The secret of life

The Secret of Life

When I was about six or seven, an aunt gave me an autograph book for my birthday. I can still picture it, a padded matt white vinyl cover with an illustration of a modish 1960s lady, pen poised in her hand, and lots of different coloured, invitingly blank pages. My dad wanted to be first to write in my book, and he spent what seemed like hours looking through a ‘quote a day’ calendar to find exactly the right saying.

I treasured that book, and all these decades later I can still remember some of the quotes and sayings and who wrote them. I took them all to heart.

My grandmother chose a 1950s favourite:

“Little puffs of powder,
Little dabs of paint,
Make a girl’s complexion,
Look what it ain’t.”

I always took that to mean that too much makeup smothered your authentic beauty, but now I look at the words again, it could also be about the positives of the grownup art of beautification. My grandmother and my mother used puffs of powder and lipstick, nothing else. I just use lipstick. I wonder how much that autograph has influenced me throughout my life.

My school teacher chose:

“Eat no green apples
Or you’ll droop,
Be careful not to get the croup,
Avoid the chickenpox and such,
And don’t fall out of windows much.”

I’d already had the croup and chickenpox, so all I had to do was avoid green apples and windows. I’ve just Googled, so now I know these words were originally penned by Edward Anthony.

I loved the rhyme and rhythm of those autographs, and the thinking they made me do, as a child, because they seemed to be straightforward and yet they weren’t.

Dad sat at the table, surrounded by 365 little tear-off pages from last year’s calendar, arranged into piles of suitable autograph sayings. Finally, he couldn’t decide between two, so I got “The person who knows everything never gets far,” and:

“The secret of life is not to do what you like,
But to like what you do.”

Mr Google hasn’t been able to help me find an original source for Dad’s choice which has both puzzled and inspired me, sometimes to like what I do, and sometimes to do what I like.

Surely the secret, as adopted by Alcoholics Anonymous and other 12-Step programs from Reinhold Niebuhr’s Serenity Prayer is:

“God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change,
The courage to change the things I can,
And the wisdom to know the difference.”

Plus a little Buddhist attitude:

“Before Enlightenment chop wood carry water, after Enlightenment, chop wood carry water.”

Where, in your life, have you chosen to like what you do? How has this approach blessed you?

Where, in your life, have you chosen to do something you like, something you otherwise wouldn’t have done if you were focussed on liking what you do? How has this approach blessed you?

Recently I have been enjoying writing my own sayings or musings and popping them onto images to share. Here’s one:

Danced by Love Jane Teresa Anderson

“Driven by fear or
Danced by love?

You choose
Heartbeat by heartbeat.”

Does it resolve the issue of whether to do what you like or to like what you do? What do you think?

The tricky bit is that we often don’t know when our choices and actions are driven by fear. We are all too easily driven by unconscious fear. The other tricky bit is that sometimes we need to discover love and how to be danced by it.

As a dream analyst I am blessed to be able to do the work I like, and to help people look into their dreams to see their unconscious fears and the enormity of their love, to help them know which of their choices in life are driven – consciously or unconsciously – by fear, and to help them surrender to be danced by love.

Consultations

Related articles you might enjoy

Attitude

Attitude

The Princess and the Pea

The Princess and the Pea

 

Share

Episode 158 The Dream Show: A house with potential

Thank you for your help

Episode 158 The Dream Show: A house with potential

Meet Lisa, my guest, who dreamed of a derelict house with a mix of funky and antique furniture, and great views from the steeply sloping garden. Should they buy the house? There were pros and cons, and because this was a dream, some of the cons were pretty outrageous: beds floating in an elevator shaft, a sinkhole in the garden, but, then again, it had some good things going for it too, and they were prepared to do some work.

How to decide between the pros and cons, in the dream and in life? Or are the pros and cons figments of the imagination, dependent on our personal experience, beliefs, and ways of looking at the world?

The Dream Show with Jane Teresa AndersonThere are some strong emotive elements in Lisa’s dream that help her to connect with her deeper feelings and gain fresh positive perspective on her situation.

There’s something for everyone in this episode: tips on dream interpretation, dream alchemy, and life lessons to explore and share. Enjoy.

