Messages from my other life

I had an amazing dream while I was in Devon last week. Actually, there was nothing particulary amazing about the actual dream, but what it represented was amazing (to me). For the last few years I’ve been having a recurring dream that I have another home somewhere, out there, but I can’t remember where it is. It’s an apartment I used to live in, and it holds a lot of my stuff, but I haven’t been there in such a long time I can’t remember the address. In the reoccuring dream I know I have to find this other home at some point so i can sort through the things and let it go, but I can never find my way there. I always wake up confused and it takes a moment to remember that in the real world i have just one home and it’s here, in London. The relief is always enormous.

For the first time ever, I dreamt I found the other home. I can’t remember how I found my way there, but suddenly there I was, opening the door and walking in. In the dream I was so surprised to finally be there my heart was racing as I looked around this converted loft filled with tables strewn with my belongings. There were clothes displayed on the walls like a museum, and piles and piles of books and records. Slowly I began to go through the objects, pulling out things i remembered from my teenage — things I haven’t thought about in forever in my waking world. It was like discovering a corner of my brain I hadn’t opened in 25 years.

When I woke up I immediately reached for my journal and wrote down everything i could remember about the other home — there were a LOT of underlinings and exclamation marks. It really was a remarkable dream, an actual conclusion to a long-running series in my head. There are so many layers of significance, and as usual i’ve been journalling my way into it all, marvelling at my own unconscious. Most mornings I wake up wishing I didn’t have such vivid dreams, but then something like this happens and I’m grateful to have this other noctural life that has its own plotlines and climate; it’s like squeezing two lives into one.

Our brains are extraordinary, aren’t they.

Keeping a dream journal has definitely enhanced my ability to recall — and, more importantly, interpret — my dreams. We spend a week on dreams in Journal Your Life, exploring ways to read our dreams, find the gifts in our nightmares and practice a bit of lucid daydreaming, too. I’m certainly no dream expert, but I’m expert at my OWN dreams, and that’s where the benefit lies. By paying attention to our unconscious mind we uncover all these juicy clues to what’s really going on inside us. My dreams are often ridiculous and impossible, but they never seem to lie to me.

Do any of you have crazy big dreams? Have they ever been useful? I’d love to know :)


Registration for the summer session on Journal Your Life is now open — I’ve updated the page with a video sneak peek!

‘This has been so much more than just a course, it’s become a Process. What I have learned, what has taken me most by surprise, is Gratitude. I find that every time I journal now I end up thanking God for my life and all that it holds. On the outside, my life seems very ordinary, perhaps even a little boring. What I have discovered is that I have an internal life that is extraordinary, rich and fulfilling. I wake up each morning excited by the sheer possibility that each day holds. This gift you’ve given me is priceless, and I thank you from the bottom of my heart!’ ~ Beth

28 responses
  1. Alicia

    I always had this recurring dream monthly. I saw an older version of myself in a forest by a stream. I was leaning against a yellow birch, with a hermit thrush perched on my left shoulder. There was a bunch of wood nettle at my feet.

    I signed up for my herbal classes in 2011. During one of my weekends out in the field, the teacher took us to the exact spot. I am still studying herbalism with the same woman. I am an assistant now.

  2. Melanie

    I have always had a plentiful rich, dream life. And I have been in a journal practice for 24 years deciphering and using it as a tool to understand my own psyche. I had a dream about you Susannah about a week ago, we were walking in a flea market in Soho in Manhattan (I’ve never been to Soho) and you said that you thought we were alike in some way, that we shared something. The I bought a beautiful bracelet. Congratulations on your journal course, Susannah. Keep up your good work. xoxo

  3. Andrea

    I got goosebumps reading this!

  4. Mathilda

    Wonderful description :-) I love to read your blog!

  5. Andrea

    Oops, it posted too soon… meant to add…

    I used to have a similar dream, that there was a room in my house I wasn’t using. A super totally astounding amazing room. I would wake up so excited about it, and then slowly realise that that room did not exist in my real house.

    While I was studying to be a spiritual teacher, I dreamed about how I was now using all of the rooms in my house. I haven’t had that dream since.

  6. susannah

    Ooh, now I’ve got goosebumps too!

  7. Christine

    I used to have recurring dreams about tsunamis. I always escaped alive but lost all my belongings……these dreams abruptly stopped after the tsunami hit Thailand.
    Powerful stuff these dreams are made of.

