351 Transcript Knowing Yourself Through Dreams (with Tzivia Gover)

Click here to download the PDF version of the transcript.

Jen: [00:00:00] This is the Vibrant Happy Women Podcast. And today we'll be talking about dreams and their connection to healing and creativity. Stay tuned.

Intro: [00:00:11] Are you ready to expand your soul's capacity for joy? Then this podcast is for you. I'm Dr. Jen Riday and welcome to Vibrant Happy Women.

Jen: [00:00:23] Welcome back to the Vibrant Happy Women Podcast. I'm Jen Riday and I'm excited to be talking about dreams today because one thing I've always done well is dream. I don't always remember them. I certainly don't always write them down, but I have often had recurring dreams. So today's guest is Tzivia Gover, and she is a dream coach and an author. She wrote a book called Dreaming on the Page, and we're going to talk about that. Long ago, she was on the show before, and I shared with her my recurring tornado dream ever since I was a little, little girl. One of my earliest memories was my dad standing on the porch and we were looking for tornadoes. And I always had this tornado dream. Tornadoes chasing me in a car, tornadoes coming to my house, trying to get everyone to the basement. And on that episode, I spoke with Tzivia briefly. And I swear to you, I'd never had a tornado dream again. Well, luckily, I guess (or unluckily?) I have other dreams now that are recurring. One of which you may have had, which is rushing to get somewhere on time and all these things happen to prevent it. And I have another one related to buying a new house, which I'm not doing, but I always have the dream. So stay tuned and listen for those stories and hear what Tzivia has to say about them. It's very interesting.

Jen: [00:01:49] Hey everyone, I'm super excited to be talking about dreams today. I'm here with Tzivia Gover and she wrote a book called Dreaming on the Page, which kind of merges her expertise in analyzing dreams with journaling. And just this morning, my daughter, who's 13, woke up and – actually I woke her up – and she said, “No, I need to finish my dream.” So I had to be quiet for seven more minutes. I said, “Are you really going to fall back asleep?” “Yes, I am.” Welcome to the show, Tzivia. This is such a fun topic.

Intro: [00:02:28] Oh, it's good to be here, Jen. And love that story about your daughter. That's classic.

Jen: [00:02:34] Give us an overview of, you know, dreams. What's happening when we dream, and then how we can start to learn and be creative and heal and grow with that process?

Tzivia: [00:02:50] Yeah, great. So I love it. As your daughter displayed so beautifully, we dream every night whether we remember them or not. I mean, that's important for people to know. And what's happening when we're dreaming is basically that our mind is entering, our brain is entering into a different neurochemical stew. So parts of our brain that are less active during the day are more active when we're dreaming and vice versa. You know, we're just in a whole different neurochemical reality so that we can think differently. We put together ideas differently. We experience emotions more vividly, more actively. We're in a very visual (usually) form of thinking. And so imagery and symbolism come into play in a way that's much more direct and intense than when we're awake. So all of these changes take place, and when we start to open ourselves up to our dreams and befriend our dreams, we have the potential to learn a lot more about ourselves and about our world and about our relationships. 

Jen: [00:04:07] Ah, so how would someone get started to start befriending their dreams? What do you mean by that?

Tzivia: [00:04:17] So by befriending dreams, it's so interesting. You know, we talk a lot about insomnia. And before we were talking about the pandemic of Covid, we were talking about a pandemic of sleep, a lack of sleep in our country. The CDC actually named it as a pandemic that we were at pandemic levels for lack of sleep. And one thing people don't realize is that one reason, one of the reasons that people avoid sleep is because they're afraid of their dreams. They're disturbed by them. Maybe they have or have had nightmares or maybe it's just the strangeness of our dreams that puts people off. But people don't like that sort of out-of-control, “I don't know what the dreams are going to dish up” state. And that is one of the causes of insomnia. So that's an extreme form. But more day-to-day people are confused and mystified by their dreams. And that creates sort of like an internal disharmony because the dreams are part of ourselves. So I encourage people to start by paying attention to their dreams, not necessarily trying to interpret or analyze them, but just sort of marvel at them, observe them, notice that they're happening, and get curious about them. So that's step one. And to do that dream journaling, you know, just writing your dreams down is a great first step.

Jen: [00:05:54] Okay. And what about those people who say they can't remember their dreams? Does it get easier the more you try to remember?

