Four Dream Evenings

April 16, 2011

It is my intention to offer a new series of four evenings to explore dreams and active imagination in the fall, 2011.  The concept of dream work emanated with Sigmund Freud and was refined by Carl Jung and more recently by James Hollis and Robert Johnson amongst others.  We all dream six or seven times a night but frequently dreams never make it into conscious awareness. Not all dreams have the same value and we need to learn to differentiate types of dreams. Join me this fall in an exploration of your dreams and what they mean.

Evening One

  • Learning to differentiate types of dreams and discern which are likely to be meaningful.
  • How to facilitate remembering dreams and keeping track.
  • To explore the principles of dream analysis and how to tend a dream.
  • Exploration of the relationship between the imagination and dreams and how symbols are created in dreams

Evening Two

  • Introduction to dream partnering
  • Looking at the dream in the context of your life..
  • An exploration of energy, feelings and consciousness in dreams.
  • Learning to understand archetypes and their influence on dreams.
  • Introduction to dream partnering.

Evening Three

  • Experiential dream partnering.
  • Working with the active imagination.
  • Exploring animals in dreams.
  • The value of dream books.

Evening Four

  • The power of drawing in dreams and active imagination.
  • Exploring the dream in the context of the soul’s landscape.
  • Using oracles in dream interpretation.
  • Review

Cost $20.00 each evening

What Others Have Said

“It’s wonderful to work with Trevor who is so knowledgeable and passionate about exploring dreams. I would recommend his sessions to anyone interested in learning more about themselves through understanding their dreams.” Vaune Kolber

“I found the sessions I was able to attend to be simply excellent.  I loved the opening meditations, your flow in bringing the content into application, and your style in honouring of individual input.   Thank you for showing us a craft that you have obviously invested time and energy in mastering.” Joyce Gwilliam

“The harder I tried, the less I remembered my dreams! However, Trevor’s encouragement was unequivocal, warm and full of wonderful suggestions. Even mere dream fragments proved to be much more than my ego realized!” Ursula Beale

For more info contact: trevor@soulclarity.com

Items to bring: a pen and a journal


How the HST Referendum Helped Me Find A Primary Scenario

April 14, 2011

The “Primary Scenario” is a term developed in IBP (Integrated Body Psychotherapy) to help describe what James Hollis a Jungian psychologist would describe as “charged clusters of energy transfers the experiences of other times and places to the present, undermining our capacity for conscious choice and holding us hostage to the past.” The result is an unconscious emotional response to something like the HST that has nothing to do with the HST itself.

Perhaps some background would be helpful. HST stands for Harmonized Sales Tax, a tax that was introduced to combine two sales taxes, one provincial and one federal, and offers a much more efficient method of collecting taxes and allowed the province to gain an incremental five billion dollars as an incentive from the federal government. On many levels it made a lot of sense, but it was introduced by a government that had never mentioned it during their election campaign and it resulted in an additional tax on services that had not been taxed before. The outcry was massive and an unlikely coalition was formed of the radical right who don’t believe that government should be taxing us anyway, and the low-spirited left who thought this could be a way of rerunning the election that they had just lost. The result was that a massive 557,583 people signed the petition and we are now stuck with a referendum on it. I wish I had never signed the thing; it was an emotional decision based on frustration at the Premier who has since resigned and now we are stuck with a binding referendum that I fear will result in the tax being scrapped. From any logical point of view the tax makes sense; it is efficient; it has been in place for nine months already; we will have to repay the Federal government the five billion; there will be other costs incurred from cancellation; the government will still have to raise the revenue somehow or cut back spending. However I sense that many people won’t use logic, they will vote emotionally.

So what does all this have to do with my primary scenario? It started simply enough with a discussion with a friend of mine over sushi where I made my argument for voting for the tax. To my horror her response was that she was voting against. “We have to send them a message” she said, “Perhaps they will stop spending money on things like lunches and VIP trips.” I found this totally illogical and argued that government are not going to do what she wants, they would likely use it as an excuse to raise other taxes and cut social programs. My logic had no effect at all and I noticed how heated I had become. Then I noticed the desire to say something hurtful to her. I managed to restrain myself and asked if we could stop the conversation. Gradually I cooled down and the drama passed but I was left by confusion, “why did I get so heated and what had triggered me”? It must be more than the HST itself because I don’t really care that much; it won’t impact me that much at my time of life.

