10 Steps to Big Winter Dreams

01/09/2009 05:12 am ET | Updated Nov 17, 2011

Winter is a natural time to have big dreams. As the old year winds down and we make plans for the new one soon to begin, our dreams also go through a process of introspection. On these long winter nights, we dream about all that we have been through in the past year and what turns we are likely to see in the road ahead.

Tuning into this natural process lets us make conscious use of these dream insights. We can even ask our dreams for clarification and guidance on the big issues we face. And because this period of big dreaming comes at a time when we are already gathering with family and friends, there is the added opportunity to share this winter gift with those we love. Whether you are a lone wolf or a party animal this holiday season, here are some great ways to dream big this winter.

1. Write a letter to your dreams.
No, dreams don't come from the North Pole, but they do respond to our questions and concerns. Tell your dreams what you want, and be specific. What do you need to let go of from the old year? What do you want more of in the year to come? Then ask your dreams to help by showing you where the best opportunities lie, and what other factors you may be overlooking.

2. Create a special dream journal. Any notebook can be personalized by creating a collage on the cover that conveys your special dream requests. Focus on what you want to manifest and let your fingers do the walking through those old magazines, picking out images and placing them just so. Feel free to include affirmations, quotes, and parts of your dream letter in the design. Once you have glued it all down, cover the whole thing with clear contact paper so it will last, a sturdy reminder of your new dreaming cycle.

3. Give yourself time to dream big.
The best way to remember dreams is after a full night's sleep, so take some time during these long nights to catch up on sleep. If you are running a big sleep deficit it may take a few days to feel completely rested and refreshed. Let your body rejuvenate with extra sleep over the holidays, and be ready to write down all the dreams you remember.

4. Spend a silent night with your dreams. Everyone needs time to go inward, so plan to set aside one quiet evening without television or computers. Eat a good meal, light candles, take a long bath, whatever it takes to relax and make a complete break with your normal routine. Focus on your dream intention before bed, by reading aloud your dream letter, or writing directly in your dream journal. Remember to keep your journal and pen (or a small voice recorder) handy, so that when dreams come in the night you can easily write them down.

5. Throw a winter dream slumber party.
This is the perfect season to sink into the Dreamtime, and it's even better when shared with a handful of close friends. Spend the evening sharing your hopes and fears for the new year, then have an old-fashioned sleepover. Create sacred space, call in your spirit allies, and the Guardians of sleep and dreams. Hand out penlights, and make sure everyone has a journal to write down their dreams, as well as a comfy place to sleep. In the morning, keep silence until everyone has written down the dreams they remember. Thank the spirits who have watched over you, and over a leisurely breakfast, share your dreams with each other.

6. Make dream charms at a holiday gathering. If you already have an event planned and want to include a fun, fragrant, and meaningful craft project, let people create dream charms to bring home with them. All you need are bowls of dried herbs like lavender, rose petals, mugwort, chamomile, and lemon balm, small strips of paper to write on, and some simple drawstring bags. Invite your guests to write down dream questions or affirmations they want to remember each night on going to sleep. Place the strips in a bag, fill it with herbs, and draw it tightly closed. Then keep the dream pillow by your bed, and let the herbal fragrance remind you of your wishes, sending you sweet dreams.

7. Bring in the hired help. Do your dreams have you stumped? It could be time to call for reinforcements, and let a dream consultant (Hey! Over here!) help you unravel those big dream messages. Even a 15 or 30 minute phone conversation can be enough to jump-start your own dream insights. Better yet, hire a dream expert for your next holiday gathering or office party, and give everyone the chance to understand their dream messages this winter.

8. Practice mental yoga with those puzzling dream images.
You may already have some big dreams you are pondering. If so, make time for a close encounter with any dream character you want to understand better. Get comfortable and relax, breathing deeply while holding the character in your mind's eye. Notice every detail: age, size, facial expressions, attitudes, motivations, emotions. Now gradually bring that image closer and let the character meld with you. How does it feel to take its stance, to say the same words? Is there a time in your waking life that you feel this way, or act this way? Spend as much time exploring the character as you need, then thank it, see the character withdraw from you, and let the image go.

9. Look for the beauty in dreams. Self-help doesn't always mean self-criticism. This winter season, start by noticing all the good things about your dream first. Does it take place on a sunny day? Do you complete a task you set out to do? When you ask for help, does it come? Even if some things go wrong in the dream, that does not mean that all is lost. Sometimes just counting our blessings more often, in dreams as well as in life, allows our luck to change.

10. If at first you don't receive, try again. Dreams can be elusive, especially if we're not used to working with them. But don't take no for an answer. If your dreams are confusing, write them down anyway, then re-state your intention the next night. And the night after that, if necessary. Many people receive very clear dream messages after 3-5 nights of focused dreaming.

Remember: dreams are a natural resource, one that grows in strength as we pay more attention to it. And as we say goodbye to this momentous year, may our winter dreams reveal hidden riches waiting for us in the year to come. As the season turns and the days begin to grow longer, may all our dream fields bear full fruit.