Tzivia: [00:06:05] Yeah, it really is a skill. You know, in addition to the book we're talking about today, Dreaming on the Page, I also recently published a children's book with my friend and coauthor Leslea Newman called How to Sleep Tight Through the Night. And that's a children's book about sleep and dreams. And so the way that that fits in is, you know, in a more healthy, more dream, healthy and dream-centric world, we would be helping our children to honor and remember their dreams from the start. Right? So it is like tying your shoe, you know, like it's something you can practice and get better at over time. It's not something like, Oh, I don't remember my dream. That's a done deal. You can practice, you can get better. They are your dreams. So whether you remember them or not, just know that you're having them. That's a good first step that several times a night, five, seven times a night. You are dreaming. 

Jen: [00:07:00] That's cool. So the last time you were on my show, I shared my tornado dream and I believe we came up with we did a little bit of back-and-forth coaching and came up with kind of an interpretation that I felt like my life was chaotic and out of control. And I honestly, I swear to you, I never had the tornado dream since. And that made me a believer in what you do because you do dream coaching around dreams, right?

Tzivia: [00:07:29] Yes. Yes, I do. I do one on one sessions with people, and I sometimes do groups and I help people to befriend their dreams, to understand them, to get the meaning, the messages from them. And I love that that little piece of dream work we did together had that result. You know, have people come to me who have nightmares every night, every night for years and years, and after one session they'll go three weeks without a nightmare. And that's amazing for somebody who's plagued by them every single night.

Jen: [00:08:01] Yeah, it's blown my mind. I've even told my kids I used to have tornado dreams for like 40 years of my life. And I talk to a dream coach and I never had them again. But I have had a different one. And just to illustrate how this works, they thought we could do it again. Um, it's the classic dream where you're late to something and you're rushing, rushing and everything's stopping you from getting to that thing. And it's always a different version. I wouldn't say it's recurring, but the theme is recurring and often I'm trying to renovate something on the way to this appointment I need to have. So I'm sure you've heard this dream or some version of it a million times. How would I go about solving whatever stress is in my body that's kind of manifesting through this dream?

Tzivia: [00:08:50] Yeah, I'd love to turn that question back on you, but I will offer you some thoughts right off the bat. Mean that dream. You're right. It is so common. And if we just take a moment to think about why it's so common, like feel into that feeling of rushing, of trying to get someplace of all the things that are impeding me, and most likely that will feel familiar in waking life, too, right? I mean, you know, don't want to blow your cover or anything, but as soon as we got on today, you said, oh, I've had a busy day. Right. So I'm suspecting that that's not uncommon. Right. For you. And so many of us in our very time-bound, you know, ways that we live. So it's not unusual that that's a recurring dream. And then where do you start? I would love to hear the details of the dream and see if there are any hints within the dream because usually, dreams come with a little bit of medicine inside of them. You know, a little hint, maybe there's a person in the dream or a building. Maybe I'm rushing past the YMCA. Oh, maybe I need to stop there and go to the sauna, you know? So watch the dream for some details and see if you can find some hints of where the medicine is, where the help is.

Jen: [00:10:05] Yeah, because…I will have to do that. I don't remember details. There's just been so many of them. But yeah, I forgot to look at the details. That's good advice.


Tzivia: [00:10:15] There's your medicine for today. You know, it could be any of our medicine, you know, to slow down, to get rid of that feeling that I'm always running and I can't get there on time. I can't keep up. Take that moment to drink in the details of the day. Just take a breath and count the colors. You can see it makes a big difference.

Jen: [00:10:36] Can you give us an example of how someone had kind of resolved that and stopped having a dream like that? Because, you know, I think a lot of listeners would be saying, well, we can't stop rushing or, you know, I'm never going to stop being busy. I have all these kids and I have this job and, you know.

Tzivia: [00:10:53] Yeah. I mean, to think of a specific example, so many examples come into my head, of what you just have been talking about, these recurring dreams that come again and again. And then either they change or they stop. And so, yeah, we can't necessarily stop the fact that we have so many roles and our modern lives go very quickly. But what we can change is our attitude toward that, right, is how we face that, how we interpret it in our lives. So for myself, I've tried to stop using the word busy. Like, try not to say I'm busy. I try to say, Oh, I've had a very full day or. Just to start reframing this sort of cult of busyness that we're all in.

