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Dreamwork, also known as Dream Analysis and Dream Interpretation, is an exploration of dreams to gain awareness, insight and guidance. Dreams are direct reflections of the unconscious where personal knowing lives along with ancient wisdom of the collective unconscious, global consciousness, transpersonal communications and Divine inspiration. Dreamwork is unearthing the meaning of dreams by delving into the metaphorical messages, symbolism and archetypes that arise in dreamtime.
(See questions below for definitions of the terms unconscious, collective unconscious, collective consciousness, global consciousness, transpersonal and archetype).
A Dream Circle is a group of dreamers, self led or facilitated by a Dreamworker, who gather to do Dreamwork.
To get a detailed description of a Dreamwork session, visit this page.
The most effective way to learn to interpret your dreams is not through books or in online dictionaries of interpretation, but through working with a Dreamworker, interacting with other dreamers in a Dream Circle, or taking a Dreamwork Course.
To set up a single session or ongoing Dreamwork with Toi Lynn, visit this page: Private Dreamwork
To work within a Dream Circle, we offer biannual Dreamwork Training Circles: The Art of Dreamwork Course
In 2018 and onward will be offering several other beautiful options for ongoing dreamwork
A Dreamwork Lodge where dreamers can drop even deeper into dreamwork for 6 weeks in a circle of 13 other dreamers.
A Dreamwork Temple where dreamers can join an ongoing support system of dreamers.
A Dreamwork Retreat, a 3 day weekend in Northern California.
Meanwhile, please see the recommended books and resources in the Question below What books do you recommend about Dreams and Dreamwork?
In my own perspective, Dreamguides come from many places and in multiple forms:
- In dreams we meet the wisdom of our own soul, our unique form of Spirit that inhabits our body. This is not the ego, will or personality, sometimes called the lower self, but the eternal essence of one’s Self, the Higher Self with a capital S, that holds expansive wisdom and deep knowing.
- We also hear messages from the Divine in whatever form we each hold as true for us.
- Guidance might come from the archetypal realms of the collective unconscious where we as humans hold shared symbolic images regardless of culture.
- We can meet Helpers from the spirit realm, animal guides, ancestors, light beings and loved ones who have passed on.
No matter the form, and whether or not you believe it is purely intrapersonal (within the self) or transpersonal (beyond the self), I believe that all Dreamguides are guardians, teachers and wisdom bearers who are there for our healing, wholeing and awakening.
- Keep a pad and pen by your bed, or if intrusive to your bedmate, near a chair in which you can sit immediately upon awakening. I keep my Iphone near my bed (with the blue light filter set to high), and upon awakening in the middle of the night, I enter my dream in my notepad. I often look back on my notes when I begin my day to read things I have no recollection of writing, and would have easily lost had I waited until morning.
- Even better, dedicate a journal to Dreamwork where the only purpose of the journal is to record all your dreams. It is always amazing to me to look back over my dreams over the weeks, months and years. In reviewing my dreams, I notice patterns, insights and wisdoms that I had not noticed when exploring a single dream.
- Dreams are ephemeral, with delicate threads, and can evaporate like smoke from movement, mind chatter or noise. Alarm clocks intrude into the dream and can send it quickly running. Our brains are quite capable of becoming natural alarm clocks with a clear nightly request to arise at a specific time.
- Avoid alcohol, stimulants of any kind (including technological) or heavy food before bedtime.
- Tell yourself as you fall asleep that you want to remember your dreams. The Dreammaker will hear your request and honor it.
1. Give your dream a title. No need to over think this. Simply use your intuition and name the dream. This is not a descriptive title but a title you might use for a book or movie. For example, a dream where you are in a school going from room to room searching for someone might be “Lost Lessons” or “The Missing Teacher.” The title you create can spark some insight.
2. Fill out the details of the dream. Sometimes we recall simple snippits that might not mean anything in the moment. Sometimes people dream several scenes, or an entire movie with multiple scenes. Regardless, in each snippit or scene of the dream, notice:
- How old are you?
- Are you yourself or someone else?
- Who is with you in the dream? Include people, animals, other life forms.
- Describe them in detail.
- Where are you?
- Describe it in detail.
- What are you doing?
- How do you feel in the dream scene (s)?
- When you wake up, how do you feel?
- Is this something you have dreamed before?
- It is an interesting process to name each snippit, or each scene of a dream.
Dreams have a natural life of their own and are stubbornly self directing in order to bring us in to wholeness. However, one can learn to do Lucid Dreaming.
A lucid dream is a dream during which the dreamer is aware of dreaming. During lucid dreaming, the dreamer may be able to exert some degree of control over the dream characters, narrative, and environment.
