"Always carry a notebook. And I mean always. The short-term memory only retains information for three minutes; unless it is committed to paper you can lose an idea forever." -- Will Self

The most powerful, life-changing book you'll ever read is your own dream journal. And keeping a dream journal happens to be one of the best ways to build your dream-recall muscles.

So if you don't have one, get one!

If you are in a pinch, simply use a yellow legal pad with an ordinary pen (one with a penlight is preferred). You can have all the most magical, mystical, life-changing dreams, but because dreams take place in the part of the brain that controls short-term memory, if you don't write them down within the first five minutes of awakening, then poof they're gone. And, if you're going to do dream work, it all starts with remembering your dreams!

Place your dream journal and pen on your bedside table so that it is easy to download your dreams in the morning light. If you have to fumble, bumble, and stumble around searching for a scrap of paper to write on and a pen that still has ink in it, poof -- they're gone.

Even if you are married to your iPhone and your DreamsCloud dream app (my personal favorite), I still recommend you have a journal as well, as a place to keep track of your dream-related reflections, thoughts, and ahas throughout the day.

Here's a great journaling exercise to percolate your five senses and your dreaming mind before you go to sleep:

Sight: Envision a full moon in a starry sky, a baby's smile, a tangerine sunset at the beach, autumn leaves in all their splendor, looking into the eyes of someone who loves you. Write in your dream journal what you envision you will see when you are living your dream life.

Sound: Hear the roar of applause, children's laughter, a cat's purr, the crunch of fallen leaves beneath your feet, someone precious to you saying "I love you." Write in your dream journal what you will hear when you are living your dream life.

Smell: Imagine the smell of freshly-baked chocolate chip cookies, cinnamon mulling spices, pine trees, the ocean mist, mint leaves, a new car's interior, your favorite perfume. Write in your dream journal the fragrance you imagine smelling when you are living your dream life.

Taste: Imagine biting into a juicy, crisp red apple, warm, buttery mashed potatoes. the minty fresh flavor of having just brushed your teeth, savoring a slice of pecan pie with whipped cream. Write in your dream journal what you imagine you will eat or taste when you are living your dream life.

Touch: Imagine petting a fluffy cat, walking barefoot across wet grass, the warmth of a crackling fire on a snowy day, diving into an icy lake on a summer day, wearing a warm and fuzzy sweater, dancing wildly to your favorite song. Write in your dream journal the texture of something you might feel or touch when you are living your dream life.

Some of the brightest minds of our time have been those that think and feel in a vivid and sensory way: e.g., Margaret Mead, Albert Einstein, Martin Luther King Jr., Buckminster Fuller, Eleanor Roosevelt, Picasso, and Rembrandt, to name a few. Allow your dream journal to be a bridge to connect your nocturnal dreams with your real life... and ultimately with the life of your dreams.

Author's Bio: 

Kelly Sullivan Walden says dreams have a language all their own—and being fluent in that language reveals the wisdom to live the life of your dreams while you’re awake.

Author, certified clinical hypnotherapist, inspirational speaker and founder ofDream-Life Coach Training; Kelly hosts a weekly web-radio show The D-Spot, is featured Dream Expert for Fox News, and recently appeared on the Ricki Lake Show. She has written seven books including the Amazon.com #1 bestseller I Had The Strangest Dream, as well as articles published in Woman’s World, Cosmopolitan,Seventeen, and the Los Angeles Times.

One of Kelly’s dreams came true when she was invited to speak before the United Nations about the Dream Project, a non-profit organization she founded to inspire children all over the world to solve the issues described in the United NationsMillennium Development Goals.

Kelly began her dream research as a curious five-year-old. She and her younger sister shared a room and in morning the girls would wake up excited to discuss what their nighttime adventures might mean in the waking world. Over the years they pouring through dream dictionaries to learn the exciting language of dreams. Kelly eventually studied Carl Jung, Carlos Castaneda and many spiritual and esoteric teachers who took her understanding of dreams to a much deeper level.

Nearly two decades ago Kelly became a certified clinical hypnotherapist and spiritual counselor. This began her professional journey working with her client’s subconscious minds so they might discover themselves—their core beliefs, drives and desires—and discover the hidden resources to heal them from past traumas and experience life with new skills, fresh vision, and deeper knowledge.

Kelly soon realized the impact dreams had in the lives of her clients—but no guidebooks on the market at the time dealt with contemporary symbols or blended dream interpretation with a truly life-affirming approach. Her book I Had the Strangest Dream quickly reached #1 on Amazon’s Best-seller List and has stayed there for over six years. Since then, she’s authored six more books; been guest of over 1,000 media outlets; and traveled the world speaking, teaching and hosting workshops for many thousands of people.

Kelly and her husband Dana and their dogs, Shadow and Lola, are living their dream life amid the animal, trees, and energy of the enchanted Topanga Canyon in California. Kelly is currently in production of a television pilot and is excited to share her latest works It’s All In Your Dreams and Dream Oracle Cards.

“I’ve poured everything I know about dreams into It’s All In Your Dreams and Dream Oracle Cards, reflecting the latest research and current wisdom. I’m thrilled to say this work has already transformed my life and the lives of many others. My dreamwork is not just to inspire you to pay attention to your nighttime dreams, but to give you practical tools to access the phenomenal wisdom of your dreaming mind—the rocket fuel to manifest the life of your dreams!”

~Kelly Sullivan Walden