02/20/15 4:45pm

Dreams & Personal Symbols

Dreams & Personal Symbols
by Starcat

By paying attention to the dreams you have each night, you can enhance your self-knowledge and gain clues that help you live a more meaningful and joyful life. After you begin keeping a dream journal, or regularly sharing your dreams with a loved one, you’ll notice certain patterns or themes that tend to come up again and again. The things or events that recur in your dreams can become potent personal symbols. Your inner self is wise, and will send you messages meant to help guide you.

What do I mean by this?

drivingindreamsIn waking life, I’m a good driver. We live in the country, so we rely on car travel to get us where we need to go. When I worked full time outside the home, I drove 40 miles each weekday to get to and from my job, even in the winter. I learned to drive with caution and confidence.

In my dreams, however, I simply can’t drive worth beans.

Every time I find myself behind the wheel of a vehicle in the dreamlands, something goes awry. Recent driving dreams include bumping into a whole line of cars in a tunnel; no one was hurt, but I was bemoaning the time it would take to deal with all the insurance paperwork and consequences. In the dream, I was rushing to pick up one of the kids and I realized I’d be terribly late. I was so glad when I woke up and realized it wasn’t real. In another dream, I was driving a huge truck, and ended up driving it right up onto the top of a car carrier at an intersection! These are just a couple of examples, but it’s been an ongoing theme for years.

What does it mean? Well, I tend to have these dreams when my ego self feels like things are out of control in my life. I’m supposed to be the driver, right? The one in charge? Maybe not.

My driving dreams have helped me realize that my everyday life goes more smoothly when I don’t try to be in control of every little thing. The energy of control is stressful and when I’m in that mode, I end up with results that aren’t what I wanted. Instead, if I release my attachment and go with the flow, I find myself arriving just where I wanted to be in the first place – or somewhere even better.

BlackLion often dreams of participating in and creating games, which is a passion of his in waking life. It reminds him to be playful and have fun. It also helps him with the framework of interpersonal relationships. When he communicates with people, there are agreed-upon guidelines like the ones that form the framework of a game. He’s learning to play by the rules of his own personal values and negotiate how they interact with those of people he cares about.

What personal symbols or metaphors are coming to you through your dreams? If no examples spring to mind right away, take some time this week to notice if there are any symbols that show up again and again. If you don’t easily recall your dreams, you can look to your daydreams or most cherished goals to find themes that pop up often.

Now examine them to see how they might relate to your waking life. What messages are being sent to you from your deep inner wisdom? How could applying this advice enhance your experience?

Take time to play with your dream symbols, trying out different interpretations. It’s your own inner world, and there are no “right” or “wrong” answers. Dreams provide you with an unending supply of ideas, questions, and advice that can deepen your connection to your intuition. Experiment with your own dream symbols, and see what unfolds.

02/9/15 3:33pm

Top 3 Reasons to Record Your Dreams

dreams, messages, insights, journaling, spiritTop 3 Reasons to Record Your Dreams
by BlackLion

Dream journaling is a vital way to discover more about your inner being. You can also uncover hidden blockages to release, find spiritual allies, and discover unconscious desires that can enhance your life. Whether you are an active dreamer or not, when you wake up in the morning, you can gather valuable insights into who you really are.

Here are the top three reasons to record your dreams:

1. Better Understanding of All of You

We are so much more than a walking, talking bag of flesh and bones. We are an eternal spirit existing on many levels of consciousness with only a portion of that spirit manifested in the physical realm. When you record your dreams, you are better able to understand and interpret what your spirit is offering to you each and every moment. Each morning before you get up, grab the handy paper and pen on your nightstand and write down what you remember from your dreams; whether they are people, places, images, or feelings, each is an important communication just for you. Though you could use a dream interpretation book to find out more about what each of these symbols means, only you can know what any particular one means to you right now. Seeing a dog in your dreams could mean many things – companionship, loss, loyalty, or even fear. Only you can know for sure what it means within the context of your dream life.

2. Direct Connection to Your Spirit

Dreaming is your way to dance with your spiritual self. Whether through visions, feelings, or insights, your higher self wants to share with you all the gloriousness that is you. When we are awake, our ego selves often get in the way of this communication – misunderstanding or rephrasing the messages in a way that does not do justice to the intent. Instead, by recording these inspirations fresh when you first awake, in the liminal space between waking and dreaming, you can gain the most valuable insights from your spirit. Whether they are warnings or accolades, these important connections are invaluable to your waking self and can significantly enhance your overall well-being.

