“Solution dreams can help you overcome obstacles that are preventing you from growing into your full potential.”
--- Pamela Cummins
Unfortunately Dream work is thought to be done primarily by people who have explored metaphysical teachings. The following supports the credibility of Dream interpretation that I encourage my grandchildren to practice.
This quote is from biblestudy.org by Lawrence Luna “In Psychology, we have to understand the symbols in our dreams so that when we know it, we can identify its significance in our lives. Mastery of dream interpretation takes time and will undergo dream work exercises before you can master it. As you deal with guidance of dream specialist or psychotherapist (in the field of Psychology, not in occult groups) is much needed because if not guided, it may cause psychological problems and from that the psychological growth of the person will be at risk.”
One of the most common means used in Scripture to convey His will is through dreams (Numbers 12:6).
In my experience, resolving issues that come up in my dreams does assist me in achieving goals.
I did not deal with my fear-based dreams for many years that caused terrifying nightmares. Fortunately or providentially I met a Jesuit Priest who assisted me in interpreting my dreams. He suggested I start to journal my dreams and then look up the symbols. Through this process I got a better understanding of the source that created these recurring dreams. This happened thirty years ago.
I still use these resources when I talk to my grandchildren about their dreams. The first step for them is to write down their dream as soon as they awaken.(Initially we explore their dreams together.) I then have them choose the symbols from the dream that seem most significant. These strongest symbols clue them in to the message the dream is giving them. It is gratifying to see their eyes light up when they get the message.
My Dream work continues to assist me in dealing with issues I am often not aware of on a conscious level. The following was a dream I had last week.
I was in a bookstore. A Catholic nun who was bubbly, happy, and very friendly starting talking to me. She said she loved doing what she did in life. She placed her hand over my heart and started massaging it. I said to her, “Are you a healer?” I told her it felt like something inside me has been healed.
I immediately wrote down the dream and picked out a few symbols to look up in my Dream book.
Nun. Aspect of personality that is giving up something but know it is the best choice for you.
Heart. Unconditional love, healing.
In one of my recent blog postings I suggested writing down anything we wanted to release as we begin a new year. I suggested tearing it up or shredding it.
I spent some time reflecting on what I needed to let go of and was ready to be healed within myself. I am basically a flexible person. I basically go along with the flow of life. But I thought about situations in which I get angry and have a difficult time moving on.
These situations basically arise when I experience what I perceive to be an injustice being imposed on someone I love. I spent time reflecting on my entire life and wrote down every event or circumstance I judged to be such a situation. I then shredded the list. This dream helped me clear up these issues from the past and allowed a healing to happen, removing any possible blocks to my goals for 2021.
“Understanding breeds empathy.”
Several of the readers of my last posting expressed they were totally unfamiliar with the Enneagram. The list below offers a general description of the nine personality types:
Type 1: The Reformer, Idealistic, Orderly, Perfectionistic Person.
Type 2: The Helper, The Concerned, Helpful Person.
Type 3. The Motivator, The Self-Assured, Ambitious Person.
Type 4. The Artist, The Creative, Individualist, Introverted Person.
Type 5. The Thinker, The Perceptive, Analytic, Eccentric Person.
Type 6. The Loyalist, The Likable, Loyal, Dependent Person.
Type 7. The Generalist, The Accomplished, Extroverted Person.
Type 8. The Leader, The Powerful, Expansive, Dictatorial Person.
Type 9. The Peacemaker, The Peaceful Reassuring, Passive Person.
In first looking over the list of types there is a temptation to quickly determine your personality type. Our friends who live in Houston attended several workshops with us on the Enneagram. In the group setting it was helpful to receive guidance from others to narrow down the type that best reflects who we are. We think this website they sent to us offers a great resource to assist you in determining your personality type. https://www.eclecticenergies.com/enneagram/test
Based on the answers you check off, you will be shown the number that best suits you, describing your type.
