Tuesday, January 16, 2018

The reindeer with shaman eyes

We derive the word shaman from the Tungus people of Siberia, now generally known as the Eveny or Evenki, which means "fast runners". I have been rereading an extraordinary book about the Evenki by anthropologist Piers Vitebsky, who lived with them and entered their culture, ecology and dreaming very deeply. The book is titled The Reindeer People: Living with Animals and Spirits in Siberia. It is beautifully written and offers a gift on every page.
    We learn, for example, how anomalies in the natural environment are immediately scanned for guidance on what is developing beyond the normal range of perception. The Evenki read the world around them as a book of clues. "If they noticed an untypical pattern, or a striking analogy between two forms that were otherwise unconnected, they took this as a pointer to something significant in reality itself." The behavior of animals, both in regular life and in dreams, is studied for clues as to what is happening at a distance in time or space. It is considered an especially bad omen if a wild animal comes inside a tent. A dream of a wounded reindeer might portend the illness or death of someone. Predictive dreams are especially likely towards morning, when the dreamer is half-awake. For focused guidance, for example on which way to go on a hunt, the Evenki still heat the shoulder-bones of reindeer over embers and find maps in the patterns of cracks. Vitebsky reports step-by-step instructions by a shaman hunter on how to get this right.
    I am greatly moved by the depth of soul connection between the traditionally shamanic Evenki and the reindeer - those they herd, and the wild ones they hunt. This extends to the bonding with individual reindeer who are chosen to defend the health and even the life of their humans. The reindeer given this role, in ritual bonding, is known as the kujjai. A Evenki may have a whole series of kujjai in the course of his or her life, as one after another gives its life to preserve that of the human. It is believed that the reindeer that takes on this role is a willing sacrifice.
    "Nearly everyone who lived on the land had a kujjai, a reindeer that was specially consecrated to protect its owner from harm. When you were threatened by danger, your kujjai placed itself in front of you and died in your place...You then had to consecrate another reindeer to maintain the same level of protection...Only a reindeer could sacrifice itself knowingly and intentionally."
    An Evenki reindeer herder told Vitebsky, "A kujjai is a very special kind of reindeer. Its 
eyes aren't like an ordinary reindeer's. I can't really explain it. It's like a shaman's, I suppose - it's hypnotic."
    A kujjai can be consecrated by a shaman to protect someone at a distance. Vitebsky describes the simple ceremony by which a white reindeer was appointed to guard the life of his young daughter in England; he was to carry a photo of the kujjai back home with him.
    I have seen a deer give its life for a human, and I have painted the Deer hanging on the cross, its heart open, as the willing sacrifice. I find it fascinating that a people who live so close to the deer have made this a ritual of conscious mutual bonding, for life.
    I have read elsewhere, in Esther Jacobson's The Deer Goddess of Ancient Siberia, that in archaic hunting rituals the Evenki honored a form of the Antlered Goddess. Before a moose hunt, a shaman would go into the forest, to a sacred tree, to contact the female spirit of the land and ask for her help. She would sent the shaman a spirit ally that took the form of a giant cow moose or perhaps a giant woman with moose horns. The shaman would now rehearse a successful hunt with the help of his ally. The physical hunt that followed was believed to manifest what had already been accomplished on the spirit plane.


Piers Vitebsky, The Reindeer People: Living with Animals and Spirits in Siberia. New York: Mariner Books/Houghton Mifflin, 2006.
Esther Jacobson, The Deer Goddess of Ancient Siberia: A Study in the Ecology of Belief. Leiden: E.J.Brill, 1993.

Graphic: Reindeer rider from a collection of Evenki folk tales published in Novosibirsk in 1971. 

Nine Keys to Helping Kids with Their Dreams

Here's what we need to know about listening to children's dreams and supporting their imaginations: 

1. Listen up!

When a child wants to tell a dream, make room for that. Make some daily space for dream sharing. Listen to the stories and cherish them for their own sake.

2. Invite good dreams

Pick the right bedtime reading or better still, tell stories. Help your child to weave a web of good dream intentions for the night - for example, by asking "What would you most like to do tonight?" Encourage children to sleep with a favorite stuffed animal (whether teddy bear or T-Rex) and make this a dream guardian.

3. Provide immediate help with the scary stuff

If your child was scared by something in the night, recognize you are the ally the child needs right now. Do something right away to move out that negative energy. Get a frightened child to spit it out (literally) or draw a picture of what scared her and tear it up as violently as possible.

