Intentional dream re-entry

Photo Copyright 2016: Christine Bradley

The fabulous full moon last week (and biggest supermoon of the year) had a lot of us focusing on healing and clearing blockages. And I was certainly no different. Inspired by all this, I decided to dive deep and journey into the practice of intentional dream re-entry (or “active dreaming”).

To intentionally (or consciously) re-enter a dream, you must first enter a deep meditative, trance state. From there, you go back to a dream you have previously had while asleep, and explore for more specific information.

So, I draw myself a nice, relaxing bath after work and settle into deep meditation. I travel back to my Hide-and-Seek dream—the recurring story of the shadow spirit who is haunting the Little House. I walk up to the shadow and ask, “What blockages do I need to clear? What is blocking me?”

I travel through several painful memories… like flipping through an old photo album.

I finally land on the one of my grandmother’s death.

I see myself in that moment—paralyzed, confused, and unable to process her passing. I feel as though I need to be strong for others and hold in my emotions. I need to be the rock.

I do not cry for months after she passes. But I do torture myself with regret.

“Why did I not visit her more often? Why did I not move in and help take care of her? Why did I not simply tell her that she meant everything, the whole world to me..?”

An intense release of emotions swells over me, consumes me, and I begin to cry.

The journey continues, and I realize that I actually feel that my grandmother is mad at me. I’m stuck in this belief—thinking she disapproves of my life choices, that she somehow feels disrespected by me.

I am refusing to forgive myself.

I cry harder as this tidal wave completely overtakes me. This place where I am blocked is one of profound sadness, grief, and abandonment. I swim inside the pain. I let myself feel it, really feel it all.

I journey back to the very vivid dreams I was having during some of the hardest times in my life just a few years ago. I see my loyal dream guide who was with me during that entire time. I remember, in the dreams, he hands me an old, white telephone.

He asks me, “What’s the number?!”

I tell him that I don’t know…I don’t know the number.

Then I journey back to a dream that I had just a couple months ago. I am in the big bedroom at the Big House, and the old, white telephone is there on the bed. My grandma calls, and I finally get to talk to her! I’m so ecstatic and relieved in this dream—this is the first time that I’ve been able to make contact with her since she died 21 years ago.

I continue to cry and release pain as I journey though these dream memories. I know I need to forgive myself, but I feel like a need a sign from my grandma. I ask her to send me a sign that she is not mad at me, that it is ok to forgive myself.

I tell her that I know she doesn’t normally visit me in physical form in my dreams, but she could call me on that old, white telephone and let me know. I can be patient. I can wait for my sign.

I journey back to real-time and present-space, back to my relaxing bath. I allow myself to finish crying and releasing all that I can.

I get out of the tub and check my phone. I heard it buzz with a text message notification while I was in the bath, but I didn’t want to check and disturb my journey.

My sister has texted me this:

I immediately start cry-laughing. And I have to say—cry-laughing might be THE best emotion I’ll ever feel. I literally canNOT believe it!! I was ready to be so patient and did not expect a sign to come through so quickly.

My grandma is ready for me to get with the program! She wants me to forgive myself!

It’s time.

It’s definitely time.

I bask in overwhelming gratitude for the moment—for the sign and for the love from her.

I walk over to an area in my house where I keep an old box of random things from my grandma. I pull out her journal from 1939 and press it to my heart. A car honks twice outside the very moment that I do this, like…just in case you didn’t think these were signs…pay attention! And I start laughing all over again.

In honor of my grandma and this recent, very healing journey, I leave you with a poem I wrote a few years ago (during those really hard times I referenced) about my grandma’s funeral.


Each pair of stares 
so desperate for peace, 
like classroom students. Today 
is the first day of school. 
Full of grace, but who is with her? 
So blessed before, 
now tortured by shameful feelings 
of abandonment. 
“Why” is the most irrelevant, 
despite its continued existence. 
Cold carcass of a matriarch: 
once an ideal, air of a history; 
a definition of identity. 
Hope for many of us, 
grounded in her faith. 
A morbid echo of my bleeding vibrato 
and jarring booms from an old church organ 
breed revelation 
among our sinners 
who regret; 
who grieve; 
who deny. 
All she can do is pray for us. 
at the hour of her death. 
“Ave Maria” 
My sister collapses into the arms beside her. 
Strings and obligations hide swelling anger 
inside this orchestrated soul. 
I think rainbows of glass shards 
will rain upon us any minute. 
Stretch my voice through the steeple. 
wake up. 
Just open your eyes. 
Selfish motives crack my concluding chords; 
trails into the ringing key’s finale,  
infinite coda I never stop hearing. 
A sonic silence from the congregation 
and brigades of mourning skins 
process towards her floral tomb— 
well-mannered deliveries 
of often-rehearsed protocols. 
I have lost my copy of this script. 
Still, suited veterans march outside, 
Uprooted by panic impulses, 
I inch my body near 
her milk-lined, mahogany capsule. 
But what can grow from 
this seed we plant? 
I cannot bend my knees, or 
even fold my hands. 
My eyes resemble emptiness 
to organic remains before me. 
Her wrinkled hands 
like leather anchors now— 
effortless dancers once; awakened 
storytellers I clutched, 
nearly broke their bones— 
soon crawl with decomposition. 
Buffet images among limbs 
erect goosebumps down mine. 
Piercing silence from a pulpit 
resurrects my haunted reservation. 
The amnesia of my blocking— 
I call for a line 
but listen for a prayer— 
just wait for the curtain call. 

2 thoughts on “Intentional dream re-entry

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