Electric Dreams

The Dreams of Children

Jean Campbell

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Campbell, Jean (2004  August ). A VIEW FROM THE BRIDGE:
The Dreams of Children. Electric Dreams 11(8).

Meanwhile - Let us be good to the children in our lives - and add more children to our lives who need some good.
  --- Joy Fatooh

On The World Dreams Peace Bridge this month, a major theme seems to have been the dreams of children. In war-torn Iraq; in Peace Train activities in Germany and Australia; in Dallas, Texas and Manchester, England, members and supporters of the Peace Bridge have been thinking about and listening to children and their dreams.

During the recent conference of the International Association for the Study of Dreams in Copenhagen, Denmark, attended by several members of the Peace Bridge, I began to listen to people as they talked about working with children and their dreams, "I would be worried that the parents might think I was trying to influence the children," said one man. "I love children; and they love me," said another. "The most important thing in working with children's dreams is being able to listen," said Brenda Mallon, author of Dream Time With Children.

On Monday, July 12, just before a scheduled Peace Train workshop in Germany, Ralf Penderak's eleven-year old son, Alex, had the following dream:

I get a letter saying I must go to the army. I am eighteen. It is just seven days of school left. I have nightmares every night in that week. I donít know what will happen. Iím fearful. I fear Iím going to die. I awake after the seventh night and think, now I have to go. Then I awake one more time, and wonder, what is going on. Is this reality or is it another dimension? It dawns on me that I actually am eleven years old and donít have to be a soldier now.

A Peace Train workshop, is an activity that can be taken on by anyone interested in peace. Information on Peace Trains can be found on the World Dreams web site at http://www.worlddreamspeacebridge.org

Before the workshop Ralf planned, inviting Alex and his cousins, Ralf also had a many dreams. "I had dreams related to the Peace Train meeting, showing that his was also for me bringing up issues of self confidence, creativity, anger, war and peace. But this wasn't only due to the Peace train activities," Ralf said. "but a result of the intense dream work related to the Copenhagen conference and the World Dreams Peace Bridge."

One of Ralf's dreams was this one:

Ripping the Red Rag

There is a deep red cloth right before my face, that fills my entire field of vision. I grab it with both hands and tear, until it is beginning to rip in the middle. Through the rip I see blue skies. Now I see myself sitting there on a table with the cloth and passing on my work to a boy. He is supposed to continue, what I have begun.

The work of the Peace Bridge operates on many levels, both in dreams and in waking reality. Peace Trains were also created in Australia this month in a workshop led by Victoria Quinton. Nick Cumbo celebrated A Day Out of Time, the New Year's day of the Mayan Calendar, and the anniversary of Jeremy Seligson's Peace Train Dream by having a Peace Train DaFuMu on his web site at www.dreamofpeace.net

Immediately after the Copenhagen conference, members of the Peace Bridge held a DaFuMu dreaming for peace during the NATO meetings being held in Istanbul, Turkey. Possibly these dreams contributed to the fact that there was no major outbreak of violence during the talks. One could hope so, even though not even all members of the Peace Bridge knew about the DaFuMu dreaming.

Joy Fatooh wrote on July 12:

I've just quickly skimmed through all your writings that came in while I was away. I gather that there was a DaFuMu last night? Sorry I missed the announcement, but I didn't miss the DaFuMu! I stopped at my mom's house on my way back over the mountains and slept on her floor, and decided I might dream something pertinent to our discussion about violence and peace to share with you all.


In an overpriced specialty ice cream shop I bought one small scoop of pistachio and set it on a table while I paid. When I turned around, a tall, gaunt, scruffy man had taken my ice cream to another table and was calmly eating it. He looked probably poor, possibly homeless, and I didn't so much mind him having my ice cream; but my thought was that it might not be good for me or him or society if I didn't insist on something in exchange. So even though I was a little worried that he might be a bit deranged, I said, "Hey, that was mine - what are you going to give me for it?"

He just sat there and looked at me while he ate. I said, "You don't have to pay what I paid for it, but you should give me something to make it fair." I saw a pile of coins on the table beside him and asked, "How about one of these quarters?" But he said, "Those aren't quarters," and on a closer look I saw that they were some kind of foreign coin.

I asked, "Could I have one for my nephew's coin collection?" He said, "No, you can't have one of those. But here," he took from his big coat pocket a double handful of clever little wire sculptures. They were very nicely made little human figures of shiny black wire, all posed with various weapons like toy soldiers.

I don't know any kids who play with toy soldiers and I didn't care for the combative poses myself, but I sorted through them and chose three that were unarmed. However, arriving home a moment later, I realized that I hadn't taken them with me.