4. Ask good questions.

When the child has told her story, ask good questions. Ask about feelings, about the color of the sky, and about exactly what T-Rex was doing. See if there's something about the future. Say what you would think about this if this were your dream. Always come up with something fun or helpful to do with this story. Open up the crayon box, call grandma, etc.

5. Help the child to keep a dream journal

Get this started as early as possible. With a very young child, you can help with the words while they do the pictures. When your child reaches the point where she closes the journal and says, “This is my secret book and you can't read it any more” do not peek. Give her privacy, and let her choose when she'll let you look in that magic book.

6. Provide tools for creative expression.

Encourage the child to bring dreams come alive through art, dance, theater and games, and to draw or paint dreams. Gather friends and family for dream-inspired games and performance. Puppets and stuffed animals can be great for acting out dreams. This can also be dress-up time. It's such a release for kids to portray mom or dad or other grown-ups in their lives - be ready to be shocked!

7. Help construct effective action plans

Dreams can show us things that require further action - for example, to avoid an unhappy future event that was previewed in the dream, or to put something right in a family situation. A child will probably need adult help with such things, starting with your help. This will require you to learn more about dreaming and dreamwork, as you are doing now.

 8. Let your own inner child out to play

As you listen to children's dreams, let the wonderful child dreamer inside you come out and join in the play.

9. Keep it fun!

When you get the hang of this, you'll find it's about the best home entertainment you can enjoy.

Notice two things that are not on this list, but would be at the very top of a list of what not to do with a child’s dreams: 

1. Never say to a child "It's only a dream". Children know that dreams are for real and that scary stuff that comes out in dreams needs to be resolved, not dismissed.

2. Do NOT interpret a child's dreams. You’re not the expert here; the child is.

Text adapted from Active Dreaming by Robert Moss. Published by New World Library.

Drawing by Robert Moss

Sunday, January 14, 2018

Befriending the ugly dwarf

I have a friend who has held high office in the Swedish government, a man deeply versed in both the humanities and science who has attended Nobel Prize dinners under the three crowns of Stockholm’s town hall.
   Over beer and akvavit one night, he confided, “I’ve had an inner guide who has helped me greatly, in and out of governments. He turns up in my dreams and fantasies. He is a horrible, ugly dwarf. He always begins by insulting me, using filthy language. You miserable piece of shit, he’ll begin. Then he’ll proceed to tell me all the reasons I’m a failure. When he’s satisfied that he’s hit home, and I’m starting to fill with self-loathing, he’ll tell me something useful. He gave me the location of a legal document that had gone missing. I found it exactly where he said it would be, and that resolved an important family matter.”
   “How reliable is your ugly dwarf?”
   “He is eighty percent reliable. Better than most advisers. So I put up with his insults.”
   I was delighted with this revelation, which sounded like something from Scandinavian folklore. It also occurred to me that there are the elements of a practice here that can be very helpful for all of us on our road to manifesting our life dreams.
    Each of us has an ugly dwarf inside us. You’ve heard his voice. It’s the one that’s forever reminding you of your failures and shortcomings. He knows your every weakness. He won’t let you forget how you let yourself or others down. Let him vent for long enough, and you’ll squirm with self-loathing. And this can become a moment of power. Let your ugly dwarf pull you down far enough, and you may find yourself bouncing up with fresh ideas and new vigor. Why? Because there is energy in all strong emotions, including the ones we tag as “negative” and that a certain kind of self-help book advises us to avoid.
   Let your ugly dwarf beat you down, break you down, and rattle you out of the need to maintain pretenses and defenses. Then move with the energy of the emotions this releases. But don’t put up with someone in your social environment who tries to play ugly dwarf; accept no substitutes for your very own version.

Friday, January 12, 2018

Arnold Toynbee, Time Traveler

The once immensely popular historian Arnold Toynbee aspired to write a universal history, and in his 12-volume work A Study of History he traced the rise, flowering and decline of human civilization. Few generalists have equaled his breadth of scholarship and his ability to synthesize, although academic specialists have poked many holes in his work.
    It's intriguing that Toynbee reported that in the course of his researches he became a time traveler, finding himself deeply engaged in dramas of different eras. He describes being "carried down in a 'Time pocket'" and experiencing "the local annihilation of Time" in Volume X of A Study of History. His revelations come in Section XIII. “The Inspirations of Historians” part E. “The Quest for a Meaning Behind the Facts of History”. 

