Before the pandemic, I boarded planes, trains, and buses regularly to teach classes and workshops around the country and abroad.  But since March, I’ve only crossed state lines twice—by car. Like countless others, In 2020 I canceled a year’s worth of business engagements, folding up plans one by one and storing them away like out-of-season clothes. But, that’s only half of the story.

The truth is, the empty squares on my calendar quickly filled up. Because closing down what is outside of us opens up what is inside. And as a professional dreamworker, what goes on when we close our eyes is my stock in trade.

Photo credit: Edwin Hopper on Unsplash

Since the pandemic, people are dreaming more and paying more attention to their dreams. This fact has been well documented by newspapers, magazines, and blogs with headlines like “Strange Dreams? It Might Be the Pandemic.” Someone even coined the portmanteau: Quarandreams.

The Zoom screen doesn’t lie

But I don’t need journalists to tell me what the multiplying faces in the squares of my Zoom screen clearly demonstrate: While I don’t travel anymore, the world comes to me. Most days I meet with dreamwork clients, participants in writing and dream groups, and students in the dream studies classes I teach. These include young single mothers, empty-nesters, retirees, and people of various gender identities, as well as Buddhists, Christians, Jews, Muslims, and more. In the past five months alone, I’ve met with people from over a dozen countries including Afghanistan, Australia, Canada, England, Guatemala, India, Mexico, Panama, and Romania.

When things shut down outside, look to what opens up inside you

Like the pandemic, dreams cross borders and boundaries—no airplane, no passport, no certification of a negative Covid test is needed. Nor is language a barrier. Dreams speak in every language on earth. There are differences, sure: My clients in Turkey say they “see a dream” instead of have one, and a dreamer from Puerto Rico insists that a dream of a fish means someone she knows well is pregnant, while I try to convince her there is no single interpretation for any dream. But I’m most struck by what’s the same. Everybody dreams, and as I write these words with the sun climbing high and filling the same window I’ve looked out of every day for the better part of a year, my clients on the other side of the globe are fast asleep and dreaming.

So, when the rhythm of my days is as regular as the rectangles on my laptop screen that I stare into hour after hour, I remember this: I may not travel, but my work brings me close to people around the world. Sure, I’m contained within the same walls, still in my same skin. But, even in this year of being grounded, I’ve had my share of adventures, nonetheless.

When the Pandemic closed doors in your life, what opened up for you?

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