Category Archives: Dreams For Peace

Interesting Details About Dreamwork For Prisoners

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The Mission of Healing With Dreamwork is to take what people think of as dream interpretation to a deeper level of transformation 

Info about Dreamwork With Prisoners is also available online at this link.

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Dear friends,

It brings me joy to share details of the new dreamwork initiative launched in jails across Ontario. This email aims to answer some questions, shed some light on the scope of the project, and invite people to get involved in anyway they wish.

Throughout 2014 – 2018, I began exploring dream metaphors of jails, cops, detectives and solving crimes. I was also living in a city formally known as “The Murder Capital of Canada” and while there was researching and writing to expose the components within environments which breed criminal behaviour, especially crimes against children and women. 

In 2018, I started hearing dreams from inmates at Maplehurst Correctional Complex and giving interpretations. The idea with the way I do dreamwork is to take what people usually think of as dream interpretation to a deeper level with a focus on transformation. In the past year, more than 22 inmates have shared their dreams and together we walked through some of the biggest issues from the dream, usually related to strong negative emotions such as fear, anger or disappointment. This innovative approach seeks to identify skills, capacities and strengths in the dreamer so that he can use these strengths to solve the complex challenges facing him in daily life. 

One Saturday in January seven people called; many of them called two or three times so I had several 40-60 minute sessions. Each of the inmates either had a new dream to share or wanted to continue talking about the issues brought up from dreams they shared earlier in the week. Issues range from working through childhood trauma & sexual abuse, issues with addiction, struggling with anger, post-holiday disappointment and working with strong feelings of guilt or remorse for the actions associated with their charges. Many of them either have court coming up or were just returning from court and were feeling discouraged with the lengthy trial process.

In addition to the therapy work, I also support them with legal matters occasionally. I’ve mediated discussions with lawyers and advocated during a couple medical emergencies. In December, I acted as a media liaison for a highly publicized case involving criminal charges pressed against a cop who shot an inmate. The inmate has recurring nightmares about the shooting and the dreams reveal tremendous strength and capacity. Often times, inmates ask me to send texts or phone calls to their family members, their children, their spouses. I like to think that these connections help to strengthen relationships during the incarceration of their loved one and helps ease the strain of the cold institutional setting just a wee bit. It’s a bit like a ray of sunshine after a storm.

Parent When the Parent Starts Setting Clear Boundaries

28 August 2017

When a parent does dreamwork/changework they first work on themselves, heal from their own traumas in childhood and resolve their issues then they can super charge their abilities to support the development of virtues and positive qualities in their children.

Then they can really start being a fantastic parent for their children because now that they are free from the past issues they can more fully support their children. In this way, their children will not inherit or learn the same fears their parents had. In this way, each generation becomes better than the one prior to it. In this way, generations and the whole world can heal & change for the better.

When a parent is clear about their expectations and sets clear boundaries a child may become upset. When they are upset & angry that they are no longer getting their own way they might say a whole host of negative things to try to break their parent down so they can get their own way.

Here are a few statements a child might say:

  • This/you are ridiculous.
  • I hate this/you.
  • You are SO not a good parent.
  • Oh, it’s going to be “this” kind of day (eyes rolling)
  • You can’t make me do anything.
  • I’m not listening to you.

In situations like this, it is helpful if the parent can practice the exercise of turning down the negative voice that they are hearing from their child.

A parent does not need to respond to every statement the child makes. The change work involved in this process is to simply notice the negatives and turn them down.

In this way, the parent can stay focused on the task at hand, repeat themselves if necessary and stand firm with what the expectations are.

It is not easy. I’m not saying it’s easy.

But when clear boundaries are set and the child is enccouraged to follow through with responsibilities & obligations then they will learn essential skills needed for a productive and full-filing adult life.

The Science of Dreamwork is about Going into the Challenging Spaces and Dealing with the Negatives so they can be eliminated

28 August 2017

Today when I was doing dreamwork around the issue of home invasion I realized something.

Last month I had two dreams about a home invasion. In the first I was able to protect all the windows & doors and keep the invader away. But in the second, the invader got in and held a shotgun to my daughter’s face. This means there is something my daughter is doing which allows an invader into our space. A house in a dream is about Self and a bedroom is where we rest & relax. To have an invader in the bedroom means we are not able to rest or relax because of someone doing/saying things which have a negative influence.

In real life, training in Taedwondo has given me some skills to deal with the negatives. When I am “taekwondoing ” the negative energy it’s about pushing the negative energy/figure away and that is why I was successful in the first dream.

But there is a second process needed in order to help my daughter keep out the negatives. This can be achieved with dreamwork/change work approaches.

When I work on issues which appear in dreams and I minimize the negative effects on me then I am better able to to support my daughter and I can teach her to not let them in or get targeted. The key with this kind of work is to get really close into the space of the invader.

I figured this out when I was training in class this morning because I learned that as soon as someone has a knife or gun the key is to get really close to disarm them.

