Dream Journaling 101

If you think you don't dream, or can't remember your dreams, try these simple steps and prepare to surprise yourself.

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Keep a flashlight on your night table in case you wake in the middle of the night. Though it is not feasible for me to use a tape recorder at home because [my husband] Andy would kill me, I recently used one on a solo trip. This was one of the best experiences with dream recording I have ever had...[W]hen I woke I pushed the record button with my eyes still closed. I got

every part

of the dream that way, and then I wrote it out later. This was ideal for capturing little details I might have missed by getting up.

There is another great value to trapping the dream this way. The experience becomes exactly like listening to someone else's dream. I have the advantage of

hearing

what I am saying, catching the movement and plot of the dream... It's also a great way to hear any play on words or puns I may have used...

Keep A Dream Journal

Keeping a dream journal is a terrific way to track your emotional progress. If you are passing through a crisis or life transition, if you are trying to change a relationship, or if you just want to keep track of who you were and who you've become, your dream journal will give you new perspectives on your life's path.

Many people find it more pleasant to keep a journal when they have a special, beautiful book to write in. I love stationery stores, so picking a dream journal is always an enjoyable experience for me.

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You can buy a lined book if you prefer to simply write out your dreams, or you can draw your dreams in an art book. You can do both. Some people write out the dream with drawings to illustrate different scenes or objects. Feel free to record your dream, with its feelings and symbols, using any kinds of illustrations or graphics you like.

Include the date on the morning of a dream. Patricia Garfield suggests that before you turn out the lights at night, "...jot down what you have done and felt during the day. This paragraph of 'facts' needn't be long but should include the salient events and emotions you experienced. This may hardly seem necessary but two months or two years from now you will find it invaluable.

I know someone who keeps a dream journal in his computer. He takes advantage of different fonts and spacing and includes plenty of colorful graphics. The result is a beautiful document several hundred pages long. Keeping a journal in your computer also gives you the advantage of very easily looking up what certain images mean to you. You can create your own personal dictionary. By hitting "find" on the keyboard, you can see where and how a certain metaphor or symbol was used.

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Layne Dalfen
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