Dear Dream Tending Community,
“I don’t even know how to talk to them! They don’t hear me!”
“How am I supposed to learn stuff when the rules are always changing?”
“I give up! My words never come out right anyway. Just forget it.”
These statements might seem like they come from the mouth of a frustrated (and completely normal) teenager, but they’re actually words that were spoken to me by three adults expressing their feelings this last week.
In my daily work as a life coach for teenagers, I see, as you might expect, a lot of chaos, drama, learning, and growing. The teen years– adolescence– can be fraught with anxiety, confusion, and even the need to code-switch between peer groups, authority figures, and loved ones. And, though adulthood makes a promise of us getting to leave our teenage years behind along with the drama and chaos, the past few years have shown that our inner teenager remains within us.
And, our inner teenagers often need some tending. They need to be heard, seen, healed, tended, nourished, held, and encouraged. They love to be invited into our reality just as we are conscious about inviting images to enter our dreamscape.
If you’re curious about how to begin to tend your inner teenager, the following exercise is for you:
  1. Find a song that you listened to as a teen. It can be happy, dancey, angsty, whatever first comes to mind. If you can’t remember, pick a popular song from the years that coincided with your teen years.
  2. Sit or stand comfortably, and start to draw your attention to your breath. You don’t need to change or alter your breath in any way, just begin to notice it. Try to approach your breath without judgment or internal comment. If thoughts arise, briefly acknowledge them with compassion and allow them to float away from your mind space.
  3. Play the song, and notice what your body does. Allow the song and the breath to move your body.
  4. After a few moments, invite your teenage self to enter the space, just as they are. You may be surprised at their age, what they’re wearing, or their hair color. This is who your inner teen is today.
  5. Invite your inner teenager to dance. You might dance independently of one another, witnessing one another’s movements, or you may choose to join together in a partner dance. However you and the image engage with one another, continue to allow your breath to flow deeply, nourishing you. As you dance, notice the sensations that arise in play with your image.
  6. When the song and dance conclude, take some time to journal or draw the experience. Allow your inner teen to do the talking first. Encourage them to speak.
Continuing to work with our inner teenager can not only heal the waking self but can also activate healing within our dreams and dream figures.
In our upcoming workshop, The Healing Power of Dreams: The Craft of Dream Tending, we will dive into the healing powers within dreams. This one-day workshop, Saturday, August 13th, is intended for dreamers, seekers, and healers at all levels wishing to gain more knowledge and personal insight into the healing power of their dreams. Register today with the discount code HEALING to save your spot.
Deeply Dreaming,
Myka K. Hanson, Ph.D.
Mentor of the Academy of Imaginal Arts and Sciences

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Stephen Aizenstat

Stephen Aizenstat, Ph.D., is the founder of Dream Tending, Pacifica Graduate Institute, and the Academy of Imaginal Arts and Sciences. He is a world-renowned professor of depth psychology, an imagination specialist, and an innovator. He has served as an organizational consultant to major companies and institutions, and as a depth psychological content advisor to Hollywood film makers. He has lectured extensively in the U.S., Asia, and Europe. He is affiliated with the Earth Charter International project through the United Nations, where he has spoken. Professor Aizenstat is the Chancellor Emeritus and Founding President of Pacifica Graduate Institute. He has collaborated with many notable masters in the field including Joseph Campbell, James Hillman, Marion Woodman, and Robert Johnson.