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Dream Data - Collecting your Dreams

I was in a shopping cart racing down the street being chased by a swarm of honeybees. In a foggy moment my shopping cart switched to the “space car” from The Jetson’s cartoon show.

I couldn’t tell who the driver of the car was but I had the feeling that I was trying to solve a problem… And there “they” were again, the honeybees… This time I was chasing them. In that moment, I felt I was following them to their hive, and just when I thought and felt I was there… I started to free-fall through the sky. The “space car” POOF, gone. I was hurdling towards the ground… And then I felt it a tug on my shirt. Someone I could not see, sh%^! Is that Jon Bon Jovi?? They handed me a parachute pack and that is when… I woke up to my daughter whispering– PAPA WAKE UP, PAPA WAKE UP.

There are a million dream journals. There are countless dream books that give interpretations. And it leaves us with countless ways to think of what that dream means.

Here are some fundamental ways to collect your dreams.

Have a Journal By Your Bed – NOT Your Phone…

You wake up and… What the F*&^ was that? The moment you wake up your images and memories will start diminishing, so to make it as easy as possible to record what you recall, keep your journal next to your bed and write it down right away. If you can’t remember all of it, that’s okay, just write what you remember and how you feel.

The main goal is to get something down. This could be a word, a sentence, a paragraph, any drawing or scribble.

Regularly recording your dreams will strengthen your ability to remember your dreams and may start to show you a pattern. Even if you can only remember portions, or you are traveling, getting in the habit of recording what you experienced in your dream will make it easier for you to write what happened down as soon as you wake up.

General Outline for Dream Journaling:

· Write a brief description

· Draw a picture, colors, shapes or write free standing words

· Record your emotions, they are important

· I personally like to capture the end of the dream too

· Punctuate it with a title or catchy heading

* I recommend writing it down rather than verbally recording it because it uses all your 5 senses and your mind differently. Plus, it doesn’t wake anyone up and you can always go into detail with voice recording or your phone notes later.

Explore Details – Get As Much Down As You Can

The more you write down about your dreams, the easier it will be to recall. You get ‘Bonus Points’ for details and random visions. You might not recognize the meaning of something (Like the band Bon Jovi showing up more than 3 times in your dreams, then its highly encouraged to join the DreamWork group to figure out the theme. I know a person who knows a person where that happened). When you look back on your journal and see recurring themes or symbols it begins to put the pieces together. Being detailed doesn’t mean you have to write in complete sentences, or narrate your dream like a story. You want to write enough to awaken your memory and gather dream data. It can also show you potential reoccurring dreams too.

Idea for the details:

· “What was the primary emotion(s), during the dream and did the emotions change at the end of the dream?”

· “Who was with me?” or “Who was the main character(s) in the dream?”

· “Was there any color(s), shapes, or imagery that captured your attention?”

· “What was striking to you?”

The more you record in your journal, the more likely you are to uncover treasured insights and inspiration for your work, your personal life, your healing journey. At the end of a week, month, or year of journaling, go back over what you've written. Try to identify some common themes or symbols. Get crazy… Organize the titles of the dreams; highlight behaviors that are always “popping up”. There may be parts that take on a new meaning, or are more interesting on the second read-through.

Dr. Ryan Westrum, PhD, LMFT is a clinical psychologist License Marriage and Family Therapist. He is a specialist in dream studies, hypnosis and non-ordinary states of consciousness.

He’s hosting a DreamWorks group monthly to process dreams. Email to learn more.


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