Listening is the oldest and perhaps the most powerful tool of healing. When we listen, we offer with our attention an opportunity for wholeness. Our listening creates sanctuary for the homeless parts within the other person.
~Rachel Naomi Remen, M. D.
When someone shares their dream with you they stand naked before you (think X-Ray Machine level naked!) Their soul is exposed and the most vulnerable, fragile, brilliant, and dare I say genius aspect of them is truly laying face up on the operating table. The offering of dream feedback should not to be done cavalierly. With reverence, respect, humility, and surgical precision, listen and share with a true intent to empower the dreamer.
In fact, Dreamwork is all about empowerment, in the truest sense of the word. It is of extreme importance that the dreamer knows they are the ultimate authority of their dream and its interpretation. No one else but the dreamer themselves has the right to tell them definitively what their dream means.
For those of us who have ears to hear, our role is to provide a safe space for the dreamer to share their dream report. Once the dream is shared, our role is to provide feedback and reflection to support the dreamer in having their own aha moment. To do this, become as receptive to hearing and listening to the dream with your whole body…as if the dream was your very own.
If it were my dream: When it comes to offering feedback, if you preface your response with, “If it were my dream…” you aren’t pointing an authoritative finger at someone, but you are revealing your own associations, hunches, and insights. For example, here’s my response to a dream someone shared with me about an eagle that made direct eye contact with her.
“If it were my dream I might see the eagle as a message to keep my attention on a higher plane; to acclimate to a higher vantage point, so when it’s time for you to come down to earth, I could do so with clarity, precision, efficiency, and intent. The eye contact suggests there is an important part of my “eye” (I-dentity) being revealed. How does that feel? What does that bring up for you?”
She responded with an aha light in her eyes and a strong a series of head nods.
- Dream Decoding: Write out the dream as suggested in the SADDLE Dream Interpretation Formula (see more of this in detail in the blog from day 10). Here’s the nutshell: SADDLE stands for Symbol, Association, Dream Dictionary, Life, and Emotion. Once you have heard the dream report, interview the dreamer about the meaning of each symbol; how it relates to their life; and the way they felt about it in the dream.
- Actively Listen: I find people appreciate it when you truly listen to their dream and pause to hear what your feedback stimulates in them (i.e. “What does my sharing bring up for you?”) In fact, your active listening can be defined as absorbing the dream with all your senses, as if it truly were your own dream. True listening is a magnifying glass to help the dreamer see the aha that had been in front of them the whole time.
- Become the Symbol: I find that when I ask someone about their dream and they are truly puzzled by what its bizarre symbols could possibly mean, I’ll ask them to become the symbol. For example, Tami dreamed of a tall building collapsing and had no earthly idea what it meant. I asked if she would be willing to become the building and answer the following questions:
Kelly: What does it feel like to be the building?
Tami: Someone pushed me. I’m off balance. I’m scared cause I’m about to collapse.
Kelly: As the building, what do you want?
Tami: To get all these people out of me!
Kelly: What do you like most about being the building?
Tami: Most of the time I feel tall and strong, and that I can hold everyone up.
Kelly: What do you like least about being the building?
Tami: I’m stiff, rigid, and I don’t feel free to move around because I’m carrying everyone.
Kelly: If you were in charge what would you like to see happen?
Tami: I’d like everyone out of me…a little alone time to feel the relief of having space to myself. Then I’d like some renovations…a new foundation and more structural support so I can relax. Oh yes…whoever takes up residence in me, I want them to carry a high vibration. I only want people in me who bring something to the party, so I don’t always have to do all the work to hold everyone’s lives together.
What do you think the message of this dream was trying to convey?
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