May 042007

“Hello Toko-pa: A few years ago, I was dating a woman who deceived me about having another lover on the side. When I found out, I was very angry. She brushed it off and made excuses for her deception. I held a grudge until recently, after having my only dream about her.

The only thing I remember was her mouth. The rest of her face was fuzzy. Her lips were scarlet red, painted with lipstick — something she never uses in real life. Her lips quivered, pouted and mouthed the words, “I AM sorry for what I did. I AM sorry.”

Since this dream, I’ve felt better and no longer have any animosity towards her. While I don’t feel she can ever be a trusted friend, something has healed through this vivid dream. I’m curious to hear what you think about the healing aspect of dreams. I enjoy your column a great deal, Greg.”

Dear Greg: Thank you for sharing your potent story and dream with us. Like you, most of us want to clear conflict from our lives but circumstances don’t always cooperate. Sometimes pride and regret keep us from taking responsibility, other times one of us is readier than the other to move on, and occasionally our impasses are a problem of too much distance, making communication between us tricky.

But as you found out, we don’t always need the other’s cooperation to achieve the healing we need. Our dreams are a safe and powerful forum in which to make contact with our pain, work out animosity, and release ourselves from the hooks that hold us back from love.

Your dream focuses on the mouth, since a spoken acknowledgment is what you needed to let go of the hurt and anger you’ve been carrying. As the word make-up conspicuously suggests, lipstick is part of an elaborate mask one wears to cover up the bare truth. Not only are painted lips a symbol of untruthfulness, but of seduction, especially since scarlet is the famous colour of adultery.

You might have forgiven her sooner if your lover had shown remorse for cheating, (maybe she was faceless in the dream because she never faced the truth), but instead you came to terms with her on the astral. The good news is the healing is real.

It translates by way of better humour towards past, present and future relationships. Maybe the person in question is not someone you want to keep having contact with, but that doesn’t mean you can’t still get neutral about them. Through meditation and visualization, you can cut psychic ties, burn off old resentments, and send love to the darker regions of your psychic geography. It may mean faking it for a while before it feels real, but if you put your attention there, the dreams will begin to move.

Sometimes overt healing will occur in the dream state, like receiving the apology you’ve been pining for or being visited by a medicine person, other times it comes through metaphor; a new plant pushing up through snow, an expansive window view, a birth, a building restored, an outmaneuvered calamity.

One thing is certain – everyone you touch benefits from your healing work. Maybe your ex will feel her release from judgment, maybe your own indiscretions will simultaneously be redeemed, and maybe the refortifying of your trust will open you up to an exciting new love.

There is an Iranian expression which says that so long as old love remains unforgiven, new love will never materialize. Keeping that in mind, if we learned to heed the early warnings of our dreams we would doubtlessly dodge much agonizing heartache.

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A writer, artist and tender of dreams, Toko-pa has been interviewed by CNN News & BBC Radio and her writing has appeared in publications around the world. Thanks to Skype, she works with dreamers internationally in her Private Dreamwork practice, based on Salt Spring Island in Canada. You can find Toko-pa on Facebook or sign up for her mailing list to receive news about upcoming events.

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  3 Responses to “Dreamspeak: Healing on the Astral”

  1. Interesting analysis Toko. I like the Iranian saying and also the positive thinking reprogramming that “may mean faking it for a while before it feels real”. Evocative way of visualizing the new to become routine (-:

    Fascinating story about this emotional healing through that one short dream. Could it be that more happened when the person was sleeping but he only remembers the lip image?

  2. Hi Charlot,

    Yes, there’s always more to remember…even when we’re remembering a LOT. Dreaming could turn into a full-time job 🙂 But in my experience, we remember exactly what we need to. While dream fragments may feel unsatisfying or incomplete, they are often rich, juicy morsels that can feed us for a long time.


  3. I feel I am making myself sick with anger from unfulfilled expectations. I want to heal myself, but don’t know where to start. I was struck by the sentence “pride and regret keep us from taking responsibility” and I think I have too much of both.

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