“Are We There Yet?”
This age-old lament of children in cars could be one of the siren-calls for these times of the Covid-19 pandemic and social unrest. Sometimes a parent or driver can respond, “In one hour”, or the famous, “Go to sleep and I will take a short cut”. In my experience only rarely does the parent have to say, “I have no idea, I had to take an unexpected detour” or even, “We are lost, so I don’t know.”

These days however, those last answers are the ones we are stuck with. The best we can do when our children or friends or loved ones ask, “Are we there yet?” is to say, “Not really. But we will get there.” We are tired, we are worried, we are grieving, we are so done with quarantine. Yet we know that social distancing and mask wearing and really being careful is still the best we’ve got until we are “There.” “There” being that we have a well-tested working vaccine widely available. Being stuck in uncertainty is one of the more profoundly disquieting and uncomfortable emotional states to be in. We crave the certainty of knowing, we are wired for it. We even see some of our leaders acting as if they know things for sure, since they can’t tolerate both the not knowing themselves, or looking like they don’t know.

Can Dark Times Bring Gifts?
Both good self-care and good parenting means enhancing our ability to live with uncertainty, and yet carry on in our lives with more equanimity, more compassion for ourselves and others, and an enhanced ability to tolerate uncomfortable emotional states without unraveling. Poet Mary Oliver wrote, “Someone I loved once gave me a box full of darkness. It took me many years to understand that this, too, was a gift.” Spiritual teachers across time and cultures tell us to look for illumination paradoxically within the heart of darkness. When we reach deep inside ourselves, the darkness contained both within us and without can be illuminated.

How can we find the hidden gifts in the times of darkness? As hard as it is, without the darkness we cannot fully appreciate the light. The role of the unknown and of the mystery is an integrel part of the creative process, so perhaps we can tap into our own creative spaces at this time to learn things that have been waiting in the depths of our souls for enough space and quiet to be discovered. Fear can hijack our imaginations and create even more frightening scenarios. Fear and worry wear us out and use up our precious inner strength that we could be putting to better uses. Faith and courage are about going forward even without all the paths being clear. They are not about the absence of fear, but rather moving forward with your highest values and your life purpose in spite of the fear.

Our “Window of Tolerance”
There is a psychological concept in trauma treatment called the Window of Tolerance. This concept implies is that we all have a certain threshold or window of our emotional states within which we can still function well. However, if our personal window is too narrow, then when our reactions and responses get outside of that window we go to the unhealthy extremes of “too much” or “too little”: Too much or too high outside our window and we get anxious, angry, act out, addicted, harmful to self or others. Too little or too low outside that window and we are prone to depression, sadness, isolating, numbness or dissociation. Healing and living with uncertainty require us to learn better skills to tolerate these common yet uncomfortable emotional states, and/or to learn to expand our window. Resilience is the ability to bounce back from difficulties, and the more skills we have to ride out the uncomfortable emotions, the better our resilience. Tuning to our values and to our life purpose help us to tolerate uncomfortable feelings and to expand our windows.

Mindfulness Skills and Resilience
Some of the skills of mindfulness help us with resilience. Learning to bring our focus on our breathe, to notice the in-breathe, the out-breathe, and the pause that naturally happens between the two is one form of slowing down and calming down. “Externalizing” or putting your internal thoughts and obsessions and ruminations outside of yourself, instead of inside of your head also help us get some healthy distance from them. For example, when you notice yourself in a worry cycle, name it, “Ah, worry”, and then have an image of putting the worry outside yourself, perhaps in one of those thought bubbles we see in cartoons, to clear the space in your head. You can then float that bubble away, or at very least, examine it more dispassionately as you now have some distance from it. It is outside of you now, rather than inside of you.

Shifting your focus and attention to the sound of the birds, or the smell of our coffee or the beauty of the sunset or flower allows us to find a haven of peace, a home base of comfort and calm within turbulent times. For example, I was on a zoom call with a client last week. She was sitting on her porch at home and I was in my home office with the windows open. In the midst of discussing her insomnia and the stress it was causing, a cardinal broke into song outside her porch. And as if hearing it in response, an answering trill of cardinal notes sounded outside my office window. We could both hear the birds at each other’s respective homes – and were able to pause in that momentary synchronicity and enjoyment before going back to problem solving about her sleep and processing her nightmares.