You may ask why I feel so strongly about doing this exercise before determining my New Year’s resolution or moving to the next step of goal setting. The awareness of how we function in the world, why certain ways of doing things are important to us, have helped both my wife and me to have a better understanding of why we react to situations the way we do in our marriage, friendships and with our family. Before retirement it helped me in my communication with my clients.
I would like to quote Don Richard Riso author of Understanding the Enneagram.
“Although self-understanding is the most proper use of the Enneagram, naturally we will also want to use it to understand others” He goes on to say “Indeed, we want to use the Enneagram in our dealings with others precisely because it affords so much insight into them. Understanding others more profoundly allows us to appreciate the good we find in them as well as to become more objective about the things we do not like about them. Since we all tend to think that other people are basically like ourselves, it is helpful to realize that different types think and feel and act quite differently.”
In our marriage we have a lot in common but understanding each other on this level helps avoid conflict and gives us resources to fall back on to understand one another better.
I am a Type 3, the Motivator, I seek new experiences. I am ambitious and want to gather groups to do the things I like doing. My focus is the big picture. I move forward with the big idea and know the details will work themselves out.
My wife is a Type 1: The Reformer – Idealistic, Orderly and a Perfectionist. She wants a detailed plan. It has to be done right. It does not matter whether the task is large or small. No shortcuts if it affects quality.
An example of how we work together is in writing and releasing this blog. I get up early, determine a topic, and start writing. I do not spend time making corrections. I just want to get it finished. When she reads my first draft of my blog, she goes over it carefully checking the details and correcting my errors. I may be the ambitious motivator, but Jeanne’s assistance is invaluable.
I encourage you to consider sharing this blog with family and friends.
There are no good or bad types. It is just about learning more about ourselves and the people in our lives.
“Be the change that you wish to see in the world.”
Over the last four years of offering ideas to my readers on ways to achieve their goals for the New Year I have observed some resistance to new ideas. Many people will take the easy road by making the same New Year’s resolutions each year with a renewed resolver to follow through. Unfortunately, statistics have proven that those resolutions typically fail after two months into the year.
Possibly a new approach could be to make a resolution to start to get to know ourselves better in 2021. This goal will surely not be accomplished in two or three months. It can be fascinating, fun but sometimes shocking, affirming but also challenging; affirming…oh yes, I know that is me; challenging…is that really me? A year of self-study can help us to understand why some opportunities create a constructive flow in our lives and other challenges create roadblocks to success. I am approaching 80 but this is an area I continue to explore to enable smooth transitions to change and roadmaps better suited to the person I am.
When my wife and I experienced Marriage Encounter weekends and then proceeded to present the weekends as a team, the first talk given was Encounter with Self. That talk made me realize I did not know myself very well and made it difficult to achieve my goal and share in a lifetime growing relationship with my spouse. That experience happened forty-eight years ago, and it triggered a passion in me to read and attend workshops on spiritual and personal enrichment.
Several years ago in my first posting I said I put together a toolbox of resources. Much of those resources continue to keep me focused on personal growth, spiritual enrichment, defining and fulfilling goals.
I would like to offer you an alternative approach to making New Year’s resolutions. That approach is to spend time reading a book or two on self-discovery. Perhaps you will find approaches to achieving your goals that will go more with the flow of who you are. We all define what is possible or impossible for us to achieve by the advantages and disadvantages we know in ourselves. I have found the following book helpful for me.
Understanding the Enneagram by Don Riso
“Understanding the Enneagram builds on the insights of the groundbreaking Personality Types. With the Enneagram, we have found a master key, one that will unlock many doors. It will give us wisdom we need to escape from our self-imposed prison so that we can embrace a fuller life.”
There are nine personality types. After reading about them I decided I am Type Three: The Motivator. I am ambitious to improve myself, success driven, goal oriented. The unhealthy side of this type three is fearing failure and humiliation.
