Creativity Pathway #116: Dream Catching

“In the ocean of conscious, dreams are swells that rise and pause and break on the shores of personal consciousness, only to suck back, leaving precious flotsam and jetsam on the beach of waking awareness. We cannot influence the tides or currents, but we can ride the crest of the wave into shore and gather treasures as we walk at dawn.” 

This is author Jill Mellick’s colorful description of the precious, yet fleeting, moments just after waking. Our sleep begins and ends with dream images that visit the mind on the boundaries between sleep and wakefulness. One pioneer of the exploration of the unconscious coined the term “hypnopompic,” referring to the dreams that come just as we are awakening. The French philosopher, Descartes, frequently experienced the blending of hypnopompic images into his first moments of waking.

Given the riches to be found in our dreams, it is useful to capture the images and emotions in the first moments of our waking. Here are a few outside-the-box approaches for creatively recording our dreams upon awakening.

  • Translate Your Dream into Color: Keep a set a colored pencils or chalk next to your bed. Upon waking from an especially powerful dream, let your non-dominant hand choose a color and begin to translate the energy of that dream onto paper. Keep your focus on the feelings and energies of the dream, not on looking at the page or what it should look like. Coaching Inquiries: What was the experience staying with the emotion of the dream? Where did it take you?
  • Write a Fairy Tale: Like fairy tales, dreams often reside between fantasy and reality. Record your dream, beginning with, “Once upon a time…” Name characters, exaggerate the fantasy, create the details and the dialogue. Be descriptive and creative in a way that would capture the attention of a wide-eyed 5 year old child. Coaching Inquiries: What are the morals of your dream story? What do the characters represent?
  • Use Poetry for Contemplation: Instead of recording a straightforward narrative account of your dream, allow yourself to see it from a new perspective through poetry. Haiku style poetry is often suited for dreams that we might dismiss as unimportant because they were short or lacked detail. A Haiku, for example, is written in three lines and can capture feelings and images that would be otherwise forgotten. Coaching Inquiries: What symbols are you able to save through your poetry? How does it feel to read your dream?
  • Embody the Dream: Our body is able to express what our voices cannot. Moving our bodies allows us to tap directly into the feelings and movements of our dreams, expressing ourselves in ways that we are unable to in our waking state. Close your eyes (to assist in shutting down any conscious criticism) and act out the exact movements of the being, or beings, you remember from your dream. Coaching Inquiries: What did you feel in your body? What new images intersect with the ones from your dream?
  • Create a 3D Image: A simple container of Playdough is enough for capturing the images of your dream. With eyes closed, use both hands to invoke the dream. Invite your hands to twist, turn and roll and the dough as they choose. Allow your hands to express the essence of the dream without requiring them to duplicate exact representations of the symbols. Coaching Inquiries: What about this form surprises or intrigues you? What holds your attention?

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May you be filled with goodness, peace, and joy.

Erika Jackson (
LifeTrek Coaching International
Columbus, OH  •   U.S.A.

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