  8. Jan C.

    Hi Susannah, I have a recurring dream that I live in two different places. The first is my current apt condo but for some reason I keep staying at my family’s house. In my dream I keep saying to myself that I haven’t been to my condo in awhile and I really should be staying there instead of in my old house. We sold our family house a couple of years ago after my mom passed away.

  9. Kristine

    I enjoyed this post, Susannah – I just signed up for Journal Your Life and I cannot wait to get started – Nice to know dreams are part of this course – I have the same dreams often – One of falling through clouds (never landing) – Another of being on a swing (high above everyone else) – And then other dreams that I never get back to – I would like to see if I could bring them full circle … So glad to be taking another one of your courses – They fill my soul!
    Kristine from Boston MA

  10. Gemma Alonso

    Those are pretty amazing dreams! xxx

  11. TJ Wood

    That is SO cool! Many years ago I had a dream several months before heading up to the San Juan Islands where we often visited in the summer (from CA–a two day drive). In the dream, we were standing along the coast line and a family of orcas came close enough for us to hear them vocalize. Several months later, almost the exact thing happened in real life and I didn’t even remember I had dreamt about it until months later when I was reading past journal entries! Thankfully, I had written that dream down in detail. I got chills reading it!

  12. Amanda

    Wow! I have dreams frequently about homes in different locations. I’m definitely going to start recording the details after I wake up. Maybe I’m missing something important!

  13. Emmy

    Dear susannah, i have a very rich dreamlife, have been recording mine daily since 1999 and they are a fountain of information and very benificial for my life. Will send you an email soon about a stunning story that unfolded because of my dreams (i am writing a book about it) that caused me for instance to meet the oldest woman from london. Miss Alice Herz Sommer. Amazing and. A story I have been longing to share with you for long and now that I know that you are so into dreaming feel less shy to do so. So ha keep on the lookout for that email… Love Emmy

  14. Stacey

    Susannah- How wonderful! During the Journaling class I took the first step of putting a notebook by my bed but still am having a tough time remembering a darn thing about my dreams. Reading this has given me an extra nudge of motivation!

  15. susannah

    ohh, honey, hang in there!!!!

  16. Vera

    Amazing. Maybe I’ll start a dream journal too, and start paying attention.

  17. Tara

    I’ve had recurring dreams for years that I am trying to get ‘home’ but there are all these obstacles; I can’t find the ticket office at the train station or there are too many people or I miss the bus or get on the wrong one. Always the same theme but never the exact same dream, and I’ve never got home before waking up. Reading about your dream makes me hopeful that maybe I’ll get home one of these nights!

  18. Kaylin Lydia

    I rarely have reoccurring dreams but when I do they are always dramatic and hold significance to what I am presently experiencing as well as (usually subconsciously) feeling. There have been two times in my life where I dreamed that I was the messiah. I know this sounds crazy but the gist of the dreams were that I had to sacrifice myself to save the world – the first one involved me having to marry Jesus (when I desperately did not want to) to save the world, if I did not then the world would be destroyed. Intense! Although it seems obvious now, it took me years to realize the significance of these dreams – that I was sacrificing my authentic self to meet the needs of those around me. Since I have realized this and subsequently done a lot of self work as well as brought my life in a different direction, I have not had the dream. Thank you for your post!

  19. Melanie Martin

    I used to dream that my best friend who died in 2001 was still alive. She had just moved and I had forgotten about it and I could therefore not find her, but then I find her and she is all: “why did you not come and see me sooner.” I usually woke up crying from this dream and it haunted me into the day. And then a while ago I dreamt, that I went to go and see her, I travelled and found myself at her gravestone in the graveyard. I have not dreamt about her since. Maybe I finally accepted that she is dead.

