Dream declutter.

What began as a wardrobe declutter on a quiet Saturday afternoon continued in a dream in the early hours of Sunday morning.

I love a good declutter: the opportunity to let go of clothes that no longer serve me, whether it’s because they’re old and worn and need to be replaced by fresher pieces with more life to offer, or because they no longer fit me or my lifestyle, or they’re items I’ve held onto for no good reason and need to let go. There’s always at least one magical moment, the rediscovery of a piece that’s been shoved aside, languishing in the dark, that is suddenly just right or brings light to a newer article of clothing, two lost soul mates finally matched together.

There’s also the joy of creating space and inviting new items, which I do by leaving some empty clothes hangers at the end of the rail ready to take on their next job.

So why would I continue decluttering in my dream that night?

Dreams reflect waking life but take us deeper, revealing the unconscious side of our daytime experiences.

In my dream, a woman was helping me declutter my studio – a dream studio, nothing like my home or office. She was an interior designer or art dealer, I’m not sure which, elegantly yet practically dressed. She helped me lift a veneer timber shelf that covered – I believed – a dusty recess probably riddled with electrical wiring, cobwebs, and improbable lost things like hatpins, matchboxes, jigsaw puzzle pieces, and desiccated jellybeans.

What do you think we found, underneath the veneered shelf?

The first thing I saw was an antique art deco mahogany clock, as good as new, if not better than new, glowing timber, glinting honey-gold numerals, in perfect working order. Beyond the clock, a portal into an adjoining room, warm, inviting, leather lounge chairs, big bay windows and there – right there in the centre of the mantlepiece above the open fireplace – the perfect place to position the clock. The bay windows were a little obscured by gluey decals and other bits and pieces of bygone window art which we set about removing or scraping away to reveal a beautiful clear view.

On a superficial level my dream simply reflected my day’s activities: artfully decluttering, freeing up more space in my wardrobe and giving more life and time to classic pieces that had been hidden from view.

On a deeper level, my dreaming mind plunged beneath the everyday conscious veneer to explore the unconscious ramifications of my decluttering day. It’s as if decluttering my wardrobe was an alchemy exercise that prompted deeper insight to bubble up from my unconscious mind during my dream. I uncovered room to devote leisurely time (analogue, not digital) with a clearer vision of my overall intention. When I interpreted the full dream, along with all its details, it made sense and I knew what to do next, what to let go, what to settle into.

I’d like to leave you with the idea of seeding a dream by creating a daytime exercise or ritual to prompt your unconscious mind to respond with its side of the story. Harvest some fruit (what unconscious beliefs about successful fruition are triggered?), weed a garden (what unconscious limiting belief or weeds might you be harbouring, and why?), do something that takes you out of comfort zone (what light does your unconscious mind throw on this subject?) Or follow my lead and get into your wardrobe. Who knows what kind of Narnia you’ll meet on the other side?

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Jane Teresa Anderson

Graduating with an Honours degree in Zoology specialising in developmental neurobiology from the University of Glasgow, dream analyst and dream therapist Jane Teresa Anderson has been researching dreams since 1992, and developing and teaching dream alchemy practices that shift perspective and reprogram unconscious limiting beliefs. Jane Teresa is a multi-published author (her latest book is BIRD OF PARADISE), and appears frequently in the media on television, radio, and in print. She is also host of the long-running podcast, 'The Dream Show with Jane Teresa Anderson', and offers her online study and certificate courses through The Dream Academy.