THE BLOG

The Legacy of Dreams

11/04/2013 12:41 pm ET | Updated Jan 23, 2014

I'm reading Roger Kamenetz's book, The History of Last Night's Dream, Discovering the Hidden Path to the Soul, and had this dream.

The context: I am the crone responsible to tell the family-tribal story to the grandchildren and great grandchildren, especially urgent now because the tribe is in danger. Middle generations are off doing something needed, that's their responsibility to the tribe. I'm unaware of the content that I am to impart to the next generation.

The dream: It's the first day, and I am talking to a small girl with a round open face wearing a bonnet. With each sentence, I feed her bites of apple dipped in raspberry jam... she happily ingests the apple bites, the jam, and my words. The second day I feed her only apple, and she pays no attention to what I'm saying. When I ask her, "What's the matter?" she says she wants jam... I give it to her, and we continue the story. Later I'm telling an older boy, who eats apple, but is disinterested in jam.

I wake to record the dream in my journal and several images appear as I write:

1. In a flash I wonder about the apple from the Garden of Eden with all its meanings...

2. The girl reminds me of my second granddaughter, costumed for her first Halloween...

3. The tradition to initiate very young boys to Torah, by inviting them to lick sweet honey off the Hebrew letters of the tablets. Even today in Hasidic communities, young boys' first official encounter with text does not involve books. Instead, children are offered an aleph-shaped cookie (aleph, the first letter of the Hebrew alphabet). As they correctly identify the letter, it is dipped in honey and the children enjoy a sweet treat.

4. Most obvious, as a person passionate about and who works with legacy and the ethical will, my dream reminds me of my responsibility as an elder in my community to pass on my learning and my love to those who will live after me.

Why I share this personal dream: at this season, as we move every day toward more dark than light, we have the opportunity to dream more, to reflect on our interior lives, and to pay attention to our dreams as a way (like writing legacy letters is a way) to know ourselves more deeply, to understand what we should do with our precious waking hours, to express our purpose for being here.

These dreams, images and reflections make interesting legacy letters for future generations: expressing ourselves in a new way. Sharing a dream that clarifies a value, that teaches us something important, that expresses our love, that we can pass forward smeared in sweet honey or dipped in raspberry jam.

"Even though the Sages said there are three instructions a man must give, still one must be careful to say these things gently so that his family will accept them from him." -- Talmud

Suggestions for action:

1. Ask to recall your dreams before you sleep.

2. Upon awakening, record even the tiniest of recalled dream fragments even when they seem meaningless, incoherent, chaotic.

3. Write any images that appear to you as you journal and throughout the day.

4. When you feel ready, try writing a 15-minute legacy letter to someone with whom you have an important relationship. Share your images and discoveries from your dream(s), what they mean to you, what you're learning from them, what wisdom they impart to you about your waking life.

5. If you have no one with whom to share at this time, save the letter in your legacy file for yourself to reread at a future time, or until you have someone with whom you wish to share yourself in this less than usual way.

"May you be blessed with many remembered dreams, with images that awaken personal and family memories, and lead you to wisdom about yourself that will be treasured by those who will know you more deeply from your legacy letters." -- Rachael Freed

NEW "Your Legacy Matters: Harvesting the Love and Lessons of Your Life, A multi-generational guide for writing your ethical will," is now available everywhere. 2012 editions now available of Rachael Freed's "Women's Lives, Women's Legacies, Passing Your Beliefs and Blessings to Future Generations," "The Legacy Workbook for the Busy Woman" [all books available as pdf downloads at www.life-legacies.com/books) and "Heartmates: A Guide for the Partner and Family of the Heart Patient," and "The Heartmates Journal." Senior Fellow at the University of Minnesota's Center for Spirituality and Healing, Rachael is a clinical social worker, adult educator and works with financial, health, and religious organizations focused on legacy principles and practices. She has seven grandchildren. Her home is Minneapolis, Minn.