I got home and began a soul mapping process where I start to write or draw circumstances around my curiosity. I use soul mapping as a spiritual coaching tool, it begins to outline the pieces of a puzzle that eventually fall into place and hopefully form a meaningful picture. I knew there was a deeper meaning to this event but I had no idea what it could be. I was not aware of any unresolved issues between my friend and I and it had never bothered me when she expressed a perspective based on emotion in fact it was often helpful. I drew an Osho Zen card and got Abundance; it seemed particularly unhelpful. All I could do was trace the events and release my curiosity to my higher self.

During the night I had a vivid, somewhat nightmarish dream about a car crash. I noticed I had no desire to write it out or work with it, normally a powerful sign that there is much to be learned. It was later that day that I picked up my Soul Mapping and had a faint intuition that perhaps the dream may be relevant. (It is easy for resistance to step in and block my progress at this juncture.) I remembered the dream as follows. I am attending an event at West Lodge School, (my primary school). I am with four friends D, S, M and J; the driver is Italian; he is a dreadfully scary driver and at one point begins to overtake a stream of traffic around a blind bend; then we have cards heading towards us; he pulls on the far shoulder but I know we are heading for an accident; sure enough we crash and find myself standing besides broken cars when S comes to me and says, “If we had stopped for gas in Squamish, this would not have happened.”

I managed to overcome my ego’s desire to dismiss the dream and embarked on a process of exploration. I knew each of the major symbols were related to me and that my dreams normally contained clues to help me. As I reflected on why that particular school would have emerged from my unconscious, I remembered it was my primary school and sensed it gave me the time period to work with. The Italian symbolism seemed clear, when my life is being guided by emotion or passion, it can cause a crash. Stopping in Squamish for gas made no sense at all. Squamish is a small town en route to Whistler, rarely a destination, rather an interim stop.

I am fortunately enough to have a number of extremely wise friends who can provide me with insight and guidance at times like these. That evening I had my regular conversation with M who did not let me down. She asked me three questions:

1) Is this connected with your mother?

2) Does this have something to do with your overall relationship with Patricia and not the incident itself?

3) Does the appearance of S, D, M, and J suggest it is related to a drama a couple of weeks earlier? (See http://wp.me/phAyS-d3 for details.)

Initially I was not able to make a connection but wrote the details on my Soul Map.

The following day I had a chance to explore with my dream partner and pieces began to fall into place. I realized that primary school could also relate to “Primary Scenario” and indeed M’s intuition about my mother could be important. Gas for the car became fuel for the body, which translated into breath and I saw the message in the dream. When I am in the grip of emotion then I need to pause before I get to my destination or there will be a crash. The reason for my four friends in the dream was that two weeks earlier when they were present, I had not paused and there was indeed a crash. Fortunately over the HST, I had paused and avoided a potential disaster.

There was a major piece still undone, just what was the primary scenario that had caused my heated response to the HST issue? Was there anything that had happened with my mother that could have contributed to my behaviour. A couple of weeks earlier I had been talking to the same friend about my independence during my primary school years. From the age of six, I had become very self-reliant. She asked me what had happened at six, and I realized that was when my mother had given birth to my sister, the girl she had been waiting for after three boys. My friend suggested that I would have been wounded by that experience, likely felt abandoned and dealt with it by developing my self-reliance. And there it was! In a flash of intuition all the pieces of the puzzle fell into place. My friend and I have been very close for thirteen years. During that time I am often the primary man in her life and share in family engagements but when she gets involved with a potential partner, I move into number two spot. Rationally I have no problem with it at all however the recent drama suggests that my abandonment scenario gets triggered but not consciously. So why now?

This piece seems a truly astonishing insight. As a teenager, I assumed an intellectual superiority to my mother. I recall being quite condescending and rarely treating her seriously. She would just laugh. I now think the recent drama was a reaction to my abandonment, entirely unconscious, so the HST argument became a trigger caused by an unconscious sense of my friend abandoning me. The energy was not about her at all but about my mother. The dream was a gift, a tool to help me deal with situations where these unconscious energy clusters are triggered. “When the Italian is in the driving seat, make sure you gas up in Squamish!”