A tenuous long-distance commerce exclusively on the intellectual plane is an historian's normal relation to the objects of his study; yet there are moments in his mental life -- moments as memorable as they are rare -- in which temporal and spatial barriers fall and psychic distance is annihilated; and in such moments of inspiration the historian finds himself transformed in a flash from a remote spectator into an immediate participant, as the dry bones take flesh and quicken into life.

He describes how, mulling over some dry research – a précis of one of the lost books of Livy’s History – he was hurled into intimate engagement with a war between Rome and confederate Italian states. He was “transported, in a flash, across the gulf of Time and Space from Oxford in A.D. 1911 to Teanum in 80 B.C., to find himself in a back yard on a dark night witnessing a personal tragedy that was more bitter than the defeat of any public cause” – to witness the fate of Mutilus, a proscribed confederate leader denied sanctuary at his home by how own wife, who takes his own life by the sword.
    His experiences of mental transport across time quicken as he travels to ancient sites – and enters the perspective of Philip of Macedon, checking his battle lines, or is present to a roaring crowd at Ephesus, or falls again into “the deep trough of Time” after climbing to a ruined citadel in Laconia.
    Then in London, soon after the Great War, walking by Victoria Station, he is seized with the universal movement of Time streaming through him and around him:

"In London in the southern section of the Buckingham Palace Road, walking southward along the pavement skirting the west wall of Victoria Station, the writer, once, one afternoon not long after the end of the First World War -- he had failed to record the exact date -- had found himself in communion, not just with this or that episode in History, but with all that had been, and was, and was to come.
     "In that instant he was directly aware of the passage of History gently flowing through him in a mighty current, and of his own life welling like a wave in the flow of this vast tide. The experience lasted long enough for him to take visual note of the Edwardian red brick surface and white stone facings of the station wall gliding past him on his left, and to wonder -- half amazed and half amused -- why this incongruously prosaic scene should have been the physical setting of a mental illumination. An instant later, the communion had ceased, and the dreamer was back again in the every-day cockney world which was his native social milieu and of which the Edwardian station wall was a characteristic period piece."

His ability to be present to the rise and fall of civilizations led Toynbee to make some observations that have uncomfortable contemporary relevance:

"Civilizations die from suicide, not by murder."

My favorite Toynbee quote, deeply prescient (he died in 1975) and unsettling in the midst of the current chaotic period in American politics, is this:

"Of the twenty-two civilizations that have appeared in history, nineteen of them collapsed when they reached the moral state the United States is in now."

Due diligence: though this statement is widely circulated, I have been unable to nail down a source in Toynbee's published works. Perhaps we can practice "mental transport" across time or dimensions to see whether he will claim the statement, and whether he wants to add to it in the context of what has unfolded since his death.

Thursday, January 11, 2018

Feeding Tiger

The wheeling of the stars is not infinite
And the tiger is one of the forms that returns.