Listen

Listen to more episodes

Related articles you might enjoy

One small adjustment

One small adjustment

How much does worry weigh

How much does worry weigh?

Share

Simplify the complicated

Simplify the complicated Jane Teresa Anderson

“I’ll show you the back garden,” said Marion, leading me through her laundry, past her noisy rumbling tumbling washing machine, to the side door. This was several years ago, and I was going to keep a neighbourly eye on her roses while she was away for a week.

I followed Marion down the side path toward the rose garden. “When you get to this point, hold your right hand up like this,” she instructed, gesturing like a policeman stopping the traffic. It seemed a bit odd, but I’m glad that I did, because at that moment a gush of soapy water spurted from a hose tacked to the side of the house, and my hand was perfectly positioned to deflect the water and keep me dry.

It was a very small thing, but it stuck in my mind. The hose had been rigged up during the drought to carry the grey used water from the washing machine to the roses, and it turned out that the holes in the hose had been there for years, so long in fact, that Marion knew the exact point in the path to hold up her hand and the exact angle to flex her palm to keep herself dry. She seemed pretty pleased with her technique and accuracy.

I was completely baffled as to why no-one had mended the holes in the hose, or bought a new one.

I don’t know whether Marion had just got used to the slightly kooky routine and lost sight of the simple fix, or whether she had a vested interest in keeping the problem of the leaky hose alive. Did it give her a continuing opportunity to remind her husband of all the things he hadn’t done around the house (or, more poignantly, hadn’t done for her), or to build her case, on which she had expressed herself quite eloquently while failing to make any progress, to move to a new apartment in the city and leave everything that was falling apart behind? I conjecture to make a point, not about Marion, but about all of us, and the complicated ways we live our lives, knowingly or, as is more often the case, blindly.

Good habits make life easier or healthier for us. Other habits – like Marion’s – may be complicated ways of avoiding resolving the heart of the matter, or deceiving ourselves about what’s really at stake.

“Oh! what a tangled web we weave
When first we practise to deceive!”
-    Sir Walter Scott (Marmion).

Scott’s famous lines apply to the inner world as much as the outer.

We all want to resolve issues, of course we do, but often we just don’t know how, or we fear facing the real source of the pain that we’ve worked so hard to bury. So we continue with our complicated ways of side-stepping the issue, or deflecting the anticipated pain by raising a ‘don’t go there’ palm to protect the heart from a soaking.

Much of my work in dream analysis is about identifying the tangled webs of unconscious beliefs and feelings that we build over a lifetime to avoid healing the heart of a matter.

Simplify the complicated
untangle the tangled
follow the threads
to the heart of the matter

The joy of the work is witnessing the immense release and relief when the dreamer frees their heart from hostage.

Behind every complication is a simple truth. What’s yours?

Here’s an alchemy practice for you to do to find out.

Look around your life – maybe at home, or at work, or at play – to find a practical situation that is, on reflection, a bit complicated. It might be the way your kitchen cupboards are organised so that you always have to bend down to fetch crockery you use a lot that would be much better placed at eye level. It might be the five-step security system you’ve got on your work email that keeps locking you out of business. It might be your determination to remain loyal to a gym in your old neighbourhood that takes you a traffic jam length of time to get to after work when there is a new gym two blocks away from home. It might be the tasks you need to get done at the weekend that leave you with little time for being with friends. It might be the way you organise your computer files, or the way that you don’t organise your computer files.

You only need one situation, and the alchemy works best if you choose one that’s only a little bit complicated. You know what to do next: simplify the complicated. Rearrange the kitchen cupboards, or try out the gym two blocks away, or declutter and rearrange your computer files.

What you do in your outer world reflects in your inner world. As you simplify and untangle your outer world, you begin to simplify and untangle in your inner world. The heart of the matter becomes clearer to you, you suddenly know what to do, and life lightens.

Mentoring services

Related articles you might enjoy

What if?

What if?