I went back - now the place was somehow at the other end of my own house, near the hot springs - and I was informed that by accepting three of the figures I had been inducted into some kind of secret society. The unarmed three I'd chosen were gone. I looked through the pile again and found three that were armed, yet did not look aggressive - rather, conveyed a sort of graceful, tai chi-like readiness. My favorite was a woman with bow and arrow, the drawn bow forming a lovely curve that led into the curve of her body, held far forward as she stood on the toes of one forward-striding foot, somehow incredibly balanced.

"Yes, Balance," the impersonal narrator/voice-over/ Dream-Voice-of-Wisdom intoned - "Balance is what it's all about."

With an amazing set of synchronicities involving our old friend the Phoenix and a new member from Sydney, Australia Su Leybourn, a set of children's dreams of peace brought Valley Reed back to the Peace Bridge. You may remember Valley's dream of the Crow and the Phoenix which she danced at the ASD Regional Conference in 2002. You can see photos of the tale of Anna Belle and her friend the umbrella in the dance at http://asdreams.org/conferences/2002cincinnati/crow_and_phoenix.htm
Valley had dropped out of e-mail contact several months ago.

Though the entire story is too long to tell here, toward the end of July, a post arrived in the contact box on the World Dreams site from the director of the youth program at a Unity Church in Dallas, Texas. Children from the church had written cards and drawn pictures expressing their dreams of peace, which they wanted to send to children in Iraq. They wondered if we could help them find somewhere to send them.

Well, of course we knew just the place, as we have been sending packages to the Seasons Art School in Baghdad for the past several months, but out of curiosity I asked where the Unity Church in Dallas might have heard of the Peace Bridge. Through Valley Reed, of course. She is now on staff at the Dallas Peace Center, one of the oldest and most respected peace groups in the country.

So the dreams of the children in Dallas connected with the dreams of the children in Baghdad, and one more contact has been made.

From the children who attend the Seasons Art School, we have begun to receive individual e-mails. The program at the Seasons Art School is not a regular school program, but a therapeutic program, directed by a graduate student from the University of Baghdad, Emad Hadi. The school sees several hundred children in morning and afternoon sessions, working with them in art, theater, music, computers and other means of self expression, attempting to deal with the effects of war.

So far, in the past month, a dozen children from the school, who are learning English and computers, have written individual email notes to the Peace Bridge, and have received in return e-mails, postcards and letters from individuals on the Bridge. We are hoping to establish a page on the World Dreams web site, through which individual children can be paired with others around the world to develop a true communication.

The Childhoods Voices program, the parent program of the school, has also set up another program this summer in one of the poorest districts of Baghdad, the Peace Birds School. This is what they say about that program:

All over the world, a child wakes up cheerfully every morning with his/her dreams and ambitions, with the innocent hope, that he/she will have a future without fear. However, the dreams of our Iraqi children have become more special, not because of their beauty or colour, but because of their tragic pain and sorrow. Our Iraqi children wake up with a big burden of fear, and with no smile. They are afraid of everything and nothing, because their fear has become the tangible reality in which they live from day to day. Their fears range from not being able to reach school because of the razor wire put by occupation forces in many areas, and sometimes around their schools, sudden explosions which may occur at any time, the security situation in the streets which prevents them from playing with their friends or outside their homes and even their homes have become unsafe for them. Put simply, Iraqi children are afraid, from childhood, of annihilation.

Obviously, this is not something they enjoy but is a reality which is enforced on to them. Therefore, it is our duty to carry the message of peace with us, so as to implant in the minds of our birds that they can live in peace. For this reason, "Peace Birds Art School" has been established in the Al-Dura District.

During the month of July, one final thing has been happening on the World Dreams Peace Bridge that has to do with the dreams of children. Brenda Mallon from Manchester, England, author of the excellent book *Dream Time With Children*, has agreed to send copies of this book to the teachers in Iraq, and we have begun conversations with Emad and others in the school about the possibility of working with the children with their dreams. This is a delicate activity, of course, but Brenda, who has worked with children in northern Ireland and other situations involving conflict, is particularly well-suited to the task of helping people to understand the role of war and conflict in the dream lives of children:

"Dreams act as an internal information system--they are messages from ourselves to ourselves," says Brenda Mallon. "They reveal inner struggles and expose the complexity of working out who you are in a confusing world. This is particularly the case for growing children who find that both the physical and emotional changes they experience influence their dream life." (13)

By making connection with the dreams of children the world over, members of the World Dreams Peace Bridge hope to assist in facilitating a communication between adults and children, and children with children,that can broaden the field of possible peaceful interaction.

We encourage you to visit the World Dreams Peace Bridge web site at http://www.worlddreamspeacebridge.org or to subscribe to the World Dreams discussion group at
mailto: worlddreams-subscribe@yahoogroups.com

If any of you have ever dreamed, as I have,

Thank you.