STEP THREE: LINKING THE STORY LINE TO YOUR LIFE IS STEP THREE OF THE FIVE-STEP DREAM TECHNIQUE
1 TO LINK A DREAM TO YOUR LIFE: ASK THE RIGHT QUESTION ABOUT WHAT A DREAM MEANS. As mentioned previously, the question is never “What does this dream mean?” The question is always “To what in me or in my life does the dream refer?” Retaining that focus bears repeating. When you keep in mind that a dream speaks of your life and is not merely an amusing tale, you stay on the right track to finding its meaning. Match the story line to an actual life area or experience, and the meaning surfaces.
2 TO LINK A DREAM TO YOUR LIFE: THE IMPORTANCE OF MATCHING THE STORY LINE TO AN AREA OF YOUR LIFE. As if moving a puzzle piece around a board to see how it fits, scan your life to see where the story line coincides with an attitude, a relationship, activity, or an ongoing situation. For example, suppose you dream that you ran a race in the Olympics and won a gold medal. The story line says, “After much effort, someone succeeds brilliantly” or, “By persevering, someone achieves great things.” Which success in your life is highlighted by the dream, depends on your life; only you can know what that success is for you. To some it may refer to fitting into a glamorous outfit after losing weight; to others it might be completing a degree or sprinting up the corporate ladder.
3 TO LINK A DREAM TO YOUR LIFE: TURN THE STORY LINE INTO A QUESTION. If you have trouble fitting a story line to an area of your life, try turning it into a question.
DREAM EXAMPLE 1 OF TURNING A STORY LINE INTO QUESTIONS: INVADING MY SPACE. A man dreams of walking into his office and seeing the manager’s assistant at his desk pulling off pieces of Scotch tape for her own use. She has no right to be in his office or go through his belongings. He walks up to her and asks her in a quiet voice, “What are you doing?” She knows she has been caught doing something off limits but ignores him and blatantly defies him by continuing to rip off tape. The man stays quiet and does not challenge her further because he is not sure what to do. The story line is, “Someone watches another misuse their position but does not know how to stop them.” The story line calls to mind questions like: Where in your life is someone overstepping their boundaries? Are you letting someone take advantage of you? Is there a situation at work or elsewhere in your life, where you would like to speak up but feel unsafe to do so? As you answer the questions that the story line initiates, the life area that the dream relates to should become clear.
DREAM EXAMPLE 2 OF TURNING A STORY LINE INTO QUESTIONS: THE WOUND. A dreamer is shocked to see a large, gaping wound dripping with blood. The story line is, “Someone sees something that needs a lot of help.” This story line begs these questions: Where in your life do you feel wounded or in pain? Have you overlooked someone around you who may be hurting? Have you, or someone close to you, caused emotional damage by your actions or habits?
DREAM EXAMPLE 3 OF TURNING A STORY LINE INTO QUESTIONS: A BEAUTIFUL SCARF. A woman dreams that her work associates are frantic and scurrying to get things done. She ignores them and peacefully puts on a wide, red silk scarf, carefully tying a bow in an artistic arrangement. The story line is, “Instead of getting caught up in the frenzy and chaos around her, someone peacefully focuses on creating something beautiful.” The story line brings up questions like: In what area of your life are others frantic? Would concentrating on doing your best resolve an issue? Are there creative activities that would distract you from the anxieties in your life?
HINT 4 TO LINK A DREAM TO YOUR LIFE: THE STORY LINE MAY RELATE TO YOUR INNER OR OUTER LIFE. As you search for answers raised by story line questions, insights about a particular situation in your life may begin to pop up. When matching a story line to an area of your life, remember that you lead two lives: an inner one and an outer one. Sometimes the life event about which the dream is commenting is an attitude, an emotion, a set of thoughts, or a perspective that is going on within you. Your inner life is also subject to lots of episodes and events, so to speak. We tend to look at outside circumstances and events for the meaning of a dream, but just as often, a dream relates to your character, attitudes, or thoughts about potential decisions, hopes, fears, and wishes.