  20. CARMEN

    I never experienced recurring dreams until this past March. Two weeks after my sister got married, I had a dream about her getting married again. In the dream she was by the altar waiting to marry her husband. I was supposed to be one of her bridesmaids and the photographer of the wedding at the same time. I felt like I was holding up the wedding because I couldn’t decide which dress to choose from. I had to pick my dress from a luggage that was full of spring colored dresses. The wedding was a daytime wedding.
    Let me explain that for her real-life wedding I was her maid of honor, and so it was pretty hard for me not being able to document her special day the way I wanted to.
    On the second night, I had another dream about my sister getting married again. This time she was not in the dream but, I was shopping for a glamorous bridesmaid dress for myself in black. I saw myself rushing as I was shopping, then suddenly I get to a lakeside area where I was supposed to photograph the bridal party. There were spot lights next to the lake, perfect for a night-time shoot! I was so excited that everyone looked so tailored and high fashion. The scenery looked like a magazine shoot!
    To my surprise, I had a third dream the following night. I dreamed that my sister was getting married, but this time she was not getting married in white. And once again, I was supposed to find a bridesmaid dress for me to wear. As I started looking thru a closet, I found a dress that I own in real life. It is a white lace dress that has a bridal look to it. I haven’t wore this dress yet (in real life) cause I want to use it for a shoot. But on the dream, this was the dress I wanted to wear! I thought it was ok to wear it, because my sister was not getting married in white. So when I showed my sister the dress, she hid the dress from me because she did not want me to wear white!
    How strange dreams can be!! I never thought of keeping a dream journal. I think I will start documenting my dreams as well. :)

  21. Carolyn

    Fascinating post!

    I’ve had lots of recurring dreams over the years, but in the past few years I’ve often had dreams in a recurring setting — a hospital. Sometimes I work there and sometimes I’m just trying to find my way out of its maze-like wings. And I didn’t think they were really related.

    The other night I dreamt of it again and this time I was a nurse there, and my job was to hold newborn babies and comfort them under this warm, bright light. (Except that I wore oven mitts instead of hospital gloves, which is weird.) When I woke up, I realized it was about me accepting myself as a writer who nurtures stories (like little babies) so they grow and can go out into the world on their own.

  22. Maya

    I so appreciate your sharing, Alicia. It’s so great how your heart and spirit were aligning or aligned. Wow. I have always had vivid dreams.

  23. Maya

    Goosebumps here too ladies! Thank you both for the way you share. Thank you for following your hearts. Thank you for being such inspirational examples. Much appreciation and love. Maya

  24. Maya

    An amazing post, Susannah, thank you!

    I have a book I love by my bedside: The Dream Book by Betty Bethards – she provides an insightful dictionary yet always encourages you to decipher your own meaning to your dreams.

    When I was a young girl I had a reoccurring dream that the attic of my (actual) old (very old) colonial house was a huge playroom. It had ginormous wooden doors that would open to a black and white checkered floor. In the center of the room was a full-sized old-fashioned carousel always ready for me to ride. I used to dream this almost every night for quite a long time and then it was the same dream but only periodically.
    I grew up in a volatile home so this regular dream, in full color, was such a gift.
    Much appreciation for your openness here, Miss Susannah,
    Maya ox

  25. Janet Barclay

    I used to have a recurring dream about another house I lived in which had many rooms that we didn’t use ~ I thought at first it was because we lived (in the real world) in a house that was too small for 5 people (there are only 2 of us now and it’s still too small!) but then I realised that the dream was about me not using my talents and not honouring the different aspects of me ~ once I realised that, I didn’t have the dream any more. I love your round-up for this week ~ I have been trying to think of ways to cut down my journaling which was taking over my life, it was the only thing I was getting done (I have M.E. so energy is limited), and I think a weekly round-up would suit me better than the daily journaling I have been doing for 3 1/2 years (since my grandson was born ~ I started it as a place to keep photos of him). Since I have been thinking about this I have had so many ideas and pointers for a new way of journaling, it’s been amazing. So thank you, and I’m so glad you had a wonderful time with your family ~ it’s also a lesson to us all that real life is more important than the computer!

  26. La plume et la page

    Oh yes! I’ve crazy dreams. Really crazy!

  27. Roxanne

    I have very vivid dreams, often about places and sometimes about people I don’t know. I’m told it’s partly because of the medication I take. I’m convinced, though, that my dreams mirror what’s going on in my life.

  28. charlotte

    I love hearing about other peoples dreams and how they mean something really personal to someone that only they truely understand.
    All of my dreams tend to jump around to different towns and cities that all seem familiar yet completely strange or they make no sense at all. For example one time my whole family got eaten by a group of T-Rexs in a massive field but i didn’t… strange uh.
    I don’t get recurring dreams but i do have dreams that last a week or so, like my own personal TV series in my head.
    I tend to tell my boyfriend all about them and he just sits there laughing and telling me my dreams are crazy because I’m crazy. But i love him so he can get away with it.
    I hope you have more wonderfully mad and crazy dreams- like my nana said “dreams are the lives that we were meant to live but missed out on them, so live them in your head”.

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