It takes a high degrees of skill to move into a space when there is a weapon rather than running away which is the first natural instinct. But dreamwork/changework is like a positive weapon that allows a person to confidently get in the Self space of someone else and effectively disarm them.

The more I learn to do this with my daughter the better it will be for both of us. The reason it’s so challenging is because her negative self is so much like someone who tortured me in the past. Now that I have learned to “teakwondo the negative” I can leap into her space and disarm the intruding negative thoughts.

I do this by working through my own issues and fears around the memory of being tortured and practicing simple meditation exercises which really help!

Anyone can do this and can find their own path for empowering themselves. The key is to turn up the positives in life and turn down the negative. With this, anything is possible.

Dream of Being Jailed

28 August 2017

When something negative shows up in a dream, something like being jailed, then it’s good to start off with a question such as, “How am I jailing my Self?”

What this does it take you out of the rut of feeling like a victim and you get your power back.

In a recent dream I was temporarily imprisoned in something comparable to a juvenile detention center. It felt more like a retreat than a jail except I couldn’t leave if I wanted to but the facilities were excellent. I didn’t have a sense of why I was there or when I would get out.

When I was young, the adults who I lived with used to use the punishment of “going to my room” as the ultimate “fix” but unfortunately the rules were arbitrary so it was never entirely clear to me what kept me out of my room or what put me in it. Additionally, someone else could do something really wrong and that would get me sent to my room for some unjust reason.

Once imprisoned in my room, it could last for hours, or days. There was never a clear distinction about when I’d get to come out. It was sort of assumed I was banished to my room for an entire day. But sometimes I’d get called out for dinner.

When I got to the table I would be a bit dizzy from the lights and have a slight head ache from the stuffiness of a room. I’d feel like I had over-slept and my thoughts were not clear or focused. I’d feel like I had a cold or something even though I know I didn’t but the fuzzy-ness was the same.

Only the lure of food could keep me there in that cluttered & dusty dining room and I would not allow myself the privilege of even thinking about what to do next or how to get away from these monsters who entrapped & enslaved me.

The only safe place seemed to be to retreat back into my room. So like a trained beast, with the wildness beat out of him, I’d just often times go back to my room after dinner even though there was a hint that I could have stayed out now if I wanted too. I seem to recall my sister coming out of her room more often than I did as I can recall hearing her giggling and laughing with my mom.

So my sister’s negative actions got me punished to my room. And then I just stayed there for hours & days while she and my mom bonded in happy ways.

Then later, when I was a teen, my mom once said, “It just seems like you have built a wall that you will never let me pass.” And she said it as though it were a mystery.

How strange.

DreamWORK – It’s not all fun & games … but is worth it in the end

17 August 2017

I’m going to write this to give you an idea of the way I work with a nightmare in very specific detail.

The dream scenario was that I was in my room and sensed something was wrong in my daughter’s room. When I went into her room I found a man had invaded our house & was standing over her with a shotgun pointed to her face. I froze.

So to work through this dream first I have to understand the threat of the man & the gun.

Since it is a man unknown to me then this means it is a cultural issue and it not showing up in one specific man who I know but that all men have this potential threatening part to them. That’s pretty easy to understand since we live in a culture which is still male-dominated and incredibly debilitating to and for women.

I freeze in the dream and that means that the solution will be about my learning to move, spiritually and literally.

So how do I get out of the mental habit of freezing when I am threatened? How do I learn to keep moving even when things are a bit scary?

That’s where the WORK part of dreamwork comes in.

First I worked through the issue in a session with Richard Hastings from Dreams For Peace. He gave me some homework to do and now whenever I feel myself getting stuck I just do the homework.

Here is an example:

I can ask myself:

  1. What is the biggest challenge I am facing today? or What is the biggest challenge facing my daughter today?
  2. How does it make me freeze?
  3. When do I remember this type of challenge first showing up (usually in childhood or teen years)?
  4. What did I do in the past to deal with this challenge? What can I do differently now?

In this case, the fear I have is that someone will hurt me or my daughter. This is a natural fear any mother has. My own personal fear is heightened because I face many financial obstacles which leave us a bit more vunerable than if we had a bit more money at our disposal.

So I can think about who in my daughter’s life may hurt her and how and then I can think of what I can do differently so that this can be prevented.

The solution may bring up my own fears and so I need to work through those before or at the same time as preventing her from getting hurt.

As I resolve my own fears I can then easily move forward to ensure she is protected and safe.

Resolving my fears involves a visualization exercise.

I can recall someone who hurt me in the past and I can think about how I may fear they may hurt me or her again.

Then I can just turn down the volume on their negative voice and even erase the image of them in my mind as though they are disappearing. And then the fear is not so strong.

When they are gone out of my mind I can move forward exactly as I want and need feeling fearless and brave.

This is one of the types of exercises I do to work through a fear which showed up in a dream and to learn a new skill which increases my own confidence & courage.

When I move forward in this positive way many good opportunities open up for me and my daughter! 16507903_688004734714732_4993852702777196850_n