Category Archives: Dream alchemy

Dream alchemy practices are simple exercises using symbols from your dream to reprogram unconscious beliefs – to rewire your brain – to bring positive change into your life.

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.

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Episode 156 The Dream Show: A spiritual vibe

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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?

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Episode 154 The Dream Show: How to do dream alchemy

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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.

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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.

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Episode 153 The Dream Show: Unbearable waiting

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Episode 153 The Dream Show: Unbearable waiting

Tim, my guest, dreamed of setting off on a journey, feeling sad at leaving behind animals that she had rescued, including a long-tailed monkey. She journeyed to the French mountains where she met a waiter who was mixing two fluids to create the perfect cola. There’s a lot of waiting in this dream from this point, so much so that by the end of the dream Tim feels that to wait any longer would be unbearable. She must get to that waterfall now!

When Tim contacted me to volunteer to be a guest on the show, she asked if she could talk about a dream alchemy visualisation that she had created for herself. She said she’d been doing the visualisation for a couple of weeks, but it had morphed in ways she didn’t like. That was all I knew, but I thought it would make an interesting subject for The Dream Show.

The Dream Show with Jane Teresa AndersonSo you’ll hear us explore Tim’s dream, what it means, and how it relates to her life, and you’ll hear Tim describe the really good dream alchemy visualisation she created, and how it morphed. We get down to why it morphed (which offered deeper insight into Tim’s dream and life), and we designed an updated version for Tim to do.

This episode is packed with tips, demonstrations of techniques, laughter, sudden deep realisations, and plenty of take-home value for everyone.

Will Tim get to her metaphoric waterfall? Oh yes, yes, and yes. Insights abound, and new paths open. Share her journey:

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PS 31 July: Tim emailed me to offer to share this update with you:

“The results have been overwhelming!! My creativity is flowing, it’s actually like a dam breakthrough (so much I want to do … so few hours in the day).”

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Spellbound

Spellbound

“I bet you get this all the time,” said the sales assistant helping me choose a new skirt yesterday, “but what do those dreams mean where you are trying to walk but your feet are heavy and it’s all so slow? I keep having that dream.”

“You probably have the dream when you feel you’re not making fast enough progress in some area of your life, when it feels too hard, too heavy, too slow,” I suggested, “but to be specific we’d have to look at the details of the dream.”

Her eyes flitted while she took this in, “How true. That’s fascinating!”

Fascinating is a word I hear a lot in my work. According to the Thesaurus, fascinating is similar to mesmerizing, intriguing, absorbing, and spellbinding. How true, people are mesmerized, intrigued, absorbed, and spellbound by their dreams, even when they don’t know what they mean.

Dreams are expressed in the language of your unconscious mind where much of your deeper self resides, out of sight, out of (conscious) mind. It’s your deeper self that calls to you from a remembered dream, intriguing you, feeling fascinatingly familiar yet elusive, difficult to pin down, difficult to name. It’s your deeper self that can influence the way you respond to life, beyond your conscious control or awareness. Such is the power of your unconscious mind to cast its spell upon you.

When you know how to look into a dream you can identify those unconscious aspects of your deeper self and the ways they influence your life – some good, some not so good.

So what might be going on for someone who has the heavy feet dream? Here are some of the many possibilities:

  • Fear of success. Consciously you want to succeed in reaching the goal you have set yourself, but unconsciously you fear the changes you believe success will bring you.
  • Fear of failure. As above, but unconsciously you believe you may fail and you fear the changes you believe failure will bring you.
  • Unconsciously you have the belief that you’re not worthy (or a whole host of other negative judgements) of achieving the goal you’ve set yourself or the life it will open for you. Self doubt casts its spell on you.
  • The goal is no longer appropriate for you (you have grown, changed), or you’re chasing the goal to fulfil someone else’s expectations. Your unconscious mind is wiser, and casts its spell to slow you down enough to see a better way.

