Welcome to today’s Spotlight Talk on a wonderfully cheerful topic, Nightmares! (Trust me, it’ll be fun! 😉 )
Do you have reoccurring nightmares? I have a couple, and in one of them I keep failing out of high school. (Yes, I am 38 years old and I did successfully graduate high school in 2002, but apparently 20 years later I am still stressed about it!)
In this video I tell you about a dream I had that morning, and I take you through the dream interpretation tools I use to make meaning out of its symbols and storylines. I also talk about the technology of “repetition” that we find in music, dance and spell work as healing medicine that creates hypnosis, trance, cleansing and catharsis.
I put forward: what if the purpose of your reoccurring nightmares are not just to instill you with fear? What if they are signals that you are meant to do something that has never been done before?
Whether it’s never been done before in your family, your lineage, your community, thus far in your life, or in the world. That’s why it’s so damn scary.
Maybe your nightmares are here to tell you a story about your Spirit of Invention.
I end with a few reflection questions that you can journal on.
Listen/watch the whole thing below. Captions are available. Also note the duration of the video: 30:30
People who watch the whole thing will understand why that number is MIND BLOWING!!!
Soulshifting Retreats: @soulshifting_retreats on instagram – look up their Soulshift Summer Series (under the video tab) to find the conversation between Dr. G. Love & Dr. Stephanie Burns on Dream work.
Oh wait, There’s More! Read on for Shaunga’s Post-Video Reflections!
During the talk I speak about one of the most offensive things about our modern day school system is the idea that you can fail at learning. The idea that you can fail a test, fail a class, or fail at being a community member while the rest of your peers move on. The interjection of failure in a sacred space is an insult to the true spirit of what it means to learn.
What I didn’t mention in the video, however, is that I am not inherently “anti-test.”
For example, I played the piano while growing up. I went through the whole classical music system where I took a test at the end of every grade. The final exam consisted of learning a repertoire of music at the level of difficulty of that grade. A guest adjudicator would come to my piano teacher’s house and I would play a mini concert of the music I learned that year. Plus, the adjudicator would test me on a bunch of exercises in technique and theory. At the end, you’d get graded on your execution of a number of categories: musicality, proficiency, interpretation, rhythm, style, etc.
A big part of me actually loved doing these exams, because I loved playing the piano.
From a perspective of ancestral/cosmic technology, a “final exam” represents an initiation: a portal in which you travel from one realm of learning to another. You ascend, you transition, you evolve, you rise, you end something and begin something else.
An initiation in a learning, creative or healing environment is a beautiful moment to revel in the accumulation of your hard work and dedication. You get time and space to present and be present in the fullness of your body of work.
This is a completion ritual.
Completion rituals are incredibly important as a means of catharsis, release, celebration and recognition. You get to take everything you learned and share it – so what you’ve done can be witnessed and reflected back to you.
If we are aligning the creative process with our nature based technologies, it is impossible to “fail” this kind of initiation, because by the time you reach the point of completion, you are ready for it – it easefully flows out of you.
Or, sometimes we take a test and we realize we are not actually ready to move on to the next level. Even here, “failure” is not failure, but rather a door that leads us deeper into the technology. There is more to learn here, more to practise, more to study. There are more beautiful, exciting parts of the skill, craft and medicine to learn and build mastery with before you move on to something else.
It’s like getting the opportunity to spend more time with something you love – how could that be bad?
And yes, meeting that final exam still comes with adrenaline, nervousness, anticipation, excitement, and even self-doubt and fear.
The thing that wasn’t so great for me back then is when those healthy feelings were mixed with a great amount of shame. If I failed at a piano exam or didn’t do well at a competition, it destroyed my sense of self-worth, and I would spiral into deep wells of depression and self-loathing.
But take the stress of failure out of the spirit of a “final exam” and you get a nerd’s dream! To get to play an entire repertoire of music and do it well? To showcase the theory and technique that is built into the music? It’s the equivalent of eating a fucking hearty rustic DELICIOUS 5 course meal!! It is the definition of fulfillment – not just fulfillment in theory, but fulfillment in EXPERIENCE. You get to experience the completion physically by going through the exam, and that means you get to experience and embody your entire journey from start to finish in a condensed and celebratory world.