A knitting yarn

A knitting yarn

Share

Episode 157 The Dream Show: Lucid dreaming soul mate

Thank you for your help

Episode 157 The Dream Show: Lucid dreaming soul mate

My guest, Scott, taught himself how to lucid dream when he was a young boy, and has been experimenting in his lucid dreams for the past three decades. Scott shares his experiences, including his lucid dreams of meeting friends who have died. We talk about the pros and cons of controlling dreams, and we look at some recurring dream themes Scott has encountered during this time.

The Dream Show with Jane Teresa AndersonA few weeks ago, Scott dreamed he met a beautiful woman and woke up thinking, “I’m in love!” Listen as we explore this dream, discover how it relates to what’s been happening recently in Scott’s life, and see how Scott can use this new dream insight to assist him as he moves through a powerfully healing transition.

Listen

Listen to more episodes

Related articles you might enjoy

Inception Can you control a dream

Inception – Can you control a dream

Soul Mate Dreams

Soul Mate Dreams

Share

Even mountains flow

Even mountains flow
Yesterday I posted a quote, “Even mountains flow”, to Facebook. Did you see it? What does it mean to you? Did it linger in your mind during the day? Did you return to it, ponder it, come up with different interpretations for it?

How do mountains flow in the physical world? Count the ways before reading on.

We might think of mountains as solid, reliably static defining features of our landscape. We might chip away at them, quarrying rock, building roads, blasting tunnels, but still think of the mountain itself as firmly anchored, holding its place.

In the physical world, a mountain flows naturally on a grand scale when it’s an erupting volcano, or rumbling and shifting during an earthquake, or dissolving in torrential mudslide. On a smaller scale it flows as it erodes, tumbling boulders and pebbles, or fine particles of wind-blown, foot-trodden, rain-washed sand. It flows, shifts, changes over time. Over eons, mountains grow, move, change shape, and erase.  They flow across the planet, into and out of existence.

A mountain flows with plant and animal life, with the changing seasons, with rivers and waterfalls, with melting ice, with new life after fire. It flows grass and wild flowers around the edges and over man’s digging, building, tunnelling, and treading. It flows to reclaim, heal, and find new ways of expressive being.

Of course you know that my writing is about our inner life, and dreams, so you’re probably already flowing ahead of me.

As you contemplate the apparently immoveable flowing, as you count the ways in which even mountains flow, your inner world is responding to the suggestions offered by the metaphor. You may not yet be consciously aware of this process, or you may already be beginning to notice some feelings, urgings, new ideas and perspectives popping into your mind where before there was resistance to change.

Even mountains flowLife is change, and change is life. There are many ways to go with the flow (and to choose how to experience it), and there are many ways to observe the flow and decide on a change of course.

Dreams, dreams! Yes, I hear you!

Many of our dreams are metaphors for the ways we handle life. The dreaming mind or brain processes our conscious and unconscious experiences of the last couple of days, compares these to our past experiences, and updates our mindset accordingly. The part of the brain that deals with this is better at metaphors than logic.

If you dream of running from an overwhelming tsunami, ask yourself where, in your life in the last couple of days, that metaphor applies. If you dream of being confronted by a snarling wolf, where does that metaphor apply?

If you can identify a metaphor in your dream, and the parallel situation in your life, explore the dream metaphor, open it up and find ways of looking at it from different angles, find lots of solutions to the dream problem. Explore how you might tame the tsunami, fly above it, delve into it and ride it, soothe it into calm, promise to sit down and listen to what it has to say and work out a way to deal with it, or surrender to it, or heal it. It’s a metaphor so you don’t have to be logical.

As you explore and work with the metaphor in this way, you are simultaneously exploring and working with the parallel situation in your life. Your perspectives will shift, feelings will emerge, new approaches will occur to you, new solutions will present themselves, and you will notice that you begin to automatically respond to the life situation in better ways. Yes, this is a form of dream alchemy, and it can powerfully shift the apparently immoveable.

Even mountains flow, so you can too.

Related articles you might enjoy

Samsara Alchemy

Samsara Alchemy

The Dream Oscars

The Dream Oscars

Share

Episode 156 The Dream Show: A spiritual vibe

Thank you for your help

 

A spiritual vibe

My guest, Liza, dreamed she was violated by a plumber at her grandmother’s house, and yet, as the dream progressed, the positive energy lifted. There was the welcoming of an Aboriginal ghost couple into her current home, and someone commented that there was a beautiful vine growing outside her house and a lovely spiritual vibe inside. Vibe, and vine – do we have some word play going on here?