There are many more possibilities, but these are some of the more common ones. In each case, your unconscious mind causes you to put obstacles in your way, for example: to strive for unachievable perfection, create complications, take on too much, let stress drain your energy, find excuses, binge eat-drink-drug-exercise, obsess over your Facebook feed, keep checking your email, overlook replenishing mind, body and soul. These obstacles successfully sabotage your likelihood of achieving your goal, and most of them also exhaust you physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually, making daily life as draining as the dream pictures, one heavy bogged-down step after another.

If you have this dream, reflect back on the last 24-48 hours to identify the situation that feels heavy going and slow. If it’s not obvious to you, look next for the situation that is all go, high energy, busy-busy-busy, but, when you think about it, not really getting you where you want to be. Or take a piece of paper and make a list of the obstacles that got in your way (and the unexpected things that turned up that needed your attention) during the last two days. Can you see the connection between your dream and your life now?

The details of your dream are important: what happened before the heavy feet part, what else was going on, where you were headed to, who else was there, how you felt about it all, the texture and slope of the path, what you were wearing (the list is as endless as our dreams are unique). When the details are analysed, your unconscious beliefs, conflicts, and emotions, are uncovered. The aspects of your deeper self that have you spellbound are unmasked.

It’s a fascinating process, but it’s time to ensure that your unconscious – your deeper self – is working with you to achieve the kind of goals that are healthy and appropriate for you.

Do you still want to achieve this goal? Is it time to commit to it more fully? Is it time to modify it? Is it time to let it go? Has it served its purpose?

Is it enough to unmask your unconscious saboteur? Yes and no. Awareness helps, but it’s better – and more rewarding – to do a dream alchemy visualisation to rewire the unhealthy unconscious beliefs or to strengthen the healthy ones.

It’s best to create a visualisation based on your unique dream, using your unique dream symbols, designed to zone in on the belief that needs to be changed, and change it.

But here’s a more general dream alchemy visualisation that you can do if you have this kind of dream:

While awake, close your eyes and imagine yourself back in the dream, just at the point where it all gets tough. Visualise – and feel – your feet and legs feeling light, see and feel yourself now lightly stepping, running, or dancing with ease and a sense of joyful fulfilment as you suddenly arrive at your destination.

Do this visualisation 15-20 times a day for a couple of weeks. You’ll notice that things become lighter and clearer, obstacles melt, hesitation vanishes, and you’ll feel more confident about where you’re going and why.

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Episode 152 The Dream Show: Dreaming about work

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Dreaming about work

My guest, Domonique, has been dreaming about work for the last four months, and wonders why, especially since she’s been on sick leave for the last three months. In some dreams she finds herself at work and then thinks, “But I’m on sick leave, what am I doing here?”

In others dreams she’s in a car, on the way to work, but lost, thinking, “What am I doing here in the middle of nowhere?”

In one of these dreams she finds herself dressed in pink leopard skin tights, talking to her HR manager about an unacceptable sexual harassment issue. Domonique falls asleep in her dream, then wakes up – still dreaming – and that’s when things change!

Are Domonique’s dreams about work, or are they about a deeper issue?

The Dream Show with Jane Teresa AndersonListen in as Domonique and I delve into her work dreams to discover what she needs to know to move forward in her life.

There’s something in every episode for you too: dream analysis techniques, contemplations, fresh perspectives, getting to know a guest, and being inspired by her story. Enjoy, and please share this podcast.

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Dream interpretation: choosing a dream

Choosing a dream

“How do I know which dream to start with?” emailed Tim, eager to begin applying some of my techniques. Tim remembers four or five dreams a night, and realises that working in depth with one dream a day would be too much. “I was hoping you might answer my question in a blog,” she said.

When was the last time you worked deeply with a dream? If it’s been a while, or if you’re a beginner and wondering where to start, here’s my top priority list:

 

  • A recurring dream or recurring dream theme

If you have a recurring dream (or recurring dream theme) with an unresolved or unsatisfactory ending, and you’ve had the dream within the last few weeks, that’s the most powerful place to begin. Dreams reflect the last 1-2 days, so every time you have the recurring dream or theme it’s reflecting a recurring waking life issue that’s not working out well for you. Working with this dream you can identify the issue, your inner conflicts about the issue (which may surprise you), the usual approaches you try (that fail), and the unconscious beliefs that are blocking you from resolving it successfully.