Jen: [00:11:49] I guess to make our conversation easier, I just had another dream pop in my head that is recurring. This one is not a rush. It's always, I'm at a new house that I've purchased and I'm not shopping for houses. And there's always one more cool room around the corner. Whoa. Nobody knew that was there. But always in this really cool room with tons of potential. There's all this weird stuff that we're going to have to clean out so we can enjoy this beautiful room like they're old knickknacks. I mean, just have house after house presenting myself. That was pre-owned. They left a bunch of stuff. It's interesting, but wow, it's going to take forever to make it beautiful. But wow, what potential? So what would you do with that strange dream?

Tzivia: [00:12:37] So that strange dream is another dream that many of our minds offer to us. You know, Carl Jung talks about the collective unconscious. Oh, absolutely. That we share a lot of these dreams. Yes. As I listen to you and this is something everybody can try with their dreams is to sort of scale it back to the skeletal elements, you know, the bare bones. So and I hear you tell that dream. First of all, look at the emotion. And I see, you know, this exuberance rising in you. Oh, I found all these new spaces. So if you just listen to the bones of it, you know, pare it back. I'm entering these new spaces. These new spaces are full of different things. I hear delight in your voice as you say that, but I need to clear them out in order to enjoy this potential, this potential new room, this space. You know, a room is a space for a particular purpose. So what rule? I'd ask you questions. What room are you entering in your life? What are you trying to make space for in your life? And what needs to be let go in order to enjoy that?

Jen: [00:13:45] Okay. Don't know the answer off the top of my head, but I'll journal on it.

Tzivia: [00:13:49] Yeah. And sometimes just living with those questions is enough. We don't need to know the exact answer. And it's important too, because I bet immediately your mind started going to like, what's my what project is it? Or what? You know, maybe a new part of my career. But our dreams are usually talking at the soul level, which is the level of feeling, emotion, purpose, you know, not purpose like what's on my resume, but purpose on what's deeply meaningful. Generosity, gratitude, love. So look at those rooms too. Not just the rooms of outward accomplishment, but the rooms of inner experience.

Jen: [00:14:29] Okay. Okay. Very good. Well, thank you. So, keep a dream journal. How do we then tell us more about what you talk about in your book, Dreaming on the Page. How do we bring the creativity and the writing aspect to our dream work?

Tzivia: [00:14:45] Yeah, So it's so natural. It's so natural. There's not much work involved. So keeping a dream journal can feel like work and there is a certain amount of time and doing involved, but there are lots of ways to work with that and of course have a lot more information in my book, Dreaming on the Page. But I'll give you a few tips to get started. The very act of writing our dreams down starts to connect us already without doing anything else to our innate creativity. Because as we write down our dreams, as we spend time thinking about them, talking about them as we've just been doing, remembering them, we start to marvel at all the rich imagery, the different plot lines, the different memorable characters that pop in. And all of these things are elements of creativity, the imagery in our dreams, you know, the color, the vibrancy, the range of emotions. These are all things that whether you're a visual artist, a writer, a playwright, a blogger, even, you need these things. And they're just handed to us every night. So by journaling our dreams, we're starting to connect with all of those creative elements of who we naturally are. Everybody dreams. So we are all naturally telling stories. We're all naturally creating, you know, cinematic sets and cinematic stories. So just that alone might help you feel for the rest of your life. Like, where can I bring a little extra color? Where can I bring a little extra pizzazz?

Jen: [00:16:29] Yeah, the way you talk about it, it almost feels like your alter ego gets to be, you know, is living a little bit and you can pay attention. Maybe it's a part of you that wants to be expressed when you mentioned creativity like that?

Tzivia: [00:16:44] Oh, I love that. That's a nice way of putting it. And so often, like when I teach a Dreaming on the Page workshop, what we do is we take something from our journal, we take a dream we've written down and we transform it into a story or a poem. Some songwriters come, they make a song out of it, but whatever it is, it often is so much simpler than people expect because sometimes, you know, just by changing it from the first person I I'm running down the hallway, I discover a new room. You know, you could just change it to you or that perspective, and all of a sudden it starts to sound like a story or a poem, doesn't it?

Jen: [00:17:23] I can imagine a song about running and finding new rooms. Well, I'd love to talk about, you know, we know dreaming is connected to the subconscious mind. One of the tools I teach is doing a brain download, which is kind of like a brain dump, just letting it flow onto the page. Sometimes you'll be surprised what shows up there. Similarly, some people daydream. Do they have a connection? The daydreaming, the brain downloads?

