Why is SLEEP so Healing?

Why is Sleep so Healing?

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And if tonight my soul may find her peace in sleep, and sink in good oblivion, and in the morning wake like a new opened flower then I have been dipped again in God, and new created. D.H. Lawrence

We spend a great amount of time sleeping. In fact, statistics reveal that one-third of our lives is spent asleep. That means by the time you reach sixty, you will have spent approximately twenty years asleep. Out of those years, you will have spent 87,000 hours actively dreaming. Imagine how many dreams you have throughout your lifetime. And just think of all of the wisdom, ideas and creative genius pouring forth from your subconscious, the place within you where your experiences and knowledge is stored. American author and Quaker, Jessamyn West, once penned, “Sleeplessness is a desert without vegetation or inhabitants.”

Sleep is essential in order for our bodies to rejuvenate. In 2013, researchers at the University of Rochester in New York discovered that the brain sweeps away waste and toxins during sleep. That is why the cats or kids keeping waking you up at night, or drinking that second glass of wine, or experiencing hormonal changes cause you to feel foggy the next day. The flow of cerebrospinal fluid increases dramatically in the brain during sleep, cleaning out toxins which could lead to certain diseases like Alzheimer’s. Since the clock within our cells are in alignment with the sun, disruptions to our sleep break down our circadian rhythm increasing our risk for heart disease, diabetes, obesity, anxiety and depression.

While you are sleeping, your brain cells shrink by sixty percent, allowing waste to be reduced more effectively. Restful, non-interrupted sleep is essential. Keep your room dark and cool, turn on some white noise like a fan, wear ear plugs and a sleep mask if necessary, but make sure you get a good night’s sleep. Not only does restful sleep enable your conscious mind to take a break, it allows the unconscious mind to fulfill an important function: to recreate the conscious mind’s desire for depositing and permanently housing one’s experiences. These remain until the experience or belief has been changed or re-programmed. As the experiences are deposited into the unconscious, we act according to what has been stored—whether we are conscious of it or not.

In this month’s National Geographic, Michael Finkel wrote an article titled “When We Sleep, Our Mind Goes on an Amazing Journey.” He affirms: “When we’re sleeping, and we commence our first REM session, the most elaborate and complex instrument known in the universe is free to do what it wishes. It self-activates. It dreams. This, one could say, is the playtime of the brain. Some sleep theorists postulate that REM sleep is when we are our most intelligent, insightful, creative, and free. It’s when we truly come alive.”

Sleeping is perhaps, one of the greatest gifts we can give ourselves. “Put your thoughts to sleep,” Rumi once advised, “Do not let them cast a shadow over the moon of your heart. Let go of thinking.” Sleep possesses the capacity to restore us emotionally, physically, intellectually, creatively, and spiritually.

Laurasig

For a deeper exploration into your dreams, please click HERE.

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Join me in my upcoming webinar on “dreams” check it out HERE

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Using Dreams to Create Abundance

Creating Abundance in Every Area of Your Life through Your Nighttime Dreams download

When was the last time you found money or jewelry on the ground in a parking lot or on a sidewalk? Was it a penny, nickel, quarter, a dollar or a twenty dollar bill? Did you pick it up and keep it, or walk away from it?  Finding (or losing) valuables in dreams is symbolic of discovering (or losing) something of value in you. Locating valuables implies that you may be discovering something new within yourself, such as a new attitude, a new form of work, a new relationship, new prosperity, new creativity and so forth.

Here is a personal example of how your dreams can provide specific direction for accessing your life’s work and creating abundance. Years ago, I was a human resource director for a CPA and consulting firm in the Midwest. The majority of my time was spent firing managers and partners as the firm underwent a series of mergers. As a highly sensitive person and empath, this was excruciatingly painful and I experienced immense burn-out in only a few short years. The life-force had been sucked out of my soul and I resigned. Instead of immediately putting myself back on the executive market, I felt guided to take a year off and do some significant soul-searching. So I withdrew my 401(k), bought a house on small lake in the Midwest, and took my ten year old daughter, Alexis, and our cat, Buttercup, and moved in with my beloved partner, Thomas. It was a new beginning, both emotionally and financially challenging, yet I spent the next twelve months delving into spiritual teachings, journaling about my thoughts and feelings, and delving into my nighttime dreams. At thirty-two years old, it may have been one of the best years of my life.

