Studying to become an Art Therapist brought to my awareness the importance of paying attention to my dreams! A couple previous classes had dream documentation with a reflective art response as assignments, but the spirituality course heavily focused on it all semester. The image you see above is one of my reflective artworks.
I was also introduced on a deeper level to Carl Jung’s work and how it correlates with Art Therapy. This was another moment where I felt completely seen. I could feel my consciousness waking up. I was learning how to no longer blindly maneuver through life.
Fall semester of 2018, documenting my dreams became a habit. I had not realized it at the time, but it was the first act of self-care I started practicing. Documenting my dreams increased self-awareness and allowed me to become in tune with my emotions. Then doing a reflective art piece gave me the opportunity to process any feelings that surfaced. The more I did this the easier it became to remember my dreams.
All dreams are filled with rich information within our unconscious mind. As Freud says, we are only 10% consciously aware of what is happening within our entire psyche. From my perspective, that means we could be only 10% aware of who we are as individuals. That seems quite daunting, doesn’t it? So, how can we begin to bridge that massive gap in consciousness?
Start documenting your dreams!
I know for a lot of people that can be a scary concept. As a trauma survivor, a lot of my dreams were (and can still be) unpleasant. Especially since I was continuing to avoid my darkness at this point. Trauma is often stored within our unconscious, which allows the conscious mind to be in a state of daily functioning, but if we never take time to connect with the unconscious it can begin to rule our life. And the thing is, we are not aware of it.
“Until you make the unconscious conscious, it will direct your life and you will call it fate.” – Carl Jung
There is hope though! Trauma can be cleared through healing. We just have to be completely willing to go to those dark places. As a result of connecting to my dreams I was gifted with the awareness of where my trauma had a hold of me. I was beginning to realize how unsafe I felt. It was only until I had that awareness, that I was able to then explore how I could help myself feel safe. I shared some of my dreams I documented the fall semester of 2018 on my podcast, Creating Light with Kelsey, on episode 12.
How I started to make this a habit is by setting the intention. I engaged in some self-talk, telling myself that I want to remember my dreams. That I am willing to receive the messages they hold. I kept a medium sized notepad with a pen on top of my night stand, so I could see it and be reminded of the intention I set. Then, I set my alarm to a less jarring sound to prevent being startled out of a dream state. The first thing I did when I woke up was write down anything I remembered. I knew it had to be immediate because even if I looked at my phone to quickly check messages, important parts of the dream would be gone. It only takes moments for our dreams to slip back into the unconscious mind, so that first minute of waking up is crucial.
Like I had mentioned earlier, the more often I did this, the easier it became to remember my dreams. When I first started I could only write down a few random words. Now, it feels like I am writing a story. And in a way, it is a story, a story of me!
By taking this spirituality class and learning about Carl Jung, I finally became willing to dive into my darkness. Which was an entire year after that first residency, where my trauma surfaced to my conscious awareness. I do fully believe that dreams connect us to our unconscious, and I find it pretty cool that I adopted it as a form of self-care before I even knew what self-care meant. One day, I will own Car Jung’s, The Red Book, and continue to submerge myself into the magic of dreams! Have you had any interesting dreams lately?!
When we see the light in ourselves, we create light in others.