Nothing is as it seems

Nashville is coming up soon!  As I prepare my speech “Nothing Is As It Seems” for the Big I Conference on Inclusive Theology, I’ve been contemplating how maintaining this stance in the world is so helpful … soothing actually.

Invited to the Big I to speak about my experience with the Zulu of South Africa, it’s easy – easy NOW – to see how nothing was what it seemed to be in RUBY’S WORLD.  The underlying current of ancient traditions permeated modern, every day life in ways I couldn’t see – and my blindness contributed to being run out of the village under threat for my life!

Most of us won’t ever encounter witch doctors and tribal chiefs.  Nor will we be flummoxed by rituals that have no power in our realm of consciousness.  But many of us will innocently undermine the value of others’ belief systems when we find ourselves in unfamiliar circumstances.

So it turns out that the lessons of RUBY’S WORLD are good for all of us:

Be quick to ask questions
Be slow to make judgments
Take nothing at surface value

A friend sent me this story, and I’m excited to pass it on.  Please post a reply with your “WE WILL SEE” story – and inspire all of us to believe in something bigger than the moment.

     A man has a horse that jumps the fence and runs away.  His friends say, “Oh, too bad your horse left.  Now you have no horse to work for you.”
     The man says, “Well maybe.  We will see.”  
     Then the horse returns months later, pregnant and gives birth to a foal.  The man’s friends say, “Oh, you are so lucky.  You lost one horse and now you have two!”  
     The man says, “Well maybe.  We will see.”
     Then the man’s son is riding the young horse and it bucks and he falls and breaks his leg.  The friends say, “Oh, too bad your young horse left your son with a broken leg. How unfortunate.”
     And the man says, “Well maybe.  We will see.”  
     Then the army comes to take young men of the village to be soldiers, but the man’s son can’t go with a broken leg.  The friends say, “Wow, how lucky are you!  Your son has to stay at home because of his broken leg.”
     “Well maybe.  We will see …”

Mystical Magical Dreams

During a recent newspaper interview, I was asked, “How do you know the difference between a dream that has a real message, and a dream that is just messing with you?”

My chin dropped.  How could the richness of dreams that I accept without question be considered as a meaningless nightly romp through a series of scrambled images.  After regaining my composure, I answered, “There is no such thing as a dream that’s just messing with you.  All dreams have a sincere, valuable message.”

Our ensuing conversation prompted me to write this article for those who are dream curious.

There are three basic premises that apply to all dreams:

1.  All dreams serve the highest good of the dreamer.   Even nightmares deliver a healing message … they just have a strong negative feel so that we can’t ignore them.

2. All dreams are multi-layered, with many possible meanings.

3. All dreams deliver new information for the dreamer.

In other words – dreams are never just messing with you!  

And here’s why. Dreams occur during REM sleep when theta brain waves are present. The theta state bypasses our conscious minds, the home of our habitual thinking patterns that are conditioned by our personal history, allowing information to come through from the collective consciousness, archetypal wisdom, and spiritual truth. 

It’s during the theta state that we experience:

  • strong spiritual connection
  • vivid visualization
  • unlimited creativity
  • deep insight

Thank goodness we have nightly access to these expansive resources. Our dreams are an infinite, priceless well of inspiration for addressing life’s complicated issues.  And once we learn to decipher their language, they serve as an infallible road map for personal growth.

Why are dreams so perplexing?  Why don’t they just deliver the message in a clear, precise manner?  Because they are loaded with symbols that operate simultaneously on a multitude of levels:  personal, communal and archetypal.

Dreams speak to our spiritual evolution, personal challenges, relationships, health, and the roles we play in the world.  Every character, action, color, animal, sensation – everything in our dreams – either individually or collectively carries meaning in these various arenas. It takes practice to untangle the images!

Over the past thirty-plus years of working with dreams – both my own and those of friends and clients – I’ve discovered that some dreams lose their “juice” over time, while others remain fresh for decades.

