Recently I have been learning from my dreams about the clarity with which soul’s desire is felt and expressed. The dream figures I meet speak with simple, immediate responses and invitations. “Yes!” they say when I dare ask for what I desire. And when I try to diminish it, they respond with a strong “No!”

For example, in this morning’s dream, I stood in a large, open, music-filled night-dark room among many people dancing with awesome intensity. I was afraid but longed to dance too. Believing I didn’t belong with this group, I asked a man who came to help, “Do you have classes for beginners?” He answered, “No. Just join in when you feel ready.”

In another dream, I asked an event organizer, “Can I be a featured poet?” and he answered simply, “Yes! We want you.”

When I can’t believe these invitations, hesitate, or get muddled up in how-to-do-it-right details, my dreams keep pushing, offering opportunities for me to find my own resounding yes to the moment or assert my own firm no to what holds me back.

In the dance dream, as I hesitated, the dancers shifted to slower, more easy paired movements, and some young women encouraged me to join. Still afraid, I asked if I was too old. They insisted, “No! age doesn’t matter. You can do it.”

In the poetry dream, as I became bogged down in logistics, afraid of taking up space or receiving too much attention, the dream responded with an image of a man so afraid to speak that he pees his pants, reminding me of what happened when I was a child too afraid to speak up in school about this simple, basic bodily need.

In another dream, I am given three chances to clearly say no to rescuing, people pleasing, compliant behaviors that go against my real desire. A do-good neighbor asks me to rescue two old dogs. I start out strong, saying, “No. I need a young dog.” So, she tries again, saying, “You should work with prisoners! You would be good at it.” Flattered, I waver, saying, “Not male prisoners. But maybe female…” Finally, an old, critical, dowager relative of this woman hands me an old, uninteresting book, saying, “You should read this!” Finally hooked, ever the good student, I give in, telling her compliantly, “Thanks. It looks interesting. I will read it.” In tending this dream, I see how easily I lose connection to soul’s desire by going into my mind in the bookish student role that earned me much approval as a child.

Again, and again, dreams invite us to heal the conditioned responses that separated us from our desire, causing us to not clearly recognize or feel it, and to fear its full intensity. Such conditioning shows up as shame, self-doubt, lack of confidence, feelings of not belonging, and rescuing or people-pleasing behaviors. As you tend your dreams, look for these specific ways that dreams help bring desire back to its immediate, simple clarity.

Look for:

  • moments when dream figures very firmly tell you, “No!” when you try to separate yourself out from interactions you wish you could be part of;
  • moments when dream figures tell you, “Join us! you can do it!” when you persist in hesitating;
  • moments when you ask for longed connections and are given a simple, resounding “Yes!” in response;
  • moments when dream figures test you with “You should do _______” statements, helping you to practice saying a clear no to compliant tasks not aligned with authentic desire.

Once you start looking for these moments, you will be surprised by how abundantly they occur in dreams. Dreams offer us endless opportunities to become freer, and more connected to our authentic desire. Through paying attention to every yes and no in your dreams, in waking life you will find yourself saying no more easily to what depletes you, and yes more spontaneously to what enlivens you.

Artwork by Liza Hyatt

Liza Hyatt, ATR-BC, LMHC is a certified Natural Dreamwork practitioner, board certified art therapist and licensed mental health counselor in Indianapolis. For more information about spiritual growth through dreamwork with Liza, please contact her at lizahyatt@gmail.com. You can learn more about Liza on the About Us page of our website.