- Jorge Luis Borges

In the early days of my public teaching, many people said they came to my workshops because they had dreamed of tigers. One woman dreamed again and again that she was searching in a forest for a white tiger. A man arrived at the arts center where I was then teaching and froze in the doorway, staring at the artifact I had placed at the center of our space. It was the carved head of a tiger, open-jawed, set atop a wooden staff hung with bone rattles. An artist in Colorado had started carving the head shortly before he met me, guided by a dream. After he met me, he dreamed he should set the head on a rattle-staff and give it to me. The man in the doorway at the arts center exclaimed, “I know I’m in the right place! This is my dream.”
     “For more than a year,” he explained, “I was hunted by a tiger in my dreams. I kept running away, and usually woke myself up, still terrified, trying to convince myself this was only a dream. Then the tiger was on me, snarling and snapping, and I could not get out of the dream. He drove me down a dark forest trail. I saw things there that scared me, huge snakes hanging from the trees, savage eyes in the shadows, but nothing was as scary as the tiger. He kept on me, tearing my clothes and flesh.  I was bleeding when he forced me to the edge of clearing in the jungle, where he licked my wounds. I saw he had brought me to a place where jet fighter pilots were being trained. They had been waiting for me for a long time. I went through the training and got my wings, all before breakfast back at home. I felt really good, and empowered to do stuff to help and protect other people. That’s why I came to you.”
     I loved this dream resolution. I know, as young children know, that the tiger is power that can indeed help and protect. In soul recovery work, the tiger – as well as the bear – has often been my ally in persuading lost boys and lost girls to return to an adult self from whom they separated because of pain or abuse or trauma in early life. Those child selves often trust the tiger more than the adult, to keep them safe and to make life crazy fun.
     The tiger must be gentled to purposes of this kind. The tiger must also be fed. For six weeks, in the late 1990s, I decided to go vegetarian. Towards the end of this experiment, I visited a zoo south of Montreal with my family. I was edgy as we neared the big cat enclosures. Though the zoo was well laid out, with space for the animals to roam, big cats do not belong in confinement.
I glanced through the bars at a group of Sumatran tigers dozing in the sun.
    “Look, Dad!” my youngest daughter exclaimed. “That one is looking at you.” I looked again and saw that a male tiger had sat up and was staring at me. Suddenly he bounded from the slope where he had been napping to press his face against the bars, still staring at me. I returned his stare, wondering if he felt – as I did – that we were kin.
     He sniffed me, gave a kind of shrug, and loped back up the hill to resume his nap. I got the message. He may have considered the possibility that we were related, but one whiff on my body scent had assured him we were not. Tigers are not vegetarians.
     I returned to eating meat – starting with bacon, of course, the vegetarians’ favorite kind – and one night the tiger returned to me. Reclaiming his power was not easy. I learned again that night that there is a price for gaining and maintaining a relationship with a true animal power. The tiger irrupted into my space that night as an energy form that was entirely real, more real than the darkened room around us. He made me fight with him, hand to claw. Few, if any men, could hold their own in a wrestling match with a tiger, and I was certainly not one of them. He made me fight long and hard, until I was bloodied and torn. Then, relenting, he gave me a harder assignment than combat. He told me I must eat his heart. He opened his chest, and I took out his steaming, beating heart, dripping blood. Half-gagging, I forced myself to eat the tiger’s heart. This felt exactly like eating the living organ.
     From that time, the tiger was with me again, available whenever  I needed his help. He was ready to yield pride of place to other allies, like the bear, when their talents were needed, and even to introduce new helpers. When I landed at Cuzco in Peru in 1999, I was cautioned to be careful to avoid altitude sickness. Our guidance was to take this slowly, and relax in the hotel lobby for an hour with some coca leaf tea. It was stressed that the tea would calm and strengthen us but was unlikely to have hallucinogenic effects because the coca content was so small.
    I did not regard what I saw in that hotel lobby, beyond the comings and goings of tourists and staff, as a hallucination. I saw the tiger, moving in front of the desk and a wall covered with murals with Incan themes. He was a translucent form. He signaled to me that I was going to need help up here in the Andes, and that he would send the right helper to my room that night. I should make myself ready.
    Near midnight, in my hotel room, I lay on my back on my bed, looking out the window at a night full of stars in constellations whose names I did not know, or recalled only vaguely from my childhood in the Southern hemisphere. I felt an urge to go flying up among those stars, and to bring back their names, and something like a grid opened in my perception, inviting me to go through it. My body started to vibrate and I heard the kind of humming I had long associated with the run-up to conscious astral projection. An instinct of caution was still with me. Was it really safe to leave my body in an environment I had not yet tested, without defenses?
      My thought flow was interrupted by the very palpable sense of another presence in the room. I sat up in bed and saw the energy form of a big cat approaching me. As my senses adjusted, I saw it was a puma. I was certain that this was the ally the tiger had promised to send. The puma pressed its face against mind. It spoke to me, mind to mind, in words I can transliterate like this:
      “Big cats are not intended to live at these altitudes. We took millennia to adapt, following the game animals up the mountains. You have just arrived and have not time to make the necessary adaptations. So what you need to do is this. You need to open yourself at your solar plexus and let me in. I will help adjust your body systems so you will be at home in the Andes, as we are.”
      I did what the puma suggested without hesitation, since this new helper had come with the right introduction. I felt the energy of the mountain cat streaming through my blood, toning my muscles, flexing my sinews. Over the ten days that followed – though I am not athletic and do not work out – I was the fittest member of our party. I had no difficulty with the altitude,  no fear of heights, no shortage of breath.
     Tiger is not only a fierce but reliable friend. He is willing to share his whole tribe.