The Case for Strategic Voting on May 2nd

April 13, 2011

Canadian democracy fascinates me. It seems that most people would rather be governed by a party that does not represent their views and complain about it, than do anything proactive to avoid it. At the moment we are facing the prospect of a potential Conservative majority elected by less than 40% of the electorate. So we will get absurdly expensive jet fighters, billions on a law and order bill based on fear and misrepresentation, (see Ian Brown’s excellent article at http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/politics/what-are-canadians-really-afraid-of-when-it-comes-to-crime/article1978257/) plus a party that attempts to procure our vote through fear and hateful attack adverting on their competition. In addition they have already announced that their first act with a majority will be to remove funding from the opposition parties thus ensuring dominance by a party funded by big business and powerful people. How democratic is that? This is a government that can’t even tell the truth to parliament, let alone to the public, yet Canadians will stand by and cast their votes in traditional patterns that will ensure their return to power. Anyone who has completed the CBC vote compass will have noticed that the positions of the Green, Liberal and NDP parties are very close, so why not select your vote to avoid the extreme alternative of the Conservatives. see http://www.cbc.ca/news/politics/canadavotes2011/votecompass/

Here is how to vote strategically:

1) Try and find out which candidate in your constituency has the best chance of beating the Conservative. CBC has past results: http://www.cbc.ca/news/canadavotes/map/2008/#293

2) Cast your vote for the candidate which has the best chance of beating the Conservative.

How simple is that? In addition the SFU have a table showing marginal seats. http://www.sfu.ca/~aheard/elections/marginal-seats.html if you are voting in such a seat check the 2008 result and vote for whichever party won – if it was NDP or Liberal or the party that lost if the Conservative won.

It’s not perfect but in our first past the post system, at least it may ensure that a Conservative minority does not become a Conservative majority. Your fate and perhaps the fate of the country is in your hands on May 2nd


Leaving Home Again, For the First Time

April 7, 2011

“After a thunderstorm, there is always an updraft.”

I awoke with these words imprinted on my brain from an amazingly powerful dream. I was on a luxury yacht but I was trying to get off; I sense I was being pursued by someone; I finally found myself on the upper deck where there was a helicopter waiting. “Sorry but the winds are too high for take-off” Then my niece Amy’s voice. “It will be fine, there is an updraft, there is always an updraft after a thunderstorm.” The helicopter took off and I found myself trying to persuade three children to put their feet in a harness so the helicopter could pull them to safety however they were all too scared. Finally one seemed to make a commitment then at the last moment hesitated and threw the harness away. We were all trapped.

I sat up in bed, grabbed my journal and began to write furiously; I knew this was an important dream; I sensed it was a response to a specific question I had posed to my Soul last night, “I am totally confused and have no idea what the right thing to do may be. I need a really clear sign, one of those flashing neons!” It was a Tuesday morning I was staying at a friend’s place in Whistler but the story started nine days earlier on a Saturday evening. I had driven up to Whistler to have dinner with friends. Two of them have always been inordinately generous to me in offering me free access to their exquisite chalet whenever I wanted to visit as long as there was room. On this particular weekend there were five of us and I was looking forward to a social time. As dinner progressed the other two men got into a somewhat heated discussion over real estate prices in Hawaii. My friend who owned the place seemed particularly energized and finally the person arguing against him suggested, “Let’s go on line and find out.” I had been observing this disagreement with some amusement as like most of our disagreements, they were based on opinion and hearsay and very little fact. I then made what became a fatal although quite innocent mistake by quipping, “What a remarkable concept – getting facts.”

In a flash, the discussion of real estate prices in Hawaii was dropped and my friend the owner of the chalet, turned the full force of his fury on me. “How can you of all people talk about facts?” I froze like a deer in the headlights; I had no idea what had happened. My friend began a major rant talking about something I had e-mailed him that was disgusting, implausible, unfactual, and biased. I sat there nonplussed with no idea what he was referring to. “Do you know who Wiebo Ludwig is?” he shouted. Having no clue how this connected with me, I said that I thought he was a terrorist of some kind and then asked, “Just what does this have to do with me?” Finally I managed to elicit that offensive article had been sent by a third party to both of us on an oil man named Gwn Morgan. I had facetiously appended, “Just what we need our own Dick Chaney – he even looks like him.” I had only scanned the article and certainly had missed any reference to Wiebo Ludwig. However no matter how hard I tried to get him to see that this was not about me, he just got angrier and angrier. I began to get frustrated and heated, telling him that this was not about me and why did he always have to take things out on me (Unfairness is one of my major triggers). Finally he exclaimed that I had a responsibility to write to the person who originally sent it and tell him that he should not be forwarding such rubbish. This became the straw that broke the camel’s back. “How dare you tell me what to do, you and I are completely different!” His response was dramatic and forceful, “well if you don’t like me there is the door.” I stopped got up and said, “I did not say I did not like you, I said we were different however I think I should leave.” I walked downstairs to where I had planned to sleep and began to assemble my stuff while the thought in my mind was ‘What the #!&?* am I going to do, I don’t feel like driving, I am possibly over the limit (although interestingly enough I had been careful that evening”), and it is a long way home. I decided that I could always sleep in the car however this proved unnecessary as my friend came down and told me I couldn’t leave. We were both feeling remorse by this point and although we did not resolve the differences, we both apologized and completed with a hug.