Daily, I asked for guidance from my dreams and how best to use my gifts, strengths and talents. During this time, I had a powerful dream:

I am sitting in the driver’s seat of my red Toyota which is parked in a parking lot. Next to me in the passenger’s seat I see a dark blue book with “Bhagavad Gita” scrolled in gold across the cover. I open the car door and see several brochures that I have created lying on the ground and next to them are various silver and gold coins.

This dream was showing me that writing combined with spirituality were a definite part of my life’s work. As I followed my dream’s cues I began writing articles for spiritual and personal growth publications, something I had never done before. As a result, I had the following dream:

I am guided to look under my bed and discover enormous diamonds in the shape of crystals. I am amazed by their beauty.  After looking under the bed I look to the floor and see two or three similar stones, not quite as large as the one under my bed. I awake feeling happy and inspired.

abundanceThese dreams affirmed the work that carried me deeper into my authentic self while providing abundance, not just financially, but emotionally, intellectually, creatively, and spiritually. The fact that the diamonds were shaped like crystals revealed the multi-faceted potentials within me. Looking back over the past couple of decades, I can see how telling the dream truly was. I became inspired to write a series of articles that were published throughout the country and eventually morphed into my first book, Gifts of the Soul. Next, the book and articles inspired the creation of The Self-Mastery Program, an intensive that supported individuals in accessing their inner gifts. I taught The Self-Mastery program for ten years and in the meantime, penned my second book, The Intimate Soul. (Both books were written and self-published under my former name, Laura V. Hyde.)

Unlimited ideas continued to spring forth and I developed a series of additional programs, workshops and retreats. During this creative era, I generated a course on dreams and coached people on understanding and utilizing them. Desiring to deepen my spiritual growth, I attended an interfaith seminary program and began providing spiritual counseling.

The “multi-faceted” diamonds represented skills I never knew I had, and didn’t have, until I began working with my nighttime dreams and stretching beyond my comfort zone. Edgar Cayce wisely affirms, “Dreams are today’s answers to tomorrow’s questions.”  Listen to your dreams. Like a diamond, they possess marvelous, mystical, multi-faceted brilliance.

Laurasig

For a deeper exploration into your dreams, please click HERE.

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Join me in my upcoming webinar on “dreams” check it out HERE

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Dreams: The Looking Glass of Relationships

DREAMS: The Looking Glass of Relationships

Deepen your intimacy in relationships  images

Our nighttime dreams are the looking glass into our relationships and relationships are a significant part of our lives. Jean Paul Sartre stated, “Hell is other people,” and though that might feel true at times, without relationships, we severely limit our ability to evolve. Humans are hard-wired to connect. Developing open, loving, trusting and healthy connections takes great commitment, consistent effort, and mindful awareness. Specific dream characters, symbols and feelings emerge to show you unresolved fears, insecurities, and even traumatic experiences that occurred and are inhibiting your connection with others.

See your beliefs, attitudes, and judgments toward yourself and others

Dreams are often referred to as the “mirror to your soul” because they reflect the deeper, hidden aspects of us that we are not seeing clearly. Also, they reveal how others see us which likely differs from our self-perception. Jung referred to this aspect as the “persona,” the mask we wear in public for others to see. It is the false-self that needs approval and strives to be liked, appreciated, and wanted. Therefore, our dreams are not meant to please us but to awaken us. They are often perceived as disturbing because they will not succumb to our noblest notions of ourselves. “The closer one looks,” Marc Ian Barasch states, “The more [dreams] seem to insist upon a challenging proposition: You must live truthfully. Right now. And always. Few forces in life present, with an equal sense of inevitability, the bare-knuckle facts of who we are, and the demands of what we might become.”

Dream characters are “projections” of ourselves

When someone appears in your dreams, ask yourself, “What is my perception of this person?” It might be someone you haven’t seen in twenty-five years or your current next door neighbor. The key is to get in touch with how you see this person and what traits they are mirroring back to you. This is not easy because no one wants to see negative qualities in themselves. Which is one of the reasons that the unlikeable traits have been projected on to another during dreamtime. Rich with self-awareness, dream characters are the psychic lens for you to truly see yourself. They reveal your false-self, the persona and mask that you wear as well as the traits you have adopted since you were very young. Every person starring in your nightly dreams are unconscious projections of yourself. From this advantageous perspective, your dream characters can help you learn more about yourself than you might ever imagine.

Laurasig

For a deeper exploration into your dreams, please click HERE.

