Leaving Old Ways at Ease
A Story of a Dream Quest
By Drude Clark
It seemed like a dream. That familiar phrase will never be the same to me since I used Henry Reed's Dream Solutions! Dream Realizations! The Original Dream Quest Guidebook (2005). My dream quest took me on a treasure hunt that exceeded my expectations. Here are some excerpts from my expedition journal.
Before I set out, I perused the itinerary – where I was to go and when. In the guidebook, my four-week treasure hunt is supported with specific instructions for each week. The purpose of my excursion is to find the best possible working solution in answer to a question or problem that I am dealing with in my life currently. This trip promises to be very instructive.
First, I do a week of dreaming, then a night of analysis and work on those dreams that I recall and document. That leads into the next week. The second week of dreaming then gets processed to lead into the third week, and similarly into the fourth week. Tools and techniques for navigating the journey vary a bit from week to week.
I look at it like this: I embark on a trip that changes its route to final destination depending on where I have been! I take a train because I get to decide which tracks to take next. My train has a private sleeping car. Henry Reed is the engineer. He tells me that I can ride this train with some flexibility on where and how I sit. But, I know that my trip will be most fulfilling if I follow his guidance and experience.
Reed says that "whatever question or problem you choose to work on it will reflect something about you and how you are responding to your life situation…Dreams do their best, it is assumed here, when you are doing your best, in your conscious life, to work on your problem yourself."
I will have to handle my own baggage.
Focusing the Quest
All Aboard! The travel theme this week is called Focusing the Quest. The engineer points out that although I might not have developed my question, we need to begin the journey and see what happens. That is good, because I am unclear right now. What I must decide is what night of the week I want to stop at a station and work through the prior week's clues.
I choose a Thursday night, and we set out by recording dreams on a Friday morning. The focusing will be accomplished when we make our stop at the end of the first seven days.
Maybe it's the rhythm of the train, or just luck, but I recall a dream each night. We make our scheduled stop on Thursday night, and I get off the train for a while to process my first seven dreams.
Many of my dream symbols have travel logistics and learning curve interpretations. My initial desire for my quest is to explore how to have a good relationship with my daughter and grandchildren while being myself. This simultaneous week, I am on a trip with them to New Mexico for my granddaughter's national softball tournament. My dreams amplify and illustrate my attempt to find harmony while on a stressful sojourn, both on the physical plane and on my emotional plane.
Reed says that his unique workbook "has its origins in a proposition put forth by Edgar Cayce, the American Christian mystic, …that people can learn to interpret their own dreams without intervention by a professional dream expert." Further, Cayce says that dreams will be most fulfilling if used "in a constructive project…and dreams will respond to your attempts to apply them."
This is the premise that guides my analysis of this week of dreams. I communicate with myself using my own dream symbols, interactive dialog and other lively methods from the guidebook. I reframe my dream quest as follows:
How can I best respect and nurture myself in my new adventures, like this dream class, even though I am not sure where I am going? I make a contract with myself – as is done each week – that when I work on assignments, I won't worry about other things. Each day I will enjoy the process. I will stop to focus when I need to, and quit rushing to nowhere.
My next step is to write out a dream petition, and put it under my pillow to "sleep on it." I am so restless at night, that I put a copy in my dream journal as well. I ask: Show me how it feels to be focused in the best direction to be instructed about being myself. I know that I must be aware be true to myself.
I saw a synergistic quotation just after writing out my best guess and petition: "The hero's will is not that of his ancestors nor of his society, but his own. This will to be oneself is heroism. Life is a desperate struggle to be in fact that which we are in design." (Jose Ortega Y. Gasset) I think that I need not struggle, but rather accept the help that I am to receive. I do know that I will need to be heroic in some aspects of this journey.
Troubleshooting Mistaken Notions
All aboard! We set out once again. I am ready to accept dream help. The theme of our tour this week is Trouble Shooting Mistaken Notions. It's a curvy ride with interruptions and seat changes, and I recall only two dreams, five days apart.
They are so congruent that I am startled into attention. I debark the train, and process these two dreams in combination. One exercise in the interpretations guidebook is to write the dream as a simple scenario, a thematic script. I really like this. Here is my scenario:
A woman parks her car. There is traffic and confusion, and it is getting dark. She cannot find her car. People tease her about being odd and incapable. She has taken her trench coat to the cleaners and is naked, but she finds her paisley shawl at hand to cover and warm herself.
I have a conversation with my symbol of a parked car. I think this car represents my usual way of getting around that is confined by being inside a box and rushing from point to point. I have hidden this old way of being from myself for a while. Final words from my parked car were, "If you never found me it would be OK.
I have served you well and am content to rest. Dust never bothered me." I am curious about the paisley shawl, and I reflect that it is a favorite thing of mine. It is beautiful, of good quality; it comforts and warms me. I have more than one. I ask myself, could this represent gifts that I have to share with others?
