Sunday, May 14, 2006

Practical Dreaming #4: Part I -- Enriching Our Relationships -- or -- "Houston, We Have a Connection"

Rich, deep relationships with the people in our lives are the difference between Existing and Living. Becoming an active dreamer gives us a number of different ways we can invite others into our inner life (and in turn be invited into other's inner lives) and thereby be more deeply seen and understood for who and what we truly are (and see and understand others).

It is too easy for daily conversations to become desultory recitations of our Lists: job this, spouse/S.O. that, dang that weather, didja see American Idol (24, Lost, Sopranos), and so forth. For most people, the question "How are you?" is answered with the perfunctory "fine" or another habitual response bearing little relation to how we really *are*. But put two dreamers together, and "catchup" conversation is more along the lines of --

"How am I? Well I dreamt a few weeks ago that I was in the garden with my mother -- we used to spend afternoons together out in her vegetable patch -- and I remembered how much I loved watching things grow and having those veggies on the dinner table. So I've been out in the backyard clearing space and preparing the soil, y'know, getting dirt under my fingernails. And it's been great calling my Mom for advice 'cause we have something to talk about besides how old age stinks!"

"So you and your Moms are reconnecting?"

"Yeah, and I'm working on getting *my* daughter to come out and plant things with me."

When we open to the information, wisdom and juice that's just waiting for us in dreaming, we deepen into our own selves. We reconnect with an authentic part of our own energy that yearns to be alive in this world, and as this process of self-knowing occurs, we start to seek out others with whom we can deeply connect. Many times, people we already know respond to our opening by opening up themselves. Their soul's yen for juicy life responds to the humming energy we're putting out and bang! before you know it, you and shy Maria from accounting have become dreaming friends and are giggling madly away at the first meeting of a belly dancing class -- or you've found out Ted from the PTA board does hospice volunteer work sitting with a person with a terminal illness so the family can have a few hours to get out and see a movie...and you're thinking maybe you'd find that satisfying, too. Nearly everyone out there has untapped depth in them; it's not always easy to get to it -- but being out in the world as an active dreamer tends to melt the social facades that folks wear as a matter of habit.

As a Pilates instructor, I spend a lot of time with people one on one. Certainly, the bulk of our time together is spent focused on their bodies and the work we're doing, but there is always simple chat as well. And if I had to spend 25 hours a week in small talk with my people, I'd have been lobotomized by the boredom a long time ago (I teach well over a thousand sessions a year). There's only so many different ways to say "I'm *so* tired of Tom Cruise! And egad -- poor, poor Katie!" But start talking about a dream I had, and pretty soon they're telling me about a dream *they* had, and we're quickly off to much more fertile conversational ground.

In the same way that an initial connection with a person can open up an entire relationship with them over time, making an initial connection to your own dreaming can open an entire world waiting for you on the other side of the veil of sleep. Get a paper and a pen and put it on your nightstand. Before going to sleep set two intents for yourself: 1) "I will dream tonight", and 2) "I will remember my dream, and write it down when I wake up." It's about that simple to get started. Go find out: the adventure starts anew every night!

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