Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Dream Interpretation - Is OK good enough?

Our dreams do not come to us to tell us what we already know.  Rather, they come in service of our health and well-being.  So, when today’s dream offers a picture of the dreamer’s daily life, it is presented so that she sees clearly the effect of her life choices.  This in turn offers her the option acceptance of her status quo or of taking further action.

Dear Carolyn,

I wouldn’t call this a recurring dream because I have only had it once.  But it keeps popping into my mind, so it might as well be recurring.  It won’t leave me alone!  I first dreamed it about two years ago, right about the time my husband of 35 years and I separated.  We are back together now.  

Everything is back to normal with us which is OK, I guess.  We don’t argue or have that kind of stress.  We just go through our daily motions without too many ups and downs.  It could be a lot worse!

Anyway, here’s the dream that just stays with me:  I am standing in the doorway of an apartment that reminds me of the place where we used to live, but everything is white.  I see a man and woman lying on a kind of bed in front of me.  The bed is white and they are white, their clothes are white and so are mine.  The man and woman are very still.  Their eyes are closed and they are almost floating.  I cannot quite tell if they are alive or dead.  It is upsetting to see them there.  I wonder what I should do.  Then I decide that I don’t want to disturb them.  I’m not motivated to stir things up.


Nagged by My Dream

Dear Nagged,

Your dream’s setting provides the first clue to its message for you:  Everything is white, without color.  While there are many possible analogies to the color white, what seems to fit is the way you describe the circumstances of your renewed relationship with your husband.  You say you guess that it’s OK that things have returned to the way they were – no deviation, all the same – white.

While there is no advocating for arguing and stress, there is also no denying that what your dream depicts is colorless and devoidof emotion.  The couple are suspended - trouble-free   perhaps – but not quite alive either.  You might say that like you and your husband, they don’t have many ups and downs.

And might be most telling is that in the end, you decide not to disturb them.  This is the choice you must make consciously in your waking life, Dear Dreamer, for it foreshadows the era ahead.  If you are not motivated to disturb the lifelessness of this color-free, emotion-free scene, then you have set your course.  You must decide if lack of motivation is sufficient to sustain you in your remaining years together.  

Sweet Dreams to You!

Friday, June 26, 2015

This Sunday, June 28, 2015, we will host the third in a series of workshops designed to enhance a dreamer’s ability to understand his/her own dreams and to help others understand theirs.  Understanding may include multiple layers of meanings, but at the very least will offer a “real world” waking life application of dreams’ insights, admonitions and potential outcomes.  Please join us!  For details go to:

All my seminars are held at Carter's Biz Cafe@Commanding Officer's Quarters
Benicia, CA

Dream Interpretation - Meds can interfere with sleep, dreams

Dear Carolyn,

I recently went on a strong medication to bring my high blood pressure back into the normal range.  Almost immediately, I began having a recurring, scary nightmare.  

Every night, I dream that I am being chased.  In the dream I am in a familiar area that is well-lit – it’s daytime – and does not seem threatening at all.  The path is well-maintained and the area around it is green and lined with flowers.  So it seems like it should be pleasant and non-threatening.  But I am being chased by something or someone I cannot see.  I know that I must escape or I will be killed.  That’s all there is to it.  It is life and death!  I never can see who or what is behind me.  All I ever see are my feet and legs as I run for my life! 

When I wake up from this terrifying dream, my heart is pounding and I am drenched in sweat.  Maybe I’ll get a drink of water or go to the bathroom, but when I fall back to sleep, the dream begins again and I am terrified.  It’s exhausting!

Afraid to Fall Asleep! 

Dear Afraid,

Your change in medication may be the culprit in this situation.  First of all, you find yourself in a familiar area that is attractive and well-maintained.  The path through this area may be analogous to the path of taking medication to treat high blood pressure:  It is a commonly traveled path that is familiar to most of us who are aware of well-known methods of treating this condition.  It is an attractive option for resolving the condition, just as the path in your dream seems to be an appealing choice.

But, to the contrary, you find yourself with your heart racing and sweat pouring off your body.  This is not the way it is supposed to work!  You should be safe and relaxed on this path.  Instead, you find the reverse.