Dream Sharing to Find Home Again: Expanding Our Window
As well as an epidemic of Covid-19, we have been experiencing an epidemic of upsetting dreams and nightmares. Rather than ignoring them, we can “lean in”, as Cheryl Sandberg would tell us, and find the hidden gifts and knowledge that they are bringing. This is another way of expanding our window.

Tuning in to our intuitions and synchronicities; both forms of waking dream states, as well as our nighttime dreams, allows us to process and thus metabolize the worries and fears rather than simply be overwhelmed by them. And when you share your dreams with others, you have the benefits of two or three or five ideas being better than one. We can all resonate with each other’s dream and learn something for ourselves from the dreams of another. This is one of the powers of working in a dream group or dream circle. And since dreams are such a ubiquitous topic these days, you have even more permission and social acceptance than usual for discussing your dreams with both friends and professionals.

So, even if we are not “there” yet, we can continue to dream it forward, to practice mindfulness skills, to tune in to our intuitions and to expand our windows of tolerance.  In doing so, we can also expand our tolerance for others and ourselves with greater and greater compassion.

Wishing you deep and healing dreams,


  • After the ugly duckling phase of things!
  • Hello all,
    We didn’t ask for this, but here we are: In dark times. Times that include suffering, fear, and grief. It has been said that we cannot appreciate the light until we have journeyed in the dark. Few take this journey voluntarily however; we are thrust into it. So in the midst of “I didn’t ask for this”, how then do we maintain hope, connection, faith and vision? How do we recognize the validity and reality of our fears, but not be led by our fears? How do we honor them, acknowledge them, but not let them be in charge of us. Or, as we used to say as kids say, “You’re not the boss of me” to our fears.

    2 Sides of the Coin: Open Your Heart and Gladden Your Mind
    Tara Brach tells us that there are two paths to equanimity and balance. One path is to touch into the fear and suffering with an open heart of compassion. The other path is to “Gladden your mind”. Sometimes we have to allow ourselves to feel our own pain, and to feel the pain of the world community as well. Sometimes we have to do just the opposite.

    Yesterday I sat (virtually) with a client who sobbed as she told me that while she was grateful for her own health and relative well-being, she was also overwhelmed with the sadness and pain of how many she knew were suffering. Her heart was so open and her boundaries so porous that she was simply flooded. We sat together in the companionship of shared sorrow for a few moments. I put a hand on my own heart and invited her to do the same. After we sat together for a time with the fullness of our hearts, we then moved on with a softening and a lightening of the pain. I invite you to take a moment now if you would like. Put your hand on your own heart and breath into it. Feel it soften as you stay with whatever is there. Be gentle with yourself. Be soft with yourself. Bring your compassion not only to the world outside of you but to the world inside yourself as well.

    On the other side of the fear/joy street, Tara Brach reminded us to “gladden our hearts”. Rabbi Ruth Gan Kagan advised us today to give ourselves permission to rejoice. The psalmist tells us that there is a time to grieve and a time to rejoice. Sometimes even on the same day. Even now, maybe even especially now. We have been using the word “contagious” to talk about the virus and the fears we feel. When we read the news, hear someone else’s fears and anxieties, they can become catchy. We pick up on that energy.

    The Up-Side of “Contagion”
    We can also use this word though when we talk about contagious laughter, or contagious joy, or contagious hope. When we look for the pain and suffering, surely we can see it. But when we look for the bright spots, the joy, the beauty, we can see those too. I see and hear the cardinals every time I take a walk on a sunny day. And to be honest, I scan the trees and the skies for them now, so it is not simply a coincidence. We see what we are looking for, and sometimes we can call to ourselves what we want or need. So remember to look for the things you want to see: The smile of the supermarket worker (you can tell by the eyes even if their mouth is covered by a mask), the orange tulip that makes you catch your breath for the beauty, the old friend who just showed up on Facebook after a long absence, because they have the time and space – and the need now – to connect more in any way they can. Delight in these things. Let your heart gladden and fill with delight. This is grace, we can have moments of being touched by grace as we let our hearts open to joy and beauty and love. Let yourself be surprised by the coincidences, by your dreams, by the synchronicity you encounter. Be curious rather than afraid.

