Wednesday, April 29, 2009
The Little Drummer Girl
The beautiful little drummer girl in the photo is 18-month-old Jaslyn. She came with her parents, Roger and Gabby, to a very special gathering I led on Gore Mountain, in the New York Adirondacks, last weekend. Jaslyn joined us in the opening rounds of drumming to call up the dreams and visions that wanted to play with us, and very often would call for "More, more!" when the drumming stopped.
There is another sense on which Jaslyn is a dream child. Roger and Gabby met in their dreams long before they first met in the physical world, at one of my dream workshops in Manhattan. Gabby dreamed of a tall, handsome and humorous man who resembled Bob Saget, the host of "America's Funniest Home Videos", and shared his flair for performance. To her surprise, in the dream her very traditional Korean family were happy to welcome this man - who seemed to be her fiance - into their midst. When she first met Roger, she recognized the man from her dream. Like Bob Saget, Roger is 6'4''. He is also an actor and playwright - and a most gifted dreamer.
This story is a fine example of how we can dream our way, to Mr. Right, Ms. Right - and Baby Right. The presence of the Little Drummer Girl in our circle of thirty "frequent flyers" over the weekend was especially meaningful because one of the themes that emerged was the need to help families everywhere better understand how to listen to the dreams of children and nourish the imagination of the child.
When I returned from the mountain, I opened an email from an anthropologist (previously unknown to me) who is seeking to revive the understanding of shamanic practice in ancient Europe by leading retreats involving ecstatic trance postures from prehistoric Minoan art. She reported that she had just read my book Conscious Dreaming on the island of Crete. When I visited her website, I found this provocative quote from a teacher I greatly respect, Rachel Naomi Remen MD:
"You heal a dominant culture by forming a subculture of credible people, in the middle of it, who value something new, who reinforce and reward something that the dominant culture represses."
We understand this in the Dream School, and we have been working in this way for close on 15 years. In the presence of the Little Drummer Girl, it also seemed clearer to us than ever before that if we are going to rebirth a dreaming society in our time, we must begin by supporting our children as dreamers, and listening to them. When it comes to dreaming, kids are the real teachers because they are at home in the world of the imagination and they know that dreams, whether fun or scary, are real experiences. Look for a new series of playshops on "Dreaming for Kids and Families", coming soon.