Dreams While We Are Sleeping

According to scientific research, our dreams communicate to our conscious mind what our subconscious mind is worried about (or not), thus helping us work through the day's emotional quandaries.

For example:

1) Several years ago, I met a woman that I wanted to be friends with, but in my waking life I wasn't sure I could trust her. That is, until I dreamt about two different people (one man, one woman) in my distant past whom I couldn't trust. When I juxtaposed how I felt when I interacted with this woman vs. the other two individuals, my subconscious was telling me I could absolutely trust her.

2) On another occasion, I was stymied by how to approach a problem at work. Thanks to a dream in which my younger brother and sister, each of whom have very different problem-solving styles, were sitting around a table with me, I recognized that I could add their styles to my own to cobble together a workable approach.

3) Then there's my dream titled The Banquet Awaits. Because of this dream's relevance to ‘dare to dream', I commissioned yet another painting by Mallika Sundaramurthy.


Used by permission. Copyright Mallika Sundaramurthy and Whitney Johnson, 2008.

In this dream, I was speaking to a man with whom in my waking life I had been discussing the possibility of joining the investment bank Goldman, Sachs. Though I was mesmerized by him, I found his girlfriend, who was also there, to be an annoyance.

Despite my disdain, she invited me to her home for dinner which I grudgingly accepted, not knowing I was in for something very special.

Her home was a welcoming, single story house with sleek lines, high ceilings, a fountain pool for a front yard, while the inside had a loft feel and inviting furniture. Once the guests had arrived, she proceeded to serve a sumptuous meal, a banquet really. Each course was beautiful to behold, and exquisite to the taste.

There was enough for all, an unending feast.

As I shared my dream of The Banquet Awaits with a friend, I recognized this dream was symbolic of systergy. I had discounted the woman who had invited me to her home, believing her boyfriend held the key to achieving what I wanted. When in actuality, IF I would connect with other women, what I wanted would unfold not only for me, but for all the women who had accepted the invitation to the banquet.

Do you remember your dreams?

What is your most memorable dream?

What can you learn from this dream?

In re-reading The Banquet Awaits, I've actually thought of another interpretation besides the one I've outlined — do any of your dreams have multiple interpretations?

Related Posts:
The Sweetness of Systergy
Of Pineapples and Friendship
Why I Like Wicked
Redefining Ladies who Lunch

Fielding a ‘Dare to Dream’ Team

We don't get our dreams done on our own.

We weren't meant to.

Which is why we need ‘dare to dream' teams.

Like my ‘dare to dream' creative team.

Brandon Jameson — Brandon Jameson designed the logo and banner for ‘dare to dream', everything Know Your Neighbor and my personal stationery. Brandon's design work visually captures what I try to convey in words.

LaNola Kathleen Stone — In the first three issues of Organize Magazine, you saw Kathleen's images, as well as her work as Creative Director. Through her photography Kathleen captures the magnificence of people and places.

Johnson2007
All rights reserved. LaNola Kathleen Stone, 2008.

Mallika Sundaramurthy — Several years ago, Mallika brought a story I'd written to life through her painting; her latest feat is the myth of Psyche.

All images are copyright by Mallika Sundaramurthy and Whitney Johnson, 2008. 

As I analyze the dynamic of my relationship with this creative ‘dream team', there seem to be some broadly applicable observations:

1. Start with short-term projects — If you intend to start a business or non-profit, before expanding the scope of the relationship, work on a short-term project first, such as a benefit for the community or your children's school.

Lamentably, I don't always do this. Either because I'm too relationship-centered and/or overly excited about someone's dream, I sometimes impetuously move into a major project, without vetting my partner(s) and they me, only to find out later we can't work together: we have different timetables, different visions, different views on the give vs. get. That's when things become dicey. Take it from a sadder, poorer, but wiser girl.

2. Trust our collaborators' competence — Once we've worked on a few limited scope projects and have fully worked out rules of engagement, it's important to trust our collaborators. If we're micro-managing, perhaps we just need to stop micro-managing. Or maybe we didn't pick our partners as well as we thought we did.

