Into the Woods—A ‘Better Endings’ Revision

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For those new to this blog, or as a refresher since I haven’t looked at this topic directly for awhile here, I am interested in the principle of BETTER ENDINGS.  In fact I have a book in progress about this principle, as it applies not only to literature or mythic constructions but also, and more importantly, to our own lives.

There’s a concept I have learned from Eckankar about working with dreams. If you are dreaming and you do not like what is happening in your dreamscape,  you can change the dream while you are in it as a lucid dream activity; or, immediately upon waking you can rewind the dream and change its ending in your imagination.  This may help you to release the stress associated with the situation encoded by the dream. (I recommend Harold Klemp’s THE ART OF SPIRITUAL DREAMING for many helpful dreamwork techniques.)

But here’s a plus factor: If you can become skilled at changing your nightly dreams, so too you increase your capacity to make changes in your day-to-day life, effecting BETTER ENDINGS! What IF…you had taken that job, stayed with or left that relationship, gone on that vacation? You can re-vision your past choices and attitudes to bring about better coping skills and to realign your Life Path with your most ardent goals.

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Our topic this month of The Sacred Marriage has lots of fertile grounds for ‘better-endering.’  Let me try my hand at a Better Endings rendering for the Sondheim play “Into the Woods”:

I love the play (and movie) Into the Woods’, but I do not like the bitter ending. Why does the baker’s wife have to fall off a cliff to her doom?  The guilty party in confusing her was the philandering Prince, whose charming charisma and political power allows him to believe he can take advantage of any woman in the realm, even forsaking the beautiful princess Cinderella whom he has gone to such great lengths to woo. No, I do not like this bitter pill of an ending, at all!

In my Better Ending for this fairy tale, the Baker’s wife lives on to raise her new baby with her faithful husband.  Cinderella comes upon her charmer of a husband trying unsuccessfully to woo his rival Prince Valiant’s Rapunzel, and Cinderella lets Prince Valiant know what she has seen. The two Princes have a swordfight.     In a final, mutual flourish stab, they pierce each other at the lip of that fatefull cliff the Baker’s wife had been slated for, and they both go toppling over to their deaths.  Cinderella, now freed from this sordid affair, is Queen! She invites Rapunzel to be a story teller for the realm, and together they effect feminist reforms for their Peoples.

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images are from pixabay.com

So, there you have it, a Better Endings retelling for Into the Woods that aims to address the true meaning of The Sacred Marriage.  We marry our values, our integrity. This serves the Whole.

Is there a story about marriage or partnership—either fictional or in your own life—that you believe could benefit from a Better Ending?  Envision it! Write it down! Make the relevant changes!

I welcome your Comments and Stories.!

Time Travel?  You ARE a Time Machine!

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Following up from my previous post on “How to Burst Your Bubble,” we are all of us time travelers!  We have the capacity to transport ourselves to any NOW of our imagining via our divine gift of creative visualization.

All the theoretical debate over whether time travel is possible or whether we could ever develop a Time Machine is interesting yet unnecessary. We HAVE a Time Machine built into our very Beingness, though only a few of us humans (anyways) have learned how to willingly tap into our timespace travel capacity.

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Am I speaking of Memory? Only as a repository for dead image storage, though we may utilize a stored memory as a launching off pad for our “inner” time travel adventures. Some speak of the Reactive Mind; that houses memory images that, if reactivated by encountering a similar experience to one that affected us earlier in a traumatic or dramatic way, could trigger or reactivate past synoptic associations. Memories can be pleasant or painful, beautiful or horrendous. But if we are only talking about ‘dead’ mental images, this is not the sort of time travel I am referring to .

Lift yourself above the Time Track via your fertile IMAGINATION and go to visit one of the experiences you hold in your memory banks, but this time deposit yourself back into the event actively and re-vision it. This can be a form of time travel.  “Daydream” or creatively envision a desirable future state of consciousness and deposit yourself into that specific possible future to look around or make changes Here; this can also be a time travel excursion.