3. Signposts to Your Best Life

Every dream impression, whether an image, scene or feeling, is a signpost to a better life. As you record these in your dream journal, you will get a clearer indication of where to go (and where to avoid) during your waking life. Navigating the world can be really challenging if we are only paying attention to half of our experience. When we integrate the messages from our dreams, we can more easily be open to serendipities, signs, and opportunities that might otherwise be unnoticed using only our ego and our five senses. With practice, you’ll recognize allies from your dreams, locations that are important, and remarkable symbols that will enhance your daily experience and transform your life toward better and better thoughts – so you can truly live the life of your dreams!

01/28/15 2:45pm

Starcat’s Ten Best Books of 2014

Starcat’s Ten Best Books of 2014
by Starcat

Each January, I like to reflect back on what, in my opinion, were the best books of the previous year. Below are 2014’s winners. Please note, these aren’t necessarily books that were published in 2014, though a couple of them were. These are just my favorites of the 45 books I read over the past year. Enjoy!

toreadCreative Visualization by Shakti Gawain. This book had lived on my shelves for many years, and I can’t believe I hadn’t read it yet. It’s a metaphysical classic! This slim volume contains many useful and simple techniques for helping you create the life of your dreams. One of my favorites was to visualize upon first waking up and just before going to sleep, when your consciousness is more fluid.

Practical Prosperity Magick: Crafting Success & Abundance by Ellen Dugan. This is a Pagan book on how to encourage prosperity in your life. She offers spells to help get the money flowing, but also encourages you to take action to follow through in practical ways. I found lots of helpful suggestions and ideas here.

Life of Pi by Yann Martel. I had enjoyed the movie and wanted to check out the book it was based on – especially after someone told me there was a long section of philosophical discussion in the book. I think they were trying to warn me, but I loved it. This book has so many layers to it, from the adventure tale itself to contemplation of the meaning of life and our interactions with other beings.

Gaia’s Garden: A Guide to Home-Scale Permaculture by Toby Hemenway. BlackLion and Quester are the gardeners in our family. I love plants, but I seem to have a brown thumb. Still, I wanted to see what this whole permaculture thing was all about. I resonate with the philosophy of it, and I’m delighted that our yard is slowly being transformed in this direction.

Invoking Animal Magic by Hearth Moon Rising. I may be a brown thumb with plants, but animals and I have always gotten along wonderfully. This book is a treasure trove of information on communicating with and understanding the wild (and not-so-wild) critters in our lives. It also references many fascinating myths from a variety of cultures.

Shamanic Awakening: My Journey Between the Dark and the Daylight by Sandra Corcoran. This fascinating book ranges from Native American teachings to dreamwork to alien contact. The skeptical reader might be doubtful about some of the alien encounters Corcoran describes later in the book. Suspend your disbelief – whether or not the stories can be proven as literal truth, there is much wisdom to be found here. I think reality is much more fluid than we often give it credit for.

Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell by Susanna Clarke. This was a fantastic novel that had me captivated. I can’t even really say why. Suffice it to say that my own imaginary world expanded after reading it.

Proof of Heaven: A Neurosurgeon’s Journey Into the Afterlife by Eben Alexander, M.D. This was a book that my friend Jenn read while she was dying of cancer. It’s about how a near-death experience convinced a scientist who had always thought of the afterlife as nonsense to believe that our souls continue beyond the death of our physical bodies. While I am already very open to ideas of past and future lives, it was captivating to read Dr. Alexander’s journey and see the changes in his mindset as a result.

Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail by Cheryl Strayed. This memoir is one of those books that for some reason stuck with me long after I finished it. It’s about one woman’s epic personal quest, the heroine’s journey that Joseph Campbell wrote about. Raw and real.

Stillness Speaks by Eckhart Tolle. Okay, so technically I’m still reading this book, though I started it in 2014. Tolle’s words of wisdom are always succinct and profound. It’s delicious food for thought – or rather, no-thought. I very highly recommend this one.

01/19/15 3:33pm

5 Ways Your Life is a Reflection of your Inner World

5pool5 Ways Your Life is a Reflection of your Inner World
by BlackLion

Whether you realize it or not, the way you think and feel about your life, and the experiences you imagine in your mind, all have a significant effect on your life. So much so that when you are able to align your thoughts with your inner source, fantastic changes can and do occur. We’ve been taught, however, that “out there” is way more important than “in here.” Even so, you can overcome these challenges and create fulfilling and lasting transformations for the better.