You mentioned that the new meds are strong.  In conversation with your doctor, consider the possibility that they are too strong, or inappropriate for you in some other way.  The side effects may be altering your dream state/sleep cycle and contributing to the images of pursuit by an unknown but fearful threat.

That is a literal understanding of your dream’s material.  Given your medical condition, your first and mandatory step is to consult your doctor and adjust or change your medication if that is warranted.  Then we can talk about the possible metaphorical meanings of such dreams as yours, Dear Dreamer. 

Sweet Dreams to You!

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Dream interpretation - Start your own committee

Our dreams come to us in service of our health and well-being.  That doesn’t always mean they tell us what we want to hear.  But they always tell us what we need to hear.  Today’s dreamer offers a perfect example, though she may not like it very much.

Dear Carolyn,

I have a friend whom I have questions about.  I’ll call her “Margaret,”   She is chairperson of a committee I have been a member of for over a year now.  Generally we work well together, or so I thought.  Margaret called me recently and asked me not to be so much of a leader in the committee!  She said she doesn’t feel competitive with me, but why would she even bring it up otherwise?  She said I should step back my style and just ask questions or the other members will start to resent me! 

I have always been a conscientious member of this group.  I pull my weight and do my best to help others.  No one else has ever complained to me, or given me so much as a sideways glance.  I think Margaret is jealous of me and feels I am a better leader than she is.  I enjoy the work we do and the other committee members, but I often wonder if I should leave this group.

Now, my dream:  Margaret and I are in a meeting.  It looks like the United Nations.  We are seated at opposite ends of a long table.  Every time I try to say something, she interrupts me.  I get angry and frustrated.  And then I learn that she represents Sweden.  She is a neutral country and has immunity from my complaints.


Frustrated Diplomat

Dear Diplomat,

Our dreams tell us the truth.  What we do with that truth is another matter.  Many times, when faced with a truth that we find unpleasant, or counter to our prevailing beliefs, we just don’t want to hear it.

Such is the case with your dream today, Dear Dreamer.  It provides insights into your current situation and your relationship with Margaret that you may find hard to accept. 

First, your dream is set in the UN, a place designed for peacekeeping.  But it has you seated opposite Margaret signifying your oppositional relationship with her.  Noteworthy is that both of you have power positions at the ends of the table.  In these positions, you might have a balance of power if your competitive natures could be softened. 

When your dream casts Margaret in the role of Sweden, the message is clear even to you within the dream:  She is not biased; she is neutral.  You must consider her opinion.  Even if you are well-intentioned, you may be overstepping your bounds.

On the pragmatic side, she is immune to your accusations.  Consider this carefully:  It seems Margaret has the power in this situation.  Take a deep breath and measure your response.  You may choose to leave the group; or, if you stay, you must accept her leadership and a lesser role for yourself.

Sweet Dreams to You!

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Dream Interpretation - Clean up your own mess!

Our second session in the series of three dream work workshops is coming up Sunday, June 14th.  We will turn our focus to two powerful techniques for putting our dreams to work for us.  These are lucid dreaming and dream incubation.  While lucid dreams and incubation are naturally occurring phenomena, participants will learn step-by-step methods for inducing them and working ‘hands on’ with the dreams that follow.  Join us if you can!  Details at

Dear Carolyn,

I hope you can help me with a recurring dream that is embarrassing to talk about, but it bothers me a little bit more every time I have it.  Each time, the dream is a little bit different, but the main thing is that I come upon a pile of feces.  Sometimes it’s in the corner; other times it’s out in the open.  In the most recent version, the feces was expanding!  Each time I come upon the mess, I shake my head in dismay and say to myself, “There it is again.”  I know I will clean it up.  I do not feel happy about it, but it must be done.


Stuck with the Mess

Dear Stuck,

Your experience with this recurring dream is indicative of how recurring dreams work and why.  Recognize that recurring dreams come to us in conjunction with recurring waking events in our lives.  So the best and quickest way to get a handle on what this dream is telling you is to make some notes about the most recent iteration.

Start with a detailed description of the dream.  Include the setting, any other characters, how you come upon the mess, and of course, your feelings when you realize you will be cleaning up again.

Next, make at least some bullet point notes about the events or circumstances that are at the forefront in your waking life right now.  Include anything that is coming up shortly.