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What I mean by “get above the time track” and “deposit” yourself in the Now of your aware choice so you can explore and bring back your fresh memory of perceptions from there, is just that.  I like to think of Timespace more as an OCEAN than as a linear arrow; your consciousness then is like an OCEAN LINER—or better yet, a SEA GULL!

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Mystics and self-development gurus say emphatically that you CAN create your own future. Time Travel via consciousness-surfing, as you will, is a timeless (hah!) method. Establish a thought mold of a desirable future state so you can steer your consciousness to eventually sail mindfully into this future-state harbor.  IMAGINATION is your Divine capacity of Consciousness Itself.

How do I “know” this to speak so confidently of your essentially BEing your own Time Machine? It would take more than this full month of posts on our theme of Departure to explain.

Some evidences from my own life experience include (with brief annotations):

Prophetic dreams (lots of them, very clear and later realized precisely):

Example:   When I moved from Buffalo, NY to Phoenix, AZ in 1979 I asked questions of my Inner Guide in active contemplation every night for the previous year. Every night I then dreamed about what I would be experiencing as I traveled to Phoenix and what I would encounter there. I met three people very clearly in my dreams whom I later recognized from those dreams and who became close relations in Phoenix.  I was shown that I needed to make this trip partly to meet these people.

Revised memories from direct re-visioning:

Example:

In my upcoming book Your Life Path I include a life mapping Tool that I call “Re-Vision a Past Event.” I practiced this myself by re-visioning a traumatic encounter with my father when I was 17.   By depositing myself back into a memory of a time when he physically beat and demeaned me over a trivial matter, I was able to journal a dialogue with him (1st person, ‘present-Then’ tense) just following the encounter. We both got to communicate with each other about what had “just” transpired, so we both came to a clearer understanding of both of our points of view and motivations and we forgave each other in that re-visioned dialogue. I can say that since re-visioning that experience, its memory is forever altered in my consciousness!

‘Future Casting’ now coming to fruition

When I was a teenager I would often daydream. I would usually find myself on a small rowboat, drifting under a blue sky while reading a book. Guess what? In around 18 months I am relocating after retirement to a lakeside community!

Future casting is a concept I use in Your Life Path to recommend journaling “Alternate Future Scape” scenarios.

Other Examples:

Other timespace ‘travel’ modalities I have experienced directly include:

Parallel life awareness, past life awareness, lucid dreaming, and Soul Travel (Out of Body Experiences including  a Near-Death experience).

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images are from pixabay.com

Remember please, you are NOT your Body but your Consciousness has a freedom to explore beyond your Body’s sense-limitations.

I welcome YOUR Stories and Comments!

Invite Your Dream Guide to Show the Way

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Jung would say the Persona is the general archetypal domain for all 12 of the primordial universal archetype figures I am presenting to you here based on the archetypal psychology of the late Dr. Charles Bebeau’s Avalon Archetype Institute. These persona archetypes often appear in our dreams. They may take either masculine or feminine forms and they might present in positive (I call this their Strengths aspect) or in negative (Shadow) manifestations.

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This week we can combine the Life Metaphor of Life is a Dream with the persona archetype of Teacher.  The Dream Master or Dream Teacher is a figure I work with closely in my own spiritual practice.   You can invite your own Teacher archetype to appear in your dreams as an Inner Guide or to communicate with you via the dream state.

A couple of years ago I had a wonderful inner encounter with my own Dream Master. In a dreamscape just before waking, I found myself among a small group of people at the base of a canyon area. My Inner Guide was there. He showed us that our destination was on top of the canyon and said there were two ways to get there. We could either try to climb the rock canyon wall directly up to the top, or there was a wide, winding trail that we could walk. The people in this little group were of various ages. Two of them, a young man and a young woman, immediately went scrambling up the nearly vertical cliff wall and they were out of sight quickly, en route to a quickly attained destination. The rest moved off toward the long, winding trail to make their gradual ascent up the canyon.

