Dreams and Decision-making

September 22, 2009

This blog was actually written by a close friend of mine. I have been looking for a case study on the power of dreams in decision-making and the universe reciprocated with this perfect example.

“A dear friend of mine – one of the sweetest women I know — called me over a year ago in emotional agony. She was, to my shock, thinking of separating from her husband of 20 years and ending what appeared to be a blissful, exemplary marriage. She was stuck in the “considering” stage – probably the most difficult time in any decision-making process – and was feeling deep desperation.  Her sense of oppression in the relationship was strong but her husband was a fine man and a good provider for their family and she could not put her finger on exactly how or why she felt she needed to leave.

Across the country and not sure how to help, I suggested she follow my friend Trevor’s 7-day decision-making process and offered to be her ‘ally’ over the phone. When it came time to request guidance from her dreams, she was very open to the idea. She could not remember dreaming in a very long time, but she told me that she used to have interesting and bizarre dreams on a regular basis. It was like a dam broke.  For three nights in a row, she dreamed vividly that she was suffocating and awoke in a panic, unable to breathe, as if her throat was clogged with cotton.  As she journaled the dreams, she knew at a marrow level that if she stayed any longer in the marriage, she would never be able to speak her truth, and would literally suffocate. She realized as she wrote that she had been under a passive form of house arrest for most of the last two decades, and that her compliance with her husband’s opinions, decisions, and requests was the reason their relationship appeared to be so blissful. There was a pillow over her face and one of the hands holding it down was her own.

She continued the decision-making process through to Day 7, and other affirmations surfaced, but none so powerful as the message from her dream. With her new awareness, she decided to share her feelings with her husband and, in counseling, it became sadly obvious that attempts to create new patterns of communication in their relationship would not be successful.  Officially separated for a year now, my friend’s voice has new strength, joy, confidence and optimism. And in the inevitable roller-coaster moments of self-questioning, loneliness, and fear, she recalls the message of suffocation from her dreams, and knows beyond any doubt that hers was a life-sustaining, soul-anchored decision, and truly the right one for her.”

I would love to hear from anyone else who has worked with dreams in making decisions.

Finding Your Personal Myth

September 9, 2009

Recently, I was walking the beautiful seawall around False Creek in Vancouver, listening to some gospel music by the Brooklyn Tabernacle Choir on my iPod. Although I find the lyrics less than relevant I do love the harmonies. Then some words caught my attention. “Every heartache you’ve had, he bore it and will bear it for you. No-one is a friend like Jesus.” Somewhat to my surprise I felt an affinity for these convincingly expressed words. It helps to explain why the Christian myth has such great appeal to those who suffer and are in need. I noticed a yearning for the simplicity of a familiar belief that is uncomplicated, unchallenging and requires little personal responsibility.

I realize now that this yearning for simplicity is childlike; a desire for the safety of the familiar. I also realized that it was not possible for me to embrace the collective myth of Christianity. I had grown up with fundamentalist Christian parents who worked incessantly to instill these beliefs in their children yet at the age of fifteen I had concluded that this was a religion I could not accept. It seemed too exclusive. How could one belief in a tri-partite God exclude the majority of the planet’s population? My personal myth was no longer aligned with the collective myth so it lost any power.

Yet despite my rejection of the basic tenets of Christianity, I have reluctantly accepted that there is power contained within it. There are many examples of lives being changed by conversion to Christianity. I grew up in a home where the power of prayer was believed to perform miracles. On one such occasion that my parents had concluded that they would have to sell the house as they could not make the mortgage payments. They prayed for help and the next morning an envelope arrived from a friend of my father’s who wrote that she had been guided to send them money. On another occasion my brother performed an amazing healing of his baby son in the name of Jesus. My parents attempted to convince me that this power proved they were right.

So what gives? I soon realized that there are thousands of similar stories not just about Christianity but from every spiritual tradition around the globe. From the gurus in India to the witchdoctors of Africa there is evidence of power that defies the logical/rational paradigm. From where does this power emanate and do we control it or is it more random in its beneficence. I wonder if when we have a personal myth aligned with a collective myth then there is a potential power available to us. The collective adds to the potential of the individual. The catch 22 in this, is that when the collective myth no longer works for us personally then we lose its power. This seems supported in from the perspective of practitioners of voodoo can only have power over those who believe in it.

For much of my life I was an atheist. I suspect my personal myth was overwhelmed by the collective myth of the time that was to believe only in the logical and rational. Since I began my personal exploration of my relationship with the divine I have found my personal myth to shift frequently. A wise minister once told me to revisit my God concept each year. So my life becomes a continued quest to find a personal myth, experience its power then let it go.

Labour Day Reflections

September 7, 2009

Well the muse completely abandoned me for the summer. The most perfect summer ever in Vancouver resulted in the call of the outdoors overwhelming any instinct to write. So here it is on Labour Day and a renewed commitment to at least pen a few words as a seed of encouragement. Of course at times I have felt it necessary to justify my inactivity to myself. We are not used to summers that start at the beginning of May and finish at the end of August. In the North-West we feel we have to take advantage of every beautiful sunny day. But when the sunny days keep going and going and going….. Some friends of mine moved to California and after a couple of months they realized that they had to change this perspective because from May to October it is sunny every day in the Golden State. Looking out of the window at the torrential rain I am glad that I made the decision I did. A wise minister at the Unity Church I once attended observed that summer is for re-creation so we can be ready to create at the end of the season. Hopefully that is true for me.