Here are 5 ways in which you create our own reality, simply by noticing how and why you focus on your inner diatribe. Sing a different tune, dance into a new life!

Whistle While You Work music-notes (22x32)

On average,around 13% of people worldwide love their jobs. Around the world, there are places that have as low as 6% satisfaction in East Asia, while the U.S. and Canada are on the higher end at 29% according to the Global Workplace Gallup Poll. With so many dissatisfied people, you might be one of the lucky ones who really are engaged with your job. If not, your mindset can be changed to include this feeling of satisfaction at work.

Imagine waking up in the morning, excited about the new day. You get up early so you can focus on the next exciting steps in your work. Though you may not fully love each task, you know that every step in the direction of your dreams is vital to your happiness. You and your coworkers are glad to see each other again and cheerfully chat over the next phase of the project over a cup of coffee. Your meaningful and engaging work fulfills your deepest desires to change the world and everyone benefits from your talents, expertise, and intentions. What a great life!

How goes your imagining? If you feel stuck, or a bunch of “what ifs” pop up, don’t fret. Simply address each one as it comes up by examining the thoughts and feelings around those aspects of your work that you do not like. By becoming aware and reflecting on the parts of your work that are most satisfying, you’ll be able to view work in a different light. Essentially, what you bring to work each day is way more important than what may actually happen, since only you can truly make yourself happy. Meditate on what kinds of fantastic work environments and experiences that would be right for you. With your new mindset comes new opportunities that were simply hidden from your grumpy point of view.

Home, Sweet Home music-notes (22x32)

How is your home life? Do you love where you live or wish you could be somewhere, anywhere, else? Sure, upkeep, bills, rent/mortgage, etc. are not an especially exciting aspect of living in your home, yet they are important enough to want to keep up-to-date. How you feel and think about your home is, in its own way, a reflection of how comfortable you are within yourself.

Do you keep the sink clear of dishes or have they been stockpiling for a week? Laundry, everybody loves doing laundry, right? Whether you are meticulous about your home or are rather slovenly in some respects, these are simply aspects of your inner thoughtscape manifesting in your experience. Clear the clutter in your thinking and you’re more inclined to declutter around the house.

Reflecting on what you feel a happy home ought to be will give you keys to what you believe and what you feel about what you believe. By consciously paying attention to your thoughts, you’ll be able to find those persistent, resistant ones and transform them to ones better suited to your well-being. Do some spring cleaning in your mind and your home life will benefit.

It’s a Family Affairmusic-notes (22x32)

Of course, having a home usually is accompanied by your family, whether a dozen or just yourself. Your relationships with these folks, living, dead, or away, is based upon your thoughts, memories, and feelings within you. Sure, they may have screwed you over, belittled you, or even berated you, yet those experiences are more a reflection of who they were (at the time) than anything to do with you. Conversely, how you treat your family is a reflection of you, and your interpretation of them, but not truly a reflection of them.

So, say you’re having a challenge with your mom. She’s perhaps overly critical, or even downright mean when she is in one of her moods. Taking her words personally, though it’s challenging not to, will only exacerbate them in your world view. Do a meditation about any of your challenging family members and find out if you’ve taken personally any or all of what they have said in the past, then let them go.

Having a joyful family life is not impossible. In fact, you’ll come to better understand who you are by recognizing that they are simply extensions of the thoughts that are within you. When you are able to interact and truly feel love for those who challenge you, not only will you feel better in the moment, your family will be able to sense your intentions and will begin to find within themselves (of their own volition) ways to treat you more lovingly. Love starts from within.

You’ve Got a Friendmusic-notes (22x32)

You may have many different kinds of friends, ones that adore you, challenge you, and love you, or all of the above. Each one comes into your life because you are a match, vibrationally, with them. As you examine who you are, the thoughts and feelings you experience, and the joys you find, someone you know is always there to support, encourage, or challenge you.

Of course, there are different depths of friendship. Some are simply acquaintances, old school chums, or local business owners who you chat with infrequently, yet there is still a bond and a smile when they are around. Your best friend, of course, is with you more often than not and shares in your interests, ideas, and feelings as if they were their own – maybe even more akin to a chosen family member than a friend. Wherever they are on your friend-o-scale, it is your beacon of light that they are drawn to, and vice versa.