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Join me in my upcoming webinar on “dreams” check it out HERE

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Recognizing & Transforming Your Limiting Patterns

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Recognizing & Transforming Your Limiting Patterns

By recognizing your limitations, you heighten your self-awareness and awaken to the realms of mystery and soul. Since dreams emerge from the unconscious and speak the language of the soul, whenever you pay attention to the deeper message in your dreams, you enhance your connection to soul. Playwright and novelist, Marsha Norman, once wrote, “Dreams are illustrations from the book your soul is writing about you.”

“Soul” differs from “spirit.” James Hillman, an American psychologist who studied at the C.G. Jung Institute in Zurich explains how “spirit is fast” and ascends in a vertical direction. He compares it to a straight arrow, “knife sharp, powder dry, and phallic.” In contrast to spirit, he speaks of the soul and its connection to the moon, the realm of the dead and dreams of the night. Soul can be experienced in the muddy, mucky waters we must sometimes wade through in life and the messiness that comes with growth. Our dreams speak soul-language which is why they are not easy to understand. Soul communicates with images that are imbued with importance and symbolism. Like poetry, in order to relish it we must dip beneath the surface and dive into its deeper meaning. Emerson once said, “Every word was once a poem” and this is true with dreams; every image was once a story of the soul.

A personal example of how dreams reveal our limiting patterns and awaken us to our highest potential is illustrated in a dream I had while going through a significant reinvention. For some clarity and support, I enlisted the help of a professional coach. After our first session, I had the following dream:

My coach and I are standing near the bottom of a hill that leads upward to a road. The hill is covered in snow. I am holding a silver ring with a large diamond in my right hand and I am not sure where it came from. A man pulls up in a car on the road above us and gets out. He is holding a small black pistol and is pointing it toward me. I am frightened and decide to hide the ring by pushing the diamond end into the snowy bank in front of us. My coach says something to the man. He puts his gun away and I am relieved yet concerned about finding the ring I just hid in the snow.

Issues of prosperity, self-worth, and the shadow and light side of my masculine aspects emerge from this dream. Let’s unpack this dream:

  • Snow covered hill: frozen emotions, unconscious perceptions, thoughts and feelings.
  • Ring: connection with Source, infinity.
  • Diamond: multi-faceted, strong, beautiful, valuable, inner gifts and talents.
  • Man with gun: masculine shadow aspect, threatening, challenging my self-worth regarding my ability to create prosperity.
  • Coach: masculine light aspect, wise, supportive, fearless.

During my first coaching session we discussed the responsibility that comes with success and prosperity. I shared my belief that in order to generate success, I would have to give up my freedom and slave away all day long. Wealthy, successful people must be workaholics and though I was willing to exert positive energy, I was unwilling to “sacrifice” my happiness. This dream was a gift from psyche that clearly exposed the sacrificial belief living in the depths of my unconscious. Here are the pearls of wisdom:

(1) The dream begins with me standing at the bottom of a small hill that leads upward to a road. The hill symbolizes the effort I believe is required to overcome some repressed prosperity issues. Since the road is visible from the bottom of the hill, the issues I am facing are not insurmountable and my ability to overcome them are within reach.

(2) I am holding a silver ring with a large diamond and unsure where it came from. The diamond ring represents my strength and multi-faceted capacity for creating prosperity but am unaware that it’s okay to claim it as mine.

(3) I am afraid I am going to be hurt by the man with the gun who might steal my ring. The gunman is the conflicted part of me, challenging my self-worth for deserving abundance.

(4) I push the ring into the snow bank. Snow reflects frozen emotions and some unconscious fears I am carrying.

(5) My coach talks to the man which causes the man to put away his gun. This reveals the wise, intuitive aspect, the “voice of reason” reminding me of my abilities.

(6) The dream concludes with a concern for having hid the ring so well I may be unable to recover it. Here again,  issues of self-worth and sabotaging my success are being exposed.

 “Until you make the unconscious conscious,” Jung wrote, “it will direct your life and you will call it fate.” We don’t wish to see how clearly they reveal the truth about our vain imaginings and fragile ego self-concepts, dreams bust them apart. This dream brought unconscious belief patterns into my awareness so I could address them. That’s why dreams are so powerful; they continuously communicate messages from our unconscious to our conscious mind.

For a deeper exploration into your dreams, please click HERE.

Discovering Your Shadow in Dreamtime

 

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Discovering Your Shadow in Dreamtime

Dreams offer special gifts which help you with every issue you are facing in waking life and one of the most significant is discovering and reclaiming your Shadow.