When I was encouraged to start a blog by several friends, I had to overcome the block of thinking that most people would not be interested in what I had to say. There was the fear of failure!
I will follow up on my next posting with books and resources I have used to change the pattern from unsuccessful New Year’s resolutions to New Year opportunities for personal and spiritual growth.
”Never lose hope. Storms make people stronger and never last forever.”
Roy T. Bennett
I often reflect on ideas to share with my family and friends, particularly ideas that have worked for me in living out what I am proposing for consideration.
I do have to agree with many of my readers that this year has been a challenge to stay positive. It has been a year of disappointments, loss of life of family and friends, and the constant threat of the unknown.
As we begin the countdown to the end of 2020, it is an opportunity to examine and eliminate the possible blocks to your achieving your goals for the new year. I read the following quote in Mike Morrell’s newsletter. He is the collaborating author of many bestselling books with Fr, Richard Rohr. He quotes Valarie Kaur who expresses what we have been experiencing this year and what we might be anticipating for 2021. “What if this is not the darkness of the tomb, but the darkness of the womb?” It is with much excitement that I am anticipating the new birth opportunities of the New Year.
This is the time of year I dream and visualize endless possibilities. The days after Christmas I work out a plan for the New Year. I focus on that plan of action throughout the year and move forward to achieve my goals. I do this regardless of the obstacles that come up, and they always do! That awareness alone is the first step to successfully overcome negativity in the news or from any source can create an energy that stalls forward movement or even totally shuts out creativity.
Since this year has been unprecedented in unexpected hardships and loss, it is key to remove many of those obstacles before any planning and goal setting can take place for the New Year.
The following comes from one of the resources I read in the Daily Word; the theme today is Release.
“I accept all that has come my way. With gratitude, I bless it all. I find the gifts and release what no longer serves my growth. I release any pain of a financial setback. In a joy of restored health, I release any memory of illness. Grateful for all models of connection, I release any pain of loneliness.”
The scripture passage in this reading also gives guidance on how we can have success in moving from a challenging 2020 to a new beginning as we approach 2021.
“Do not remember the former things or consider the things of old.”
Before working on my goals for 2021 I will follow the recommendations that come from today’s theme of Release.
I like to do something to symbolize that I am not only writing down what I am releasing I am finalizing it. Once I symbolically finalize it, I choose not to think about it again.
I finalize what I am releasing by writing the releases on index cards then shredding the cards. Many people have a fire pit on their patio. Just put them there and watch them burn! It is important to release the past to create the life of your dreams.
Remember there’s no such thing as a small act of kindness.
Every act creates a ripple with no logical end.”
Often small acts of kindness are done without anyone being aware of them. In spite of that they definitely have a rippling effect than can change lives of the recipient, giver and those who coincidentally observed them. I remember the reaction of someone who viewed something that I did and thought nothing of it. After I parked the car my wife and I walked into the grocery store and this lady said to me, “ I saw what you did.” My initial thought was oh, oh, what did I do. She said, “That was so nice of you to walk around the car and open the car door for your wife.”
Yesterday we received an email from friends saying they thought of us when they read the following quote from the Franciscan Media. “Sometimes we’re graced to be around a grateful person. He or she overlooks the negative to focus on the world’s abundant delight.” The timing of this note of encouragement could not have come at a better time because we were slowly bouncing back from a challenging week.
The following message from a friend as she was reflecting on the kindness of her husband who passed five years ago. It was personally touching because I was in high school with Joel and did not see him again until fifty years later. This was when we were invited to a meeting of retired couples to form a social group. My impression of him in school and in our social gatherings was that he was noticeably quiet and never sought any personal recognition or attention.
Message from Joel’s wife Ann:
“Tomorrow Joel will be gone five years. Sadness still remains and Christmas holidays do not seem to make it better. Hoping and praying to be together one day in the future. Love always to my sweet and kind husband. Cute story: One of the many days Joel was outside cutting grass and all of a sudden, I did not hear the lawn mower. I peeped out the window wondering why he had turned it off. I then observe that he is talking to some man who I thought probably came from the railroad tracks, sometimes they would get off the trains.