Adapted from The Boy Who Died and Came Back: Adventures of a Dream Archaeologist in the Multiverse by Robert Moss. Published by New World Library.

Drawing (c) Robert Moss

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Dreaming with the Fast-Flowing Goddess

At the shrine of Sequana, at the source of the River Seine in the Dijon area of France, ancient Celts came to seek healing dreams in the sacred night. Cloaked pilgrims journeyed with their offerings, which included models of the organs that needed healing, carved from oak or stone. They bathed in the sacred spring, prayed to the goddess, and placed their offerings beside a sacred pool. They entered a long portico or dormitory, hoping that in the night - during sleep or in the twilight state between sleeping and waking that the ancients knew is especially propitious for contact with the more-than-human - the goddess Sequana or her emissary would appear to them.
    No magical power, other than simple cleansing, was attributed to the spring itself, but the waters were regarded as a source of creative flow, and as a portal to the Otherworld and its powers.
    We know the name Sequana from nine inscriptions found in the area. It has been suggested that it means "The Fast-Flowing One". Sequana is the goddess of the River Seine, which flows through Paris, and (according to Strabo) was the patron of the Sequanae, a Gaulish tribe in this region. Her special companion animal is the duck, and in a statue now in the Musée archéologique  de Dijon, a crowned Sequana is depicted riding in a duck-headed boat.
      Only the foundations of the healing shrine of Sequana at her spring, the Fontes Sequanae, survive, but we can glean a great deal about the ancient practice of dream incubation for healing from the contents of two pottery vessels discovered at the site. One contains more than a hundred  carved effigies of eyes, breasts, limbs, heads and internal organs. A second vessel contained more than 800 similar carvings. Pilgrims who needed healing for the parts represented ascended a series of terraces, pausing perhaps to drink from streams and cisterns containing the sacred waters, before reaching the main sanctuary and being admitted to the place of sacred sleep. Grateful travelers paid for inscriptions at the site thanking Sequana for gifts of healing, evidence that we have here a Celtic parallel to the practice of Asklepian dream healing in the ancient Mediterranean.
     What happened to this great precinct of dream healing in the realm of the Goddess when the Church arrived? One guess. The site was appropriated by the Church and re-dedicated to an invented male saint, St Sequanus.
     In reviving the memory of the "Fast-Flowing" Goddess, as we do in my Celtic-themed workshops and gatherings, we step towards cultural soul recovery - and remember a healing practice that can transform our lives.

Image: statue of Sequana in a duck-headed boat in the Musée archéologique  de Dijon.

Monday, January 8, 2018

Deep play with the most important book you'll ever write

Your journal, kept over time, will become many things: your personal encyclopedia of symbols, your data log for experiences of supernormal phenomena like precognition, telepathy and synchronicity, your stealth writing course, a sanctuary and place of healing, a sacred space where you dialogue with your Self.  
     Journaling is a practice, and as in any true practice, you have to earn the right of admission to the more advanced levels. In
this article, you'll find wonderful games you can play with your journal any day, at any level of practice.  Now I am going to offer six deeper games to play with your journal when you’ve been keeping it for a while and have gotten into the practice of looking over "old" material that may prove to be highly relevant to your current life. I doubt that you'll understand all that your journal will be for you until you've been keeping one, with dedication, for at least five years. However, the time is always Now, and if you are ready to play, jump in!

1. Bibliomancy

“Bibliomancy” is the fancy name for opening a book at random to get guidance on a theme, or simply the quality and content of the day. In Western countries, over the centuries, the Bible has been the hand-down favorite as a book oracle. Abraham Lincoln used to open his family Bible – the one on which Barack Obama took his oath of office – to get a message for the day or a second opinion on the meaning of a dream.
    I enjoy doing bibliomancy with my old journals. One Christmas Eve, after learning that a friend had developed a serious illness and was having other major troubles in her life, I reached blindly into a shelf of 30+ old travel journals, grabbed one without looking at the date, and opened it at random, I found myself looking at a short dream report from  five years before. The dream was about my friend. It stated that she had “accepted Purgatory for a year. This Purgatory is a room in her home that opens into the same realm.” I shared this report with my friend, and we began to work with the meaning of “acceptance” and of “Purgatory”. Our mutual exploration provided assurance that “this too shall pass” and that a year in “Purgatory” would result in healing and new growth, as proved to be the case.

