uncovering TRUTH
catharsis awaits
leading back to YOU

I'm serious, why should you bother to remember, interpret and listen to your dreams? It's a lot of work, what will you get from it? As with everything, there is a negative and a positive to working with your dreams. And, believe it or not, the negative side is the positive side also -- or at least it leads to it.

The Negative Side
The negative side of remembering and interpreting your dreams is you may come across a side of yourself you really don't like or are afraid to know about. When I first started paying attention to my dreams, the negative side jumped up at me and screamed. It screamed loudly and often. I couldn't get away from it, no matter how much I denied it, no matter how hard I tried to run, there was no getting away from it -- the TRUTH -- the TRUTH of who I am, and why I am who I am.

In short, I discovered several repressed memories from my adolescence. Fortunately, only one at a time. To be honest, I was a mess during the time I was piecing together the puzzles my dreams were uncovering. But in the end -- it was definitely worth it.

You may discover you aren't (always) the "Miss Goody Two Shoes" or "Mr. Nice Guy" you profess to be during the day. You may discover your childhood was not all ice cream, roller-skating and amusement parks. You may end up shedding light on dark places and recalling secrets long repressed. This is scary stuff. I won't lie -- listening to and learning from your dreams is definitely not all peaches 'n cream and red roses. So, if it's not all rosy and wonderful, why should you bother?

The Positive Side
Well, the fact is, once you have faced and accepted the negative, you can move on. Then the positive comes into play. You experience a catharsis, go through a metamorphosis and become -- YOU -- the you that you were always meant to be. You’ve heard the expression, "The truth shall set you free"? It's true -- really. My personal experience may be extreme. You may not have so many dark places and secrets. Nevertheless, you will become truer to yourself and therefore, more open and honest with others and ultimately find you are happier.

What My Dreams Did for Me
Before I started on my journey of interpreting my dreams, I was a very unhappily married woman of 28 with two sons. This short poem comes to mind:

I was not happy;
unhappy I was not

I simply was;
or was I not?

I’m not sure if I penned this poem myself, or if I read it somewhere, many, many years ago and it stuck in the back of my mind until I really understood it. In any case, it describes exactly how I felt before I deciphered my first dream. Up to this point, I had two nightmares, which recurred often from the time I was twelve. I share one with you, Water, Water Everywhere, on page 45. The details of the second, called, The Closet, I have chosen to keep to myself, but I share some of it here:

I am in a basement with some children. I hear noises upstairs. I tell the children we must hide. Some of them hide behind the furniture and curtains. I know I must hide better than that. I grab one little girl by the hand and we go into a closet under the stairs. The closet is paneled the same as the walls and is unnoticeable except for the doorknob. I reach outside and remove the doorknob so now we are safe and no one will know to look for us here… We sit in the dark for a long, long time… I hear noises outside in the basement, but no one looks for us in the closet. We sit in the dark some more … For many years, this is how the dream ended.

At 28, I had a different dream. I woke up in tears. It was just one brief scene, but I knew what it revealed was the truth and that at some level I had been lying to myself for many, many years. Even though it was a dream, I knew it was an actual memory, repressed for many, many years. It was an eye-opening and life changing moment.

I began to realize there were other things I was lying to myself about – such as why I married at the age of sixteen; and that I didn’t really love my husband as much as I needed him. Shortly after this, I asked him for a divorce. I knew I deserved more and that I had to go out and find it on my own.

I began journaling and writing poetry and a few short stories. I read about Jung’s theory of archetypes and the collective unconscious, and the psychology of repressed memories. I read books on dreams and dream interpretation, and began exploring the subject of dreams on the internet. Over time, I remembered more dreams (and more repressed memories) and started examining them, looking for the archetypes and the symbols, and exploring what they meant to me.

After 3 or 4 years passed, I had The Closet dream again with the following added: After sitting in the dark for a long time, the little girl announces, “It’s OK now, we can go outside.” At first, I did nothing. After having the dream again several more times over the next two years, the little girl takes the initiative and opens the door. She goes outside, I remain inside. Then in a later dream, I followed her outside into the basement. I hear laughter in another room. I wake up. Several months go by and I have the dream again. This time when she announces it’s OK to go out, she insists that I must open the door myself. I have the dream one more time before I can open the door myself. I go out into the basement and follow the sounds of laughter. My family cheers as I step into the room. My mom says, “We’ve been waiting for you!”

It wasn’t until I had the dream this last time that I finally understood it. Each new ending was indicative of a new step that I had taken towards discovering myself. In the beginning, at the age of twelve, I am hiding a part of me, the repressed memory, safely deep inside. At the end, my family represented all aspects of myself – everything that I am and can be. I was 34 the last time I had this dream.

After twenty-two years of having this dream, I was finally strong enough to step outside, on my own, and be the real me. I accepted who I am and why I am who I am; and more importantly, I knew I deserved to be happy and was worthy of being loved!

In addition to discovering my TRUTH, I discovered something else about myself. I discovered I could write. Listening to my dreams opened a path to my unconscious (which is, of course, what dream work does) and I began to write. At first, I wrote poetry and then lyrics; children's poetry and short stories followed. I give credit for this to working with my dreams because until then I had never written a thing -I had no desire or even a hint I could write. So, working with your dreams can help you become more creative - a nice benefit, if you're so inclined.

Keep in mind creativity comes in many forms -- writing, drawing, painting, composing, quilting, programming, teaching, organizing, report creation and design, and even in improving everyday tasks such as shopping and laundry. Don't underestimate creativity in your life, or the power and insights hidden in your dreams

Have I Piqued Your Interest?
If so, I offer hints on remembering your dreams, tips on deciphering your dreams, interpretations of some of my dreams and what I learned from them … and much more in my book, Notes From a Dreamer … on Dreaming: A Personal Journey in Dream Interpretation.

Author's Bio: 

Bobbie Ann Pimm is the author of Notes From a Dreamer ... on Dreaming: A Personal Journey in Dream Interpretation, the webmaster of notesfromadreamer.com, a digital artist and a poet. She is currently a teaching fellow-at-large on the faculty of Atlantic University in Virginia Beach, VA. She lives in Charlottesville, VA with Robert Van de Castle, PhD, author of Our Dreaming Mind, whom she met in 2008 at an online PsiberDreaming conference hosted by the International Association for the study of dreams (asdreams.org).