9-8-00 4:04:11 -0400 (EDT)
I had horrifying nightmares, night terrors, sleep paralysis & sleepwalking/running incidents happen frequently from at least the age of 4. I attribute it to being convinced by my father that if I wasn't a "good girl" I would cause my mother's death. This was his way of getting me to behave, but I spent my childhood morbidly terrified of causing my mother's death & losing her. I didn't sleep with a teddy bear; I slept with my mother's old robe because it was more reassuring. Bedtime was a painful time for me because it was dark, scary and my fears ran rampant which encroached into my dreams. It took me until my early 30's to finally get a handle on it and leave night terrors behind for the most part. I rarely have one now, and only under situations of severe stress. Sleep paralysis is no longer scary for me since I know now know how to handle it.
'What was the attitude of your family towards dreams?'
Disinterest; "it's nothing important."
'What was the attitude of the larger community you were part of during your childhood?'
I would ask many people about their dreams, but aside from finding the occasional person who liked to discuss the subject, there wasn't a whole lot going on. I had to find my own way, and for many years I thought this was just the way I'd have to live my life (with nightmares etc). Finally I started researching on my own during my teen years by finding books about dreams. Not that there were many, mind you. Now there are many to choose from.
I was interested enough to desire to enter into the field of dream research, but lived in such a small town that this just wasn't feasible as a career when I was ready for college.
I have always been interested in my dreams because they have been so vivid. The turning point that changed the way I looked at dreams was around the time when my grandmother died. A week before she died I dreamed of exactly where she was to be buried, only in the dream it was myself that died. Our family had been told years previously that my grandparents had purchased burial plots in a cemetery that was different than the one in my dream, so I dismissed it. I found out during the funeral procession that we were going to the cemetery in my dream, and as we got closer a feeling of complete uncanny certainty came over me and I *knew* without a shadow of a doubt exactly where she would be buried, and she was. Then I started having many precognitive dreams, and knew that there was a great deal more to dreams than I had been led to believe by other people's experiences.
'Did you have specific expectations about benefits that dreams would bring you?'
No, because I already had precognitive dreams, lucid dreams, nightmares, night terrors and sleep paralysis before I found the books; they just put a stamp of validation on them and helped me realize I wasn't alone, which was a major relief.
'In what way did you first start giving dreams a larger part in your daily life?'
When I started having precognitive dreams I really started taking notice, but I was quite afraid back then also so I willed them to stop for many years. Then I got married and my dysfunctional childhood reared it's ugly head in the form of causing much confusion and fear along with increased dream activity and night terrors; and that is when I started keeping a dream log and attempted to figure out if my dreams were helping to guide me in some way. I still have this series of recorded dreams, and it served as a guidepost through a very confusing time in my life to a point in which I knew who I was, why I had issues, and how I could overcome them.
I soon found out that the untapped potential guidance in one's dreams was truly incredible, and it has become my goal to help other people realize this major benefit available to them, also.
I believe dreams are our tie to our Higher Power, since I believe we are here on earth to learn lessons and grow in Spirit. I have been told I'm quite Jungian in my methods, but definitely steer away from Freud and his own sexual hang-ups which frankly I find laughable if not downright harmful in the way he applied them to people's dream symbols.
I have experienced dreams in many different ways...as the epic motion picture that entertains me at night; as the unrestricted & fulfilling dream-life I would love to have; as a trouble-shooting contemplative guide; as a thrilling lucid adventure; and as a warning when I get too far away from my main goals which then show up as disturbing dreams.
One important way I use dreams is to ask for guidance when I am totally lost and don't know which way to turn next. I also ask for help in handling issues I can't seem to get a grip on during my waking life.
For me, placing conscious thought on the importance of dreams is the difference of living life my life enlightened or "awake", or living it totally in the dark, floundering helpless without direction. Dreams are my touch-stone, as big a part of my life as daily living. I believe they are an important connection to our true Source, so of course dreams are vitally important to me.
'Do you interact with dreams in other or new ways than when you first started out with started paying more attention to them?'
Definitely. About 5 years ago I started a little website about dreams and offered to help people learn how to interpret their own dreams. Now I have millions of visitors since then, do radio & magazine interviews and more importantly, help as many people as I can who are suffering from night terrors, recurring nightmares and sleep paralysis. My methods have thankfully been so effective that now I'm getting ready to write a book that an editor has expressed interest in. I think people appreciate that the info is coming from someone who has experienced similar sleep disorders herself, and that there is a way out. This has been an incredibly rewarding experience.
'Has your definition of dreams changed?'
Definitely. A perfect analogy would be how we define life when we are in kindergarten as opposed to how we define it as adults. We may not know 100% of the facts as adults, but we know a lot more than when we were 5 years old. There is a great deal of naivete about dreams which I hope changes in the years to come as we all progress and learn more.
If anyone would like to visit my website, it's called The Dream Emporium and is @ http://DreamEmporium.com.
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