WORKING WITH DARKNESS
My dreams have been dark of late, yet the imagery I dance with in my sleep is not mine alone. How could it be? When we live in an inherently interconnected world where we are each a puzzle piece of the whole picture.
At the start of this year my husband took a job in Sydney; something that means we now spend large amounts of time living in different countries. Mostly this is a good thing for us (no, wait before you laugh and judge). The old phrase ‘absence makes the heart grow fonder’ is for us, true. When we are apart, we miss each other. We focus more on how much we value the others strengths rather than judge their perceived faults. When we are together, we rarely sweat the small stuff, acknowledging that our time is precious and to be enjoyed. Living half a world away from each other has brought us closer than ever – something I am deeply grateful for, 10 years into the most sacred and special relationship of my life.
One of the interesting side effects however, is that when we are together I am more sensitive to our shared energy field. I notice how much more I am affected by his levels of stress, health and energy than ever before. If he has a night of bad dreams, so do I. Often the tone, content and lessons presented in the dream world share so many similarities that neither one of us can argue we are infiltrating the others dreamtime. Because of the intimacy and trust in our shared space, this ‘dream walking’ together can be debriefed and restoried the following morning, providing fertile ground for self and relational development.
But if this is the case in my intimate partnership, then would it also not be true on a macro scale in the world? Logic says, of course it would. The psychological, social, environmental and cultural landscape that we find ourselves in is absorbed in a conscious and unconscious level in the narrative water within which we swim and is full of clues to our human evolution. We can however, only process so much of this in our waking hours. In fact, living within the dis-ease of busyness and overwhelm these days, dictates that much of our underlying fears, anxieties and shadow work gets pushed to the only time that we can work with it: in our sleep. When our physical body finally surrenders (often in a state of mental, emotional and physical exhaustion), our inner world emerges to be seen in all its glory. We can no longer deny, avoid or ignore the stories and things in our life that are making us uncomfortable. Our hidden desires and passions rise to the surface and insist that we recognize and own them.
Dream work has been a part of my personal and professional practice for many years now. It is for me one of the most direct and powerful ways of accessing our deep soul story amongst the various distractions of the outer, waking world. Indigenous societies, psychologists and mystics have for millennia pointed us at the rich dream landscape and its potential for inner and outer metamorphosis. It is here, where the perceived restrictions of the ‘real world’ drop away and we are able to move fluidly through our inner landscape, transforming and transfiguring the beliefs and habits that no longer serve us. Yet we must be willing to look at the hidden aspects of our psyche in the eyes.
‘All creativity begins in the dark’, my Grandfather used to say.
Denial, shame, and fear all hide from us during the day but emerge in our dreams to show us where we have the ability to restory all the things that are holding us back. We avoid our creative potential and inner abilities to heal by avoiding our personal and collective inner darkness. The pain we feel at the outer events happening around us in the world right now, began life somewhere in our collective inner human consciousness. It’s too easy to blame the outer events of the world or other people for everything that is ‘wrong in our lives. It’s much harder to admit that everything without has its seed and source within.
Perhaps some of the creative answers to our external problems can be found when we are brave enough to mine the darkness of our dream time?
Yes – my dreams of have been dark of late. The first step in transformation begins with awareness. Awareness of the things I am avoiding, allows me to make new choices. From new choices, new stories are born.
If you find yourself walking in inner or outer darkness, perhaps its time to slow down and pay attention to the source of that pain? Once seen, you have the ability to weave the darkness within you into a new pattern of possibility.