Using Dreams and Chance Encounters to Enhance Our Creative Visions

Author: Akaporn Bhothisuwan, Creative Commons Attribution, 2.0 generic
So this morning I wake from a quirky dream in which I’m driving through a wilderness outside of an unknown town. I come upon a bend in a river where several grizzly bears and golden retrievers, the red ones, have gathered. Other spectators who’ve arrived at the scene are afraid of the bears. The bears and dogs are pretty much all the same color, though the bears outweigh the large dogs by hundreds of pounds. The beastie pups are not afraid of nor hostile towards the bears. In fact, the animals are all playing together in the river, splashing and chasing each other through and all around it, running up on the banks and leaping back into the blue, splashing so water droplets flicker around them like golden sequins reflecting the sun, shimmering everywhere. One bear scurries out of the water, chased by a pup, and runs smack into the side of my vehicle, jostling me a bit. Unharmed, the bear turns to chase after the dog. They both leap into the water. I wake laughing as I often do.
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Later, while having coffee, I pull my animal medicine cards from their shelf to see what shamans and writers like those from the Navajo and Apache tribes of my ancestors have to say about these critters. What does it mean when a dog or a bear crosses our path, or visits us, or bumps right into us in our dreams? I discover messages that are potentially important for my writing in general and for a specific story on which I’m working. More about that later, with a take-away message or two for you.

Today is the day the housekeepers come. Like a good little heart-smart lady, I head to the Corner Bakery for my oatmeal with walnuts and almonds, and soy chai latte. I’m having breakfast while jotting down the Bear-Dog dream in my journal, describing those big dogs and bigger bears, telling about their silly enthusiasm for the water and for each other. Looking up from my journal for a sip of chai, I see the spectacle of a gi-normous, playfully immature Harlequin Great Dane right outside my window--I’ve been told they are eternal puppies. His big head is eye-level with mine as gives his mum-person a bit of a workout. She hitches him to the patio gate, shaking a mock-stern finger before his eyes, and mine, telling him, “Be good now, so I can go inside and order our breakfast.”  Can you sense my happy surprise? It’s as if this exceedingly large dog has come to be tethered so near me at this precise moment so I will pay attention to my dream and to my own journal entry.
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Here’s what the animal medicine cards have to say about these critters: Bears represent the journey inward where our intuition and creativity reside. They can signify the need to turn inward while visioning about new projects. I’ve been doing a lot of visioning for my creative work lately. So, the message for me: While I’m consciously doing this work, I should also go within, using my usual meditation time to tap my subconscious, focusing specifically on my writing and other arts during some of my meditations. Bears can symbolize for all of us the importance of turning inward while envisioning how we may need to proceed...

Dogs represents loyalty and faithfulness, as well as compassion and empathy. The purpose of my life and my life’s work has been and continues to be a loving and compassionate interpretation of the Great Creator’s constant “For You!” My spiritual director, acts out the most wonderful “For you!” from a loving Generosity you can imagine. The gifts are all around us, and we’re so busy, often too busy or distracted to take them in. My stories and poems help others see, hear, and feel. At the moment, I’m working on a narrative about a family transitioning through a particularly knotty problem. The dogs in my dream, and perhaps at the coffee shop, are underscoring for me the importance of being loyal to the purpose of my work—to faithfully, with compassion and empathy, help the reader see these characters and their struggles, so the gifts and lessons of the story-journey can be communicated, and, hopefully, received. Dogs in our lives or dogs that cross our paths can remind us to be faithful to our purpose, and to see others, even the tough or wild characters in our lives, with empathy and compassion, and a good sense of humor.

After working on the story for a few very productive hours at the coffee shop, then running some quick errands, I arrive home to a clean house and a note from the housekeepers--we have a swat team because our steady person retired. She was WONDERFUL. We’ve been looking for a solid one since. The note reads, “...I'm sorry I broke this thing.” Sitting beside the note is a small deer antler, ten inches or so in length, from my collection of unusually beautiful treasures. The story of how I came to have this antler, and what the animal cards tell about the deer, is pretty interesting, if I do say. And those, my dear friends, are a story and message “For you!” for another day.