Using dreams to help you manage your personal challenges by Dr. Raymond, Ph.D.

cluster of white pink with dark background - How your dream can help you overcome bad memories that keep you stuck

photograph copyright Jeanette Raymond, Ph.D.

Thoughts of holidays and family made Donna’s heart sink

As 2009 came to an end, Donna was struggling with the lack of motivation she felt at the thought of the same old Christmas and New Year rituals with family members. She didn’t want to go through these meaningless experiences just to feel part of a family.

Donna wanted to shake things up and have more choice in how the holiday time was spent. She also wanted to get away from pretending to feel grateful for whatever her parents had planned. Her desire to make some choices of her own and do things her way made her antsy. How was she going to organize it without upsetting the apple cart?

trust your internal compass gut - How your dream can help you overcome bad memories that keep you stuck

Donna is caught between keeping the old and wanting something new

There was also the complicating factor of an upcoming loss of her family home. Her parents were selling it and moving to a smaller place with no room for visitors. Donna was caught between wanting to enjoy the family home before it was gone forever, and her wish to celebrate the holidays in a wildly different manner.

A dream gives Donna her wish – something old and something new

Then came the dream that helped her with her conflict. Donna dreamed that she was walking into her family home and into her old bedroom. There was a huge box in there. When she opened it she found some old clothes, jewelry, candy, books, scarves and pizza pieces. She began to sift through the items and pick out what she wanted to keep. She found pieces of pizza and candy that looked edible. She discovered some retro jewelry that she had loved and some clothes that she had bought to go with her unusual and precious jewelry pieces. The rest of the stuff seemed stale, and not part of her any longer. She felt a sense of peace and comfort at finding these things that she had forgotten about.

Donna gets to select from her past and make new relationships out of them

Donna’s dream gave her the opportunity to go back into her childhood and retrieve things that were important and meaningful, like the pizza and candy she had never been allowed to eat. Now she could give herself permission to eat it without worrying about being judged and ridiculed about her weight. Now she could dress as she pleased rather than please her mother. Now she didn’t have to put her choices and desires on hold.

The wounds of the past are fashioned into fresh connections of equality

Just as she went back to her childhood room in her dream, the message to Donna was to do so in real life before the family home was sold. Donna was being encouraged to go back, take the memories she wanted, bury the ones she no longer needed to hold onto, and create new ones over the holidays. She was being shown that she had a choice in how to remember her past by digging through the box of painful childhood and adolescence and closing the wounds that still had the power to sting.

full tree blooms(1) - How your dream can help you overcome bad memories that keep you stuck

photograph copyright Jeanette Raymond, Ph.D.

Fear of loss is transformed into more meaningful family life

Donna used her dream to great advantage. She took the lead and invited each family member to do something with her that was unique and special. That old ways were being buried in the box of the past. Donna was going to create new connections, having the courage and entitlement to eat what she wanted, wear what she liked and be what she felt was true to herself. She also returned to her old room and collected things that she wanted to keep including family photographs and her art work that she was now ready to reacquaint herself with again.

Donna was energized by the message of her dream. Instead of feeling sad about the loss of the family house, she let it go with her bad and sad memories. She decided to build new memories with her parents as they transitioned to their new home. Donna realized she could establish new and more equal connections with her folks as she was no longer bound and trapped by the rigid roles of the past that the house represented.

Donna’s dream sets her free and puts her in charge of her emotional life

In 2010 Donna emerged with new convictions about her right and freedom to have the type of relationships she wanted to have with her family. She makes the suggestions about where they will meet and what activities they will share. She wears the bits of the past that are meaningful and creates new webs of interaction that make her feel good about herself. She remains surprised as to how readily her family have responded to her taking charge!