    Use all of your senses – see, hear, taste, touch, smell the spring unfolding around us. My friend Julie taught me today to touch the newly unfolding spring leaves, they are softer and more delicate than later in the summer. Whisper “Grow” to each green thing as it pushes up from under the ground and know that spring always emerges from winter eventually, and that each of us has a role to play in that. Here is hope, faith, and joy. Go ahead and laugh out loud, gladden your heart and rejoice.
    With hope and joy,
  •  Linda

    Linda Yael Schiller, MSW, LICSW, is an international speaker, psychotherapist, author, and dreamworker. Her book “Modern Dreamwork: New Tools for Decoding Your Soul’s Wisdom”, 2019, Llewellyn Worldwide Publishing, is available in both e-book and print. Learn more at www.moderndreamwork.com or https://www.amazon.com/Modern-Dreamwork-Tools-Decoding-Wisdom/dp/0738761826/

    Linda regularly teaches dreamwork skills to helping professionals, clergy and medical professionals; and at agency and corporate events and retreats both on-line and in person.
    You can contact her at
Date posted: May 5, 2020 | Author: | No Comments »

Categories: Uncategorized

Quarantine or Retreat?

In these turbulent times, we have been asked to place ourselves in voluntary quarantine for our own safety and the safety of our loved and vulnerable ones.  The concept of “quarantine” can conjure up images and feelings of isolation, of loneliness and of fragility. What if we re-think this message as one of Retreat instead? New Hampshire Lama Willa Miller writes,

“In a pandemic, self-isolation is called quarantine.
In Buddhism, it is called retreat.
From the cave of our home, like the meditators of ancient times,
we can consciously kindle the lamp of compassion and connection.”

Let us make this a time of retreat into the warm cocooned caves of our homes, into the quiet of slowing down, into a Shabbat from the business of the world.  And if we take apart the word, we see that it says “Re-Treat”, or to treat ourselves again.  Can we find some delight here too?

Silver Linings:

We can use this time away from the busyness of rushing around to “treat” ourselves to pay attention to who and what really matters to us. Our health, our loved ones, our communities, and the health of the planet.  The silver linings that have already begun to appear in the news include clearer air and cleaner water in many polluted parts of our world, and the delight of seeing more and more people out and about walking, biking, and talking with each other instead of having their heads down buried in the cell phones!  At least, this is what I am seeing in my neighborhood, and when I go out to walk along the river and through the woods. Both I and others are taking a moment to smile and say “Hello” as we practice our social distancing on these walks, which is not the same as social isolating!  Even if I can’t go “Over the river and through the woods to grandmother’s house” right now, (because my daughter’s grandmother is 90, and we are staying touch virtually) we can still get out into nature to soothe our souls.

The Body/Mind Connection:

What happens to the body effects the mind, and vice versa. The body/mind/spirit connection is the wholeness of who we are.  When we meditate, not only do our minds slow down, but our breathing and our body does too. When we walk outside, not only do our legs get exercise, but our spirits are enlivened when we remember to pause and notice the bright red cardinal singing his heart out, and the forsythia bursting into bloom along the path.  When we offer up a prayer to whoever and whatever we believe may be listening, we also create an energetic field of love and hope and resilience for all who are around us.

Begin and End Your Day With Gratitude and Blessing

If you haven’t already been doing so, now would be a wonderful time to practice soothing and grounding rituals at the start and end of your day. Maybe a moment of gratitude in the morning, to wake up each day and say thank you for having lived through the night, through your dreams and even your nightmares, to open our eyes to be able to say, “Thank you for this new day”.

And before you go to sleep at night, “…perchance to dream…”, take a moment to surround yourself and your loved ones with healing, with a bubble of protective light, and invite your dreaming guides to share with you the wisdom of the night and the deep learnings you can get from this time of re-treat.

5 Simple Practices to Sooth Your Soul

  1. Practice reframing the idea of “quarantine” to one of “retreat” and see how that effects your mood.
  2. See if you can find the “treat” and delight in this time of fewer choices, and more time to focus on what matters most to you.
  3. Get outside very day and notice beauty around you. Find one small thing to say “Oh- how lovely!” about.
  4. Start and end your day with what you are grateful for. Let it be a blessing.
  5. Attend to your dreams, for the night wisdom of your soul can give you insights and guidance during difficult times.