It was the next morning while writing my journal that I suddenly realized my major trigger besides fairness, as I wrote the words “there’s the door”, I realized why I had decided to leave. This scene resembled much of my teen years when I was expected to conform to my father’s beliefs and when I challenged him, his answer was “while you reside in my house, you follow my rules.” I had always been too fearful to leave. My reaction to my friend was the result of an old complex, something James Hollis refers to as “these energy charged clusters of our history…. (that) write our biographies, frame our futures and circumscribe our freedoms.” I felt good about the fact that this time I had at least chosen to leave even if I didn’t follow through.

We seemed to put it behind us and it was not mentioned again. He did write to the person who initiated the e-mail and established a clear boundary around this type of communication. Meanwhile after a lovely day on a sunny Whistler Mountain, I headed back to Vancouver. The next day my sister, her husband, her daughter and boyfriend arrived. Due to space limitations they did not stay with me but found a lovely B & B close by and on Tuesday I hosted a turkey feast for eight including my friends who owned the place in Whistler. My niece had arranged for the four of them to spend the last three nights of their trip up at their beautiful chalet. All went well and I found myself sharing with my friend my insight around my relationship with my father and its impact on the evening in question.

Later that week, I telephoned them asking what I could do to help as I planned to stay two of the three nights. My friend told me that his wife was doing dinner on Monday and he was cooking burgers on Tuesday, “so that leaves me nothing to do” I said before asking what I could bring. At this point he seemed somewhat annoyed inferring that I never did much anyway. I did not take it to heart and asked if I could speak to his wife who I knew would be fairly specific about my contribution. While talking to her I recalled that I had brought dessert for dinner the previous Saturday so I asked her to tell Dennis that I had done something. Little did I realize that this would be like a blind man pouring gas on a fire. I had unwittingly set the stage for part two of this drama.

It started innocuously enough, I noticed the table getting cleared up around me so I went into the kitchen to help but belatedly found that my sister and her daughter had completed most of the work. A little later I went to check the kitchen to hear my niece’s boyfriend ask my friend if he could finish cleaning a pot for him. “No I’m OK, it’s just the pot left.” so I went and sat in the lounge. Big mistake. The next thing I hear is a voice saying, “Thanks for all your help in the kitchen.” Somewhat surprised I said “But I heard you say you didn’t want any help. Why didn’t you ask?” “I didn’t want his help I wanted your help and I shouldn’t have to ask. I hear you think you are pulling your weight around here.” (I only realized later that this related to my reminder that I had brought dessert.) Then my friend launched into a litany of my deficiencies as his guest. At first I began to protest, because it did not feel fair but then I began to listen. What I learned was that I had completely failed to live up to his expectations of someone who was taking advantage of his generosity. “Did I realize how much this place cost to keep running through the winter” He listed the things he would do in my place: buy a cord of wood, supply not only one bottle of wine but more, cook more than my fair share, perform random acts of cleaning on the house. “Have you ever vacuumed the entrance?” I did not try to defend my self, because there was no way what I did could not live up to his expectations. I just listened and finally I said, ‘I can understand how you feel”, and I really thought I could. Somewhat ironically he said, “I can’t believe how different you are to me.” without realizing I suspect that those were the very words I used that resulted in him telling me to leave a week earlier. I told him I did not think I had the capacity to meet his standards. I responded by suggesting that perhaps I should come up here less frequently. His response surprised me, “that would not make me happy.” Then he got up and gave me a big hug exclaiming, “how can I expect you to change, you have been the same for forty years”. It was kind of touching but it felt incomplete. The image of a child that has been told off for misbehaving comes to mind, you are temporarily forgiven but if you offend again you will receive the same treatment.

I retired feeling very confused because this event following so closely on the heels of the previous one. What was really going on here? Every morning I set an intention: to learn and find meaning from the experiences of my life. So what did it all mean? I went to bed and spent some time restlessly reviewing the events. Was I supposed to be learning new responses or was I supposed to leave this cozy chalet relationship despite him making it clear that this was not his objective. I entered a dialogue with my Soul.” I am confused and I don’t know what to do. I am prepared to give up this part of my life if it’s your desire but it is a very big decision. It does not just affect me but my friend as well as his wife plus it will mean a huge readjustment in my own life. I spend at least fifteen nights a winter up here. I will need a really clear sign.” With these words I drifted into a fretful, disturbed sleep waking to the amazing dream.

