Author Anne Scott spent her 20s working as an international journalist and traveling around the world to places like the People's Republic of China, Burma, Sri Lanka and Panama.
After retiring from that career path, Scott said she was unsure what direction to take next. The answer came to her in a dream one night while she was camping.
“I was shown the Earth as though I was standing far in space," Scott told The Huffington Post. "I saw the inflamed and painful parts of the Earth, and on the right saw the full moon shining light on these wounded places on the Earth with a particular light that touched it like a balm. Then I heard the words: ‘Wherever the feminine touches there is healing.’”
Scott said she knew from that moment that her work would revolve around creating sacred spaces for women, and she founded the nonprofit foundation, DreamWeather, to make that intention a reality.
In its 20 years of operation, DreamWeather has hosted dozens of retreats and gatherings in community centers, churches, private homes and homeless shelters around the country. Most recently, Scott co-hosted a workshop at the Parliament of the World's Religions in Salt Lake City, Utah.
In each circle, or gathering of women, participants meditate, reflect on their dreams and life stories, and connect with other women in a safe and nurturing environment.
“There is nourishment that comes from sitting with other women, and women often don’t even know they’re missing it,” Scott said.
When women come together to share their wisdom in a sacred way, she continued, “something wakes up in our hearts."
That can happen through meditation, walking in nature, or, as it did for Scott, through dream work. In its simplest sense, Scott said, dream work is about "paying attention to your dreams." Doing so can help us to better understand our lives and make decisions that we may be facing.
There is nourishment that comes from sitting with other women, and women often don’t even know they’re missing it.
“Dream work is a way to learn the language of a deeper knowledge within oneself that is not constrained by rational thinking," Scott told HuffPost.
She advised writing a dream down, reflecting on it, and potentially sharing it with others who will honor and respect it.
“I have seen hundreds of times that when a woman begins to listen to her dreams… it’s like a whole dimension opens up that was inaccessible before,” Scott said.
Dream work is a way to learn the language of a deeper knowledge within oneself that is not constrained by rational thinking.
Scott, who also practices Sufism, has hosted a regular meditation circle for years in Northern California where women came together to talk about their dreams. She has witnessed the profound effect this circle and other DreamWeather gatherings had on women's lives, she said.
Today, the focus of Scott's work is a weekly circle she runs at a women's homeless shelter in Santa Rosa, California. For an hour, once a week, women at the shelter come together to meditate, journal and talk about their lives.
“They learn from this that there is wisdom inside of them, and it begins to reorient their relationship to themselves," Scott said.
Scott is writing a book about her experience at the shelter, which is due to publish early next year. It will serve as a larger guidebook for women interested in creating their own circles.
“The really crucial thing in this work is to create a space where there’s a sense of sacredness that helps women find a sturdier relationship to the divine or to the sacred within herself and be able to meet the difficulties or challenges in her life with a different lens,” Scott said.
When that shift occurs, she said, things may begin to unfold in ways we could have never planned.
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