Dreamwork for Survivors

92b72-bannerpicI’m so pleased to announce that my very first dream class, Dreamwork for Survivors, is launching!

I’ve been away from this column for a little longer than I’d planned, but I’ve been hard at work getting this class together and it’s looking SO GOOD, I have to say. Dreaming and healing happen together – they are natural parts of the same deeply human process, primary ways we make sense of our old stories, weave new stories, share our visions and encounter our own power. I have long wanted to host a dream circle, but I am deeply proud and grateful that I get to bring this work particularly to folks who are in this process of their own healing and self-discovery. DfSFlyerWhen I talk about this project lately, I get a lot of curious eyebrow faces and questions like, “Survivors of what? Why?” Dreams have always been a big part of my life, and especially my path through the territory of healing and recovery, and so I forget sometimes that what makes total sense to me isn’t necessarily crystal clear to others. I could talk ALL DAY about intersections between dreamwork and the work of being a survivor (obvs, so much to say that I’m making a whole class and workbook!), but I think some of the crux of it breaks down like this:

For my purposes here, a survivor is anyone coming through a powerful experience of loss, illness, or violation, and who carries awareness of this wound in understanding themself. Survivorship is a relationship with your wounds, an orientation toward healing, mapmaking in the dark. A survivor is a shapeshifter, learning her magic on the fly, dreaming up new ways to be in the world. Survivorship often entails having a troubled relationship with one’s own body, feelings, dreams, and memory.

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The Beginning by Christian Schloe

Dreamwork teaches us to spend time with the modality of memory: to bring careful and loving attention to whatever fragments, images, sensory experiences, and internal knowings rise up into conscious awareness, and then to value them on their own terms, without forcing the pieces together or interpreting them to death. To instead turn the pieces over and over and see what starts to emerge, what the pieces want us to know, what patterns may develop. Dreamwork asks us to sit with the discomfort of what these pieces bring and let our deep feelings guide us toward our truths, rather than imposing truth from the top down, so to speak. This process inherently reconnects our thinking minds with our experiences of body, emotion, intuition and imagination. It leads us to a healthier place where all these parts of ourselves get to participate in deciding what’s true and what’s meaningful for us. At the base of survivorship are experiences of having one’s rightful power and control taken away. We all react in myriad different ways to such experiences, but we share the root experience of feeling out of control, disempowered. Claiming a practice that makes new roots in your power and your imagination – a practice that roots you in your ability to control how you come to your truth and what you do about it, is a revolutionary healing act. We may not be in charge of what happens in dreams, or what happened to us in our pasts, but we are in charge of how we relate to those experiences now.

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Erin Kelso’s gorgeous work

Dreamwork builds a sense of empowerment that feels collective and responsive, open and communicative, and diminishes the kind of power that gets stuck trying to control everything from on high – and that then feels angry or hopeless when that doesn’t (and can’t) work. I believe survivors, just going about the business of our own healing, have unique access to building the kind of open and constructive empowerment I’m talking about. Survivorship is ultimately about co-creating the space to remember, grieve, hold ourselves lovingly, and come into new kinds of relationships. Dreamwork naturally encourages, strengthens and supports all of these skills, and helps us experiences them in ways that show us we are not alone in this work.

I know you want to know more. There are a few ways to do that:

1) Join the first-ever Dreamwork for Survivors circle!

2) Pick up the workbook – available super soon – and each copy sold will support someone’s access to the circle at a sliding scale, so you’re directly supporting a local survivor as you learn more about working with your own dreams! Amazing! I’ll announce it here so keep an eye out!

3) Stay tuned to Dreamboat here at Compassionate Revolt – there will be more dreaming adventure, future classes and circles to come. ❤

Sweet dreams,

Kaeti

Kaeti is a therapist, teacher, and dreamer based in Long Beach, California. All of her work (and play!) is interested in dismantling intersections of oppression and breathing magic and radical healing into all the daily corners of her life, into all the spaces of community she helps weave. ———- There are photographs in this post that were borrowed lovingly from the internet and do not belong to us. All are linked and credited to the best of our abilities in hopes of attracting more traffic to the photographers and websites who have blessed us with this imagery. The inclusion of a photograph here should not be interpreted as an assertion of the subject’s or artist’s identity or beliefs. If there is a photo included here that belongs to you and you want it removed, please email compassionaterevolt@gmail.com and it will be removed promptly, no questions asked.