I realized almost immediately that the dream was the sign I had been asking for. The yacht is the symbol for the beautiful Whistler residence, the thunderstorm represented the two conflicts, and the updraft was the opportunity to go to a higher place. The three children refusing to take the risk and leave were my fears of leaving – fear for myself, fear of his reaction and fear of his wife’s response. The kid who faked it was me! Reminding me that last week I had threatened to leave but stayed. Then I recalled a CD I was listening to on my up to Whistler from James Hollis’s lecture series What Matters Most. He was talking about “stepping into largeness” and suggested that when faced with challenge we should always select the option that made us feel larger not smaller. In addition he encouraged an exploration of the feelings: which option made us feel more like an adult and which more like a child. The moment I applied these criteria to my decision, I knew what to do but of course I had to leave as an adult not as a child, not in anger which is what I intended to do the previous week.

I waited a day for reflection and the perfect moment. When it came I went to my friend and told him of my decision. “We need to change this relationship or our friendship of forty years will die. If neither of us can change than we will be trapped into repeating this drama over and over again, and I already find that I am starting to avoid you because I sense your aggravation with me.” He was not happy but my decision felt final. One last hug, I packed up my things and left. It felt like a huge weight was lifted from my shoulders. I had taken the alternative that made me feel larger. For the first time I sensed how often I had felt like a child in this relationship. Finally I had left home feeling like an adult for the first time.


Following the Flow

April 1, 2011

“Synchronicity, coincidence, reinforcement and serendipity – these are friendly companions that speak to me of higher realms.” Julia Cameron

Last night at my dream group we were talking about those moments when we are in such a state of flow that everything unfolds exquisitely. I had such an experience yesterday. My sister, her husband, daughter and boyfriend had been in Vancouver and Whistler and I had to say farewell the day before they left as I had a commitment at Inspire Health, while their plan was to drive down from Whistler to catch their flight. I could not contact them as they had no phone and there seemed no way I could meet up before they flew back to England. I felt a little sad about this but little did I know what serendipity had in mind.

The Thursday of their departure was a lovely Spring day and I took advantage by going for a delightful bike ride up to the UBC campus. I immersed myself in the experience – stunning cherry blossoms, the budding star magnolias and glorious scenery – and had a thought. Although it seemed wildly optimistic the idea that popped into my head was that perhaps I could bump into them on Granville Island. My sister loves Granville Island and I knew she hoped to make one last stop before boarding her ten-hour flight. For those who are not familiar with this Vancouver landmark, the web site describes it better than I can: “Imagine an island in the middle of a city. Now picture a place moulded by a fascinating history, buzzing with a colourful artistic community. A living, breathing urban oasis filled with fine waterfront restaurants, theatres, galleries, studios, unique shops, cafes and the most spectacular fresh food market you’ve ever seen. Add a vibrant and diverse mix of people and activities, and you have a destination so dynamic, no visit to the city is complete without spending at least a day here. Just think of Granville Island as Vancouver’s Town Square.”

The catch of course was that I had no idea when or where they would be. I got home and showered and then decided to go for a coffee and follow the little voice inside wherever it led. By the time I left the house I had only 45 minutes before my meeting at 2.00 pm so whatever happened it would be tight. I walked to my regular coffee house which was en-route but found a huge line-up. I felt sure that the delay would put an end to any chance to explore so I reluctantly let go of the idea and kept walking. Time seemed to tick relentlessly away and I resolved to make a final decision when I reached the entrance to the island  and if time permitted I would walk around.  Then I recalled a coffee shop near the entrance, perhaps I would have time for my cup of java after all. By the time I got to Pedro’s as the coffee shop is named, I realized I was out of time; I had five minutes to grab an Americano and leave. At 1.40 pm my coffee was made; suddenly I made a decision to walk out the other entrance that backed onto Kids Zone, a place my sister had mentioned. As I opened the door I began to laugh, joined quickly by my surprised sister who was sitting facing me. The family had just arrived; they were late because they had decided to take the alternative bridge into Vancouver to avoid traffic; upon arrival they had been desperate for a coffee so here they were. This amazing dance of serendipity and synchronicity created a magical end to their trip and made my day. The universe sure is one amazing place.