Host: Good morning, this is Kentyn for DreamsCloud. Today we have in our virtual studio with us Nicoline Douwes Isema. Good morning Nicoline.
Nicoline: Hello, how are you?
Host: I am well. Nicoline is the author of a remarkable book, What Did You Dream Last Night? And Nicoline, I’ll have you pronounce the title correctly for me.
Nicoline: In Dutch it is, ”Wat Heb Jij Gedroomd Vannacht?”, and the under title is The Power of Thinking in Your Sleep (De Kracht Van Denken In Je Slaap), which basically, I think, is what the book is about.
Host: It’s unique book, the parts of it that you did send me under translation, and it is undergoing a translation right now.
Nicoline: It is.
Host: I liked your message, and I’ll kick this off here a little bit. I liked it because your message is that dreams aren’t this big complex incredible, deep science that takes years and years to understand, as oppose it’s a daily process; it’s something you integrate in with your walking, your eating – your entire life. Do you want to pick that up and expand on it?
Nicoline: Well, you sum it right up. I really, truly believe that mentation doesn’t stop at night. I truly believe that consciousness is a layered thing, and a rational consciousness is one part of thinking, but a minor part. Basically, I’ve always thought that, but the fun part of this century is that now tons of university research is basically telling us, “Look, thinking happens on so many levels, and one of the most awesome levels is at night, or in a daydream, or in any kind of dream, so pay attention to it, and try to integrate your basically non-rational thinking into your rational daily life, so that you can use your brain as a whole, and not just a part of it. I love that message; I want to spread that wherever I go.
Host: In reading through your notes, let’s see, you have some terminology to try to take the dreams and this integration into life; you take it out of the complex dimension. Can you – you had some great keywords, can you give me a couple of those, those things that you’re working on in terms of trying to simplify, make it so that they can access this without all the words that perhaps science assigns to it as oppose to just the day to day work with it.
Nicoline: Well stepping back from that, I think every generation has their own language, and when I read older text from basically a century ago, or longer ago about dreams, you read that people like you and me are trying to translate what research finds into, “How can I use that in everyday life?” And what I tried to do with this book for the Dutch market, but maybe other people like it too, is to translate all the knowledge that we have in universities and among dream workers into everyday street lingo. I don’t mean to make it too popular, and I don’t mean to simplify it, but I mean that I try to find the importance of finding the right words to explain it as you would at the kitchen table to a friend. And I try to that primarily because in the last century, dreams have been focused on in a psychology frame of mind. That makes sense because a hundred years ago it was psychologists who first recognized the value of working at dreams. But I think mentation is a lot more than just thinking about yourself, I think a lot more comes into it in the last twenty years. Creative thinking and creative dreaming becomes a huge thing. I just got today a Scientific American Mind magazine, with a feature – I have it hear – about Thinking in Your Sleep – the Mind at Night. Great ideas come from your mind – that’s the second thinking. But still I think that mentation is more than just psychology or getting ideas, so what I try to do is explain to people, in just everyday words; you’re thinking in your sleep, this is how I can help you to translate that nightly thinking to rational daily thinking, because you’re thinking on different levels here, of course you need to integrate them; of course you need a kind of bridge to translate your nightly thinking, which is mainly in metaphors, to your rational daily thinking, which is mainly in words and concepts and ideas. So that’s what I'm trying to do. I got a great reporter, her name is […] she does interviews, and she is a journalist for many magazines, and I asked her, “Please help me to not explain it like I'm a psychologist, but to explain it as you would to anybody you would meet.” And I think we did a good job.
Host: So, in your work, you obviously, you take this and apply it with your clients and do you see it being successful, do you see a result of this integration?
Nicoline: Well I think we all do. Once you start to talk about dreams, I think there's a great benefit. First and foremost, I believe that I was trained as a kid to talk about dreams and I believe that that training helped me to connect to my non-rational thinking better. What I noticed with my clients, is that most people are looking these days for a way to connect with their, let’s say, inner self. To connect with other ways of thinking of themselves, other ways of being than just making rational lists or plans for their life. People want to integrate their feelings, integrate their inner world and I think dreams are primarily one of the things that can help with that. But I also notice that talking about dreams, I don’t know, gets the mind more integrated in a way, because you make a little bridge between left brain and right brain, between front brain and the back of the brain basically, and I feel that clients that I work with get better ideas faster once they start to notice their daydreaming and their nightly dreaming.
Host: Since our first conversation, the set-up for this interview, I have tested some of your notions here with my grandchildren,
Nicoline: Oh, that’s fun.
Host: And I just exercised with them this notion of, “What did you dream last night?” And it’s really fascinating that if you take it out of that complex thing, and you bring into day to day, it’s a simple thing, and it makes people want to immediately open up.
Nicoline: I completely agree with you. I like so much that you did that! ‘Cause the thing is, my parents always asked me what I dreamt, and that made me very easy to open up, and the one thing that they never ever did was try to radically explain my dreams. They always did one thing that I learned from them, and that is to take my words, and make me explain things, because they felt, as I do, that if you ask people to explain something to you, and just tell you how it was in the dream, how it felt, what happened, why did this happen, why did you choose left and not right, and then what happens? Then I am basically wording what I was feeling, I learned how to put words to larger emotional concepts that I might not be able to even explain or feel as a child, but just being able to put words to the metaphors makes it easier for me to think about it and step back a little bit. That has been so helpful in my life; I cannot tell you how much I love that you’re doing that with your children. I think everybody should.
Host: I like your message, and I'm looking forward to the translation of your book, we’ll put it up on the blog and make sure that when it comes out we will let people know the translation’s that come out. I would be willing to bet that it is more than one language over time.
Nicoline: I think – I hope so, well you know what, it’s not about my book at all, and it’s not even about me. I think this is an era, and this is an age that people are actually ready and looking for ways to integrate their dreams in their daily life, and I really think it would be helpful if people start doing that because, as you say, it’s not about being a very complex and mysterious thing, it’s not about psychology. Actually, I mean, I love for making people aware of the fact that there is so much as a non-rational mind a calling it a non-conscious, but by making this very strict division between, “This is conscious, and that is subconscious or unconscious”, and therefore kind of mysterious? I think a lot of people I talk to are actually taken away from their nightly thinking, and taken away from their emotional thinking, and are kind of scared of it? Most people that I talk with, that say […] “Look, when you were a kid it was completely easy for you to influence your dreams, and it was very logical for you to talk about it.” Bring it back, do it again, don’t stop doing that. I feel it gives people a lot more freedom, to not be afraid that if you tell your dream people will think that, “Oh you’re secretly in love with your colleague,” or something; to not interpret it and run with it, and not be afraid of your own subconscious anymore.
Host: It’s a wonderful message, and I think it’s very – you can apply it, that’s my favorite part of it. You can just, you can read about it, you can think about it, and then you can apply the next – that night.
Nicoline: I love that you did.
Host: And it was a fun experiment, I plan on continuing with it, and hopefully we can continue our conversation in the future and we can keep this track moving forward.
Nicoline: Yes, I suddenly realize that we have not even talked about what the method really is. But seriously, it’s not brain surgery; you can do it.
Host: So why don’t we say goodbye on this conversation, and I’ll call you back in a few minutes and we’ll talk about the method.
Host: Okay, so I’ll say goodbye.
Nicoline: Thank you so much!