I do not teach Lucid Dreaming. Here is my favorite book for learning how to do Lucid Dreaming: Dreaming Yourself Awake: Lucid Dreaming and Tibetan Dream Yoga for Insight and Transformation. There are also numerous websites you will find if you search for “Lucid Dreaming”.
Sleep paralysis is a feeling of being conscious but unable to move. It occurs when a person passes between stages of wakefulness and sleep. During these transitions, you may be unable to move or speak for a few seconds up to a few minutes.
A nightmare is a dream occurring during rapid eye movement (REM) sleep that results in feelings of strong terror, fear, distress or extreme anxiety. Nightmares may occur for a number of reasons.
- To warn us of dangers, physical and situational, that are lurking in our waking lives.
- To attempt by the unconscious to resolve Post Traumatic Events (although nightmares for those with PTSD simply reintroduce the trauma).
- As a result of medications or substances that increase or disrupt brain activity (antidepressants, tranquilizers, alcohol, blood pressure medication).
- As a result of depression or anxiety.
- As a symptom related to sleep apnea or restless leg syndrome.
- Sleep deprivation.
According to Sigmund Freud, the father of psychoanalysis, the unconscious is the reservoir of feelings, thoughts, urges, and memories that outside of our conscious awareness.
According to Carl Jung, the founder of analytic psychology, the collective unconscious is the unconscious mind shared by all of humanity.
Collective Consciousness, or Collective Conscience, is a set of shared beliefs, ideas and moral attitudes which operate as a unifying force, or shared field of awareness, within a society of animals or humans.
Global Consciousness is the capacity and inclination to place ourselves, other people, animals, events and situations within context to the entire contemporary world.
To book a session or bundle of sessions with Toi Lynn, please visit this page.
I have read numerous books from various traditions. These are by far the ones I recommend for beginning dreamers and experienced dreamers alike.
Dreaming Yourself Awake: Lucid Dreaming and Tibetan Dream Yoga for Insight and Transformationby B. Alan Wallace and Brian Hodel
A Life Coach, also called a Personal and Professional Coach, is one who provides Life Coaching. Life Coaching is a designed alliance which supports the goals, objectives and mission of a client. Life Coaches counsel and encourage clients on matters having to do with careers or personal challenges.
Why hire a Life Coach? A life coach designs an alliance that is for You, based upon your values and agenda, to assist you in achieving your goals and overall life mission. A Life Coach assists you in achieving concrete, tangible accomplismnets through keeping you focused, accountable and in alignment with who you are and where you are working to go.
(For differences between Psychotherapy and Life Coaching, see question below).
While Psychotherapy and Life Coaching do overlap, they have distinct differences.
Let me first clarify a few terms to help you understand how they differ in training and certification/licensure:
Licensing is a rigorous set of requirements of industry professional standards regulated and overseen by a licensing board of the state.
Certification is a set of requirements to gain a designation which might or might not be reflective of industry standards, and requires no further oversight or regulation to maintain certification.
Registration is simply providing information such name, address and title, to a professional or state organization.
Psychotherapists are licensed professionals who undergo extensive study (a bachelors and masters degree, a minimum of 6 years of full time study) in understanding human psychology and behavior, as well as extensive training in multidimensional therapies that support healing and change in clients. In addition, psychotherapists must attain licensure at the state level, which requires a federal average of 2,000 hours (3,000 hours in California) of supervised psychotherapy and passing of a licensing exam. Once licensed, psychotherapists are highly regulated by the state licensing board.
Life Coaches might or might not be trained or certified. One can call themselves a Coach without any training or experience. Certified Life Coaches have studied with a training organization. There is no regulation or oversight once certification is achieved. At the time of this writing in 2017, in the US there are no licensing procedures for Coaches. The ICF, International Coach Federation, the leading global organization dedicated to advancing the coaching profession, has a credentialing process to increase credibility. While it is working towards global standardization, there is no state or federal registration, certification or licensure at this time.
(For differences between Psychotherapists and Coaches see question above).
While Psychotherapy and Coaching overlap, they do differ. It’s important to know, that based upon theoretical orientation, some Psychotherapists use coaching in their therapy work, and some Coaches use therapy processes in their coaching work. Also, some Psychotherapists really are Coaches in all intents and purposes. Coaches, unless they are extensively trained in Psychotherapy, are discouraged legally and ethically from provided psychological counseling, and are encouraged to refer clients needing psychological support out for psychotherapy.
In general, Psychotherapy is a professional relationship in which the goal of the work is healing from past trauma, as well as establishing new ways of thinking, relating and behaving. Although many psychotherapies encourage the exploration of past wounds, it’s an oversimplification to say that Psychotherapy is past oriented because some styles of therapy focus exclusively on current life (ie: thought and mindfulness based therapies such as Cognitive, Cognitive Behavioral (CBT), Zen Therapy, or body/mind therapies such as Somatic, Haikomi, or Expressive Arts Therapies).
