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!

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Dreams in the Twilight Zone

Art reflects life and Twilight Zone is no different!  Today’s dreamer has a striking example of art, life and the capacity of dreams to show us more than our waking eyes can see.

Dear SMYD,

I just saw a rerun of an old episode of Twilight Zone titled “Twenty-two.”  In it, a woman is hospitalized after having a nervous breakdown.  She tells anyone who will listen about her recurring dream.  In the dream, she wakes up in her hospital bed, thirsty.  When she reaches for a glass of water, she knocks it off the nightstand and the glass breaks.  Then she hears footsteps and follows a nurse down the hall and into an elevator.  They wind up in the hospital’s basement, at the door of Room 22.  The nurse turns to her and says, “Room for one more Honey.”  Turns out, Room 22 is the morgue!  She runs away, screaming.

When she’s released from the hospital, she goes to the airport to catch a plane and she learns her flight is #22.  Then she’s thirsty and again breaks a glass.  She follows people up the ramp to the airplane and when the stewardess at the top turns to her, she looks just like the nurse in the dream!  And of course she says, “Room for one more Honey!”

The woman runs screaming.  The plane takes off and she watches it crash. 

Now here’s what happened me:  I dreamed several times of finding my refrigerator door left open and stuff spilled out of it onto the floor.  Then I saw the window in my back door broken in a sunburst pattern.

One evening I came home from work and the gym after dark.  All seemed normal as I went through the house until I came to the kitchen where, just like in the dream, the door to the fridge was hanging open and a bunch of its contents scattered on the floor.  The back door was open too and the window was broken just like in the dream. 

The police said it was probably teenagers who broke in and made the mess, taking only food and beer. 

It makes me wonder if Rod Serling had a recurring dream that came true!


TZ Fan

Dear TZ Fan,

Thank you so much for sharing your remarkable experience and for the reminder of Rod Serling’s appreciation of the power of dreams.

Not much explanation is required as the events of your dream played themselves out so literally in your waking life. 

If you had written before the actual break-in, we would be talking about the need to secure your house (a literal/real world application of your dream) as well as the need to review any immature (teenage) habits you have that make you careless, wasteful and inconsiderate of property (a metaphorical application of your dream).

Come to think of it, Dear Dreamer, you might want to look at that metaphor.  Is a juvenile pattern of behavior leaving you vulnerable to a sudden loss of sustenance?

Sweet Dreams to You!

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Get a handle on recurring dreams

Recurring dreams can be upsetting and frustrating until you make sense of the pattern of their recurrence.  Once the connection to recurring events in waking life is made, the dream’s message for the dreamer is easier to see.  From there, the dream will usually disappear.

Dear SMYD,

My family is wonderful and has always been very supportive of everything I want to do.  My mom and dad are there for me no matter what.  And my three older brothers are so helpful and protective.  I hate to complain, but it kind of gets to me sometimes.  They are all so eager to give me advice and tell ‘the best’ thing to do even if I don’t ask!  Family dinners and special events almost always turn into guidance sessions for me whether I asked for help or not.

I followed your suggestion and began making notes about a recurring dream of mine.  I’ve noticed that I have the same dream after these intense family get-togethers.  It’s a little different each time, but usually goes like this: 

I drop my contact lens.  No big deal.  I lean down to look and there it is on the ground at my feet.  But when I reach down to pick it up, I see another lens close by.  Is that my lens, or is the first one the right one?  Then, when I look a little farther, I see five or ten lenses, and then hundreds and thousands of lenses scattered out around me.  I don’t know what to do.  How can I be sure which lens is the right one?

I always wake up feeling confused and upset.  I know the dream is related to the family meetings, but what does it mean?


Dreading Thanksgiving

Dear Dreading,

Good work!  By connecting the recurrence of this dream to your family’s ‘support’ sessions, you have made great strides in understanding its metaphor.

You mentioned that each of your family members is bent on being helpful to you by offering advice even when you don’t ask for it.  Your dream uses your contact lens as a symbol for how you see things.  In the barrage of help from your family, you lose your own point of view – drop your lens.  And when you go to retrieve it, there are so many alternate points of view – lenses – that you come away confused and unsure which way to look!  No wonder you’re upset.

It’s time to assert yourself with those who love you a little too much, Dear Dreamer.  Consider establishing some ground rules for discussion of your life before you go home for the holidays.  Let each person know how much you appreciate their input, but stand your ground.  You are not their project and no longer need the kind of hovering intervention they insist upon.  You will need to be skillful in changing the subject and maintaining a happy attitude while sidestepping their well-intentioned but overbearing advice.

Sweet Dreams to You!


Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Dream Interpretation - Get serious about dreaming

Research indicates that everyone dreams every night.  In fact, those who are sleep deprived, and therefore dream deprived, show symptoms of hallucinations in their waking lives!  Not everyone remembers his dreams though.  Like today’s dreamer, some people report not remembering any dreams for long periods of time.

Dear SMYD,

I am interested in my dreams and I think they’re cool, but I go for weeks and weeks without dreaming.  My friends are always talking about their dreams, but it’s almost six months now since I can remember even a little piece of a dream.

I put a note pad and pen beside my bed so I could write everything down.  I even keep my cell phone there so I can use it to record a dream.  (I did this once but it was pretty hard to understand my voice!  Too sleepy I guess.)  If I have an acidy snack before bed, I don’t sleep very well, so no dreams there.

Also, I’m a little worried about what might be happening subconsciously since I fall asleep with the TV on the science fictionchannel most of the time.  Sometimes I wake up in the night and the scariest things will be going on in the movies on that channel – werewolves howling and stuff like that.  Once, I dreamed about someone warning me to get out of the way and when I woke up, the guy on the TV was screaming, “Get out of the way!”  That’s about the closest to a dream as I’ve had in a long time.

What’s the best thing I can do to get my dreams going?


Missing My Dreams

Dear Missing,

Let’s start here:  You are dreaming every night.  That fact that you are not remembering your dreams may be due to any number of factors.  Let’s review the things you have mentioned.

You’ve taken a good first step in dream recall by having a pen and paper close by your bedside.  And, with practice, you may get better at speaking into your cell phone or another recorder.  But that’s the limit of your positive bedtime habits!  The other habits you mention are working against dream recall.

If you must have the TV on, a better practice than sleeping with it on through the night would be to set the sleep timer.  Then you can fall asleep as you are accustomed, but the TV will shut off and the creepy programming won’t intrude on your dreams or your subconscious.

Rather than snacking on any old thing that’s in the fridge, consider stocking a few soothing items – chamomile tea or even milk oryogurt, for example – and making them a part of your bedtime routine.  The structure will enhance your sleeping and dreaming success.

Next, do a little pre-writing before you settle in.  Use that pen and paper to write a brief rehash of a circumstance or issue that is concerning you.  Your Dreaming Self will soon take note of this and offer some insights for your benefit.

Sweet Dreams to You!