Your shadow contains aspects of you that are unconscious or that you may have judged as “negative” or “bad.” (And also include positive traits that you have not yet acknowledged or accepted.) Discovering your shadow allows you to become aware of all aspects of self which leads to integration, wholeness, and individuation.  Jung viewed the individuation process as our ultimate goal. Individuation requires becoming conscious of our prima materia—the unconscious material that has been repressed so we may experience the alchemical process of transformation. Dreams provide the opportunity to witness the prima materia in ways that we are unable to experience during waking life. People who advance towards individuation tend to become harmonious, mature, responsible, and are aware of their connectedness to all things.

A personal example of prima materia entails a series of “snake” dreams I began having when I immersed myself in a doctoral program grounded in depth psychology and somatic studies. As I delved into the hidden realms of the unconscious, childhood trauma and attachment theory, “snake” dreams began to emerge. Having been terrified of snakes my entire life, I was confused about why they were showing up now? Were they trying to convey some aspect of me, (a thought that horrified me), or were they representing someone in my life, (almost as frightening)?

I sought advice from an instructor I deeply respected who advised, “Snakes sometime appear in dreams when there’s a misalignment in psyche. You’re on a new path that is triggering some old stuff, so write down your dreams and notice if they shift as you work through the course material.” So I did. His advice was spot on because the more I delved into the realm of the unconscious, the more snake surfaced during dreamtime. The more I remembered and re-witnessed childhood trauma, a myriad of snakes showed up—from black snakes with long red tongues to green diamond back rattlers. Somatic memories surfaced from the abuse and neglect I experienced during my developing years. This was the prima materia that had been buried and needed to surface so it could be re-experienced in a safe environment and transformed. Remaining dedicated to understanding my dreams and working with a somatic trauma therapist helped my snake dreams shift. As I moved through the trauma, “snake” evolved from something painful and frightening to an image that became my most powerful guide.

The body remembers everything you have ever experienced and carries the burden of stress, disease, and trauma. Dream images, like my myriad snakes, live in the blood cells, skin, muscles and organs of the body. By working with the images, the snakes became my personal daimon to the point that even the “poison” that flooded my body after one snake decided to sink his fangs into my left hand became a form of “medicine.” After the initial shock wore off, I was able to tap into the venom and receive the strength that I needed to confront the past and transform some painful experiences.  This ancient, reptilian image led me to a deeper understanding about my reactions, behaviors, fears, and desire for love, and in alchemical terms, was akin to turning base metal into radiant gold. Using dream images to transform old wounds leads us to individuation, wholeness, and greater aliveness. You may be wondering, what happened to the snake dreams? Well, two weeks before finishing my final doctoral course and writing my last term paper, the Wise Snake exited the realm of my dreams and hasn’t made an appearance since. Powerful, yes?

For more information on how to work with your dreams including practical ways to approach them, please check out my newest book, Dreams: Soul-Centered Living in the 21st Century at Amazon.

https://www.amazon.com/Dreams-Soul-Centered-Psychological-Achieving-Transformation/dp/198503493X/ref=sr_1_3?ie=UTF8&qid=1526418154&sr=8-3&keywords=laura+v+grace

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Numinous Nature of Your Nighttime Dreams

THE NUMINOUS NATURE OF YOUR NIGHTTIME DREAMS

Dreams are a sacred gift presented to us in the midst of our sleeping consciousness. Remember your dreams. Honor your dreams. Learn from your dreams.  Norman Bradford

Dreams are alive. Rich with symbols, archetypes, alchemical images and metaphors, dreams are an invaluable transformational instrument. When understood, dreams are a pathway to higher consciousness, evolved relationships, meaningful work, informed physical health and a clear awareness of your soul’s blueprint.

But the growth that dreams provide is not always an easy process, it sometimes requires digging into unconscious muck which makes things appear messy. Also, unhealed trauma rears its head during dreamtime as do addictions, fears, unrequited love, grief, disappointment, anger, and physical, psychological, and spiritual imbalances. The unconscious does its best to grab your attention so you can recognize and integrate aspects of yourself that are hidden and may have gotten repressed along the way.

Further, dreams possess the power to free you from programmed beliefs, status quo thinking and false personas. They provide ideas, solutions and insights. Edgar Cayce taught, “Dreams work to solve problems of the dreamer’s conscious waking life, and they work to quicken in the dreamer new potentials which are his/hers to claim.”

