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Dragon Dreaming

drawing by Claudia Hannemann

Dragon Dreaming is a way of putting creativity and inspiration into projects to make them successful. That can be any kind of project, a small one, like a household recipe or a big project like building an eco community. It’s about turning dreams into reality with a group of inspired people, and making it into a success.

Weaving the indigenous wisdom of the Aboriginal peoples of Western Australia with Joanna Macy’s Deep Ecology and his own unique life experience and style, John Croft reinvented a way to find the path between a dream and an outrageously successful project. In today’s world, we grow up being told that we’re ridiculous when we’re sharing our dreams – “wishful thinking, illusions, impossible”. But the Aboriginals believe, like many other spiritual groups, that knowing and accepting our dreams, we actually know what will happen in the future; in telling our dreams we’re creating our future.

There is a lot to Dragon Dreaming. Too much to go into detail, but I will explain my impession of it in short. There is the Dreaming part, with someone’s dream/idea which starts it all off. Then when the dream is completed, it moves into the Planning stage, where plans are made to realise the dream. The third part is the Doing stage, where the dream is brought into reality and the last phase, and by no means the least, is the Celebration stage.

The process of Dragon Dreaming starts with an individual and his/her dream, which is the first phase. This is my favourite part. It is when the dreamer, the one who comes up with the project idea or vision calls in a Dreaming Circle. The dreamer tells his/her dream to a group of selected people.  The Dream Circle starts when he/she has told his dream, lets go of it into the circle and from here, the talking stick moves around and everybody is invited to speak and express what the project should include for them to be involved in it. (Inviting a child is also a great idea, as children often think way outside the box.) As the process goes on, people get inspired by each others dreams/ideas and start to dream together and an enormous amount of creativity starts spinning into the air.  By letting go of the dream into the group, the dream ultimately becomes bigger and more interesting. And because each member feels inspired and thus attached to the dream, it becomes every ones dream to make it into a success.

The planning starts in the second phase (‘Projects never plan to fail, they fail to plan’). So the group starts feeding into the project/dream and the project feeds back into the individual. Research has shown that 90 % of all our dreams, never become theory; 90 % of the theory is never really planned; 90 % of the plans are never put into practise; and 90 % of our projects never get older than 3 years. From there the process moves into the third phase, the doing. The theory developed feeds into practise. A lot of projects, especially in our modern culture tend to spend all of their time in planning and doing, never really feeding back into the dreams of the individuals involved, therefore not really being satisfying to anybody and unsustainable. To make the cycle complete, we therefore find a fourth stage: the celebration. The celebration is the phase where the project feeds back into the individual, where there is time for reflection, adjustments, reconsideration of wants and needs, new dreams and visions to start the cycle anew and let it expand like a spiral, starting small and adding experience as it’s moving forward.

I found it very inspiring to see a dream/idea transform into something even bigger and better, to which all the participants could relate and feel a motivation to make it succeed. To let the dream flow. This is important, as nothing in life is static. Everything changes and flows, and a certain degree of chaos is needed to keep it alive and adjustable. Another interesting part is that there is no general leader. As each phase requires a different kind of person to lead the project. The dreamer is usually the leader in the dreaming phase, but often not so good in planning/doing/celebrating. In a natural way someone else tends to take over the leading role when going into the planning phase, and again in the doing phase and celebration phase. This way each person in the whole group has an important equal role, feels responsible and motivated. Which leads to each person experiencing personal growth along with a successfull project.

A few wise one-liners to end this entry:

Analysis leads to paralysis. (Analysing too much leads to stagnation)
Perfection is the enemy of all good. (Perfection confines and restricts creativity. You forget to enjoy the whole process)

Find out more about dragon dreaming at www.dragondreaming.org

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