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I watched the two young people scramble up the cliff wall and saw the older group walk to the gradual pathway. I wanted to be like the younger two, so I started trying to scale the rocky cliff. I took about five footholds in the ascent and suddenly, I was stuck! I couldn’t climb up for fear of falling, nor could I descend because I could not see where to place my feet.

I looked down to the canyon floor; my Teacher was still there, watching. He was wearing colors like those of Superman, with royal blues and red.

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I called down to him:

“Master, can you help me?”

He beckoned where to place my foot to descend back to the canyon floor:

“No, not there; a little further down and to the right. Yes, that’s it.”

Very quickly I was safe at the bottom. I walked over to my beloved Teacher.

“Thank You!” I said.

“I have the ability to watch,” my Teacher answered.

Gratefully, I moved on over to the long, winding trail, content now to take my time as the relative oldster I have become. This was the path of wisdom for me. It was clear that my Teacher helped me to descend so I could climb the canyon on a more gradual incline.

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I have never forgotten the wonderful feeling of being loved and cared for by my Dream Teacher’s inner guidance. I knew from reflecting on the dream that it was important that I had ASKED for this guidance. My Teacher has “the ability to watch”. But I have to be willing to ASK for his ever-present protection and  guidance.

Have YOU had a significant dream experience with an Inner/Dream Teacher? I welcome your stories!

Change Your Dream, Change Your Life

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So, what is your current dream-life about? What story does it tell? Who are you in your current story? Who are others? What messages does your dream express? If you were to interpret this dream, what might you learn?

One consideration based on the metaphor Life is a Dream is to ask, Where is this dream leading to; how might this dream story end?

A common dream technique (mentioned in The Art of Spiritual Dreaming, by Harold Klemp) is to wake up from a dream and if you don’t like where it was going or how it ended, go back to sleep to finish it better, or simply use your imagination or journaling to alter the ending of your dream more to your satisfaction. This may help you to feel better throughout your day rather than carrying around tense feelings from your dream.

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But think about this: if you can change how a nightly dream develops or ends, you can do this with your waking dream, too!  Simply reflect on a situation in your day to day life that is not going as you would like and apply your imagination to creatively envision how you could handle the situation differently and better.  You can also use internal dialogue with someone you are having an issue with, changing how you might normally interact with or speak to that person.

If you can DREAM or envision a more positive outcome, you can act consciously to bring that about, or at very least you can learn to respond better to how the situation needs to be. It is important that you are empowered with this approach; you can take the responsibility to alter your own attitude or behavior in a manner that allows the outer situation to change. For remember, you are the Dreamer!

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Have you had an experience in your life where you have been able to change the outcome of a ‘stuck’ or a habitual situation? Standing back from your life-dream to reflect upon what is happening, as if “life is but a dream” you can interpret, can offer you the distance to apply a more mindful solution; your “recurring dream” can thus be resolved!

Recognizing that your waking consciousness is only qualitatively different from your dreamstate helps to strengthen the link between your conscious and sub-conscious awareness, so you can become more receptive and accepting of important messages coming to you from within. 

I invite your comments and stories!

How to Use Your Dreams for Better Endings–Just Ask!

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As an example of how you can use dreaming to bring about Better Endings, allow me to share about a time in my life when dreaming was fundamental in helping me to make a major life move. I grew up “back East” (from a Colorado perspective!): in Ohio, Pennsylvania and then upper western New York. My family lived near Niagara Falls when I was in high school and then I went to college in Buffalo for my bachelors and Masters degrees; so I lived in the eastern part of the country for my first 25 years, from 1954 to 1979.

