I was sitting in ‘hair and makeup’ at the television studios earlier this week, being made up to go on Today Extra. In everyday life the only make up I wear is red lipstick. In television life much more is required to survive and look alive in the bright lights, and although I have occasionally fronted up to the camera in just my lipstick and got away with it, I always appreciate being on the receiving end of the talented hair and make up artists’ skills.
“What are you talking about today?” asked Abigail, as she riffled through her palette of paints and powders, selecting the required combination.
“Work dreams, dreams about work,” I replied.
“Oh my,” confided the news journalist in the chair next to me, “I had a dream about work last night!”
Between applications of mascara, eyebrow pencil, blushers, shapers, lipsticks, and volumes of spray on foundation, our conversation ranged from the meanings of work dreams, to why we have dreams, why some people never remember their dreams, and what I do to remember my dreams.
It was at the hairspray stage of our preparation that the news journalist asked the best of questions. I had just described how I remember my dreams: I lie still when I wake up, wait for an image from a dream to arise, then trace back and forward from the image to bring the whole dream into view. I then ponder the dream, pull in smaller details, and, in doing this, move it from an ephemeral dream memory that would otherwise have evaporated, into my waking life memory. (There are many ways to remember your dreams, but this is how I do it after all these decades of practice.)
And then came her question:
“Why do you do that? Why do you spend that time remembering your dreams each morning before you get up?”
A good question indeed.
I do it because I love relishing the sensuality and adventure of my dreams, I love lounging in the nuances, feeling my way into the symbols, connecting to the heart and soul of the surreal.
I bring back the challenging and scary dreams with as much satisfaction as I bring back the extraordinary and the mundane. I’m a fisherman standing on the shore with my early morning catch, colourful, lively, nourishing dreams retrieved from the depths of night.
I do it because I learn so much about my self: about the makeup of my unconscious mind and how it influences the way I see and interact with the world, and the choices this insight gives me to make powerful changes in my life.
I do it because my dreams fuel fresh perspectives, creative ideas, solutions to problems, healing, alchemy, and on-going personal and spiritual growth.
I do it to see the make up of my self, and then to see through the make up, to connect with the deepest reality of my being.
But I didn’t say any of that to the news journalist. Our time in hair and makeup was done. Instead I said that we should have had the cameras in with us recording our conversation while we were being made up. It was a good conversation and it would have made good television.
Work – and dreams about work – called, and this is what went to air:
Note: Today Extra’s videos are geoblocked, so you may not be able to view them unless you access from Australia.