 

  • An emotionally charged dream

A dream in which you feel a heightened emotion – especially an uncomfortable emotion – is invaluable to work with. The emotion is usually linked to an unconscious belief or behaviour pattern that is restricting your growth. This kind of dream can help you to identify an emotional event in your past that is still affecting your life today, and – when you apply dream alchemy techniques – can lead to powerful release and healing.

 

  • A vivid dream

An uplifting, colourful, intense, vivid dream often reflects a breakthrough (or a near-breakthrough), and working with such a dream can support you as the effects of the change ripple through your life in unexpected ways. It’s also good to understand, affirm, and celebrate the changes these dreams herald, and to prepare yourself for some strong emotions that may take you by surprise as they are released as part of the process.

 

  • A dream that poses a problem or question

Most dreams involve trying to solve a problem or find an answer to a question, and these reflect a waking life problem or question you’re trying to solve. (It takes work to relate the dream problem to the waking life problem because dreams are symbolic.) Look for a dream with a bizarre problem or question, the more surreal the better. Here’s what you can do with these dreams.  This technique can help you to question your question, or understand why you see a particular situation as a problem. It can help you shift your perspective and find new solutions. It can totally transform your life.

 

  • A dream that refers to the past

Although dreams reflect the last 1-2 days, they may include references to the past (your childhood home, ex-partners, people or places you once knew). These dreams can help you to go back to see how your past is still shaping your present, and to work with dream alchemy to change this.

 

  • A night of dreams

Don’t be too quick to choose just one dream from a heavy night’s dream recall. Those four or five dreams you may remember from one night’s sleep often reflect the same situation from different angles.

 

  • Just begin!

Or just choose that dream from last night – you know the one, the one that’s still haunting you. It’s reflecting the last 1-2 days so it’s fresh comment (and ripe with insight for you to discover) on whatever you’re going through right now.

 

  • Still not sure how to begin?

If deeply working with a dream on your own just seems too daunting, book a consultation with me. There are plenty of options, and it’s much more fun.

 

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Episode 151 The Dream Show: A cruel punishment

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Episode 151 The Dream Show: A cruel punishment

Carmen, my guest this episode, dreamed of a white carthorse decorated in rainbow paint, dragging a cart without wheels, and carrying the heavy wheel axle in its mouth as a cruel punishment. But punishment for what?

Meanwhile there’s a jeep that needs to be fixed, but the chances are that the guy who owns it will just continue on as before, rattly seats and all.

Carmen is angry, something needs to happen!

Also featuring in this dream are two lizards – one quite magical – and, living at the bottom of her garden in a Womble shanty, an unsettlingly calm man who verbally abuses his very weak girlfriend.

Here’s a dream that sounds like a modern day fairytale, but does it have a happy ending? Like all good fairytales, dreams seem far removed from our everyday lives until we take a good deep look at the metaphors and find them ringing true deep within ourselves, often much to our surprise.

The beauty of working with dreams is that once we understand them we can apply dream alchemy: tweak and change the key points of the dream to create a fulfilling resolution (that filters through to the life situation which the dream reflects), a different kind of happily ever after than we might ever have dreamed possible for ourselves.

The Dream Show with Jane Teresa AndersonYou’ll witness all of this as you listen to Carmen and me working with her dream, interpreting it, relating it to her life, discovering helpful new insights, and creating potentially life changing dream alchemy. Enjoy and please share.

The Dream Show was launched 5 years ago this week: happy birthday The Dream Show!

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When affirmations and visualisations fail

When affirmations and visualisations fail

How many times have you set an intention and created an affirmation or visualisation to guide its manifestation, only to fail or even magnify the problem?

