Lesson 9 – TURN A NEGATIVE REALITY INTO A DREAM
Nothing challenges one’s creativity more than a nagging, persistent problem. In this lesson, you will learn how to turn your problems into dreams, and find solutions that you wouldn’t have thought of while awake.
WRITE YOUR PROBLEM AS A DREAM
Write out your problem as if it were a dream and then do a dream exercise with it. You don’t have to work with an actual dream. As you invent the dream to match the actual situation, your imagination will conjure up different modes of thinking and feeling. The exercise will take you off-guard and enable you to view your problem from a new perspective.
WRITE A DREAM THAT EXPRESSES A TROUBLING SITUATION OR EMOTION
You can also work with problems by writing a “dream” that expresses the troubling situation or emotion, and then doing a dreamwork exercise with it. In the process of constructing the “dream,” previously hidden aspects of the problem can emerge and be explored; also the “dream” itself will distance you from the problem so that you can perceive it more objectively.
There are no rules or guidelines to follow in creating a dream; that’s why it’s so invaluable. Use this freedom from the restrictions and conventions of reality to fashion a story or series of images that best expresses the essence of what you want to examine. Open up your mind, rid yourself of preconceptions, and let your imagination run wild; this is a dream and anything can happen. Let it flow out of you.
THE MYTH-FAIRY TALE METHOD
Personal myths are the source of many of our assumptions about life and ourselves; they are our earliest memories of the key events that formed or altered our perceptions of the world.
Noted humanist psychologist Stanley Krippner said of myths: “Myths can be helpful; myths can be harmful. Myths can be creative; myths can be destructive. Yet myths were indispensable in earlier times because they supplied a retrospective pattern of moral values, sociological order and magical belief. Thus they fulfilled a function closely connected with the nature of tradition, with the continuity of culture, with the relation between youth and age, and with humans’ attitudes toward the past. Our mythic underworld can still help us to clarify our values, make sense of our social roles, and bring a sense of wonder to the world around us.”
This exercise entails discovering your personal myth via the fairy tale and is composed of the following steps:
1. Recall a waking-life situation that is disturbing and unresolved. What is the primary emotion? With your eyes closed and your body in a relaxed position, feel that emotion in your body, and notice where and how it manifests itself. Then recall the earliest childhood or adolescent incident in which you felt this emotion. Give yourself all the time you need to experience this fully.
2. Now imagine the emotion that is the opposite of the first one, and feel it also in your body. Allowing yourself ample time to experience it fully, recall your earliest memory of this feeling.
3. Now write these incidents as a fairy tale, as in “once upon a time there was a little girl—or boy. …” Writing the incident in the third person gives you a different perspective on it and opens up new areas to explore. It may feel as if someone else inside of you is writing your story, exposing incidents and truths you never imagined.