.

She told me about dreams she had as she got closer to the end.  Mostly they were about my granddad who passed away eight years ago.  She always seemed very happy when she told me about these experiences, like they were not “just dreams.” But she had an upsetting dream too, about the terrible car accident that she survived but killed her friend many years ago.

I know she is at peace now, but I can’t help wondering about dreams like hers.  Do elderly or dying people have different dreams from the rest of us?


Grieving Granddaughter

Dear Grieving Granddaughter,

The time you spent with your grandmother before her passing will be yours to treasure forever.  How wonderful that you were so close.

A new study reported in American Journal of Hospice & Palliative Care found that it is common for dying patients to dream of their family and friends who have gone before them.  They report that most of these dreams “bring about a sense of peace, a change in perspective or an acceptance of death.”  They conclude that “medical professionals should recognize dreams and visions as a positive part of the dying process.”

The study goes on to say that “…as patients approached death, they tended to transition from dreaming about living people to dreaming about the dead…The overarching theme that emerged from the study was that end-of-life dreams and visions are a source of comfort.”
Your grandmother’s dreams fit perfectly into the patterns found in the study.  It’s normal, perhaps even expected, that those approaching the end of their lives would begin to dream about deceased loved ones waiting for them on the other side.

As patients move toward death, they often have realistic and memorable dreams in one or more of six categories, according to the new study.  Your grandmother’s upsetting dream of the auto accident seems to fit Category #5.

1. Comforting presence: A loved one—often deceased but sometimes living—offers solace.

2. Preparing to go: Patients ready themselves for a journey.

3. Watching or engaging with the dead: Deceased friends and relatives play a significant role, which patients overwhelmingly reported as being comforting.

4. Loved ones waiting: Deceased friends often seem to be “waiting.”  

5. Distressing life experiences: Patients may revisit traumatic life experiences.

6. Unfinished business: A few patients report distressing dreams that center on fears of being unable to accomplish important tasks. 

Take comfort, Dear Dreamer.  Your grandmother’s dreams helped her make the transition to the next life.

Sweet Dreams to You!

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Dream interpretation - That abandoned baby is you!

If you dream of losing a baby or forgetting one, leaving it behind or in danger, you likely are ignoring your deepest spiritual needs and desires.  

Dear SMYD,

You always say that it helps to understand a recurring dream if you make a note of when you have it, how you’re feeling and what’s going on in your life.  Well, I haven’t made any notes, but I can tell you exactly when I have had this particular recurring dream over the years.  It came up when each of my three children were born and at milestones in their lives.  When they went off to kindergarten, or had their first sleep over.  Sports or academic achievements, first love, graduation, first apartment – I always made sure they were the best prepared and that we celebrated all those things.   

I have always put my children first so it’s especially hard to understand why I have this recurring dream at exactly the moment when I’m sacrificing everything for them:

In my dream I always leave the baby behind.  It is set in different places but they are all similar in that I am at a crossroads or a threshold of some kind.  Most recently, when my youngest asked me to help her plan her wedding, I was on the platform in a train station, and the baby was somewhere in the crowd.  I’ll have to find her and I know this will make me miss the train.

These dreams are always so stressful!  I wake up terrified at the way things are going.


Am I a Terrible Mom?

Dear Mom,

Jeremy Taylor, founder of the Marin Institute forProjective Dream Work and past president of the International Association forthe Study of Dreams says that dreams of leaving a baby behind are “classic” in their recurrence and “usually come to people who lead productive, responsible lives.  [Such a dream] is all the more upsetting or distressing for precisely that reason.”

Without giving too many details, you reveal yourself to be in this high achieving category when you say that your children are always the best prepared for the milestones in their lives and that you take special care to celebrate all those events as they come.  That’s a lot of focus and attention for the eighteen year formative lives of three children! 

You also mention that you sacrifice everything for them.  Could it be that at each milestone for one of your children, some part of you – your aspiration or inner desire – was saying, “Hey – what about me?  Looks like I’m being left behind again.”  The infant in your dream may represent aspects of yourself that were neglected or ill-defined – misplaced or ill-attended in favor of the needs of your family.

Those actions over the years are noble indeed and your healthy, successful children are testimony to your sacrifice and skill as a parent.  But perhaps now, Dear Dreamer, you can give that inner baby, the budding part of yourself, the attention it deserves.

Sweet Dreams to You!

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Dream Interpretation - Trust required in long distance relationships

Fearful dreams often include a reality check – the thing we fear must be accepted.  Today’s dreamer has an emotional example.

Dear SMYD,

I live here in California; left Arizona thirty-two years ago.  My mom and stepfather still live in Arizona, and my mom has been having heart problems.  They live in a rural area, 45 minutes from the closest hospital.  The town they live in has a population of 900 and very limited resources for medical care.  I keep asking my stepfather and brother what is going to happen if she has a heart attack, but I don't get a response.  I am feeling guilty because I am not there.  I have a strained relationship with my stepfather.

Here was my dream last night:

I was sitting in my mom's house, talking with my mom.  My stepfather and brother were in the room, but on the other side of the room.  As I was talking with my mom, one of her eyes started changing from its normal blue to yellow.  (Right before I went to bed I watched X-men, and in it, Mystique's eyes would turn to this same color of yellow when she was turning into her mutant self from her normal self.)

Then the color disappeared altogether and mom’s entire eye was white.  I turned to my stepfather and brother and was trying to scream at them to do something, but no sound would come out of my throat.  My stepfather then started telling me how he had followed all the correct steps to get her help.  I was panicked and angry that they weren't doing anything, or even taking the episode seriously.


