If you have suffered from recurring bad dreams, you might believe, like I did, that nothing could change it. Until it did. Article by Joanne Hofinger

The Home of My Dreams – Changing the Story

Once upon a time there was a house. Imagine a simple 3-bedroom back split with avocado green shag carpeting, a big yard rarely used, and a street safe enough for the kids to play until the streetlights came on. It was a regular house in suburbia, occupied by a single mom and her three somewhat feral kids. Once inside the door of the house, the environment became a strange place in which an outsider could never comprehend the dynamics at play. But this isn’t a story of the mom or the kids, it’s a story about the house.   
This is the house I grew up in. Turning 50 this year, I haven’t been inside that house in 33 years, and yet I can remember intricate details because this house haunts my dreams. The dreams always feature me being trapped or being chased by something horrific. They are scary, frustrating, unsettling dreams that have plagued me for decades. Every single bad dream I have is set in that house. Even when the people in my dreams may not have known me while I lived there, or I may be a child or grown or even timeless in the dream, the context always signals a nightmare if it takes place in that house. If you have also suffered from recurring bad dreams, you might believe, like I did, that nothing could change it.

I’ll circle back to the house in a moment, but come with me to a retreat gathering at Northern Edge Algonquin that took place last month.  I love “the Edge”, I’ve been there many times.  Every time I come down the lane, the magic of the land, the power of the circle, and my own gifts all amplify. I can ask for help on my personal journey and receive little bundles of healing, kindness, guidance and reminders to go within. Go deeper.
One of the ways we listen deeper to our inner wisdom is to talk about our nightly dreams. It is a powerful thread that ties us to our subconscious, ties us to spirit, and ties us to each other.  Often, we are unaware of this taking place in our hearts and minds. As it happened, my breakfast table was discussing dreams and “bad” dreams came up. I shared that all my nightmares are set in my childhood home. Another participant lit up saying she has the same experience!  I shared about my dreams and how I wake up unsettled and “usually” in fight or flight mode. After mulling over the themes and my age, we naturally moved on to other topics.  I think the house in my mind was listening.

Later the same day I was in the communal space at Points North and reading a book I borrowed from the Edge’s library called Belonging by Toka-pa Turner. The book spoke about how bad dreams bring up what is ready to be healed. These dreams scream and persist by recurring until they are faced and healed. I turned to the other participant who had recurring bad dreams in her childhood home and read the passage out loud to her. I think the house in my dreams was listening.
That night I had a dream. A dream so different that I was confused and in awe, even in my dream. I was in the house. It looked identical and I braced myself for the bad stuff.  Then I heard laughing. I could hear a bunch of “grown ups” in another room having fun late into the evening. I was sitting with all of my cousins in the front room. There were about 15 of us. We were playing Dungeons and Dragons, and my 13-year-old son was the Dungeon Master. I became tired so I went up to my room and found someone asleep in my bed.  I realized that someone else was asleep on a mat on the floor across the room, snuggled in under the blankets. I walked through the house (now empty of people) and saw beds, mattresses, and mats all like little nests scattered around the house, ready to soothe their future occupants into a deep rest. It was for all the guests. It was inviting. It was safe. 
And I woke up. 

I quickly made the following connections. 
My real house was not safe, soothing, or inviting.  Ever. I have 2 cousins. Not 15.
The nests were for my spirit helpers, my entourage of invisible supports, and the parts of me that needed the comfort of that place, and the safety of a home.
In the month since, I have made the following revelations.
My work healing my childhood trauma made a massive breakthrough.  I am safe.  I am invited and inviting.  And I have soothing comfort. I have not yet had the pleasure of meeting many of my helpers. But they are there, and I feel them.  I have opened space in my heart and life for them to come. I finally stopped thinking of reasons they can’t be with me because I saw in my dream that they already were.
I have not had a single dream with that house in the month since I was at the Edge. I look forward to a day when THAT house turns into just a house. Or a day when I have managed to draw the good moments together and make it a home, nests and all.
If you have been challenged by recurring bad dreams, you may not even realize that this isn’t permanent. I encourage you to let go of the belief that your dreams are an untouchable place. I believe your heart is always listening.
You deserve to have peace. It may not happen overnight, but if you find a place where something different is possible, you may find your dreams can transform.  It happened to me, it took time and deep healing to be open to the possibilities.  Take your time and magic can happen.
Xx Jo

Meet Joanne

Joanne Hofinger is a mentor at the Edge bringing authenticity, kindness and empathy to our circle.  I am a maker of beautiful things, a soothing balm to chaos, and a searcher of my greater truth.  I humbly serve my students with their social and emotional wellness, my children through connection and safety, the circle through love and wisdom and myself in unending discovery, levels of acceptance, and courageous curiosity. 

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