Today I feel a bit crabby. Yup, I said it. I have the grumps and that’s o.k. Even the most resident experts of mindfulness and well-being (which I by no means claim to be) have their off days. I don’t know if it’s the oncoming full moon, or mercury in retrograde (all contributing factors of shifting emotions and states of mind), or the fact that I tossed and turned all night due to a rather stressful series of dreams.
Dreams ARE what life’s made of. The bigger we can dream, the more grand our life experiences can become.
Dreams in the literal sense however, can be just as important in shaping our lives. Our minds are at work 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. In fact, they are even at work while we are asleep. We can all attest to good nights of sleep and not so great nights of slumber. Sometimes we attribute the quality of our night’s rest on the type of dreams we have had. Everyone dreams.
Whether or not you remember in the morning, you have been dreaming. The interpretation of our dreams can shed light on our internal thought processes and also indicate how we are handling and digesting life’s current or past events. If individuals can learn to remember their dreams from an early age, make note of them and try to understand them to some extent, it may help them greatly along their journey. With practice, it is possible to train your mind into recalling dreams.
Dream recollection comes from the consistent practice of recording what was dreamt the night before. The more that you can record, the more that you will recall. When I am diligent in my own practice of dream recording, I definitely notice the extent to which my memories and dream awareness increase. I am then more guided in processing certain buried emotions, traumas, or past and current events.
When I was examining my own series of dreams from last night, I began to consider how this practice might be introduced to children and youth. If adults can benefit from the analysis of their dreams, why couldn’t young individuals too? In fact, if we can teach youth to get into the habit of keeping a dream diary and equip them with some skills to effectively interpret these night time mind journeys, they will inherently become more self-aware.
Dream recording can be a fun activity that incorporates reading, writing, drawing, researching, making connections and can even be done as homework, or as a family activity (if families or classes wish to share what they dreamt)! It’s important to set kids up for success with remembering their dreams. Providing a special dream notebook that can be kept confidential and private, if the child so wishes, is a great start. Have kids dedicate a special spot for their books at home that is easily accessible upon waking (i.e. a nightstand). Like adults, kids can be taught to simply INTEND or ASK to remember their dreams just before falling asleep. It’s quite magical what the universe supplies with a simple intention or request.
However, reinforce that dreams may not always be recalled right away, but with persistence it will happen.
Upon rising in the morning, individuals are asked to take a few moments to date a fresh dream book page and record what they remember. This may be one jot note of a skewed memory, a quick sketch of images, or a page full of reflections. If a connection to life can be made in the moment, this can always be expressed within the same entry. However, making these connections may take time.
*Teachers, you may also teach your students about dream recording. It’s a wonderful way for students to practise their writing without the restrictions of rigid assignment guidelines and expectations. The writing can just flow and it also encourages the brain to get in motion right at the break of dawn!*
There are plenty of books and websites now that offer interpretations of whole dreams, themes, or even objects and subjects within a dream. Teach children to utilize these resources, but with a great deal of discernment. Interpretations are not always exact and can require some analysis and gentle explanation. What’s most important is to ensure that children understand that dreams do not translate into exact life experiences. This point is key. As they grow and increase their knowledge and understanding of dreams, they will learn that these interpretations are simply representations of a certain emotion that they are holding in their bodies and minds.
In the beginning stages, if dream recording simply helps kids to get their thoughts on paper (i.e., relaying a nightmare), they may be able to release any patterns of fear or worry that the dream has encouraged them to hold onto throughout their day. They might even be able to break the cycle of recurring dreams this way.
Like I do with personal journals, I will eventually re-visit old dream entries to see how my dreams have changed, developed, shown me patterns or evolved. For those interested in their journey of self-development and growth, why not utilize all the hours in a day? Even the ones when you are asleep.
While this may not be my personal dream journal, just spending the time writing to you today about dreams, has allowed me to release some of the grumps that I spoke of earlier. As I always say, it’s better out than in. So thank you for reading.
Wishing you restful sleeps, and for all of your (good) dreams to come true 🙂