D2d_logotransFor example, after I broad-stroked for Brandon what I wanted for the ‘dare to dream' logo, he came back with something completely different which I didn't like. But because I'd loved his previous work, I was willing to ‘live' with his vision for a few days, eventually realize that his vision was perfect, just perfect — When we put our heads together, we experience systergy, and can accomplish our dreams.

3. Recognize that our collaborators will not be good at what we're good at – If we choose someone for a project because they can do what we cannot do (design, photograph, paint), the almost certain corollary is that we will be good at things they aren't.

It was not too long ago that I believed that if you couldn't spell you were dumb. Until. Until I discovered that there were some who thought I was dumb because I had (and have) a poor sense of direction (even after living in Manhattan for 10 years, when I came up out of the subway, and would begin to head east, you could be sure that I was heading west — a true contrarian indicator). Am I dumb? No. Are people that don't spell well dumb? No. We are just smart in different ways – and when we can harness ‘smart in different ways', we have the makings of a ‘dare to dream' team.

4. Give people their due in terms of compensation and credit — When our collaborators do good work, let's give them credit. Tell as many people as possible. Just because they don't ask for praise and/or compensation, doesn't mean they don't want or even need it. They may not know how to ask, or even what they are worth. What a gift we can give if we help our friends and co-workers to know their worth.

What ‘dare to dream' project are you working on or thinking of undertaking? Do you have a ‘dare to dream' team?

How are we helping our spouse/friends/colleagues with their dreams? Are we giving them enough information so that they can help us with ours?

To what extent are we as parents part of our children's ‘dare to dream' team? Do we collaborate with them? We can't really do vet them, but we can trust their strengths, and not micro-manage.

What about the people that are part of the ‘rearing our children' ‘dare to dream' team? Their teachers, coaches, nannies, friends' parents? Do we trust and appreciate them?

Are we adequately compensating people for the work that they are doing whether via money, barter (an exchange of goods or services)? And if they ask not to be paid, are we insisting — especially with women?

Related Posts:
A Hero of Support
Getting Gratitude
Asking for What We Want
Valuing What Women Do

The Myth of Psyche

According to psychologists Jean Shinoda Bolen and Robert Johnson, there are very few stories that describe the psychology of feminine, rather than masculine, development.

The myth of Psyche is one of them.

Psyche is a mortal woman who wants to find her estranged husband, Eros, God of Love and son of Aphrodite. Aphrodite, whose jealous fit led to their meeting and falling in love in the first place, holds the key to their being reunited: it often happens that whatever has wounded us is instrumental in our healing.

To become who she is – to accomplish all that she is meant to – Psyche needs to not only love and nurture and care and connect, she also must learn to sort through and prioritize her possibilities, obtain power without selling her soul, keep her eyes on her prize, and say no.

May I now share with you Mallika Sundaramurthy‘s original Myth of Psyche illustrations?

Task 1:  Sort the seedsSift through and prioritize possibilities

Task 2:  Gather the fleeceGet things done

Task 3:  Fill the flaskAccomplish a goal

Task 4:  Fill a box with beauty ointmentLearn to say no

Which of these four tasks is most difficult for you?

What can we learn from the men in our lives as we complete our hero's journey?

What can men learn from us?

If you think these images are as wonderful as I do, please take a moment to let Mallika know.  She may even be willing to sell a print to you  — I know I'm going to want one.

All images are copyright by Mallika Sundaramurthy and Whitney Johnson, 2008. 

P.S.  Mallika is the artist who designed my pOstcard for the Oprah contest last year.  It's fabulous, isn't it?

Related posts:
Stories We Love and Live By – The Myth of Psyche
A Hero's Journey
Psyche and Choice
Learning to Say No
The Galadriel Test


Contact Us

Fill out this form and we will follow up to create a customized plan to help you build a smart growth organization.

Media & Press Inquiries

including requesting Whitney as a guest on your podcast

Media & Press Inquiries arrow_forward

Gain insight into growth, adaptability and agility

Download our free resources outlining the Accelerants of Growth—including books, podcasts and TEDtalks to help you move up your S Curve of Learning.