My book, “Modern Dreamwork: New Tools for Decoding Your Soul’s Wisdom”, Llewellyn Publishing, 2019 is full of practical and simple methods for enhancing your dreaming life and finding the deep hidden source of inner wisdom on this journey to our depths called life. Please read more about it here: www.moderndreamwork.com


Date posted: April 22, 2020 | Author: | No Comments »

Categories: Uncategorized

Welcome dreamers,   

What is emerging in your dreams during this pandemic? For many of us, our dreams have become more vivid, more complex, and often fraught with images, stories and emotions that are not part of our usual dream repertoire. The fact that many of us are off our usual routines, changing our sleeping and waking habits to correspond with now working from home, also means that we may be remembering our dreams more often. Some folks may be sleep deprived as they struggle to balance work and child-care, but many are catching up on much needed sleep in our chronically sleep deprived culture. This means more hours of REM, or Rapid Eye Movement sleep; the part of the sleep cycle in which we have our dreams.

More Nightmares Now?
The corona virus has changed not only our outside world, but our inner landscapes and dreamscapes as well. Our dreams are darker, scarier, and sometimes more memorable than we would wish them to be. For example, for the first time in my life I screamed out loud in my sleep. When my husband asked me what happened, I responded simply, “I had a nightmare”. I didn’t remember the content, but the emotion sure came through loud and clear.
By paying attention to and working to understand our dreams, we have a window in what our minds, bodies, and souls are telling us, and what they need right now. If we process our emotions and our dream stories, we can bring renewal and healing and more peace to our own waking lives, and potentially the lives of others around us. Our dreams provide us with a processing option. Working through a fear in our dreams, or after we wake and realize it was a dream, helps to desensitize us to some extent; and to rehearse or practice if you will, what we need to do in our waking lives.

Common Covid-19 Nightmare Themes:
There are some common pandemic themes that seem to be emerging. One of the main emotions is anxiety. Some are having terrifying nightmares about the end of the world in some form, others are dreaming of metaphoric images of bugs, of swarms of locusts, of termites eating away at the wood and the house coming down. There are other dreams where the main theme is vulnerability or exposure. One woman dreams, “I am getting dressed to go out, but all of my clothes, even the soles of my shoes have holes in them”. Another dreams, “I have a dangerous secret, and I am afraid that any minute I will be found out and exposed”. The virus brings us face to face with loss and death, literally and figuratively. Grief is a little death, and we are all grieving the lost parts of our lives right now, whether or not we personally have loved ones who have died. One dreamer reported crying “buckets of tears” in his dreams and filling his living room with a small lake. It reminded him of the scene in Alice in Wonderland where Alice had cried when she was her normal size, but then drinks the potion that makes her small and ends up swimming in a pool of her own tears. Some dreams have biblical proportions of the Passover plagues, Jesus crucified, or the Tower of Babel.

Balancing Nightmares with Dreams of Hope and Reclaiming Life
And to balance these out there are also dreams of faith and hope for the future. Last night, 3 days before Passover and 1 week before Easter, I had this dream: “A young man lost his necklace of the Hebrew letter Chai, which means Life, and has the numerical value of 18. I found his necklace and returned it to him and he was very appreciative”. What does it mean to dream of “Life”, or losing Life and having it found and returned to you? Or to dream of returning to someone a part of a life he had lost? I hope that in some small part my work contributes to helping people connect to their life force, which is never really lost. I view this dream positively, that there is hope and faith that we will prevail, that we will heal, that our world will recover. What can we all do to preserve our life force, and help others to do so as well? A necklace rests on our chest. In this dream, the Chai, or Life, was on the chest of the young man. A great symbol for intentional deep breathing, clearing our lungs, or healing from pneumonia-related illnesses.

The Power of the Numbers: 19-1=18
I was also struck by the numerical sequencing of “Covid 19”, and Chai, or Life, (L’Chaim, means “to life”) which has a numerical value of 18. So, what one thing do we need to release, or let go of, or transform so that we move from virus and illness back into Chai or life? Ask yourself that question for yourself, your family, and our world. Is it greed? Or self-centeredness? Or fear? Or; more prosaically social gatherings right now? Take my dream, and your dreams into your own life, listen to their messages, and use them for healing our lives and our planet.
With great blessings,

Linda Yael Schiller, MSW, LICSW, is an international speaker, psychotherapist, author, and dreamworker. Her book “Modern Dreamwork: New Tools for Decoding Your Soul’s Wisdom”, 2019, Llewellyn Worldwide Publishing, is available in both e-book and print. Learn more at www.moderndreamwork.com or https://www.amazon.com/Modern-Dreamwork-Tools-Decoding-Wisdom/dp/0738761826/

Linda regularly teaches dreamwork skills to helping professionals, clergy, at corporate events and for the interested lay person both on-line and in person.
Contact her at

Date posted: April 10, 2020 | Author: | No Comments »

Categories: Uncategorized

Welcome dreamers,
Sleeping and dreaming are generally quite solitary acts. Even though we may share a bed or a room with others, when we dip below the horizon of wakefulness into our dreams, that journey is taken alone. We then have whatever adventures our dreamtime soliloquies take us on, often with others playing their roles as part of the dream journey. But when we waken it is our dream alone; just us, with the lingering fingers of memory tickling our senses as we desperately try to remember as much as we can in order to write it down or record it.