All of a sudden Joel reaches down and takes off his shoes. Now I am watching this transpire. He gives the shoes to this man who puts them on and proceeds to continue walking down the street. Joel comes in the house barefoot and I am just looking at him just waiting to hear what he had to say. I kind of knew.
He said the man’s shoes were falling apart and he had asked him for a pair of shoes. I always like telling this story. The sweet things that people do for others when no one is around shows the true nature of a person. I will always miss him no matter how many years go by.”
This Holiday Season many people are stressed financially as a result of the loss of so many jobs caused by the worldwide pandemic. Acts of kindness can be done in many ways according to our individual resources. Your one small (or large) act of kindness can touch many people also though you may not see it yourself.
You may want to share an act of kindness you experienced recently that helped you appreciate what a wonderful world we now live in.
“Turn your obstacles into opportunities and
your problems into possibilities.”
This year has been an incredibly challenging year for all of us. In spite of that we have remained focused on our goals. Last week a friend suggested we connect with a virtual presentation by Matthew Kelly entitled Amazing Possibilities He encouraged us to write down our answers to 19 dream questions, emphasizing we not judge our ability to succeed.
Below are a few of the questions. I filled in my personal answers.
always treated me in an incredibly special way.
I would like to increase the size of our patio area and have an outside kitchen.
of the bible.
Participating in this workshop made me realize the importance of spending time reflecting on what great things we can create in our lives regardless of what is going on in the world. I realized that it is those negative thoughts that block my ability to live life to the fullest.
I always increase my rate of success in achieving my goals when I write down what I want to achieve and then follow through by posting them on my Dream Board. It still amazes me to see what we have manifested in spite of the pandemic. The following are a few “dreams” that were written and posted.
Remodel our guest bathroom.
Install exterior lighting of the house.
Purchase a whole-house generator.
Increase our tithing during the pandemic.
This Thanksgiving offers us a great opportunity as we gather around the table with family to express our gratefulness. Perhaps one or two of the above questions can offer further discussion to nourish our souls with Amazing Possibilities as we nourish our bodies. If you are interested in receiving the entire list that was given to us let me know in the comment section and I will forward it to you by email.
“To all the other dreamers out there, do not ever stop or let the world's
negativities disenchant you or your spirit. If you surround yourself
with love and the right people, anything is possible.”
Some people think having a positive approach to life in these troubling times is not realistic. I have been reminded by others that what they saw or read in the news confirms that the future looks bleak with the possibility of a recession and proposed tax increases.
I was born into a family that had experienced the Great Depression of 1929 and were then confronted with the entrance of the United States into World War 11 only two months after my birth in 1941. To further dramatize the impact the war had on the family two of my young uncles were missing in action and it was not known if they were alive.
In spite of horrific conditions in the world and the anxiety of the unknown every Sunday my grandparents had the family over for a huge Italian meal. They gathered around the table for hours to enjoy one another’s presence. Looking back I believe these family gatherings were the critical component that helped them stay functional and encourage one another during a time considered to be the worst time in history.
My parents focused on a dream they had to start their own business by opening a corner grocery store. Some people thought this was not a good idea because times were tough. In addition to that certain food products were rationed and could only be purchased with food stamps. It was only natural that they discussed their dreams with the family gathered around the table for Sunday dinners.
With a loan from one of my uncles my parents purchased a double in the city and converted one side into a grocery store. My Mother’s brother formerly missing in action returned home from the war. He leased a space to open a meat department offering fresh cut meats. Times were bleak but they managed to move forward and achieve their dream. My next posting will offer my readers some tools to assist you in achieving your goas on a fast tract.