Wow! The theme of trouble shooting mistaken notions is right on target. At the end of the second seven-days, I see that daughter, grandchildren and logistics are sidetracks along the greater journey, and will resolve themselves if I go deeper into my Best Guess solution. My quest remains the same, but I refine the way in which I acknowledge and work with it.
I make a new contract: I do not worry about what is left behind. Later I will look for it, care for and integrate it. It is OK to feel lost, because I am actually not. This helps me explore for talents I have to enjoy for myself and to share with others. Be in the day.
My petition asks: Show me my God given gifts that comfort and encourage me, and how I can learn to share them with courage.
Searching with New Eyes
I take my written petition with me and get back onto the train for my third week of treasure hunting. The theme this week is Searching With New Eyes. I recall only one dream. It is enough. I title this dream, "Looking Down on Myself."
Here it is:
I am in a building with a mezzanine, like a courthouse. Somewhere, I notice "scales of justice." I turn my back, and someone steals my leather purse/briefcase. I look around, go to the edge of the mezzanine and I see my bag dropped below. Someone is running away .I hear footsteps echo, as if in a spy drama.
This week passes very quickly and we are ready for another stop. There are two features in the guidebook that I especially enjoy at the end of this third seven-days of travel. One is to examine a novel symbol from a dream to learn new ideas to solve my question.
Another is to recall a peak experience from the past, and, as directed, " imagine how I might use this viewpoint to suggest a different method of relating to my creativity."
First, I review how I have fulfilled my contract during week three. I earnestly let go into the process of being present to the day. Because I am on a trip with family in Montana at a pristine lake, it is simple to be in the day without a need to think about what comes next.
I look at a past peak experience as a window to view my creativity. My heightened experience was unplanned and pure; I felt joyful, new, fresh, radiant, receptive, unified with nature – and not too safe. What a wonderful way to approach creativity!
Next, I examine a novel symbol from my dream. The echoing footsteps morph into a figure that runs away as I look down. Shadow Runner! We have a conversation that intrigues me. He sounds like my creative side, in part. "I am the shadow side that hits and runs.
You don't see me until the deed is done. I leave only echoes behind. I make you wonder when I will return. You think you have seen me before – and, you have. I wake you up with surprise events."
Now it is time get on board for the final leg of my journey. Along with new perspectives, I carry a sense that I will take more personal risk, and go after Shadow Runner with a willingness to look foolish. Resources from my dream encourage me to take action and risk from discernment, and not slip into habit or indecision.
My new Best Guess for a solution is to allow for a balance that includes time to chase the Shadow Runner, and use an elevated perspective to made decisions about time values; to feel blessed and empowered to make active choices for self-discovery and share my talents.
The clues I use for this restatement are the "scales of justice, the mezzanine, the courthouse, losing my bag(gage), a pause to look down at myself, and a mysterious figure that slips away." I contract with myself to slow down and be available in the moment- fresh, creative and free.
All aboard for final destination! The theme for the last leg of my quest is Taking Stock. I recall three dreams that don't seem related.
In one, a friend cuts my waist length hair to jaw length on my right side, and hands me a hank of hair. I am in shock! In another dream, I am in a very large building – maybe a hotel. When I go up several floors, I find a meeting room with many chairs where people begin to seat themselves and wait for the program. It seems like there will be a speaker of importance.
In the third dream, I am in a strange place where a game is played with odd balls that are in the sky beyond view. Perhaps, if I look from a high enough perspective, these dreams can tell me a story to help me along.
Final stop: I exit the train with a little sadness because I know that it is time to conclude the search – at least for this trip. First, I begin to Take Stock with the three dreams that I recalled. Although they seem to be unrelated, the combined story could go like this:
Shadow Runner creates a wake-up experience (short hair cut) and I have the challenge of doing something truly creative with my own resources (hank of hair). A voice of wisdom and experience (a speaker of importance) will give me guidance on many levels (many people are in attendance). Creative solutions and surprises (odd balls in the sky) are just beyond my current vision. Yes, that could work.
Next, Reed's guidebook has several clues for me to fit into place for a final resolution. I
have "a dialogue with a source of wisdom within myself to evaluate my work." Then, I
create some tangible souvenirs of my journey that assist me to manifest the treasure of my quest.
I do a drawing of my Dream Solution-Dream Realization, and compose a Haiku that "condenses the essence of the dream into the first two lines." My third poem line should be an unexpected complement to the first two lines, and also give a dream inspiration summary.
My source of wisdom advises me to relax and enjoy the ride, but at the same time be alert. Be free in heart and stay open to receive the new. I think my Haiku reflects this wisdom and encouragement:
Leave old ways at ease
Shadow Runner, teach me now
Deep wings lift me free
It seemed like a dream… I plan to keep my guidebook and reserve another expedition for treasure in the near future. Until then, I have mementos to use and enjoy for a very long time. I highly recommend this treasure hunt to any seeker of adventure and personal growth. All aboard!
To obtain a copy of the Dream Quest Guidebook, click here!
To obtain more information about Henry Reed's mentored Dream Quest, click here!