Tzivia: [00:17:54] Oh, absolutely. Absolutely. Daydreaming and dreaming at night have a lot of similarities. There are differences, too, you know, from the scientific level. When they do brain scans of people awake, asleep, daydreaming, imagining, or what they call the default network, you know, when you're just sort of on automatic, you know, you can see a range of similarities. You can see a progression of different brain states. And all day long we cycle through brain states. We know that when we're asleep and dreaming, we cycle through different sleep stages. But all day long our brain is cycling from active to mentioned the default network to resting. So daydreaming is going to be closer to nighttime dreaming on that spectrum than, say, working at a math problem. Right. You know we you're real focused attention. So there are a lot of similarities. And for people who don't remember their dreams, they can access some of that dreamy state by doing things like active imagination or guided imagery. You know, those are ways that we sort of hook back in or even sometimes painting or collaging. We can get back into that kind of intuitive dream, free-flowing state.

Jen: [00:19:11] Yeah, it's so interesting how you're connecting art, creativity, the right brain, you know, the classically labeled right brain activities. You know, another thing that popped into my mind is ADHD seems to be a very big topic in in the world right now. And I feel like my version of ADHD is definitely my brain just hops so fast. Topic to topic to topic. Do you know anything related to dream work and journaling work that you know connects ADHD with this kind of therapy form, if you will?

Tzivia: [00:19:46] Well, one thing I can say is that people who study the dream scientists who study dreams have noticed over time that dream segments are getting shorter as our attention spans get shorter, probably reflecting the media that we take in and our habit all day long of jumping from topic to topic, whether there's a therapeutic role for dreams in addressing that, I'm not sure. I do know that as we were discussing earlier, that this Court you know, I sort of take this poetic dream approach to life in general. I think can't remember which book we were talking about last time I was with you, but it might have been a joy in every moment. But mindful approaches to joy is another part of what I do and teach and this kind of attention, that dream work brings us to dream. Work brings us to a quality of attention when we're awake and asleep of, you know, putting it down on paper and reflecting, right? So that can help us slow down whether it has any therapeutic effect on classic ADHD, but it certainly helps us, in general, the way we use that term in a general, not a clinical way. Sink back in, and have an internal experience that sort of naturally starts to slow us down.

Jen: [00:21:11] Yeah. Wow, that's mind-blowing. Dream segments getting shorter. So if someone's considering checking out your book, Dreaming on the Page, what would they expect to find in your book?

Tzivia: [00:21:21] So I have a copy right here. Coincidentally, there are quotes, there are inspirational quotes here. There are little prompts. And to dos journaling tips and prompts ideas for how to enter sleep more mindfully so that you can have a better. Variants of sleep and dreams, and then how you can make poems, stories, how you can explore your own autobiography on the page, really using dreams ou autobiography.

Jen: [00:21:53] That's fun and also scary. What will you find about yourself? That's cool. So it's more of a workbook than just a book that you read?

Tzivia: [00:22:04] Exactly. There are short essays talking about our short attention spans. I like to write real user-friendly short segments so that people can take it in and reflect. So there are essays and information about sleep and dreams, but you can see from the format that, you know, it's it's bite-sized, it's manageable. And then the whole center section is chock full of writing prompts and techniques and exercises.

Jen: [00:22:35] Oh, cool. I love that. Well, Tzivia, I appreciate you sharing. Any last words of wisdom you want to share about dreaming with our audience?

Tzivia: [00:22:45] I just really like to remind people that everybody dreams, whether you remember them or not, and everybody has a story to tell. You know, this is our innate birthright, this creativity, this doorway into self-expression. So I just hope people will take a little time to pay attention to their dreams, to maybe write some down, and to enjoy their creativity.

Jen: [00:23:11] Okay, Very Good. And where can people connect with you if they want to learn more about your coaching or your workshops?

Tzivia: [00:23:19] Sure. I Offer the one-on-one dream work. I offer a monthly dreaming on the page workshop on Zoom and all kinds of other goodies and my book so you can find it all either at Third House Moon. Com and you write out the word thirdhousemoon.com or dreamingonthepage.com. Either one will bring you there.

Jen: [00:23:41] Okay very good. Well Tzivia, I appreciate it. I'm going to be analyzing my dreams. You always motivate me to come back to this. So thank you for being on the show.

Tzivia: [00:23:50] Love it. Yeah. Jen Thanks for having me. I love the good work you do in the world. Bye bye.

Jen: [00:23:55] You as well. Thank you.

Outro: [00:23:57] If you enjoy this podcast, you'd love Vibrant Soul, the place to heal, transform and expand your soul with like-minded friends. Join us at JenRiday.com/vibrantsoul.