We can be encouraged by reading about what other people are doing to achieve their dreams. The readers of my blog will benefit hearing from you in the comment section below as to what you are doing to Dream Big with success.
Last week I received many replies from my posting. I think this one is a great idea to consider when we gather together for any meal and especially this Thanksgiving.
“My daughter and her family share a practice at supper every day. Each person has to say something they are grateful for that day. Their family tradition focuses on thinking positive. I have missed your blog. Thanks for rekindling your positive vibe.” Tom N.
“Gratitude can transform common days into thanksgivings, turn routine jobs into joy, and change ordinary opportunities into blessings.”
William Arthur Ward
We are looking forward to celebrating the upcoming Thanksgiving holiday with family and friends. Many may wonder about the difficulty to focus on being thankful at this time in this particular year. I know this thought has entered my mind. The year 2020 has presented us with many challenges carrying us into uncharted waters. The following is an excerpt from the message by Rev. Thomas Shepherd in his article Feeling Grateful in All Things that made me aware that things could be worse.
The First Thanksgiving in America.
“The Winter of 1620-21 devastated the Plymouth Colony in Massachusetts. Half of its population died from disease and malnutrition. In spite of the harsh conditions, the remaining settlers gathered with their Native-American neighbors to thank the Great Spirit for a harvest to see them through the coming winter. Even when outer circumstances are grim, like the cold winter, and other trials of our ancestors or the global pandemic we have been facing as a human community, (fires, hurricanes, floods) it is still possible to feel gratitude and give thanks.”
In the coming few weeks I am preparing to see our gathering as one that is focused on what we are thankful for and not about the present problems of our world we live in. To do this I am continuing my practice of journaling what I am grateful for in my life today. The key to the success of this practice is to have a notebook open and ready to jot down a few things that have happened in your life that may have inspired you to live life to the fullest. If this is not yet a practice of yours, you may want to give it a try from now until Thanksgiving.
There are many things we take for granted in life every day. Unfortunately, we are so influenced by the negativity of social media that it becomes a practice to pass on this negativity in our conversations with others. It has become our reality because we may believe this is the only time in history that it has been this bad. That is why I shared the quote from Rev. Shepard with you.
Once the pandemic became a reality and so many restrictions were placed on us I
got so caught up in the tragedy of this event and I allowed it to block any positive ideas to share. I received several calls asking me why I stopped writing a post for my blog. Finally yesterday in a hypnotherapy session the message came to me again that I am blessed with my positive approach to life and I need to share it with others. I am once again posting on my blog. I am grateful for the encouragement and support I have received from family and friends.
We make a living by what we get, we make a life by what we give.
Sir Winston Churchill
The photo from Roy’s artwork that I am sharing in this blog helped me to reflect on something I will do during this Lenten season. My intention is to gather with the grandkids and tell them about my childhood. Life was quite different 78 years ago. We did not have the distraction of electronics that now seems to take up so much of everyone’s free time. I know they will think I must have lived in prehistoric times when I tell them how I amused myself before television. Our family did not get our first television until I was 9 years old. Our weekends were spent visiting family. These visits were typically done around the table for a noontime meal. Conversations were about what was going on in their lives and the lives of relatives who weren’t there. This noontime meal went on for three or four hours. I was blessed to know my great grandparents who were immigrants of Italy and lived on a farm. When they arrived in the United States, they purchased land and started their farm in a rural area. It happened to be Harahan that is now a residential community where we have lived since we were married 52 years ago.
I love celebrations in life and feel blessed to have been born in a city that offers unlimited opportunities to participate in year-long celebrations. We have just ended the month-long Mardi Gras celebration. It was great gathering with family and friends as we viewed parades. I am now ready to delve into the Christian tradition of the Season of Lent. This is a great time to add a few disciplines into our life and to review our goals that we intended to accomplish when we celebrated the beginning of the new year.