“Look, I can levitate,” Liza told her Mum, “can you?” As you listen you’ll discover that Liza’s dream is about rising above challenges, integrating ghosts of the past, and finding a spiritual perspective on her life, but I won’t spoil the story.

The Dream Show with Jane Teresa AndersonLiza described her dream as provocative and controversial as it begins with the violation, the rape, which she began to like in the dream.

The dream is symbolic, not a repressed memory of physical rape, so what does it mean, and how does it relate to Liza’s life?

Listen

Listen to more episodes

Related articles you might enjoy

Things that go bump in the night

Things that go bump in the night

Perfect but for one little thing

Perfect but for one little thing

 

Share

To dream of death means …

To dream of death means ...

“My mum says that when you dream of death it means there’s going to be a birth in the family,” said Georgie, although she was clearly disturbed about her own dream of a gravestone freshly engraved with an illegible name.

I was interpreting dreams on Mix 106.3FM Canberra’s Breakfast Show earlier this week, and Georgie had called to ask about her dream where she walked through a rose archway and stood beside her uncle looking at the gravestone, trying to read the name.

If we’d had time to deeply explore, we would have been able to work out why Georgie’s dreaming mind pictured a rose archway (not another flower, or not merely a stone archway, or a gate), and why she was accompanied by her uncle. We would have been able to explore the other details of her dream, what happened before she walked through the archway, what dramas were involved, and how she was feeling.  These things are all important.

You can’t take a dream dictionary approach to understanding dreams because our dream symbols are personal, plucked from our past experiences and blended with our recent experiences to help paint an up-to-the-minute picture of how we see the world.

My approach to training dream analysts is to help them apply what I call the dynamic methods – analysing the flow of the dream, the dramas, the feelings, the patterns and perspectives, and more – before considering symbols. Much of the meaningful insight into a dream, and into the dreamer’s mindset and approach to waking life, is achieved in this way before delving into the symbols. Then, and only then, do we enjoy applying methods to unmask personal symbols and, as one of my recent students put it, ‘nail it’.

Georgie, of course, was concerned that her dream was a premonition, either of death (her uncle, herself) if she took the dream literally, or of a birth in the family if her mum’s cultural understanding, passed through many generations, was correct.

On very rare occasions our dreams may be premonitions, and some people regularly experience dreaming about people they know who have either just died (unbeknown to the dreamer) or are about to die. But these are rare and special cases. Look back over the dreams you remember: you’ve probably had several dreams about death, all of which were symbolic.

Death is a very common dream theme, and often reflects a feeling that something (not someone) is coming to an end, or losing energy and vitality. Change is the nature of life, and to grow and flow often requires us to let go of what no longer serves us. Dreams may picture our struggles with this in themes of holding on, letting go, falling, flying, death, birth, conflict and so on. Think dynamics, rather than symbols.

Many traditional cultures believe that dreams of death predict a birth in the family. Historically, these cultures tended to have big nuclear families, big extended families, and plenty of ‘pretend’ uncles and aunties and cousins from the wider community. With death dreams being common, it’s no surprise that a fair number of death dreams may have coincided with family births – especially if you allow a few months between the dream and the birth announcement.

On the other hand, maybe these cultures understood that dreaming of endings paved the way for new beginnings, but their metaphors got taken literally along the way.

Many traditional cultures believe that dreams of losing teeth predict a death in the family. Dreams of losing teeth, and dreams of death, are two of the most common dream themes worldwide. Sooner or later at least some of those dreams are going to coincide with news of death or birth in the family.

Georgie’s mum has probably frequently mentioned her belief that dreams of death predict a birth in the family, so if Georgie had a bit of an inkling that someone was pregnant or about to give birth, her dreaming mind might bring up the death dream as a personal symbol of her feelings about the impending birth.

I bet you want to know what I said to Georgie on the radio show, don’t you?