Then what? Even Jung himself is famous for saying that he could not squeeze all the information out of his dream by himself, as we all have those famous blind spots. As I’ve said before, we can’t see the back of our own heads without two mirrors. And not only that, we usually dream in symbols and metaphors to boot! So we ponder and analyze as far as we can under our own steam, and then if we want to really mine the treasures of our dreams, it is time to turn them over to be considered by others as well. Some one else, or several others, can be that mirror for us so that we can see beyond the limitations that our own psyche is constrained by.

Whether you are working with just one other or in a dream group, the consultants need to respect the “rules” of considering some one else’s dream. First off, the dreamer is the final expert in whether an analysis is correct or not: without that inner tingle or what Eugene Gendlin calls our “felt sense”, the insight may be true for the consultant, but not necessarily for the dreamer. So as a group we have learned to try to use the wording taught to us by dreamworker Jeremy Taylor “If this were my dream…” and respect that it may take several rounds of ideas before one of them is a hit for the dreamer. One client of mine always tears up when there is an on–target dream hit. I can relate – that is always a true barometer for me as well: if I get tears in my eyes, then we must be at pay dirt.

Sometimes the listeners may get so excited or energized by the dream content the dreamer is presenting that they rush to jump into the fray before knowing what the dreamer wants to focus on. This happens fairly regularly in dream groups, we all get so excited as we resonate with the material. Last week I invited the members to try to slow it down a bit. Before we listened to the dreamer share her dream, I suggested that we first cast a large energy net around the circle, and then gradually draw it in to find the fish that is the right catch for the dreamer. This image seemed to help us slowly focus and let the dreamer’s intention guide our work. As we slowly circled the dream, we could feel some of the suggestions slip through the net, while others stayed inside until the final “aha” for the dreamer – “That’s it! There my fish!”

I invite you to try it with you own dreaming friends.

Sweet dreams,
Linda Yael

“And like seeds dreaming beneath the snow your heart dreams of spring.

Trust the dreams, for in them is hidden the gate to eternity.”  Kahlil Gibran

Welcome dreamers,

So, my mom died recently. It has been a sad period of time, up and down, days of being “fine” interspersed with days with tears. The whole process however, has been punctuated with waking and sleeping dreams that have brought me comfort, clarity, and no small bit of awe and trepidation.

When a loved one dies it is often the case that that the bereaved report various dreams and/or visits from the departed. Sometimes these are incredibly comforting. Sometimes they are frightening. Sometimes they contain unfinished business. These dreams come in the service of peering between the veils that separate the worlds for connection, information, or a way to make peace that was not available during life.

I thought to share some of my process with you, to illuminate some of the ways in which waking and sleeping dreams can come through when we stand on the edges of life, and then when we mourn those who have passed over.

My mom got sick suddenly: the day before she went to the hospital she was teaching her “Yoga for Seniors” class. After a week of hospitalization, she was discharged to a rehab facility. I got down to visit her; and spent the weekend giving her reiki and massages and buying her some favorite foods (like vanilla yogurt, health conscious to the end!) that the rehab didn’t provide. When I left, she seemed tired but stable. But as I drove back to the airport, I had a waking dream: I heard a voice, clear as day, saying, “Mom has died”. I so didn’t want that to be true. I argued with myself, saying, “That’s just your fear”; and while that was also true, the voice in no uncertain terms repeated itself again. Two days later I got a call from the hospital saying that she was in multiple organ failure, and asking if she had a living will. We were lucky that my mom had been both organized and very clear: My siblings and I all knew that she definitely did not want any extreme measures. She died while I was on the phone with the doctor. So while I was not “there”, I was there.