Coaching differs in that it is almost exclusively present and future oriented. When the past is addressed, it’s done so briefly to link to the present, and is not explored in depth.
Most but not all psychotherapies (ie. Behavioral and Cognitive Behavioral) work with transference as part of the therapeutic intervention. Transference is the transferring of emotional experiences of childhood onto the therapist. Transference is the reason licensed therapists, doctors and other medical professionals are ethically and legally prohibited from developing personal (dual) relationships with their clients/patients. While adequately trained coaches recognize that transference is always occurring, they don’t use it in the coaching work. Coaches and their clients are seen as coequals in coaching work. Therefore, the ethics in the coaching industry allows dual relationships as long as those relationships do not interfere with the coaching work or the client’s life.
Psychotherapy also tends to have the orientation that that the client is a patient, implying illness or disease that needs to be treated. Coaches see the client as already whole, capable and self aware.
Psychotherapists are trained in open ended questions that invite undirected exploration. Coaches are trained in powerful questions that generate movement towards a specific goal related insight.
An Online Life Coach works virtually by telephone or through any number of video conferencing tools (Skype, Facetime, Google Chats…). A more recent form of Online Life Coaching is arising that involves working with clients by email.
Mentoring is a longer term coaching relationship where the Mentor has particular expertise she shares with the client. For example, my work as a Mentor is with women awakening to their purpose and potential. I call this Essence Mentoring, and it is truly transformational at all levels. To learn more about the Essence Mentorship Program, visit this page.
Holistic Coaching can be one of two types of Coaching:
1. Life Coaching that approaches every aspect of a person’s life – body, mind, and spirit – in relation to the whole.
2. Wellness Coaching that supports a client in growing a healthier relationship with their body, exercise and food.
A Transformational Life Coach is a Life Coach who provides coaching that supports life changing and long lasting change within a client at all levels of their being. Instead of focusing on targeted issues, (ie: weight loss, job search, relationship or time management), a Transformational Life Coach provides a longer term coaching process that impacts all areas of the client’s life.
Below is the nitty gritty details about my training and experience over the past 31 years providing counseling, therapy and coaching.
I have a BS in Human Development (1987), a Masters in Clinical Psychology (1992) and a License as a Marriage and Family Therapist in California LMFT (#MFC33428, 1996).
I trained as a Personal and Professional Coach with Coaches Training Institute in San Rafael in 1997.
I’m a Certified Transformational Hypnotherapist (2006), Certified Clarity Breathwork Therapist (2005), Certified Ashtanga Vinyasa Teacher (2002) and Certified Bikram Yoga Teacher (2001).
Additionally, I’ve studied Shamanism with Sandra Ingerman and Dreamwork with Toko-pa Turner.
I held a private practice as a psychotherapist and coach in the San Francisco Bay Area for 23 years and here in Kauai for the past 3 years. Additionally, I worked as a Career Counselor at Career Action Center, and as a Coach in Sun Microsystems.
I’ve led women’s circles for the past 26 years, and facilitated yoga classes and retreats for the past 16 years.
I call myself a Transformational Life Coach (see What is a Transformational Life Coach? above) because the work I do focuses on deep, sustainable change that impacts all levels of being in all areas of life. I weave together my extensive experience and diverse background into sessions that are specifically designed for each client, offering exactly what the client is needing at the time.
While always keeping an eye on the stated values, goals, mission and Coaching Contract, sessions include blends of powerful coaching and nurturing support with guided imagery and neurolinguistic programming (NLP), along with somatic and mindfulness practices such as breathwork, meditation and embodiment practices. Every session ends with a co-created inquiry, a question to explore between sessions that deepens learning and integration, and “homework”, those tangible practices and assignments that continue the work between sessions.
For reviews for my coaching work, and to book a coaching session, please see this page.
Below are just a few of the questions asked by my yoga and meditation students over the years. For a more detailed growing list of 50+ questions, visit this page.
Meditation has many definitions, but a simple definition is this: Meditation is a practice of coming into presence with yourself. The practice is not only a repeated method, it is truly a practice, a learning experience, each and every time. Meditation can be done in so many ways: moving or still, in community or in solitude, with spiritual or secular foundations, with supportive tools and processes or in very simple sitting in stillness. What all forms of meditation have in common is coming into presence with the self, with the body, breath, mind, and emotions for the purpose of healing the body, growing self-awareness, or elevating of consciousness.
There are numerous benefits to meditation. For a listing, and a link to associated research, go here.