If this activity doesn’t make it clear immediately what it is in waking life that puts you in the position of mopping up an unpleasant mess, just set your notes aside.  It won’t be too long before you have the dream again (sorry!).  When you do, repeat the steps above.  Soon you will see that the dream comes up when you have to follow up behind a friend or family member who starts things, messes them up, walks away, for example.

You will recognize the feeling of dismay instantly.  But our dreams do not come to tell us what we already know.  Rather, they bring to consciousness what we may act upon to improve our lives and those of others.  What’s important is what you do next, Dear Dreamer.

Maybe you are content to be in the janitorial role in your dreams and in your waking life.  If so, do nothing.  If not, you now have the information you need, and hopefully the wherewithal, to make some changes so that those making messes take on the responsibility for cleaning them up!

Sweet Dreams to You!

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Pragmatic dream questions

Our first dreamwork session is fast approaching!  June 7, 2015 ~ Session 1: Dream work standards ~ the tried-and-true methods of approaching dreams that will get you started immediately in understanding the language of your dreams.  Sign up via or just email me.  Bring a dream to share with the group.  I’d love to see you there!

Dear Carolyn,

I'm mostly interested in WHY I dream so much and why I usually remember them in the morning.  I've talked to several people about their dreams and I find a lot of people don't dream as much as I do, or they don't remember them.

I have a couple dream books and over the years I've looked them up.  I know from the past in my working career a lot of my dreams were due to stress.  But I am no longer working and still have a very active dream state.  It seems I always pick up something from the day that I saw or remembered and dream about it.


Active Dreamer

Dear Active Dreamer,

Some hold the a view that dismisses dreams as random nocturnal electronic charges that release equally random images in no particular order accompanied by arbitrary emotions having no import or bearing on the dreamer’s waking life.

On the other hand, we have ample evidence that our brains are active during the dream state in much the same way they are in waking state, not firing haphazardly.  Segments of the brain associated with sight and sound, for example, are active during REM state when the images of dreaming and waking are parallel.  Additionally, the metaphorical narratives generated denote more than accidental or unintentional sparks. 

It is common to remember a dream from the last REM cycle of the night.  This is at the shallower section of a dreamer’s brainwave as s/he prepares to wake.  So perhaps all of us are more likely to remember the dreams we have just before we wake up. 

Research shows that everyone dreams every night (with exceptions for illness, medication and so forth).  It seems probable that those who areinterested in their dreams are more likely to remember them.  If a person accepts that dream images are an indiscriminate release of surplus energy, why bother remembering them?  Others remember their dreams perhaps because they are at a place where they can accept and explore on multiple levels the possibilities for growth, development and progress in their waking lives.

Picking up an image or setting from the day makes sense.  More interesting is why a particular image or object was chosen by your Dreaming Self from the hundreds of thousands your eyes light on in any given day.

Many books on dreams provide springboards for understanding and application of the rich material brought forth in the dream state.  Use caution, Dear Dreamer, when you find a source that claims to know what a given image always means.  The meaning of your dream lies within you.   

Sweet Dreams to You!

Friday, May 29, 2015

Learn Dream Interpretation!

Carolyn Plath is holding a series of workshops in which participants can Learn Dream Interpretation
Attend one, two or three sessions with Carolyn to learn dream interpretation as you work with your own dreams and those of other attendees.

June 7, 2015 ~ Session 1: Dream work standards ~ the tried-and-true methods of approaching dreams that will get you started immediately in understanding the language of dreams

June 14, 2015 ~ Session 2: Dream themes and projective dream interpretation technique ~ two approaches to dream work that will expand your ability to get at the meaning of your own dreams and help others with theirs

June 28, 2015 ~ Session 3: Dream incubation and lucid dreaming ~ two advanced techniques for working with your dreams toward specific goals or to resolve persistent problems

All sessions are from 1:30 PM to 4:00 PM at
Carter's Biz Cafes@Commanding Officer's Quarters`
1 Commandant's Lane, Benicia, CA

Price: $30.00/per session/$75 for all three


$20 each session or $50 for the series of three for Seniors (65+) and previous 1-to-1 clients

Carolyn Plath, M.Ed., is a member of the International Association for the Study of Dreams and has studied dreams for more than 35 years.

Or call 707-297-6175