About an hour or two later, I had another waking dream. This time I saw a swirl of smoke and mist rise up and spiral out of her body straight up to join my stepfather, her beloved Bud, who had died eight years before. I saw and felt their embrace- it was clear he had been waiting for her. Some souls hang out in the Bardo (that place between worlds where souls can rest and regroup while they get oriented to having released their bodies before moving on to the next stage.) No waiting room for my mom though – she had a concierge already waiting to welcome and orient her. I felt a great peace come over me with this.

I didn’t expect to have her visit in my dreams for a while, because concierge or no, this was still a big journey. About 3 weeks later, I had my first night dream. Mom visited me, and in the dream we were in a house and there seemed to be some confusion about whose bedroom was whose. I thanked her for her visit, and told her that it was perfectly ok for her to get really settled first before visiting again. I had a sense that she appreciated this, and that next time she visits, she will be more settled in her new place. When I had my next dream about being lost and disoriented, she was not in it. This was my journey, my work to come to terms with this new phase of my life.

Jeremy Taylor tells us that all dreams, even nightmares, come bearing gifts. They are not always the gifts we are seeking, so we have to find a way to integrate them into our lives when they show up. It would seem that this is one of my unasked for gifts: a dream that can presage a death, and then more comforting gift of being able to entertain visits afterwards. A few days before my stepdad died (he had had a stroke), I had a dream of an owl. I knew that owls were often harbingers of death in shamanic tradition, but I remember telling myself that there could be many other associations as well. As with my mom, I knew deep down that my self -talk was just wishful thinking. He died a few days later. I then had a dream of a small wooden hut overlooking a frozen river. There was a guard in the house. My dream circle helped me to know that this was Charon, boatman of the River Styx; over which he ferried the souls of the dead in Greek myth. As I watched, the sun came out and the ice began to break up. My grief slowly melted as time passed, and Bud has come to visit me regularly and even on request since that time. I am immensely comforted at this time of loss to know that I can expect to continue my relationship with both of them, and will no doubt hear my mom telling me to take my vitamins, to live fully, and to always take a direct flight whenever possible in the future.

With blessings and sweet dreams,

Linda Yael


“Dreams are todays answers to tomorrows questions”Edgar Cayce

Welcome dreamers,

When we dream, we are in a place. We are in a world that is just as real to us while we dream it as the one we inhabit while we are awake. In this dreaming place we talk, walk, run, play, interact with others and have whole adventures without needing to adhere to many of the rules we are subject to in our waking lives: rules such as the earth’s gravity, or social proprieties, or linear time, or three-dimensional space. As such, we are fully embodied beings living inside the dream. The images that make up our dream are quite alive as we are experiencing them.

“I dream I am a circus performer, balancing on the back of a horse.”

However, when we come out of the dream to tell about it we often find that language is inadequate to the experience. We are translating a lived moving experience into the two dimensional limits of language, often losing some of the richness and texture of the images and the experience in the process. Like the old story of trying to describe an elephant to a blind man, we can only capture part of the experience with words alone: just the trunk, or just the legs, or just the hide.  The artwork brings it much more alive; now imagine yourself enacting that scene: You are kneeling on one knee on your white horse as it trots around the ring. What does that feel like in your body? What if you put your body into that position and tried it?

The work on “embodied imagination” by Robbie Bosnak, and Jung’s concept of “active imagination” carry the stance that the dreamed images belong to this real and embodied world; it is our job is to develop a relationship with them in order to understand why they have come to visit us and what they might want from us. Bosnak says, “Images belong to the involuntary imagination and embody their own intelligence”. Jean Houston talks about an intelligence beyond our own called the “Entelechy”, from the Greek, that contains wisdom from our highest selves in contact with the collective unconscious.  We can access this self while in altered states such as trance, meditation, dreams and the in-between edges of dreams and wakefulness. Flashback memories, déjà vu experiences, and being in the “zone” or “flow state” in art or athletics or any creative endeavor can also allow us to access this realm.

When we practice dreamwork with our bodies as well as with our words, we can get closer to the reality of the living images. By letting the images enliven our body and using our felt sense, we can create dream theater or dream movements or dream sculpture that allow our bodies and those of our dream circle to get into the act and re-create the aliveness that we felt in the dream itself.

“I dream of a field mouse being stalked by a panther. The grasses are high and the sun is beating down on the field. It feels so immediate in the dream.”

We collectively become the field mouse, the blade of grass, the stalking panther, the hot sun, and thus feel into the dream through the different characters and parts of the landscape a whole which is then greater than the sum of it’s parts. Now we can see where is it going. By enacting the dream-drama, we get a greater sense of how it has meaning for our lives, and perhaps the lives of others.