Frightened Daughter

Dear Frightened Daughter,

Your dream's setting mirrors the dynamics in your family with you and your mom together on one side of the room and your brother and step-father on the other side.  You say that most of all you want to be assured that the men have a plan in place to care adequately for your mom should an emergency arise.  You scream at them but are not heard, just as in waking life.  Even when your step-father offers a detailed description of the steps he has taken on her behalf, you are not at ease.  No matter what he says, you don't trust or believe that he will do all the things you would do if you were there. 

The fact that your mother's eye reminds you of Mystique's when she turns into her mutant self is telling also.  Mystique, as is appropriate to her name, is unknown and unpredictable.  She doesn't engender trust.  Similarly, you cannot be sure that your mother won't have a heart attack and leave you feeling guilty. 
Your dream underscores your sense of fear and helplessness.  You are in the untenable position of having to trust her to stay healthy and/or him to do all the right things as he says he will.  But you must trust, Dear Dreamer.  Or move back to Arizona.

Sweet Dreams to You!


Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Dream Interpretation - You can FLY!

Flying dreams exemplify perhaps the most exhilarating of all dreaming experiences.  Those who’ve had them never forget them.  The good news is that there are steps we can take to initiate flying dreams.

Dear SMYD,

I dreamed I was flying!  It was the greatest feeling ever!  I could swoop high and low and I did!  It was the most amazing feeling!  I went over the Atlantic Ocean and to Africa, a place I’ve always wanted to visit.  At first I flew with my arms stretched out by my sides and the wind in my face.  But when I was over Africa, I was sitting in a swing that didn’t seem to be attached to anything.  I just swept over the plains and all the animals turned to look up at me.  I saw giraffes and lions, rhinos and just about every exotic animal you could ever want to see.

I felt so free and ecstatic.  I woke up feeling that way and it stayed with me for a long time that day.  It would be great to feel that way again!

What does a flying dream mean and is there a way I can have one again?


Free Flyer

Dear Free Flyer,

Lucky you!  You’ve had one of the most sought-after dream experiences of all.  Virtually everyone who reports dreams of flying reports the elation that you felt. 

There is no set meaning for dreams of flying (or any other dream), but some general interpretations can be applied depending on your circumstances.  Many dreams of flying represent the dreamer’s sense of joy, freedom and competence:  “I am free!”  “I have no restrictions or limitations!”  “I am full of joy!”

Because your dream takes you to Africa, a place you’ve always wanted to go, it suggests that you have reached a place in your life where you can extend yourself and reach for goals you may have postponed.

To prompt a flying dream takes time and practice, but it can be done.  It involves the practice of reality checks.  During your day, pause occasionally to take special note of your surroundings and activities.  Then ask yourself if you’re dreaming.  How do you know if you are or are not?  Such prompting will be followed, eventually, by similar questions during your dream state.  When the answer is ‘yes, I am dreaming,’ you have reached a lucid dream state (in your dream, you know you are dreaming).  From there you can begin your efforts to lift off! 

Stephen LaBerge of Stanford University founded the Lucidity Institute.  His website,, offers detailed instructions as to the most productive ways to proceed in inducing the dream you want, including those mentioned above as well as tips for ‘getting off the ground.’  Many beginners will jump or bounce to get comfortable with the new sensations.  Some take off with arms extended like Superman!  That is how you feel when you achieve a lucid state and fly in your dreams!

Sweet Dreams to You, Dear Dreamer!

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Dream Interpretation - Look back with gratitude

Some dreams offer life reviews.  Today’s dreamer brings an explicit example in which she sees herself as she once was and is challenged to look back over her life with gratitude instead of regret.

Dear SMYD,

I’ve reached a point in my life that has me looking back and thinking about what has been and what will be.  I have to admit to a disappointed feeling.  It just seems like most of my life was spent dealing with other people’s problems and needs.  Now, my kids are off on their own, living their own lives, oblivious to me and their dad.  My friends seem to assume that all is well with me since I don’t complain or spill my frustrations when we’re together.  I always put everyone else before myself.  I know I’m supposed to enjoy this last phase of life, but I’m just not feeling it.

Now I’ve had this dream and it has a sad feeling too:

I am standing in front of a mirror.  My hair is styled the way I used to wear it.  I look younger and alert and healthy and frisky.

I have been called to testify in a trial or hearing of some kind.  The parties involved found me via my maiden name.  I had forgotten that name, so didn’t know I was supposed to be there.  Now, because the court found me, I will inherit a large sum of money.  But I woke up feeling sad and full of regret.

It doesn’t make sense.  Why would I be sad when I’m going to inherit a large sum?



Dear Plaintiff,

Your dream has you looking at yourself in a mirror – the perfect metaphor for self-assessment.  You see yourself as you were and as you can be.

In addition, your dream moves you to a venue that offers the same type of life review in which you are engaged in your waking life.  In a trial, the facts are told and conclusions are drawn.  For you, the results are clear:  No matter that the mirror reflects someone younger, healthier, happier and friskier; you don’t recognize those qualities in yourself any more.  You don’t remember your name – your identity – from those days.  You have forgotten who you once were. 

It seems you have spent a long time in life without enjoying the journey or appreciating the inheritance you have had all along, Dear Dreamer.  Your children are successful.  Your husband and your friends count for wealth unappreciated.   If you are on trial, your dream suggests you are guilty of selfish grumbling when you have many things for which to rejoice.  Do you truly regret being a help to your family and friends when they needed you?

You say you set your own needs and desires aside?  Now is the time to bring them to the forefront.  When that frisky part of yourself is found and reestablished you will have the substantial inheritance – a happy final phase of life – that has been waiting for someone like you. 

Sweet Dreams to You!