I used to go through life with much certainty about who I was, what I was doing, and what I believed. It’s not so much that I don’t know those things anymore; I’m now more open to other interpretations and shifts. Sometimes I shift because of new information, new perspectives provided by others or by my accessing my internal wisdom.
The best way to access my internal wisdom has been to be more in touch with my feelings. The only problem with feelings is that to access the good you also have to deal with the uncomfortable ones. I cannot find my joy and awe if I’m hiding my resentment and anger. I can’t know what brings me positive if I turn off the negative. It’s like trying to use a GPS when your north indicator is broken. You’ll probably spend a lot of time driving in circles, sort of like I did on the freeways of San Antonio last night.
I have since discovered that dreams are also a potent way to access your wisdom or intuition. I know, there are many studies that both endorse and discredit intuition as decision-making tools. I’m not saying they’re perfect, but perhaps they’re more a guide to your inner desires. Dreams cannot be taken literally. The meaning behind them has to be teased out in the context of your life.
I have had pretty much the same dream for years, with the same theme but variations on the details. I’m in school with my BFF from high school and college, Suzanne. It’s no big deal: there are no shaming moments, triumphs or failures. Occasionally I feel unprepared but mostly I’m just in school. Interestingly, I’ve also never really been able to dream of other people in my life. They’re usually faceless strangers, or they’re Suzanne. Period. I’ve never understood what this dream means. Not surprisingly, I’m better at interpreting others’ dreams than my own.
I was reflecting recently that I’ve started to dream of everyone in the last few weeks. No longer just faceless strangers, but now my kids, my Ex, my sweetheart, my current friends and co-workers are part of my dreams. Everyone, except Suzanne. I still love Suzanne, in fact I’m here visiting her in Texas. But the Suzanne dreams are gone. What has changed?
You got it. I am back in school, as a student now, since August.
That’s pretty freakin’ amazing, don’t you think? My subconscious has been telling me for years to go back to school. No way would I have known even what to study 5-10 years ago. I never even heard of positive psychology until about 2 years ago. But somehow my subconscious knew what I needed.
Last night I dreamed I was looking up a colorful, autumn tree at my neighbors, who were sitting near the top, enjoying the vista. They had a beautiful view and assured me it was lovely there. I passed them cookies so their experience would be even better. Of course I’m not supposed to go climb a tree, but maybe my inner self believes that the future (or maybe the present) is pretty cool and everything will be OK, or maybe that I need to take a look at the bigger picture and re-evaluate.
Joseph Campbell, comparative mythologist extraordinaire, believes that dreams provide the metaphors to your own mythology, and how to find meaning or truth in your life. Public myths (including religion) are society’s explanations and guide to how the world works and how to live in it. Our dreams are our private guides to understanding and living our lives. Listen to yourself through your feelings and dreams. Honor your own wisdom.