Join us on Friday 11/20/15, 9:00-4:00 in Newton, MA. for the “Dreams Alive” workshop to play with these ideas. No dream or dance experience necessary. Contact Linda Yael Schiller () or Julie Leavitt () for more information/registration.

Dream well,

Linda Yael

Welcome dreamers,

At this time of year, we celebrate Easter, Passover, the equinox, and the coming of spring. Themes of renewal, resurrection, and freedom abound as we mark this season, and remember that the healing potential lays under the darkest of places.  Although here in New England we are still dealing with a layer of snow, the buds are pushing through the ground and out the ends of the tree branches, reminding us that what has been buried underground all winter has not died, just has been waiting for enough light and warmth to come forth. Our darkest dreams, our nightmares even, contain the roots and sources of our freedom and liberation. As we struggle up through the layers of sleep to our dream-saturated waking consciousness, retaining what we can of the messages that came through to us in the night, we can find the hints of our healing, and as Mary Oliver suggests, we get that “click” of an “Aha!” and the taste of sweet blossoms in our mouths.

Dreams (by Mary Oliver)

All night

the dark buds of dreams



In the center

of every petal

is a letter,

and you imagine

if you could only remember

and string them all together

they would spell the answer.

It is a long night,

and not an easy one—-

you have so many branches,

and there are diversions—-

birds that come and go,

the black fox that lies down

to sleep beneath you,

the moon staring

with her bone-white eye.

Finally you have spent

all the energy you can

and you drag from the ground

the muddy skirt of your roots

and leap awake

with two or three syllables

like water in your mouth

and a sense

of loss—-a memory

not yet of a word,

certainly not yet the answer—-

only how it feels

when deep in the tree

all the locks click open,

and the fire surges through the wood,

and the blossoms blossom.


May your dreamings bring you insights and blossoms

Linda Yael

“Myths are public dreams, and dreams are private myths”

Joseph Campbell

Welcome Dreamers,

At the core of our dreams are The Images. Beautiful, frightening, sensual, intriguing, they usually represent the heart of our dreaming landscapes. Lately I ‘ve been learning to pay more attention to the living nature of these images. Last summer at the Dream Conference (http://www.IASD.org) I was introduced to the work of Stephen Aizenstat. I had been familiar with his book “Dream Tending” for some time, but had never read it. After hearing him speak, I got it.

Aizenstat opens up the concept of imagery to what he calls the “Living Image”. Drawing on the work of Carl Jung, James Hillman, Marion Woodman and others, he shares his perception that the dream images are not static. They have a life of their own and exist in this world as well as the one we dreamed them in. The images may start out in our dreamscape, but Aizenstat teaches that they have a life of their own in our awake walk-around world.   We already know that they feel real to us when we are dreaming them.   Vividly alive in our night journeys, the image can enrich our lives as we allow it to become animate in our daytime world by engaging with it. His basic premise is that “dreams are alive”.

When we engage with the images from our dreams, and give them their due outside of their lives inside our dream, we are engaging in a process called “Amplification”, or making larger. When we expand the image to be as large as it can be we enter the realm of myth and archetype– the great grand stories that have engaged humankind for millennium. Aisenstat tells us “…a myth is a story that expresses something meaningful about a culture, from origins to values to…social interactions”. We dream in our own personal mythologies; our waking task is to then connect our dreams with the mythologies of the larger world. Doing so, we may not only gain insight into ourselves and make broader meaning of our small self-stories, but we can also connect with the larger world dreams, and thus see ourselves and our issues and problems as part of the human condition. Mindfulness practice might call this “right-sizing” the problem.

Aizenstat teaches that there are three steps to the process: Association, Amplification, and Animation. First, allow your mind free Associate to the image, that is, to allow your mind to spontaneously wander about and connect to whatever comes up for you from your own life, feelings, and memories. Then we Amplify, or enlarge these associations to find the bigger stories: these new directions may not have been part of the original dream, but the dream helped to point you in this direction. Finally, we Animate; embody, bring the image to life in some way.

I’ll illustrate a bit of the process with a recent dream image I had. In my dream, a large bright blue-green bird with a very long tail that flew into my room. It was beautiful but a little scary, since it was fluttering around the room and it was big. I wondered if I should let it out or try to catch it first. Then I realized that it was a Quetzal.