The difference seems to lie in whether or not the message has been fully realized.  When the dream goes “flat,” the dream has fulfilled its purpose.  If there is still energy surrounding the dream, there is still wisdom to reap!

My House – My Soul

Throughout the world’s sacred texts are many references to the “temple” of the soul. Although I’ve never dreamed of temples, I often dream of houses. These dream houses, in varying states of grandeur or disrepair, seem to represent the current status of my body, mind, and spirit – my soul. The dreams serve as a compass, pointing me in the direction of where I might be growing, or need healing.

Mansions and Crumbling Remains

web-mansion - RSometimes the house I occupy in my dream is grand, sitting on acres of lush rolling hills.  Waking from these dreams, I feel bolstered with the sense that my consciousness is expanding to include greater abundance.

Other times I dream about homes that belong to my family of origin where the interior walls are crumbling and I see through the entire house, nothing hidden from my view. These dreams reflect how I’m dismantling the emotional structure of my childhood to create a less restricted, clearer perspective of my life.

Exploring Your Soul Room-by-Room

Most often though, I dream about houses one room at a time: stuck in a bathroom with no way out, washing dishes in an unfamiliar kitchen, climbing cold concrete stairs out of a basement, sitting alone in a living room listening to beautiful music. These dreams encourage me to delve deeply into exploring one specific “room” of my soul.

The details of the various rooms are always different. But there are only so many types of rooms in a house and over the past thirty years I’ve explored each of them so many times, they’ve become reliable indicators of where and how I need self-care.

The remainder of this article is my room-by-room symbolism for houses as they relate to body, mind and spirit.


web-kitchen - RHave you noticed that family and friends tend to congregate in your kitchen? Instinctively they know that this is the heart of the home, the place where nurturing begins.

Kitchen size, windows, lighting, cleanliness, food, appliances – all speak about my heart. Am I opening my heart to others? Do I share freely? Am I tending to the needs of my own heart? Do I feed myself (on all levels) a healthy diet? Am I lighthearted or do I harbor darkness? Does something in my heart stink, or is it fresh and inviting? Is my heart open for others? How do I nurture myself and others?


web-bathroomRBathrooms are the place we cleanse dirt and odor from our skin, eliminate waste from our bodies, and perform personal grooming. Our skin is our largest organ, serving as a protective barrier between our delicate interior organs, and the harsh elements of the world. And if we don’t eliminate toxic waste from our bodies, we will soon die.

Bathroom dreams ask if I am adequately releasing things from my life that are no longer supporting my health. Am I holding onto damaging emotions or out-dated belief patterns? Does my physical body need help eliminating toxic habits? Bathroom dreams encourage me to examine how I put on make-up. Do I mask my true self by covering up parts of myself that feel like blemishes.

In dream bathrooms I pay attention to mirrors, windows, floors, cleanliness, toilets and showers, and even the color of the room. Lack of a mirror may indicate that I’m unwilling to look at something. Colors may speak to my emotions and attitudes about letting go. I’ve even dreamed of bathrooms with no door. That message was strong: you are not leaving this room without releasing or cleaning up!

Dining Rooms

In my waking life homes, dining rooms have always been used for formal occasions, holidays and celebrations, or entertaining business acquaintances and guests with whom I don’t share a personal connection.

My dream dining rooms inform me about the nature of my relationships with people and events. In waking life I might see someone as a trusted friend, but when they show up in my dream dining room it asks me to take a closer look at the relationship.

On occasion I dream of a dining room meal associated with a waking life event that felt insignificant. The dream encourages me to see this event as meaningful and to honor its place in my life.


web-bedroom - RBedrooms separate children from each other and from parents, giving each family member a personal space. We retreat to our bedrooms for privacy, rest, and rejuvenation. Bedrooms are where we share our deepest intimacy in a partnered relationship. And in some instances, bedrooms are where emotional, physical or sexual abuse take place. Bedrooms are loaded spaces!

