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Hibernation. Holing up. Going underground. These are all expressions of the wonderful skill many creatures practice in locations with seasonal stretches of hard cold environment. Times when survival is next to impossible.

They prepare a safe insulated sleeping place where their systems slow into a state somewhere beyond sleep but still this side of bodily existence.

When the surroundings are not supportive of life – these deft creatures simply detach until conditions change. Rather than struggle fruitlessly against environmental realities over which they have no power and from which there is no reasonable escape – they have a healthy instinct to wait it out as comfortably as possible.

I like to think they enter the consciousness of the quintessential state of boundless creation and renewal - the place of dreams

You don’t see skunks skulking around arguing with snow storms nor grizzly bears railing against rivers depleted of their bountiful fish by the circumstance of winter. Too, in drought prone dry places the critters there hunker down zoning out until more clement times return. I like to think they – and all the others – enter the consciousness of the quintessential state of boundless creation and renewal – the place of dreams. The total opposite of the struggle they might otherwise experience during the cyclical hard times.

If not the genius of the individual but the wisdom of her species ingrained well within her DNA, this propensity to ensure survival in this way inspires me to think more deeply about not just reaffirming and rejuvenatory qualities of dreams but their flat-out protective ones too.


1. Describe your perfect dreaming den:

  • temperature
  • sounds
  • the qualities of the covers
  • how dark (or light) is it
  • time allowed to stay there
  • what co-inhabitants are present
  • what is the best way to be awakened
  • which direction does the bed face
  • are there views available to see and what are they

Yes think about your ideal situation for sleep geographically is that helps you get started – but then spend some thought highlighting what that perfect place has in the way of fundamental characteristics. So without the expense of a trip to, say, the South Pacific maybe you can create a more symbolically positive sleeping sanctuary for your regular nightly ‘hibernations’ mindfully assembling the most comforting accoutrement.

2. List some ways you might alter your own situation to help you recharge rather than be depleted this winter.

  • comfy jammies
  • cozy sheets
  • fluffy pillows
  • uplifting bedtime reading materials
  • other bedtime rituals (hot toddy? nightly prayer?)
  • soft light
  • ambient sleep noises or music
  • un-jarring ‘alarms’ (sound machines or programmable music settings)
  • what do you look at when you awake – windows? Posters? Inspirational somethings? (quotes, shrine, photos, etc)

3. List Dream Topics you prefer to spend time with in your slumbers.

Creative Consideration

Sweet Dreams Pillow Case

1. You’ll need:

  • plain, unpatterned pillowcase (you’ll get cleaner lines on an unwashed new one)
  • fabric pens and/or paints (any permanent markers work too!)

2. Prepare a sketch of your ideas on a separate piece of paper. Write poems that inspire you, draw pictures of places you want to go or are love having already been. Inspired quotes are good, wishes are wonderful. Things you’re grateful for – these are all good topics.

3. Slip some newspaper or cardboard into the case so you don’t get accidental bleedthrough.

4. Have at it! If you start with painted outlines let those dry completely before coloring them in.

Sweet Dreams Pillow Insert

Let’s say you like the idea of the pillow case but don’t necessarily want the world (or that part of it you let into your bedroom) to see what you’ve done. cover your hand decorated pillow case with your regular patterned one. OR you can decorate a simple piece of plain material and tuck in between the case and the pillow.