I reminded Georgie that our dreams reflect the last 1-2 days, and said that I felt her dream reflected a recent change where she has come through (like walking through the arch) a situation with hope and vitality (like the roses) and is ready to put something from the past to rest (the gravestone).

“How does that sound?’ I asked. Along with the relief, came the confirmation, Georgie’s recognition of how the dream relates to her life.

That’s one of the things I love about doing radio work: the moment people can relate the interpretation to what has been going on during the last couple of days, their fear of a scary dream being literal evaporates and they have something meaningful and helpful to take into their daily life. And the message filters through to the listeners as well. Once we lose the fear of our dreams, and dedicate time to exploring them more deeply, they have so much to teach us about ourselves and the ways in which we walk through this world.

Related articles you might enjoy

How to cure a headache

How to cure a headache

Congratulations, it's a vampire

Congratulations, it’s a vampire!

 

Share

Episode 155 The Dream Show: Be inspired

Thank you for your help

 

Your-Dreams-on-Ponderabout.com

What do you think of this image? The guys at ponderabout.com came across one of my prose poems, and created this image to share on their inspirational site. It surprised me when they asked for my permission to publish one of my prose poems because I didn’t know that I had written any. I thought they must have got me mixed up with someone else, but when I looked at the image, I recognised my words, given fresh perspective. Plucked from the heart of my original article, laid out in prose poem format, given design treatment and embellished with a cartoon, the words took on more emphasis. I was inspired by their idea to treat more of my work in this way.

Actually, I’ve been blessed with a few creative inspirations this week, so I thought I’d make ‘Be Inspired’ the theme of this episode.

The Dream Show with Jane Teresa AndersonListen as we delve into some of the points listed on the image, and discover how to be inspired by looking at life from different perspectives, ranging from the perspective of your dreams to the imagined perspective of a steaming pile of cow poo. At the end of the podcast I give you a ‘Be inspired’ checklist, suggesting you pick just one (ok maybe more than one) to follow into action today. Enjoy.

Listen

Listen to more episodes

Related articles you might enjoy

Camouflage and the facts of life

Camouflage and the facts of life

Something old Something new

Something old Something new

Share

What’s your problem?

What's your problem?

Is there a problem you’re trying to solve in your life right now? Or maybe you prefer a more positive spin: Is there a challenge you’re encountering, ripe with opportunity and blessings that you’ve yet to see?

Looking back, what was the last problem you solved, and how did you do it? What was the last challenge you encountered, and how did you find the opportunities and blessings it offered?

The problems and challenges we face in our day to day lives are nightly processed in our dreams, although it takes a trained eye to see through the surreal dream drama into the working of the mind that created it. Once you know how to do this, you’ll see that most of our dreams reflect the problems or challenges we’re facing, and the inner conflicts (usually unconscious and such a surprise to us when we identify them) that hold us back from finding solutions.

Sometimes our dreaming mind finds a solution to a problem, or the opportunity in a challenge, and we wake up automatically wiser. We may not understand the dream, but the solution or opportunity will seemingly magically appear to us during the day. At other times, even though the dreaming mind comes up with a great solution, it may not trickle through to waking consciousness, or may take time to brew, or may be overridden by other issues that come up for us in the days that follow.

More often, though, our dreaming mind fails to find a solution to the problem or an opportunity in the challenge. The processing loops around the same old solutions we have tried before, the same old ways of looking at the situation, the same old ways of believing there’s a problem when perhaps it’s a problem of our own perspective. In this way, our dreams can reinforce our mindset, our conscious and unconscious beliefs, conflicts, and automatic habitual ways of seeing and responding in the world.

It’s quite comical really, the grand design that gives our problem-solving work to the very mind that is generally wired against seeing the solution. We struggle, blind, until we see. Then we can look back on our old way of perceiving the problem – on our limited perception – and see the funny side.

That said, there are ways to approach a dream, to break it down, to identify the problem and the limited beliefs (conscious and unconscious) that prevent you from seeing solutions.

Sometimes it turns out NOT to be about finding solutions, but about why you see a problem at all.

Here’s an extract from my book, The Compass, to illustrate this.