Here’s a simple example.

You decide it’s time to get serious about losing some weight. You decide to do this by changing to a healthier diet. It’s all quite clear to you: you know what you want to achieve (lose some weight), and you know how to do it (you’ve done all your research and you have chosen a healthy diet you know you can follow).

You come up with something like:

Affirmation: “I am slim, confident, and attractive, and I enjoy eating healthy food.”

Or you might choose a visualisation in which you see yourself as slim, confident, and attractive, enjoying eating healthy food.

You may also have done some research into how to create a successful affirmation or visualisation:

You know that it must be positive (no negative words like “no more chocolate” or even “lose weight”).

You know it must be expressed or envisioned in the present tense, as something that is reality for you today (otherwise you’re affirming something that will always be in the future, always out of reach).

You know that you must include some positive emotions or feelings to engage your heart and give every uplifting reason to make it happen.

You also know that an affirmation or visualisation works best if you can engage all your senses, so you key in positive sights, sounds, tastes, smells, skin sensations (touch), and maybe even body movements that support your intention.

Sometimes these kinds of affirmations and visualisations work, but more often they fail. In this simple example, you may find that the more you do the affirmation the more you find yourself eating chocolate, or putting off the diet until tomorrow, or following the diet but staying the same weight or even gaining weight.

Every time you affirm a conscious intention, any unconscious beliefs or feelings that conflict with it will be called into battle.

One reason for these failures is that every time you affirm a conscious intention, any unconscious beliefs or feelings that conflict with it will be called into battle.

In our simple example, you may be affirming that you are slim, but if you have an unconscious belief that being slim will threaten your relationship with your partner, your affirmation will not only fail, it will massively fail. The affirmation calls up your unconscious belief and sends it into overdrive to do its job, which it sees as protecting your relationship from the repercussions of being slim. That’s when you find yourself automatically eating unhealthy food or engaging in other behaviours that not only sabotage your chances of becoming slim but possibly result in putting on more weight.

What makes doing an affirmation attractive in the first place?

Consider this too: what makes doing an affirmation attractive in the first place? If a new attitude or behaviour is easy to do, you just do it. It works. You don’t need an affirmation. When you can’t just do it, no matter how much you try, (when you unconsciously sabotage your good intention), you may decide to enlist the help of an affirmation. So the moment an affirmation seems like a good idea, it’s probably because you have unconscious beliefs to the contrary. And you now know where that’s going to get you!

Yes, I am coming to dreams – and to dream alchemy affirmations and visualisations and why they work.

Discovering the unconscious beliefs that sabotage you

One therapeutic approach (as described by Julia Cameron in her book The Artist’s Way), is to write down your affirmation and then listen to the negative voice at the back of your mind as it raises its objections. Some of those negative beliefs will be familiar to you, some may surprise you. If you do the work of tracing those negative beliefs back to their origins (when did you acquire them, from whom, what were the circumstances, how have they served you, what have they protected you from), you may then be able to do the healing work necessary to release or transform them. Once you have done that work and there’s no longer anything blocking your positive intention, your affirmation will succeed.

Here’s another approach that is more powerful, and much quicker.

Every night, your dreaming mind processes your conscious and unconscious experiences of the last one or two days. When you focus on repeating an affirmation or visualisation – and especially when that calls up powerful unconscious objections – your dreaming mind is going to process all of this. If you explore your dreams a day or two into your affirmations, you stand to gain deep insight into your unconscious beliefs and inner conflicts about your intention. But that’s not where I’m going today. Here’s where the magic begins.

Let’s look at a dream you might have while doing this affirmation

Imagine, still using our simple example, that you have spent a couple of days affirming, “I am slim, confident, and attractive, and I enjoy eating healthy food”. On the second night you dream of a tall, beautiful house built on thin wooden stilts. You see flames on one of the stilts, so you grab some water and put the flames out. But then you see more of the stilts catching fire, and you spend the whole dream putting out fires only to see more spontaneously combust. In the whole dream, you never get to spend any time in the upper storeys of the beautiful house. You spend all your time putting out fires and worrying about the stability of this house built on a foundation of thin, fiery stilts.

