Saturday, September 27, 2014

Writers Notebook: Remembering Dreams


Remembering Dreams





Do you ever wonder how you can remember dreams? Lately, I've been reading Carl Jung's Memories, Dreams, Reflections and attempting to record my dreams every morning. If I can remember my dreams, I will have a view of the hidden me. I want to look into the parts of my personality that I hide from myself - risky business! I consider myself honest about my motives and practice self-witnessing. Maybe that sounds strange but those of you who are in some kind of meditation practice know that witnessing your thoughts and actions (without judging) can yield a tremendous amount of information about yourself. I am looking to find a creative energy source that will bring my writing alive with vitality. I've discovered other techniques to wake up the muse but I would like a more reliable routine that keeps me in touch with my imagination.


The goal is to wake up everyday, notice what in floating around in my mind and then immediately write down everything in my mind - take a "mental picture" as it were. Words, thoughts, images, sensations, songs and so on. I have discovered that I must notice my thoughts before I move from the bed. I cannot allow myself to talk or engage in any preliminary activity before I write or else I lose the thoughts. Some days I'm successful while others (like today) I get caught up in washing dishes, making coffee, preparing for the day and before I know it - the dreams are gone! What did I dream last night? What influenced my subconscious? Blank! My mind is unable to remember my dreams because I had too many intervening thoughts before I recorded my dreams such as - why hasn't anyone done the dishes in two days! It's a good thing I didn't cook dinner last night or else there would be more dishes. How can I get cooperation about cleaning the house? And then my mind goes analytical - Why are we so stuck in these social gender roles that I'm the one who breaks down and does the dishes first? It's enough to wipe out anyone's morning dreams! My thoughts are a giant eraser rubbing out the lightest dream pencil marks first but today, the entire page was all gone.


Mental palaver! Jung uses that word as in to arrange a palaver to mean conversations  he has with the Africans at night. He wants to know if they have dreams and if they provide some kind of insight into their daily lives. He attributes their resistance to sharing their dreams with him as evidence of a lack of trust or "shyness." Jung even offered rewards - cigarettes, matches, and safety pins for sharing dreams but they wouldn't budge. I'm thinking that maybe they didn't remember their dreams because of too much palaver! I have been recording by dreams every morning for two weeks - let's see if some pattern emerges. I have a safety pin in my pocket for good luck.  Do you have any dream wisdom to offer? How do you remember your dreams?

(Also posted in Writers Rising)

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Writer's Notebook: 5 Strategies to Improve Your Mood

Oasis Feature: Writer's Notebook (and we are all writers!) Is it a cloudy day in your emotional life? Do you have the blues? 

If so, I recommend these "5 Strategies to Improve Your Mood."


I'm working on writing my mother's story. Those of you who have been following Oasis Writing Link™ know that she was murdered in a hate crime many years ago. I believe this story is worth telling and yet, it is difficult to revisit the memories without holding on to the sadness. In fact, it's not only writing about her but also, I seem to become moody when her birthday approaches. Even Halloween symbols bring about strong memories of our life together because she was born on October 31st. I've decided that this is the year that I will tell this story. It's time to move forward, which is why I need a plan to perk myself up after I write.

These following tips can be used whenever you want to break your own downward spiral after an intensely emotional writing experience.

1. Turn on fun upbeat music! Do you remember "Popcorn" (see video below)? That's the kind of playful atmosphere you want to create for yourself in order to transition out of a blue mood.
2. Move! Go outside for a quick walk. It's possible any other exercise could break the mood cycle but moving in nature, noticing how your feet contact the earth, feeling the sun and wind on your face is a great way way to change your perspective.
3. Stop and contemplate a leaf, flower, tree, cloud. Look deeply but softly at the shape, texture, uniqueness of each beautiful aspect of nature. Remember that you share this unique beauty. Ponder on the life coursing through your veins and appreciate your own beauty-essence as you absorb nature's beauty.
4. Breathe in joy as you appreciate all that is life. As you deeply inhale joy, exhale any residue of disturbance that may be inside you without any sense of rejection. You are accepting yourself and all that is animating this world.
5.Make a JOY Plan. Decide to do something energizing in the near future, with the intention to create optimism. Encourage yourself and cultivate a happy hopeful disposition. Be imaginative. Do you want to go on a last minute cruise? Can you make a self-care appointment such as a facial, hair treatment or a mani-pedi for this weekend?  Do you want to see a loved one? If so, then plan a visit where you share a special meal, picnic or visit a favorite restaurant together. Remember to nurture yourself and keep it fun!

These ideas are not intended as avoidance strategies. If you have a genuine problem that needs resolved, I encourage you to seek advice or therapy from a professional counselor. My hope for you is that these five tips will provide you with a readily available mood shifting strategy.