“Imagine your problem is a mountain blocking your path. You have just turned a corner and there it is, right in front of you, obstructing your access to the path beyond. From where you stand, you can see one steep, jagged, icy trail snaking up the mountainside, ending in a precipice overhanging a deep crevasse. Being so close to the mountain, your personal view is severely limited, and there appears to be no solution to this problem, no way of getting over it.

Now imagine moving several compass degrees to the left, and looking again. From this point of view, you might see an easier path zigzagging across rocky ledges, bypassing the top of the mountain, and seemingly leading to the other side. It’s a possible solution around the problem, but it’s risky and it would be a long, exhausting route to take.

Then picture finding a viewpoint several compass degrees to the right of the mountain, where you see a train waiting for you at a station, ready to zip you through a tunnel deep into the mountain and deliver you to the other side, fast and safe.

Other viewpoints may present other solutions. Further around on the compass dial, a new angle might reveal a lake nestled into the side of the mountain and a ferry boat that can take you across the lake to shortcut the journey you had originally intended and deliver you fifty kilometres beyond the mountain on your chosen path two days earlier than planned.

Yet another viewpoint might present you with a mountain guide prepared to take you safely up the mountain to spend time at a spiritual retreat perched in a Shangri La setting. This new view might entice you to change your original plan and follow the guide, while the magnificent bird’s eye view you get from the retreat might inspire you to choose an entirely new path from that point forward.

Or, at only two compass degrees round the mountain from where you started, you might meet a guru who sits you down to meditate on the existence of the mountain, whereupon you reach an epiphany: you realise that the mountain is made entirely of tiny particles of sand. It only appears to be a solid, immoveable rock. You see that all you have to do is take a deep breath and blow that mountain away. Your problem was not a problem after all. It was an illusion. What a discovery!

And so it continues. How you see your mountainous problem depends on your personal views and beliefs, and these are based on your unique life experiences and upbringing. Your personal views and beliefs limit the number of solutions you can see to a problem. If you can see your problem from a new viewpoint, a new angle, you will not only see new solutions to your problem, but you will also look back on where you originally stood and see your old self in a new light. You will see the person you were, with your old limiting beliefs and the blocks and problems they created for the old you. You will feel the shift as the old you fades, and the new you understands, smiles, and moves forward.” [end of extract]

Let your dreams help you to identify the limiting lens of your current mindset and discover new perspectives on … what was your problem again?

Dream interpretation course

Related articles you might enjoy

Purple haze or How things change

Purple haze or How things change

Why is grass green

Why is grass green?

 

 

Share

Episode 154 The Dream Show: How to do dream alchemy

Thank you for your help
Episode 154 The Dream Show: How to do dream alchemy

I’ve prepared this mix of the light-hearted, the deeply fascinating, and the ‘how to’ practicalities for you this episode, all on the theme of dream alchemy.

Dream alchemy is a way of communicating with your unconscious mind to transform beliefs that are not serving you well. It works by speaking the same language as your unique unconscious mind, using one or more symbols from a uniquely personal dream. Another way of saying this is that dream alchemy rewires the brain to transform those automated, habitual patterns of perceiving and responding in the world that have been limiting you.

There are many forms of dream alchemy. In this episode we’re focussing on visualisations and affirmations. A clue: they’re nothing like the kind of visualisations and affirmations you may have done in the past. You’ll understand why dream alchemy visualisations and affirmations are different and how to create and use them. You’ll also discover why conventional visualisations and affirmations generally fail.

Along the way we look at how and why we often sabotage our intents and goals, and how to stop this. We also explore perfection and imperfection. Do you know a perfect day when you experience one?

The Dream Show with Jane Teresa AndersonIf you’re serious about making change in your life, listen to this episode, pop it into your favourites folder, and share it with … I’m sure you have someone in mind right now. Enjoy.

Listen

The Dream Show is an enormous free resource designed to help people worldwide acquire the basic skills they need to gain deep self-understanding and healing through understanding their dreams.

Listen to more episodes

Related articles you might enjoy

Hole in the road

Hole in the road

Dream Alchemy in Phnom Penh

Dream Alchemy in Phnom Penh

Share
css.php