Perhaps you feel more lonely than friendly? Though you do enjoy your own company – be thankful as not many folks really do – it is also pleasurable to be able to confide in and share your experience with another. Look within and find out what thoughts and fears underlie your belief system and may be interfering with your network of friends. By polishing up your inner world, the people you encounter will be able to sense it and you’ll draw like-minded folks to you. And don’t worry about losing someone in your life who no longer resonates with you now, simply thank them for all the times you’ve shared and be open to new people to come in to bolster and encourage your shining light.

Love the One You’re Withmusic-notes (22x32)

And most significantly, when you are in love with another on a deep level, there is a vulnerability and trust that goes with intimacy. When you allow someone to know the “real you” on such a personal level, a lot of emotions and thoughts will arise. Being aware of these feelings when they come up will help you better understand yourself and how you experience the world.

If you are unhappy with your current relationship or you have been longing for one for a while, take some time for reflection to seek and find the resistant energies within you. Are you afraid of letting someone into your heart? Do you feel jealous when your partner is with another or worried that your lover will leave you?  The solutions to these challenging emotions are already within you right now. Seek within.

Love is one of the most fulfilling and daresay challenging emotions to keep within you. All love starts from within and to truly love another, you must first love yourself, unconditionally. When you recognize that what you say, think, and feel about yourself is reflected in your life, you’ll be able to attract a lover that values and respects you for who you are because you value and respect yourself. Love the one you’re with (all the time) – you – and others will enter your life to concur wholeheartedly. Blessed Be!

 

01/14/15 10:25am

Tools for Deep Inner Reflection

According to the media, on New Year’s Day it’s time to hit the ground running, to seize 2015 by the horns and leap on its back and ride off toward your dreams.

I don’t think so.

It’s the midst of winter, and while the days are getting longer, moment by moment, it’s still a time of ice and snow and wind and cold. I prefer to take my time with the transition to a new year, to cozy in and dream up some fun and delightful adventures.  I like to reflect on the year just past, then turn my attention to what I wish to bring forth in the year to come. When you begin a new cycle by setting intentions, then taking inspired actions toward them, you’ll find that your most cherished dreams are coming true.

2015planningWinter is the perfect time for some deep inner reflection. To do this, all you really need is yourself and some quiet time, and perhaps a journal and pen. Take an evening or part of a weekend day and snuggle up in your favorite comfy spot. If you don’t have a quiet place at home, take yourself out to a coffee shop or cozy cafe and order a hot beverage.

Think about 2014 and the joys, challenges and lessons it brought to you. What wisdom have you gleaned? How can you bring it forward into your daily life? Now, set some big intentions for 2015. What would you like to experience? do? feel? learn? be? Who would you like to share it with?

Dream big. Write down what you uncover. Follow your own trail, letting your intuition guide you to your deepest desires.

I like to use self-help tools to help me access my deepest truth. These workbooks are fun to play with, and many of them cost nothing. They contain inspiring quotes and intriguing questions that will help you go deeper and deeper, revealing hidden treasures within your soul. Here’s my list of favorites – if you have others that you love, please feel free to share them!

Word of the Year. This is my fifth year choosing a word to guide me through the coming months. Mine for 2015 is Grace. Christine Kane has a Word of the Year worksheet that will lead you through the process. Susannah Conway is offering a free mini-e-course if you still need further assistance.

Unravelling the Year Ahead. Speaking of Susannah Conway, she offers this fantastic workbook that will get you all set up for a purpose-filled 2015. It’s such a treasure.

Vision Boards. Making a vision board is a terrific way to bring your goals forward in your daily awareness, and it’s a whole lot of fun, too. I forget where I first learned about vision boards, but there are tons of inspiring resources out there if you need further inspiration. I make two or three of them each year, and the one I create as the new year begins usually incorporates my Word of the Year.

The Year-End Ritual. Author Sarah Susanka has a detailed year-end process that I’ve been working with for three years now. It’s really powerful. I’d also recommend the book it appears in, The Not So Big Life: Making Room for What Really Matters.

Create Your Shining Year. This year I purchased Leonie Dawson’s life and business planner, and I’m so inspired! Note, it’s not a planner in the sense of day planner or calendar, which is what I thought initially. Rather, it’s a workbook that will help you not only discover your goals but take the necessary steps to make them happen. It’s fantastic.

Whichever methods you choose for reflecting on your goals and dreams, taking this time to focus on your inner wisdom is infinitely worthwhile. When you listen deep within, you encourage your inner wisdom to shine forth. As you move forward into the new year, remember to take regular intervals for deep inner reflection.

Your soul is full of personal wisdom that will help you live more joyfully and purposefully. Welcome it into your daily life!