No, Meditation is not a religion. See What is Meditation? above. One can be any religion, or hold any spiritual philosophy, to practice meditation. Because of the power of meditation to increase awareness and elevate consciousness, it is an integral part of all religions. Meditation looks different in each religion, and goes by different names, but it has the same end result of bringing one closer to themselves, and to their form of Divine.
Absolutely. We are born with a healthy connection to our bodies and a natural curiosity about how things work. At a very young age, children are most commonly taught to disconnect their bodies from their minds, which leads to emotional and physiological stress. Children that are taught very simple mindfulness meditation practices develop their abilities of attention and self-control, and grow empathy and respect for self and others, all while reducing stress, hyperactive behavior, ADHD symptoms, and depression.
Meditation can’t be learned from books, videos or lectures. Those places are where one can receive head knowledge about Meditation philosophies and practices, which are useful, of course. However, to learn meditation is to actually practice it every day.
Self-guided meditation practice is a place to begin. However, if you really want to grow your meditation practice, work with a meditation teacher individually or in a group, virtually or in person. A meditation teacher can support you through the inevitable blocks and plateaus that arise in even the most committed and experienced meditator.
To learn about and register for upcoming meditation retreats, visit this page.
To learn about and register for upcoming meditation courses, visit this page.
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For a complete list of my recommendations, go here.
Yoga. Just thinking that word now makes me take a deep, long full-body breath. It conjures up a sense of belonging and presence. An overwhelming feeling of peace washes over my body. The Sanskrit word Yoga means “to join” or “to yoke.” But to me, Yoga means “Homecoming”, “Returning,” and “Remembering”.
My First Time
I began practicing yoga in a tiny Bikram studio in Burlingame, CA, that could only fit a dozen of us at a time. It’s now a raw food deli called Que Seraw Seraw (for some reason that seems divinely perfect, and makes me laugh). It was 1991, I was in the middle of my Masters in Psychology, and painfully tight from years of sports without stretching. Yoga was simply a place to stretch for a few weeks during my studying grind. But the seeds were planted for my future yoga love affair.
6 x 2 Sanctuary
I returned to yoga in 2000 where I attended two Bikram Yoga studios that eventually became my yoga homes, Yoga Source in Palo Alto near where I worked at Stanford Law School, and Being Yoga in Burlingame close to my home. In the yoga room is where I sweated, moved and breathed out all my grief for marriage that was ending, and where I returned to loving myself again.
That 6 foot x 2 foot yoga mat became my sanctuary, the place I could go when I needed some self care and quite time. And even more, that mat became my mirror for self-observation, and a practice ground for living my life.
In yoga I learned how to return to my center, my own inner sanctuary, over and over again. I discovered that thoughts are illusions, and that my biggest enemy has always been myself. I learned that my body is a loving guide and wise teacher if I could slow down enough to pay attention, and give it all the compassion and nourishment it craves.
On the yoga mat, much like on the meditation cushion, I remember who I am. I access my own inner light, my own rhythm and way of being. And when I do, all those layers of not-me, all the judgements, rules and roles, outdated stories and collected negativity are cleansed through fluid, gentle and kind movement, and released on the waves of the breath.
Listening to the Inner Guru
On New Year’s Eve 2000, as I sat in the communal dining room of Orr Hot Springs writing my intentions for the next year, I saw a magazine someone had left on the table. I picked up a Yoga Journal that listed all the yoga trainings in the US at that time, felt the nudge and listened to that clear voice of knowing I call my Inner Guru. I committed then and there to becoming a yoga teacher. That very next morning my father died, and as the death of a loved one often does, I felt encouraged to take the risk and fly without hesitation into a new life.
Student becomes Teacher becomes Student
In 2001 I became certified in Bikram Yoga, and the following year in Ashtanga Vinyasa. In 2003, I and my husband-to-be opened up a yoga studio and healing arts center that became one of the first green yoga studios in the nation, and a premier power yoga studio in the San Francisco Bay Area that served over 6,000 students in 5 years. Running that studio was a humbling and heartbreaking-open experience that taught me many lessons I’m still integrating 10 years later.
We sold the studio in 2007, and to our surprise and dismay, it closed pretty quickly after that. I used to think that we had failed somehow, that all our efforts of sharing yoga had gone to nothing in the end. But every time I see a yoga studio created by one of our teachers, or witness one of our students who became a teacher who is now changing the world by sharing her own passion for yoga, my heart is filled with gratitude for every step of this yoga journey, and every student and yoga teacher I have met along the way.
The biggest lesson Yoga has taught me over these 18 years is something Guruji K. Pattabhi Jois, the founder of Ashtanga Vinyasa Yoga, said: “Practice yoga and all is coming”.