My dream bedrooms illuminate issues of personal boundaries, relationship with family members, intimacy with partners, my ability to rest from the world, and the unhealed places in myself that I keep private.

The details in bedrooms are numerous: clean/messy, light/dark, spacious/crowded, uplifting/somber, furniture, personal belongings, mirrors, doors, etc. They all address the nature of my closest relationships – including how I relate to my most intimate self.

Living Rooms

Living rooms are commonly used when members of a household spend time together. Living rooms are open to guests and family alike; a space for mixing energies, entertaining, and sharing stories. In a living room you generally share only the aspects of self that you are willing to expose to everyone present. Living room dreams can indicate introverted or extroverted personalities and/or phases.

I rarely dream of living rooms. But when I do, they are either filled with so much chaos that I’m uncomfortable, or I’m there alone and feel content. My living room dreams consistently remind me that I am introverted by nature and need a great deal of space and time alone to process life.

Basements & Garages

web-garage - RBasements and garages are the storage grounds of a household, containing items we use infrequently, or may no longer need but are afraid to throw out all together. We store our vehicles here and often use these rooms to set things out of view when company is coming, with the intention of dealing with them later.

My garage and basement dreams typically represent old forms of consciousness that are no longer serving my highest good. They ask me to examine beliefs and habits that I think I’ve abandoned, but may simply be out of view of my conscious mind. Cleaning my dream basement is literally scrubbing the dark corners of my consciousness with the intention of creating space to embrace a new way of thinking.


Grandma and Grandpa’s treasures. family history, is stored in the attic. Carefully packed away in trunks, we revisit these stories with nostalgia. Sometimes old family secrets are hidden away in the attic. Discovering secrets might be shocking or painful, but they add depth to my family history and layers of richness to my soul.

When I visit dream attics, I’m looking for generational family information. I might need to call a relative and ask clarifying questions about past events. Or perhaps I need to examine how I’ve packaged my history. Is it accessible? Has it been too long since I last looked at my family’s treasures? Is there something in the attic that would help me understand myself better?

Questions for Exploring Your Dream Homes

The next time you dream about a home – or rooms in a home – ask these basic questions:

  • What is the condition of the home?
  • What is the purpose of this room in my waking life house?
  • What is my personal history of this room in waking life?
  • What is currently taking place in my waking life that relates to this room?
  • What is happening in my emotional/spiritual-self that relates to this room?
  • Have I been asking myself a question in waking life that this dream may answer?
  • What clues does this dream room offer that could serve my personal growth?
To schedule your private dream work consultation email or call 925-818-0726 today.

Dreams: The Ultimate Problem Solver

Dreams ALWAYS provide answers. All we need to do is ask the question and pay attention!

Over 30 years of working with dreams I’ve come to trust that no problem is too big, too small, too complicated or too outrageous to be solved through dreams.

The following is a list of real life issues my clients have solved with information and guidance received in their dreams.

  • needing financial ABUNDANCE
  • BOUNCING through life without direction
  • drumming up COURAGE
  • clarity for making healthier DECISIONS
  • feeling EMPTY
  • FEAR motivated choices
  • GRACE seems like a fairy tale
  • resolving family HISTORY
  • lack of INSPIRATION
  • JUDGING oneself harshly
  • hard to be KIND after being hurt
  • LOVE seems illusive
  • unclear, inconsistent, conflicting MOTIVATIONS
  • don’t know how to get NEEDS met
  • OVERWHELMED by life
  • PLEASING everyone except oneself
  • wanting higher QUALITY relationships
  • RUNNING away from problems
  • phobias of SNAKES & SPIDERS
  • needing a TREATMENT plan for cancer (this was MY issue)
  • unable to appreciate your own UNIQUENESS
  • being a VICTIM
  • you have it all and still WONDER what’s missing
  • never having eXtra energy, money, time
  • desire to say YES to life but don’t know how
  • ZOOS kept showing up in their dreams (just kidding!)
If you’d like help searching your dreams for answers to your problems, email or call 925-818-0726 to schedule a private consultation.