After my Masters, I wanted to go on for a doctorate in Anthropology, and I had become particularly fascinated with the Southwest and Southwest Native American cultures from my Masters studies in Linguistics while in Buffalo. I took a wonderful cross-country bus trip with a friend to visit Sedona and Phoenix, Arizona, and after that I decided to apply for my graduate studies at Arizona State University. I was accepted into their graduate program, and that’s when my whole life was about to take a major shift, not only of location—Eastern to Western states—but to a fundamentally new way of being, for me, apart from my family and friendships I had forged in New York. “Going West” was a huge shift for someone whose whole family hailed from the Eastern states. So, I had to go through a major shift in perspective in order to accept this major life move. To do so, I turned to my dreaming.

Every night for over a year while I finished my Masters thesis and began to prepare for ‘the Big Move’ to Arizona, I sat for a ½ hour to 2 hour contemplation in my bedroom in Buffalo, and then went to sleep, to dream. Each night I framed a question that I would aim to receive an answer for in the contemplation or in my dreams that night. My questions all had to do with the upcoming move. For example, was I crazy to make such a huge relocation, from East to West, or shouldn’t I just give up on this wild adventure scheme and stay ‘Home’? I was going to drive my red Buick Special convertible; wasn’t red going to be too hot for Arizona? I was taking along my beloved cat, Chela; could she make such a long car trip? And, would I meet any ‘real’ new friends in ‘cowboy country’ (or again, maybe I should stay home in my ‘comfort zone’, after all!)

It was amazing, really, in retrospect. The technique was much like Jung’s nightly experiences with “active imagination” that he wrote of in his journal, The Red Book (check out this link for Jung’s images!). Every night in contemplation I would pose a question like those above that mainly challenged whether I could or should make such a huge transition, and afterwards, every night I would ‘be given’ a lucid dream that very clearly answered that specific question in the form of very direct and unmistakable inner guidance.  I was addressing my questions in contemplation to a spiritual Inner Guide, and he was helping me every step of the way, probably because without such clear answers, I would have found it harder to make this major change in consciousness that, spiritually, I really did need to make in order to move forward in my life.

When I complained that my car was red (How could I take a red car to Arizona?), that night in my dreams I was taken to a hotel in Phoenix (I later learned it was a Ramada Inn that really exists there!). This hotel has a rotating restaurant at the top. I was taken to that overview where I looked down at the parking lot. Guess what? It was FULL of red cars!

When I complained how could my precious cat endure such a long road trip, that night I was shown myself and her taking the trip. I was driving a big van that had a PIANO in the back! Over the piano was a quilted comforter, and stretched out in pure comfort along the piano top—with soft music playing—was, yes, you guessed correctly; my cat friend, Chela!

But would I meet any real friends? I was shown that night a truly prophetic dream revealing four specific persons whom I later met and recognized when I met them from that night of dreaming! One became my good friend whom I later married for 3 years, Franco. Another became a best friend and graduate school cohort for several years. Another would be my PhD advisor, Betsy. And the fourth became somewhat of a personal spiritual advisor while I was in Phoenix.

But, did I really have to make this trip? Would I be happy? Two dreams followed from those two questions. In the first, I was shown that there would be hard times to endure but they would be necessary for my spiritual unfoldment. In the second, I was walking with my Grandmother along a Phoenix city street. There was happiness in the air as I sang a lilting tune which I awoke with: “I’m leaving; But there are a few doors left to close, before I get over there!” For the rest of the year before I made the Big Move, I sang this song daily, in the morning at the university where I was teaching English and at night. I was leaving. I did clear up whatever remaining business I had in Buffalo before I could go.

When I reached Phoenix, these dreams had prepared me perfectly for all that was to come. Things went smoothly, and I learned what I needed to learn along the way. After only one night of tears when I realized I really had separated from all I had ever known, I adjusted rapidly and undertook one of the most significant and edifying phases of my life.

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Have you had this sort of “tandem” relationship with your Dreams? As an explanation of the method I used that you can use, too; it can be summed up very simply: Just Ask!

I would love to hear about your insights and experiences too! Feel free to comment and share YOUR stories!