You Are A Multifaceted Jewel: Dreaming Parts of Ourselves

92b72-bannerpicWe are multitudinous beings bursting with different feelings, thoughts, beliefs, hopes, fears, desires, roles, and identities. We go by more than one name. All the versions of ourselves from different points in our histories (and futures), and all their myriad stories, inhabit our kaleidoscopic inner worlds. They have relationships with each other. We all have different aspects of ourselves that never quite fit perfectly together.

The shining multiplicity of your psyche is a unique and sacred wonder.

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Stellarscape by Oriol Angrill Jordà

Dreams are a place where we get to meet some of these different aspects of ourselves – or where they come to meet us. Just as many of these parts of us don’t match up with our ego or “who I think we am” or “who I want to be seen as,” these other parts of us are not completely under our ego’s control. In the waking world, where our daytime persona has a pretty good grip, we relegate some parts of us to unconsciousness. In effect, we say “that’s not me” or “this feeling doesn’t matter” or “good girls don’t act that way” or any number of dismissive things. Sometimes this dismissing is entirely appropriate or healthy, but it still has the effect of disowning aspects of ourselves. And in the dreaming world, where the ego wanders but does not run the show, these disowned aspects of self very often show up with something to say.

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Dead Leaves by Remedios Varo

Those of us who live with trauma know a lot about this. Whether it’s the legacy of surviving interpersonal violence or the effects of navigating systemic oppression or the splitting and multiplying of self that comes with having different cultural identities or marginalized identities, we know about this. Because it’s the nature of trauma to have the effect of sectioning us off inside. We humans take advantage of our amazing and inherent talent for plurality by using it to manage chaotic, violent, or unbearable experiences: dissociating, compartmentalizing, letting different parts of ourselves share the load and take on the different burdens they’re most adapted to. Sometimes we have consciousness of this, and maintain some kind of relationship between our parts. Sometimes memory cooperates with this splitting, and our daytime selves have trouble remembering what other parts of us know – sometimes not remembering is a blessing as much as a curse. Sometimes parts of us get put in a box and stowed away for a long time, and sometimes events throw the lid off the box in surprising ways.

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The Undoing by Veronica Ebert

People are astoundingly creative in managing the multifaceted jewels of their own personalities.

In these cases, dreams can be a powerful way of coming into contact with the burdens and strengths that other parts of us carry. We see this happen in different ways, some safe and chosen, and some less so. Sometimes there is a forceful or nightmarish return to what our waking selves forget. Sometimes there is an encounter with an image that represents a certain part of you that knows something “you” don’t – a child, an animal, a beggar, an intruder – and it’s your job to be in right relationship to it, maybe taking care of it, maybe standing up for yourself, maybe just watching and letting a certain dynamic be illustrated for you to understand and consider when you awake.

It is the most natural thing for our psyches to dream images of these different or disowned aspects of ourselves. Dreaming is an instinctual way of restoring your relationship to yourself.

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Image Credit: Lieke van der Vorst Thanks for helping COM|PASSionate Community!

Also, these disowned aspects are not always wounded. There is such a thing as a positive shadow. Sometimes we disown our greatest strengths, our emergent talents – even things about ourselves that we secretly treasure but which we don’t know how to embody in waking life without great shame or risk. This can be a helpful lens for holding dreams of powerful or fascinating figures that seem so different from us at first: a wild girl with superpowers, a beautiful dancer, a strangely strong creature, a majestic stag, a supersmart scientist…! Some of the most joyful dreams are those which teach us to uncover aspects of ourselves who hold important skills and great value that we aren’t (yet) tapping into in waking life.

This is an excerpt from the forthcoming workbook for my Dreamwork for Survivors course, coming this Spring! Next week’s Dreamboat will be the following excerpt, a guide in actually doing some of this work. Follow the link below or head to www.kaetigugiu.com/dreamwork-for-survivors for more info and to get on the list to know when class dates are released.

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Kaeti is a therapist, teacher, and dreamer based in Long Beach, California. All of her work (and play!) is interested in dismantling intersections of oppression and breathing magic and radical healing into all the daily corners of her life, into all the spaces of community she helps weave.

———-

There are photographs in this post that were borrowed lovingly from the internet and do not belong to us. All are linked and credited to the best of our abilities in hopes of attracting more traffic to the photographers and websites who have blessed us with this imagery. The inclusion of a photograph here should not be interpreted as an assertion of the subject’s or artist’s identity or beliefs. If there is a photo included here that belongs to you and you want it removed, please email compassionaterevolt@gmail.com and it will be removed promptly, no questions asked.