My book, Awesome Your Life, contains a series of 7 active imagination experiments designed to lead you through a cycle of the mythic journey. Here's the first one:
Experiment 1: The Heart’s Call
In order to start our mythic journey to uncovering our genius, we need to enter into a real and dynamic dialogue with our hearts. Start by writing a letter to your heart, telling it all that’s going on with you now and asking it for guidance.
Now write a response to yourself from your heart’s perspective. In other words, create a letter from your heart to you. Your heart knows things that your conscious mind doesn’t. In order to access that intuitive knowing, it will help if you write your letter from your heart to yourself in dreamspeak.
Dreamspeak is a mode of language which accesses the same tools of interweaving and meaning-making that our night-time dreams use. It’s the language of the unconscious.
Dreamspeak has the following characteristics:
1. No use of the “to be” verb. This means that dreamspeak avoids all conjugations of “to be” including be, being, is, are, will be, was, were, and have been. Similar simple verbs which dreamspeak does allow include become, has, have, do, can, will, should, ought, may, remain, and equal. Dreamspeak excludes “to be” verbs because such verbs have a tendency to imply stasis and absolutely identity where actually the soul knows that only activity and fluidity present themselves.
2. Metaphoric naming. Dreamspeak disallows conventional or habitual proper names for people and places. Instead, dreamspeak invites you to coin new names for people and places based on descriptive or associate qualities. For example, if you’re writing about your friend John in dreamspeak, you would not call him John but perhaps “The Long-Haired Wanderer.” If you’re writing about Australia, you might rename Australia “Upside Down Land.” Dreamspeak also discourages conventional or habitual names for everyday objects and invites you to coin new names for those, too. So for example— in dreamspeak you might call a tree a “spreads-forth” or a “tall green.”
3. Allusions. Dreamspeak invites elaborate and associative references to words and things and places you’ve Experimented in books, films, travel, foreign languages, conversation—and, of course, night-time dreams. If you’ve dreamt recently about being trapped inside an amusement park closed for wintertime with a pack of rabid dogs, you might allude to those dogs and that park in your dreamspeak. If you’ve been reading books on yoga and you’re fascinated with the Sanskrit vocabulary of yogic practices, you might include some of those words in your dreamspeak.
4. Portmanteaus. In dreamspeak, we’re free to make up new words by combining elements from already-existing words to create new in-between meanings. So if a landscape is both rocky and boring, we might in dreamspeak say that it’s “bocky” or “roring” or even just “bocking.”
5. Neologisms. Go ahead and just plain make up words and expressions.
6. Sensory Amplification. If you get stuck or slowed down in your dreamspeak writing, you might try amplifying upon something that you’ve already noted by describing it with similes that reference all five of the physical senses. So maybe you’ve written the word “soil.” You might go on to say, “The soil smells like tar. It looks like the spit-up of baby plants. It sounds like insects toiling. It feels like a soft disaster. It tastes like the end of a night.”
7. Nonlinear. In dreamspeak, there’s no need for a linear narrative or argument to be present. Feel free to just riff. You might spiral around a topic or an idea in several different ways. You might go on wild tangents. That’s perfect.
8. Puns. Dreamspeak invites puns. Puns are simultaneously plays on the meanings and the sounds of words or phrases. Once, puns were considered a very high form of humor—isn’t that hilarious? Well, I at least find it punny.
9. Free association. Maybe you write down “daffodil” and that makes you think of old Victorian daguerreotype pictures, which makes you remember the guy you dated once who was really into those and hated Christmas, which makes you think of how you really love Christmas, which makes you think of your complicity in American consumer junk culture, which makes you think about the soft pretzels and slushies that they sold at Hill’s when you were a kid and your mom took you there and the popcorn was always stale. So in dreamspeak, go ahead and write about all that: “Daffodil daguerreotype Matt Christmas junk Mother Hill’s layaway pretzel slushies stale.”
10. No fidelity to “reality” required. In dreamspeak, it’s fine to write about or be inspired by “real” events and things, but you’re not at all limited to describing reality. You have full poetic license to wildly make stuff up.
So, using dreamspeak and writing as if from your heart to your conscious self, discover the following: What does your heart ask you to do? What does it warn you about? What does it know about your potential that you don’t know yet? How is it beckoning you forward to the gift of ecstatic joy? What sounds, smells, sights, places, visions, scents does it invoke in order to call you onward? How does it address you? What instructions does it give you?
Write for at least 20 minutes, uninterrupted.
Now read over what you've created. What does your heart want you to do? If it said "wear lilacs until the sun goes down" I suggest doing exactly that, no matter how silly it might sound.