Linda Henderson you are the winner of Jan's book. Please send me your snail mail address at christie (at) christie-craig. com.
I don't know about you guys but I've always been fascinated by dreams. That's why I so excited to have romance author Jan Hudson as our guest blogger this morning. Jan is a dream expert in her other life and she has very graciously agreed to share an excerpt with us from her unpublished book proposal on dreams.
Jan has helped me figure out several of my own dreams and her insight was amazing. But Jan is also one heck of a writer. And today, she'll be giving away a copy of her book. So make sure you leave a comment and pop over here tomorrow morning to see the winner announced.
So, take it away, Jan!
The following is an excerpt from an unpublished book proposal by dream expert Dr. Janece O. Hudson aka Jan Hudson author of THE MAVERICK, Harlequin American Romance, May 2010. (Last of the Texas Outlaw series.)
DREAMS: MOVIES OF THE MIND
Last night, 1,438,225,000 movies of the mind played in the bedrooms of the United States, all of them unique, many of them vitally important for the people who dreamed them. By ignoring the dreams that you had last night, did you fail to heed a message that warned of the early stages of breast cancer or heart disease? Did you miss the stock tip that could have made you rich or the creative idea that could have made your life a thousand times easier? Did you miss an answer to your prayers or a key to greater happiness and fulfillment in your relationships?
Learning to tap that wondrous inner source of wisdom and to work with your dreams is the greatest gift you could give yourself. The world's finest diagnostician, market analyst, creative thinker, sage, and counselor is as close as your pillow.
The advice is free. Deciphering the advice takes a bit of effort.
Psychologists have constructed elaborate theories to explain the mysterious content of dreams; other analysts, more arcane and less scientific, propose their own sets of meanings to dream symbolism--many of which strain credibility. All strive to make sense of the movies of our minds with tomes filled with incomprehensible psychobabble or dictionaries of outlandish definitions for various dream elements.
Grab your popcorn and a package of Junior Mints, and let's briefly explore the wonderful world of dreams, those movies of the mind that entertain us (or scare us) every night while we sleep.
“Oh, I don't dream," you say.
Not true. Scientists have discovered that everybody dreams from four to seven dreams each night--unless they're three sheets to the wind or on certain drugs. With a little practice, you can learn to recall and record your dreams.
-- It’s simply self-suggestion. Try these easy steps before you go to sleep at night:
-- Place an open notebook and pencil beside your bed.
-- Suggest to yourself that you will remember your dreams.
-- When you awaken--before you move--try to capture some-thing (a feeling, a fragment, an entire dream).
-- Write it down in as much detail as possible. Include emotions/body reactions.
-- If you get nothing, roll over in bed and see if something comes.
-- Date your entry and write a brief account of the previous day’s activities (like a diary). Include thoughts, emotions, fights, awards, dilemmas, etc. (Dreams are about current events in your life.)
-- Repeat each night for a week. You’ll get results. I guarantee it!
"Why would I want to record my dreams?" you ask. "Aren't they all about Freud and sex and hating your father?"
Most contemporary dream analysts agree that dreams are about a wider variety of subjects than those Freud suggested. The things that fill your days also fill your nights. (If all a person dreams about is sex, we wonder what’s going on during the day.) Dreams are about work and play and family, about relationships and aspirations and disappointments. They are about physical, emotional, and spiritual needs--and about a world of other things, including the past and the future.
I think of dreams as messages from our inner counselor and agree with Carl Jung and a number of other psychologists who tend to think of dreams as instruments to help keep us in balance and headed down the road of growth, self-actualization–or whatever they may label becoming the best that we can be.
My experience indicates that dreams, including nightmares, are very often about our needs as defined by psychologist Abraham Maslow–everything from the most basic physical ones (food, water, shelter, and yes, sex) to the most wondrous spiritual ones. They run the gamut from the profane to the profound, from suggesting the best brand of canned tuna to buy to those that take a man to task for hurtful behaviors toward his son, and those that are clearly prophetic.
Some dreams are funny; some are mundane; some are scary; some are deeply moving. Some dreams encourage us to exercise or cut out sweets; others warn of dangers in our pathway. All are messages to be interpreted, information to be used.
"That's very nice," you say, "but all that weird stuff I dream about doesn't make a lick of sense, so how can I use it for anything?"
You're not alone in your feelings. If dreams are movies of the mind, lots of people feel as if they’ve stumbled into a theater playing a foreign film--with no subtitles. In many ways that’s exactly what they are. Dreams are played in another language, a language of concrete images instead of abstract thought, a language that’s an amalgam of feeling and experience and unconscious scripts, and we have to learn to speak the language to be able to translate the meaning.
Always remember this critical point: Dreams are very personal and highly individual, and you are the best interpreter of your own productions. While we can make some generalizations about themes, characters, props and actions, everyone’s experiences are different. Don’t trust books with lists of symbols and meanings stating such specifics as dreaming of finding gold means you’re going to be rich or dreams about black-eyed peas means that Aunt Harriet is coming to visit next Tuesday. It’s not that simple.
Quick tips for interpreting dreams:
-- Themes: Read over the dream you’ve recorded and see if you can find a theme, a “high concept” if you will. Feeling lost, frustrated, anxious? Is you dream about direction, change, decisions? How does it relate to your actions or thoughts yesterday?
-- Look at figures of speech for clues. Metaphors and analogies often show up in dreams as concrete images for abstract ideas. A bear pushing a person off a building might indicate a “bear market” to an investor; a car with a flat might signal a dreamer who is “flat tired” and needs to rest. (Your car sometimes represents your body.)
-- List symbols and the meaning each has for you. (Writers and English teachers are great with this.) If you dream about a duck, what does a duck mean to you? What do you associate with your sister, an airplane, an office building, being naked? Now can you get a better idea of what your dream is about?
I hope this helps get you started. If you have a puzzling dream, I’ll be happy to help the first five people who e-mail me the complete dream at JanHudsonBooks@gmail.com