I made up the dream to illustrate the point. The dream features a beautiful house built on an unstable foundation of thin stilts that keep catching fire. The beautiful house is attractive (tick, you wanted to be attractive), but it is built on an unstable foundation (no tick for confidence, this whole structure could collapse), and its thin stilts keep catching fire (you’re angry – fiery – about what being thin/slim might lead to).

All the time you spend putting out fires in the dream reflects all the time you spend doing your affirmation, but the more you do this (the more you do the affirmation), the more your unconscious anger about being thin/slim sabotages what you’re trying to build.

If this was your dream – and not a simple example I made up – we would be able to identify the issue around being thin/slim that is still bringing up anger for you, stopping you from achieving your goal. But I promised you magic in the form of dream alchemy, and here it is:

Dream alchemy: talk to your unconscious mind in its own language

Your dream shows you the language your unconscious mind understands. It pictures your anger about being thin/slim as wooden stilts catching fire, and it pictures your lack of confidence as a lack of adequate support/foundation for the house.

In the language of the dream (which is also the language of your unconscious mind), if there were no fire (no anger), and if there were firmer support (perhaps the thin wooden stilts are replaced by slim, strong, marble columns), your beautiful house would stand tall and you’d be able to enjoy being in it.

In other words, if you had no anger about being thin, and if you allowed yourself more support for being slim, then you would enjoy being “slim, confident, and attractive” in perfect accord with your affirmation.

A dream alchemy affirmation is an affirmation where you talk to your unconscious mind in its own language to transform the belief that is sabotaging you into one that aligns with your conscious intention. It might look like this:

Affirmation: “I am standing in my tall, beautiful house, supported on solid, strong, slim, marble columns built on a cool marble foundation, and I’m feeling wonderfully confident and attractive.”

A dream alchemy visualisation is simply the visual version of the affirmation.

In each case, make sure they are in the present tense, and add the emotion you want to feel (confident). Make sure you feel that emotion when you speak your affirmation or do your visualisation. You can add in sensual references to engage the senses, but beware making it too complex. Speak plainly and clearly to your unconscious mind. Most importantly, transform the negatives without mentioning the negatives. Fiery wood becomes cool marble.

When you do your dream alchemy affirmations or visualisations (20-30 times a day for two weeks works well), you are communicating with your unconscious mind in its own language, gently transforming an unconscious belief by transforming the symbols that represent it. This is quite different from using a conventional affirmation (using the language of the conscious mind) that challenges the unconscious to rebel rather than coax it to change.

You’ll be surprised by how quickly dream alchemy affirmations and visualisations work. In the example, the ‘thin’ issue that was still causing you anger and sabotaging your good intent resolves, and you find yourself responding in the world in different ways, ways that bring your intention to fruition.

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Episode 150 The Dream Show: Radiant light being

Thank you for your help
Episode 150 The Dream Show: Radiant light being

My guest, Caroline, dreamed she was given a cheque made out to ‘Radiant Light Being’, or, on looking at it again, did it say ‘Radiant Glowing Jellyfish’? Either way, she felt she shouldn’t be paid because she had only been helping a secretary clean up a professor’s office. “Must be because I’m angelic,” she quipped to the secretary, and they both cracked up laughing.

Later in the dream the professor holds up a tiny yellow raincoat, “Do you want this?” he asks. Ever since her dream, a month ago, she’s been enjoying entertaining people with the question of the tiny yellow dream raincoat: what a strange thing for the professor to offer, and well – did she want it?

The Dream Show with Jane Teresa AndersonPlenty happened in the dream between the radiant light jellyfish moment and the tiny yellow raincoat moment, and you’ll hear us explore and make sense of it all.

Listen to discover how the dream relates to Caroline’s life, what insight she gains from the interpretation process, and what she decides to do as a result. Enjoy: you’ll be inspired.

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