Dreams are considered to be the oldest language known to man and some are numinous in nature, a term Jung used frequently when referring to their “divine command” (derived from the Latin word numen). These watershed experiences encompass significant health related issues, profound relationship matters, vocational and career crossroads, and spiritually defining moments. Dreams emerge from the point of contact between spirit and matter, human and divine, male and female, ego and Self. Carl Jung calls this point of contact the soul. Since your dreams provide ideas, solutions and insights, I encourage you to use this book as your own personal compass for navigating through every area of your life. Literally, they are jackpots of information and will enhance your awakening process, or what Jung called the pathway to individuation.

Dreams are sacred gifts; no matter how confusing, nonsensical, frightening, or perverse they may seem, dreams emerge from the unconscious to help you. We often avoid facing a disturbing or puzzling dream but in truth it is your own personal daimon, the Greek word for “inspired guide.”

While working with your dreams, it is helpful to keep in mind some of the basic dream principles developed by Carl Jung:

  • Almost every dream come to us in the service of health and wholeness.
  • Dreams have multiple and simultaneous meanings.
  • Only the dreamer knows for sure what the meaning of the dream is at a particular time.
  • Dreams bring information from the unconscious into consciousness, a huge gift for healing our lives, relationships and sense of purpose.

Sleep Deeply, Dream Big!

Intro to Your Nighttime Dreams

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The overall subject of our dreams is, ultimately, the inner process of individuation. Most dreams, in one way or another, are portrayals of our individual journeys toward wholeness. They show us the stages along the way—the adventures, obstacles, conflicts, and reconciliations that lead finally to a sense of the self.  Robert Johnson

Imagine walking into a dark theater. Hundreds of empty seats await an audience to sit in before a shadowy stage. The director shouts, “Lights, cameras, action!” and you are mesmerized as the actors take their places and the storyline begins to unfold. As you watch, you feel yourself both watching the movie and being in the movie. The plot twists and turns as you connect with the actors and every dream character is playing a unique role. Feelings of excitement, judgment, bias, disdain, fear, hatred, empathy, love and compassion arise. The film captivates your every sense and the images feel alive in your body. As the movie ends and the credits roll you realize that this wasn’t just any movie, it is a story about your life.

And, so it is.

You are the screen writer, director, producer, casting agent, choreographer, landscape artist and every character starring in your nightly dreams. You are also the observer who witnesses a comedy, tragedy, romance, horror film called “This Is My Life.” All of these creative gestures and more emerge from your unconscious an average of four to five times per night. Every film, crafted by you, reveals your unresolved issues, desires, hope, fears, strengths, doubts, grief, resentments, beliefs, and connections to the deepest realms of your soul. And it doesn’t stop there; dreams are not always purely personal and can encompass the “anima mundi,” the Greek term for “world soul.”

Dreams are the language of our individual and collective soul. The word “soul” stems from the Greek term “psyche.” Carl Jung (1963) declared: “Without the psyche there would be neither knowledge nor insight.” During dream time, while the ego is asleep, psyche comes to life and reveals information unattainable during waking life.

As a prolific dreamer, I became interested in connecting and understanding my dreams when I was eight years old. By age sixteen, I was dreaming about events which inevitably manifested the following day. My mother kept urging, “Write down your dreams, Laura, they are trying to tell you something important,” and thus began my personal and spiritual journey with dreams. Now, more than 30 years later, I have book cases and boxes filled with dream journals. They are treasure troves of thoughts, feelings and wisdom about my family, physical health, past relationships, finances, life’s purpose, shadow aspects, fears, insecurities, self-sabotaging behaviors, desires, strengths and spiritual gifts. Dreams are the purest form of information. Since they are not censored by our conscious thoughts, feelings and perceptions, they possess the capacity to provide more support and insight than therapy, and they are free! I am always saddened when people tell me their dreams are nonsensical or that they do not have time to listen to them. Our dreams are wellsprings of information, the language of our soul.

You dream every night whether you remember your dreams or not. The more you seek to understand them, the more likely you will recall them. The first thing to keep in mind is that your dreams are meant to help you not frighten or confuse you. I cannot tell you how many people have secretly shared that they do not listen to their dreams, or remember their dreams because they are afraid of them, or they will have to make some significant changes.  Growth can be messy and change is inevitable if you wish to grow. You always have the choice to delve inward and move forward, and you have control over when you choose to do so.

Secondly, all dreams are meaningful despite how ridiculous they may seem, even “snippets” contain invaluable information. Dreams may seem silly but only to the limitations of your waking mind. Even working with one dream image will help you increase your self-awareness and can lead to significant breakthroughs.

Your nighttime dreams are a powerful pathway to transformation and occur as a guidepost to support you on your pathway to wholeness.