Over the last several years, I have found it more difficult to remember my dreams. A few trickle through when I wake up in the morning, but it is not consistent. This has not always been the case. I have for many years, counted on my dreams for insight into my waking life. I believe that our dreams are a powerful, often untapped tool for helping to process and better cope with illness, loss, creativity, and life changing decisions. They carry archetypal messages for our personal growth and evolution. Often times, the information they carry can bring resolution to a problem we didn't think possible. Actively working with our dreams, we can see patterns and guidance that can help to restore trust in ourselves.When we honor our dreams, we empower ourselves.
- John Perkins, The World Is As You Dream It
Since I've been missing this Wise voice, it seems important that I work on restoring it. I thought it would be fun to share some of my favorite ways for improving dream recall and utilizing their messages as a healing tool.
Hints for Improving Dream Recall
- Before going to sleep. tell yourself that you will remember your dreams. This is a simple and amazingly successful dream recall tool.
- Spend time in "meditation" before going to sleep. With all of the stimulus of our modern world, it is crucial to acknowledge the need for stillness. Quieting the mind and body are conducive to dreamwork.
- Keep a dream journal. Make sure it's within easy reach so that you can write your dreams down immediately upon waking. Even in the middle of the night! Do not count on being able to remember all the details later in the day. With each waking moment, you will recall less and less.
- Record the details in your journal even if they seem silly! Note how the dream made you "feel" (afraid, sad, helpless, powerful, happy, etc). It's also helpful to use present tense in your description of the dream. Include any first impressions you may have concerning the meaning.
- Be sure to date your entries. If you want to add an interesting way to see patterns in your dream life, note what phase the moon is in. If you are familiar with astrology, include the sign the moon was in at the time of your dream.
- For women who menstruate, it is helpful to record where you are in your cycle. Over time, this information should also provide some patterns in your dreams. For example, you may find certain animals make appearances right before you ovulate. Symbolic messengers of fertility could be in the form of rabbits, wolves and snakes. It can be an awing experience in the body-mind connection when you begin to see this kind of information coming through your dreams!
- If you are dealing with physical illness or pain in your waking life, be sure to pay attention to how your body feels when you wake up. Most of us with diabetes or hypoglycemia know that a nightmare can indicate low blood sugar. I ALWAYS test my blood sugar levels right away if I've had a nightmare! If possible keep track of these details in your journal as well.
- Title your dream. Note any outstanding objects, animals, people, places and words. Try to pinpoint a theme.
- Sometimes the relevance to what's happening in your waking life may be obvious, but if not, keep digging! Consult a dream dictionary or a symbols book. Remember though that this is an exercise in trusting your intuition, and the information in these books is a starting place, not an end point.
- Find a dream partner. Someone you can share your dreams with on a consistent basis. This will improve your dream memory and provide you with objective input. Often times, when telling the story of a dream aloud, we may inadvertently give clues to the meaning. A trusted listener will help capture those insights for us.
- Use your dreams as inspiration. Turn them into poems, songs, paintings, and collages. Whatever your creative outlet, it can be infused with your dream life!