Our dreams can help us heal by reconnecting us with aspects of ourselves that we have suppressed, or lost touch with. Below, I share a dream flow experience that was deeply healing for me personally. In traditional Shamanic terms, this is called a soul retrieval journey:
The Return of Mermaid Girl
“I lie in my bath, and I daydream about the power of trees in dream journeys. Suddenly, I can see my favorite tree from childhood – the one where I spent hours perched on a branch reading Nancy Drew and King Arthur stories.
In my mind, I go back to that tree on the edge of the cow pasture; I can feel the rough bark and the curve of the branch under me. I imagine myself shrinking and climbing down its roots into the earth. I spiral down the main root in my mind – seeing the dark rich soil. I go further and further down until I find myself in a huge cavern with a slow moving underground river Flowing by.
I know I have traveled this route before – it all looks so familiar. I jump into the water. I wonder about a guide and imagine dolphins – no manatees swimming with me, guiding me. we swim downstream through a series of 3 pools, each a different color.
In the last pool, I see my 7 year old self sitting on the beach with our old dachshund under her arm. I get out of the water crying, I am so happy to see her – she is mermaid girl – the part of me that KNEW she was destined to grow gills and swim away. And so she did.
I ask her to come back with me, telling her how much my life has changed. She is reluctant at first to return to this reality. She didn’t like this place much! We finally agree that she will come back and be my treasure hunter part; she will hunt for stories that I can use in my writing and in my classes. It is the perfect job for her – she adores books; myths and stories especially.
Mermaid girl and I merge energetically. I am ecstatic. I jump back in the water and swim with the manatees up through the pools to the cavern. I climb up the tree roots and fly home on eagle.”
The freedom to see and hear what is here, instead of what should be, was, or will be.
The freedom to say what you feel and think, instead of what you should.
The freedom to feel what you feel, instead of what you ought.
The freedom to ask for what you want, instead of always waiting for permission.
The freedom to take risks in your own behalf,
instead of choosing to be only “secure” and not rocking the boat.
–Virginia Satir, Making Contact
Today I honor Virginia Satir, who was a pioneer in the area of family therapy. Virginia was one of the first therapists to focus on how each individual interacts with other family or group members – how they can choose to express themselves congruently and honestly or hide behind masks to protect themselves. Her work changed the face of family counseling dramatically.
Virginia also created a model for change, detailing how people react to and cope with change in their lives. Virginia died before I could meet her, but I was exposed to her work by two of her amazing students, Jerry Weinberg and Jean McLendon.
Virginia Satir’s work was all about being open and aware and taking responsibility for your own happiness.
Thank you, Virginia!