2. Compare Your Dream Self to Your Waking Self

Are you running away from something in your dreams? Ask yourself when you tend to run away from something – a person, an issue, a necessary conversation – in regular life.
Does your dream self have supernormal powers? Can she fly, or knock villains down like ninepins? If so, then ask yourself where you might be able to draw on her courage and powers in the rest of your life.
Comparing the behavior of the dream self and the waking self is highly instructive. We may also find that bringing gifts and qualities from one realm into the other can be tremendously healing and empowering. My waking self may be able to bring courage – the determination to brave up to a challenge – to a dream self that is frightened or frozen.
My dream self who is fluent in another language, or can breathe underwater, may be able to give me the power to expand my vocabulary of understanding, or to operate with ease in a new environment.

3. Dialogue with your other selves

Sit down with your journal and imagine yourself talking to a character from one of your dreams. Since everything is alive in dreams, you can call anything from a dream – a horse, a house, an 18-wheeler – to talk to you. You can call up every character and element from a dream to explain themselves in turn, if you like.
Start out with a question like, “Who are you?” Or: “What are you doing in my dream?”
Move onto a question like “What can you tell me?”
Be ready to be surprised! You may find you are interviewing sides of yourself you never knew were part of your family of personality aspects. You may find you are talking to a departed loved one, or an ancestor, or the guy who owned the house fifty years ago. You may even encounter a dream character who tells you, “I am dreaming you. You are in my dream.”

4. Reopen your cold case files

Dreams give us clues that require sleuthing, but sometimes our best attempts to follow up these leads don't get far and we move on to other things, leaving a mounting pile of "cold case" files. I pick up a lot of unfamiliar names, foreign words, and curious phrases in dreams and - especially - in the twilight state of hypnagogia, and I have found it extraordinarily revealing to track these verbal clues. In the era of googling, this is much easier than it was over most of the decades I've been keeping a journal, so I am now reopening dream files I had closed and making some exciting discoveries. One of those funny words, from a 1994 dream, has led me to an archeological site in Nigeria where the human remains date from 10,000 BCE. Another is guiding me, in the most practical way, on professional decisions I'll be making over the next couple of months.
   Be open to discovering that an event in an "old" dream is starting to manifest only now - months or years later - and be ready (beyond the "wow" response) to harvesting guidance from the old report on the current situation. When you see a match-up between an "old" dream and a later event, forage around the individual report; look at other dreams from around the same time and see if there are further clues there to the new situation

5. Let out the artist inside you

I often type my journal reports directly into a computer, to save the time required for transcription from a manuscript version, and to get round the problem of finding it hard to decipher my own handwriting. When I write by hand, however, I find there’s an artist in me who wants to come bursting through. Suddenly the pages facing my text reports are filled with drawings that may then demand to be colored in or painted. Some of these drawings occupy successive panels like pages from a graphic novel. The famous movie director Fellini, who started out as a cartoonist, kept dream journals that are primarily visual.
    Many dream journalers find they have a poet inside. Or a songwriter. Sometimes a whole poem or song is delivered, complete and intact, within  a dream, or in that fluid in-between zone of sleepwake, dorveille. Some dream reports turn into poems rather effortlessly, with a little editing. Every dream contains a story; some want to be stories in the fuller and finished sense, and journaling will get you there.

6. Journal from Journals

Thoreau journaled all the time. He wrote down his observations of nature, his thoughts and dreams, his notes on his constant reading. Most interesting, he journaled from his journals, picking over old volumes, plucking out promising bits and pieces, copying them out and marrying them up as fresh drafts. It became his habit “to work back over his journals…to reengage old subjects in the light of new interests, to revise and recopy his own earlier journal work, measuring, weighing, culling and sorting his materials…taking up earlier threads, reweaving and combining them.”
I can’t recommend this practice too highly. For any writer, as for Thoreau, it opens treasuries of material and above all it supports the writing habit. Playing around with old notes removes the terror of the blank page. When you dip into an old journal, you are never at a loss for a theme. The simple processes of selection, arrangement and retitling will fire the imagination. Before you know it, you’ll be in the midst of writing something new. 

As you tend your secret book over time, you'll discover more, and more will discover you.  You'll find yourself straying off the tame and settled territory of the everyday mind, into the wilder borders of imagination, where the Big story of your life can find you. You may discover, as I have done, that your journal is the most important book you will ever write, and quite possibly the most important book you will ever read.

Adapted from Active Dreaming by Robert Moss. Published by New World Library