The Art of Dreaming
In my childhood imagination and creativity called to me. Over and over I felt pulled to create, to make art, I loved to draw and make things, but as a traumatized girl I had the need to feel approved of. I felt the approval more when I was reading or doing things deemed useful and practical by my parents. In that lack of encouragement and approval art faded away. At the time I needed the approval.
At times throughout my adult years art and creativity asserted itself into my life and I would occasionally buy a sketchbook in hopes of reconnecting to that early love. I have a stack of these sketchbooks. But those years also included a difficult marriage during which my feelings, and my desire to create became shuttered. I never managed to keep connected to that impulse to create. Not until I left that situation and started my journey of healing.
On that journey I began this dream work; often having dreams about art and paintings. None really got my attention until one night I dreamt about being taken into an art store by a teacher. I was invited to take whatever art supplies I wanted. Next I was taken into a gallery filled with intense, vibrant paintings, each with its own music.
When I worked the dream with Rodger Kamenetz, my dream practitioner, I began to understand that the music and the paintings were a part of me. The intensity and gravity of the feelings arising in me from that dream created an opening for me to become aware of a depth in me, a depth I had not been aware of in the profession of dentistry.
In subsequent dreams I visited galleries and saw my paintings hanging in galleries. One night a dream teacher thrust a handful of tubes of paint at me and said, “Here, you need these” and I began to paint.
The first painting combined dream images of a lion from childhood and dream shades of blues and as I painted I felt something coming alive inside me. When I drew as a child I used sketching pencils and pen and ink. I was uncomfortable with color even then. As an adult I had shut color out of my life and now this lion was tapping on my heart from the inside out to connect with a buried part of me.
An art teacher friend gave me watercolors and I rediscovered the vibrancy, intensity, and subtleties of color; I was coming alive. I began to connect with feelings instead of thoughts, aware of my body responses to strong feelings. Each time I expressed the power of a feeling or image from a dream on paper I felt something expand within me. The expression of color was awakening me to my sensuality.
Reaching through the power of my dreams to express images and feelings has awakened my senses; new dimensions of touch, of how my eye sees colors and shapes, of how the edges of reality soften and deepen, has opened for me. I feel and see the layers of my stories expressed through images, shapes, and colors; images, both awake and in dreams, illustrating feelings.
I find what I am painting matters far less than the awareness that I have explored and expressed feelings and the energy that is awakening in me, connecting me to the seen and unseen in the world around me. Reaching to express the beauty of that connection through my senses has become a prayer in waking life, my spiritual practice.
Through my own discoveries with this aspect of the work I have discovered how important creativity is to each of us, however we express it. Most of us have a wound around creativity, especially around art, and yet we all have the need to create. When I work with clients I often suggest they express the feeling of a moment from a dream with color and shapes; images are far less important than allowing the expression of a feeling onto paper, the movement of their hand as the paper fills with colors. Every expression brings us more alive.