My first associations were to my father-in-law’s parrot, to the mythical Phoenix, and to my cats liking the “catch and release” program they have devised when a bird accidentally gets into our house (they catch but don’t kill, I capture and release). I didn’t really know what a Quetzal was, just that it had to do with Central America. My dream circle helped me then to amplify: We Googled up “Quetzal “, and found references to a divine bird associated with the Mayan or Aztec religions in Mexico. It is officially called a “Resplendent Quetzal”, was associated with Divinity, Love, and Air, and its plumage was valued for headdresses of royalty. Wow! Who knew? I loved that it was called “resplendent”. My body began to fill up with the feeling of the Quetzal as I spontaneously began to animate it by kind of spreading my arms wide and flapping/waving them at shoulder level. Now I could feel this quetzal energy in my body, especially around my heart and the place on my back where my wings would attach.

Back in the dream, I decided to leave the window open so that the Quetzal could come and go freely.

By using this method of association, (seeing what first caught my attention), then amplifying (enlarging the story, broadening it to include world wide mythic associations, this time with the help of the magic scryer Google,) and then embodying and animating the image, I felt my interaction with it as a real being in ways that I didn’t begin to touch before doing so: I felt exhilarated, a little frightened, and a bit awed by it’s size and beauty. Not bad for a night’s work. It has joined my pantheon of animal guides along with puma and jaguar, and I’ll continue to watch out for it’s messages and meanings in dreams and while awake.

Next time we’ll look at using this process with the scarier images as well, to seek out their healing essence.

Dream well,

Linda Yael


“sweet dreams are made of these…”

Welcome dreamers,

Did you ever have a dream that was so vivid, so sensual that you could practically taste it? That’s what Laurie’s dream of honey was like – filled with drippy sweetness, full of the senses, like in the e.e. cummings poem “…tasting, touching, smelling, hearing, seeing, breathing…” And the fact that she is a consummate storyteller, and acted it out spontaneously while telling made it that much more delicious.

Fall always feels like the real New Year to me, rather than January 1st: we go back to school, back to work from our summer vacations. The air subtly shifts its smell and texture from salty and hot to leafy and crisp, and many celebrate Rosh Hashana, the Jewish New Year. It is called a time of “tsuvah”- of turning, or returning (“tshuv” means turn or return). It is about renewal, reconciliation, re-commitment, and embracing the sweetness of life. Traditionally, apple slices dipped in honey are eaten at the New Year so that we may embody the sweetness of our hopes and dreams for the coming year.

There’s an old saying: Once is an accident, twice is a co-incidence, and three times is a pattern we should be paying attention to. I’ve been gifted with honey 3 times recently, and wanted to re-gift you with the sweetness. 1. A week ago I fell in love with a new kind of honey paste- a thick slightly gritty semi-solid form that tastes and feels like it is still part of a hive. I’m sure it’s been around for a long time, but it was new to me. 2. A colleague in my study group in Newton owns hives (is that the proper term- is “a beekeeper” more correct?) and showed up 2 days ago with a gift jar of her hives honey for each of us. 3. My friend shared the following dream with us the next night.

Laurie’s dream: I am rushing around doing very busy things, teaching my class, preparing notes. Then over there is this very large clear glass jar, like the kind used at banquets containing slices of orange or lemon and water, that is filled with honey. The spigot seems to be open, so it is dripping the thick golden honey. I don’t see a container, so I rush over and put my hand under the jar to catch the honey. Rushing back to my busyness over here, rushing to catch honey over there. Rushing back again to busyness over here, then rushing back again to catch the sweet sticky honey in my hands over there. Finally I stop and just catch the honey.

Listening to this dream I was so excited that I could barely restrain myself from making comments or asking questions. Luckily, Laurie was both entertaining enough, and insightful enough, that I managed to just say something simple, like “How wonderful- you were catching sweetness with both hands”. She told us that  the messages she had already received from the dream were about the importance of slowing down the busyness, even stopping what we are doing, in order to catch the sweetness of life, and that her students bring such sweetness to her class that part of her job was to  catch and appreciate it. As Freud says about dream symbols, sometimes a cigar is “just a cigar”.

A message in mindfulness for us all. May you all be blessed with a double handful of sweetness in your new year.

Sweet dreams.

Linda Yael

Date posted: September 22, 2014 | Author: | 2 Comments »

Categories: dream symbols fun dreams Uncategorized