As a child growing up Catholic, I was taught that Lent was a good time to give up something. That idea has greatly expanded and now includes the positive action approach of doing something helpful or beneficial for yourself and others. One suggestion is to introduce something new into our life like exercising three days a week, reading spiritual and inspirational articles, attending a personal growth lecture or workshop. Perhaps the commitment could be to visit family or friends we have not had the time to be with in quite a while. A great aspect about the 40-day Lenten Season is there are many others who are participating in this season with us and can support our intentions.
Here are a few ideas for positive actions that will enrich your Lenten Season.
You may want to share your plans for this Lenten Season with my readers. You can make a positive difference in your world and the world around you.
“Life without love is like a tree without blossoms or fruit.”
--- Khalil Gibran
February is one of my favorite months of the year. January is always the time for planning, focusing on goal setting and initiating effective positive changes in our life. Now we are immersed in the energy of love, romance and reflection on great memories of the past.
In this posting I will share my reflection on some of the lessons we learned in the early years of our marriage. It is quite a challenge to keep romance alive as the years slip by and we are faced with the many challenges of children, careers, money, and extended families.
We made a Marriage Encounter weekend a few months after our 5th Wedding Anniversary. That weekend is designed to make good marriages better. At that point we had not experienced disillusionment with one another. I have previously discussed the three stages in relationships: Romance, Disillusionment, and True Joy. The weekend taught us a basic means of communication to keep our relationship strong as we go through these three stages of love again and again in our commitment to one another. We were also shown that our marriage is truly a vocation and very important to our community. At the conclusion of the weekend the presenting teams asked us and two other couples to consider becoming a presenting team couple to spread what we experienced to other couples.
For five years we were one of multiple teams giving this weekend experience locally and around the country. There is a saying “You teach what you need to learn.” Over the years we have found that to be so true. We are grateful to have experienced that weekend so young in our marriage. We learned that setting aside the time each day for in depth communication is a key element to growth and closeness in our relationship.
It is so easy to take your partner for granted. It takes effort and commitment to keep communication open and honest, to share feelings, to take time for each other. We were also reminded how important the critical role romance plays in our relationship. We learned it takes prioritizing time together to make a good marriage better. Another statement given to us that weekend that changed our perception of relationships is that “Love is a decision, not a feeling.” We have a choice to act in a loving way regardless of our differences at times.
It is very important to set time aside for one another, work on romance and recall the spark that connected us in the first days of dating. If this practice isn’t ongoing then when the challenges of life like illness, financial stresses, job loss, etc., disillusionment become so powerful that it is very difficult to remember the romance of the past.
Valentine’s Day is Friday! You may find the card that says exactly how you feel. And of course it is also touching to write a few of your own heartfelt words to the person with whom you have chosen to spend your life. You may also want to consider writing a personal love letter expressing what first attracted you to your spouse and what set off that first spark of romance.
You may want to spend some time this week focusing on ideas to experience more romance in your relationship. When we were first married, we could not afford extended vacations. New Orleans is a great city to arrange a staycation. I would make reservations at a hotel for a weekend, arrange a babysitter and surprise my wife.
You may want to pull out some pictures of your first dates or you wedding day. Set up a date night where you can share the memories of that special time.
The time you spend working on your personal romance is a gift to others. We are living in a time when the reflection of that love you have for one another can offer hope when most of what we read, and view stirs up disillusionment. One of the best compliments we have ever received was from one of our granddaughters. She told us when she got married she wanted to grow old in a marriage like ours. She commented about the many things we do together and how we enjoy one another’s company.
We were blessed as a young couple by spending five years with Father Gallagher, founder of Worldwide Marriage Encounter. His passion for the enrichment of the Sacrament of Matrimony always helped us to stay focused in that direction. He wrote many books on marriage and co-wrote a powerful book entitled Embodied in Love. The following is a quote from that book, “God created us for love, for he knows that love alone brings us purpose and identity.”
You can help spread the message of the power of romance to a larger audience by sharing this post with family and friends.