Friday, July 17, 2015

When a kid is afraid of the dark, YOU can be the flashlight

This guest blog by dream teacher Jane Carleton is a lovely reminder that the first thing kids need from us when they talk about what goes on in the night is for someone to LISTEN UP - and then, if necessary, to help make a decisive move to deal with the scary stuff.

Guest blog by Jane Carleton

I was once at a friend’s house and met a young girl, about seven years old, visiting with her family from far away. I asked her about her dreams, and she shyly shared that she had a reeeeeeally scary dream that week.
     “Really scary." Oh? Tell me more! “I was home and the wall in my bedroom was full of eyes looking at me!” Oh, how scary! Was it day or night? “Night.” Oh! Scary! “Yes.” What would you like to see happen with those eyes if you could do anything? “I want them to close!” Oooof. Me, too. What could make that happen? “I’d shine a big light at them.” Great idea! What kind of light? “A big flashlight!” Perfect! Would you like to do something about those eyes right now? “OK.”
      All right…see that wall…let’s imagine that wall is the wall in your bedroom. “OK.” And now…I’m here with you, so you’re safe…can you image that wall is full of those eyes, just like in your dream? “Ooooo Yes!” OK, we need a flashlight, right? How about if I be the flashlight, and you shine me on all of those eyes and make them not only close, but also disappear? “Yeah. OK!!!”
      We did a little dream theater right on the spot. This beautiful little girl, empowered and happy, shone her imaginary flashlight all over the wall, guiding me as the flashlight to shine right where she felt the light was needed. It was just right and the dream was no longer scary. No interpretations, no lessons, just a moment of dreaming together.
       Meanwhile, the adults were deep in conversation and didn’t realize the beauty of the moment. My new friend skipped off to another room and I rejoined the conversation.
                     About twenty minutes later, she came up to me with a big sheet of drawing paper…she wanted to share more dreams with me, and had drawn sketches of about a half dozen dreams…and was brimming with excitement at telling me about her dreams.
      A gate had opened simply because she found someone who was genuinely interested in her amazing inner life. We can do this for others, children and adults alike, and if we open to dreaming with adults, the child within will come out to play.

Jane E. Carleton, MA, GG specializes in dreams as an international consultant, educator, and workshop leader. With two graduate degrees in Dreams and Consciousness Studies, she is an adjunct professor at the California Institute of Integral Studies. Jane teaches a variety of contemporary and cross-cultural experiential, transformative dreaming techniques, including Robert Moss’s Active Dreaming. 

1 comment:

Patricia said...

Jane, I enjoyed reading this wonderful story. I loved the improv theater and dream work. It is amazing how listening, so simple, can be such a powerful healer. I recently baby sat at a friends house. At the breakfast table I wove stories with this little boy through drawing and then theater play that had a scary spider turn into a helper who wove webs on the roof to keep the scary stuff out of his house.