These days, mornings tend to disappear in a rush of routine.
If you’re disciplined (or, more likely, don’t have children), you might find a workout or meditation somewhere on that list, but even those activities are sandwiched between obligations and responsibilities. Before you know it, you’re hauling your tired body into bed, scrolling yourself to sleep.
Don’t worry–this isn’t a “phones are bad” article (though the research about social media use is alarming). Instead, it’s a plea to listen to a nearly forgotten technology for feedback, growth, and healing, and one you’re already familiar with. What’s more, all it takes to access this good stuff is a good night’s rest. Believe it or not, I’m talking about your dreams!
For millennia people have used their dreams for incredible insight and understanding. Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, Dimitry Mendeleyev’s arrangement of the periodic table of elements, and Harriet Tubman’s navigation of the underground railroad are just a few examples of how dreams have played an important role in our history. In fact, indigenous peoples utilized dream messages as guidance for large, tribal decisions, similar to an “inner advisory board.” And yet today, people largely forget and ignore their nightly dreams.
Considering how fast-moving our world has become, it’s not hard to see why. You might not realize that while you soak up those ZZZs, you receive dream messages from what is often referred to as your soul or inner self. They originate in a deeper, intuitive part of you (called subconscious mind) that often lies just out of your conscious reach. As such, your dreams give you symbolic feedback into your waking thoughts, attitudes, beliefs, and desires. In other words, your dreams show you the stories you’ve been telling yourself while you’re awake.
These stories-identities often help define your life experience, with thoughts like “I’m a parent” or “I’m a teacher” or “I like fruits but not bananas.” But it’s easy to get lost in the stories you tell to yourself, and before you know it, you’ve become a character in your story rather than the author of it. Left to our own inner analysis, “I burned the pancakes” spirals into “I’m a bad cook,” and even then can become “I fail every time I try new things.” We really can be our own worst enemies!
One of the most freeing experiences a person can have is stepping out of a story that no longer describes who they are. Paying attention to your dreams gives you the insight and perspective to do just that!
The good news is that you’re always going to be the best interpreter of your own dreams, and you’ll often have a sense of a dream’s overall meaning if you chew on it. Until you build that rapport with your subconscious mind, here’s some insight into the most common dreams people experience.
Dreams of teeth falling out
Regardless of your flossing habits, dreams of teeth aren’t actually about your dental hygiene. In the language of dreams, food represents knowledge or understanding. If you dream about your teeth falling out, it represents the challenges you’re having in learning something new. Often this dream will occur when you start something new (like a job, school, etc.), and fortunately, it’s both common and normal. Be patient with yourself, and remember that it’s okay if you don’t get everything overnight. As you get the hang of your new gig, your teeth will stay firmly rooted.
Dreams of being pregnant
Babies in a dream represent new ideas. Just as it takes living beings time to gestate, your desires and creations also need time and nurturing attention in order to manifest. If you dream about being pregnant, it’s probably because you’ve been working to create something new in yourself and your life. How far along the pregnancy is in the dream will reveal how close you are to “birthing” your new idea. This insight can allow you to discern if/when you need to take action toward your desires or if it’s time to be patient in positive expectations. (Note: there are rare instances when women dream of being pregnant because they intuitively know they have conceived. While this is certainly possible, it’s a rare experience.)
Dreams of falling
Sure, roller coasters are a fun sojourn through dips and twists, but waking up to that same, stomach-dropping feeling gets old. While flying in a dream represents freedom in your life experiences, falling usually represents a perspective that your life is out of control or without direction. Feeling like your life is in free-fall can happen for many reasons (2020 has offered a few…), and dreams of falling will usually follow. Pay attention to your feelings about it and from where you’re falling, as they’ll give you clues about how to find your center again.
Dreams of being chased
If you find yourself running from something or someone (often not being able to run fast enough or feeling like your feet are too heavy to move quickly), it usually means you’re running from something in your waking life that might be weighing you down. If things feel heavy or burdensome, it might be time to get clear on what your desires and passions are…and then start taking (baby) steps toward fulfilling them. Regardless, running is only going to exhaust you further. Turn around and face whatever you’re running from, both in the dream and in waking life.
Dreams of death & dying
Few things can be terrifying than dying in a dream, only to wake up gasping for air in bed. If you’re tired of watching yourself or others bite the bullet every night, there’s good news: death in a dream represents transformation and change. If you dream of the end of the world (or a lot of death), it means you’re undergoing a lot of changes in your life, and it probably feels overwhelming. Pay attention to your feelings about it and whether it’s happening TO you or it’s happening by choice, as these will offer insight into the way you handle change.
Nightmares & horror dreams
If dreams are causing you to wake abruptly in fear or anxiety, it could mean that you’ve been ignoring something inside you. Sometimes nightmares occur because of unresolved trauma, while others happen because you’re ignoring an inner sense of truth — what you could think of as your conscience. If they go unheeded, your dreams will become louder and more memorable in an attempt to make you pause and reflect. When you don’t, those dreams become nightmares.
While there are thousands of ways to interpret thousands of dreams, it’s important to remember that merely giving attention to your dream can be the first step in a profound journey of self-discovery. You are more than your story, morning glory. Let your dreams help you remember.