Healing Through Dreamwork
For as long as I can remember, I’ve always been a soñadora. No, not like the novela. I mean an active dreamer. I thought everyone was because I remember being a little girl and listening to my abuelita and mami talking about their dreams. Sometimes they’d wake up in the middle of the night, crying and praying because they had vivid nightmares. Other times, dream pláticas were initiated over pan con cafecito. Something I’d eventually experience in adulthood. The more research I did, the more I came to learn that dreams are a gift (un don) from my ancestral Mayan lineage by way of my maternal side.
It’s true most people don’t remember their dreams or don’t dream at all. In my familia, dreams are a love language of sorts. A strong dream message can serve as a reminder to be mindful, aware and to protect ourselves. I won’t lie, sometimes it was annoying. I’d think I’m not gonna live in fear because of a dream. However, as I’ve grown wiser I realized that for many familias who are just trying to survive, dreams are a form of therapy. Sometimes they’re the only form of therapy. Dreams have a way of connecting spirituality and our reality. In my case, they were a place where unresolved trauma was stored.
A few years ago it was normal for me to wake up in the middle of the night screaming, sweating and crying. My dreams had become a place where my childhood trauma would replay over and over. I’d wake up with my heart pounding out of my chest, shortness of breath and temblando from reliving some real life events. Let me tell you, experiencing this three times a week will take a toll on anyone’s mental health. Some of the effects include: being unproductive at work, an inability to be present for the things and people I love, and being in a bad mood all the time. Not to be a dramática, but I felt like the living dead. I was a momia (zombie). That’s not the quality of life anyone deserves.
Eventually, I sought out some professional help. I was diagnosed with complex PTSD and depression due to growing up in a DV household. Well damn, I thought, I guess I’ve gone through some pretty real shit. It was obvious I couldn’t and wasn’t meant to do this work alone. I needed qualified guidance and through that I’ve been able to make some pretty big strides in my healing journey. I often get asked, how does one know they’re healing? Well, for an active dreamer like myself, my nightmares decreased significantly. Most of my nightmares usually involved yelling, violence and fighting.
One night it happened again. I was in my childhood home with my siblings and parents. My father was raging and I could feel the high levels of anxiety start to consume us all. The pressure and fear started to build up. I felt myself become that little scared girl again. The one who couldn’t speak or call for help.
However, this time I felt a wave of calm energy pour over me. It was unlike anything I’d ever experienced before. I felt ease, control and command of my emotions. I used my words and asked him, “I know you’re hurt right now but we can’t understand you when you’re raging like this. What is going on?” Suddenly the darkness lifted and there was peace all throughout. I woke up. That’s the moment I knew that I had overcome all the suffering from my past. This dream showed me a healed version of myself. It gave me a glimpse of hope that my family could heal as well.
As I’ve grown older, I’m now able to understand the healing power of dreams and why it became a part of my family’s story. They can serve as messages from the heavens, God, ancestors, creator, or what have you. They can be a space where heaven and earth meet. A place where we can meet and visit our ancestors or loved ones who have entered the spirit world. A chance to be the leader and protagonist. A place where our deepest fantasies play out. A safe space for unlimited access to freedom and liberation. This don has allowed me and my family to remember the beauty that life has to offer and how we can contribute to it’s healing. Dreams remind us of our power and in an oppressive system this embodies liberation and freedom. Don’t forget to keep dreaming.
You are your ancestors’ wildest dreams.