Episode 73: Transitions as Opportunities for Self-Discovery

Resilience Can Look Like Minor Home Repairs and Great Parties on a Budget

It turns out that Tiffany Ann is actually quite handy, can make impressive home improvements on a limited budget, and can put on a fun birthday party for a bunch of kids for just $25.

Mount Helena, Helena, Montana

Mount Helena, Helena, Montana

She may not have known these things about herself if she hadn’t experienced a painful divorce. With three children and no job, Tiffany Ann learned not only that she could depend on herself for minor home repairs, she learned that she was resilient, and found ways to share what she learned with others in similar situations.

Dreams Recycled came to her, well, in a dream.

Listen to this episode to find out more about Tiffany Ann, her business, and how her dream came to life.

Connect with Tiffany Ann on LinkedIn, and check out her great book!

Dreams Expose Your Internal Stories

How Do You Interpret Recurring Dreams?


Over the years, I've written about both kinds of dreams, awake and asleep.

I've always believed our sleeping dreams have some deeper meaning and purpose than entertainment; when my husband gave me a book about interpretations of dreams, my belief was solidified.

There's a lot of research about dreams, and many don't believe they have any kind of meaning. The book I read proposed that our dreams are made up of our subconscious observations, and that the purpose of some dreams is to prepare our conscious minds for situations that may occur in our waking life. The dreams aren't necessarily direct messages from subconscious to conscious minds, actually, they rarely are. And that's where interpretation comes in.

One recurring dream I wrote about was from when I was pregnant with our older son. My husband and I were living in Washington DC, and I had a great career in front of me. I was commuting at least an hour each way to work throughout my pregnancy, and when we were well into the second half, I researched and hired a great nanny to stay with the baby after my maternity leave ended.

From my teen years until I was almost 30, I had no intention of having children. It wasn't until I met my husband that I considered the idea. Because I'm somewhat impulsive, considering the idea didn't last long - I was pregnant just a few months later.

Toward the end of my pregnancy, I started to have a recurring, very unpleasant dream that I had twins. One baby was much bigger than the other, and I kept dropping the big one. People would give me dirty looks as I quickly picked up the baby, who was always fine, and did my best to manage the weight and awkwardness of holding both of them.


After a few weeks of this dream, I realized what the dream was telling me: I was concerned about being able to balance a career and a new baby. It never came clear to me which was the big one I was dropping, career or family, but once I interpreted the dream and started to address my anxiety through conversations with my employer, my husband, and our nanny, the dreams stopped.


Others I wrote about were my recurring exposure dreams. A few evenings before or after I step out of my comfort zone, either on stage or any type of performance, I'll have dreams that I am trying to shower or go to the bathroom, I'm naked, and there are no shower or stall doors. In those dreams, I'm exposed as people are walking by as if nothing is wrong or awkward.

My recent interpretation of a recurring dream prompted this article: Spider webs.

I've been uncomfortable at best, terrified at worst, around spiders and spider webs for as long as I can remember. I've never really been afraid of things, but spiders definitely get my heart racing.

Also for as long as I can remember, I've had awful dreams of being down in a basement, surrounded by spider webs/cob webs. In my dreams, I walk down to get something, and when I turn around to get out, there are webs all around me. They rarely have visible spiders on them, but I know they're around. I try to find a space big enough to squeeze myself through without touching the webs, and in some cases I push my way through, feeling the webs on my skin and hair, terrified that a spider is on my head or body somewhere, and I wake up shaking. In other cases, I just wake up, never having gotten through the webs, and with no resolution.

It finally dawned on me (pun intended), that these recurring dreams aren't that difficult to interpret. Maybe it's because my family is facing some real challenges with potential long-term consequences, or maybe it's because I finally have the insight to understand them.

Those webs are the fears and discomforts I'm facing. I know walking through them will be unpleasant, or even dangerous, and my subconscious mind is making me go through those webs over and over again. It's trying to prepare me to face these fears, and know that somehow I'll get through them. It's also acknowledging the nature of the fears - that they're just spider webs, which are generally pretty lightweight and breakable, but that they have the potential for danger because of the poisonous black widow spiders that may be lurking on them.

I'm hopeful that with this interpretation, my spider web dreams will change in some way, and that maybe they'll even stop. But I'm not in denial, I know these dreams serve a purpose, and as long as I'm living, growing, and taking risks, I'll be followed by them.

Do you have recurring dreams? Did you ever consider how, or if, they can be interpreted? Do you believe in dreams as subconscious messages? I'd love to hear your thoughts in the comments below.

Even in Dreams, Stories Offer Opportunity for Self Reflection

Exposed? Vulnerable? That's good, because that's how we connect.


I had to go to the bathroom so badly. I might have a very embarrassing situation in the next few moments. As I moved through the restaurant to find the women's restroom, I could feel my face warming, blushing.

I couldn't find the bathroom and started walking much faster, a feeling of desperation washing over me. The building was huge, with twists and hallways and lots of tables and guests. Finally, there it was, the entrance was hidden in a dark corner. I walked through - none of the stalls had doors.

It was weird. People (men and women) just walking by these open stalls like there was nothing awkward about it. I went into a stall to find a big mess on the floor and around the toilet. It was filthy. I couldn't even think about going to the bathroom there. I tried to find another stall, looking for some semblance of privacy. I felt totally exposed. But no one seemed to notice; not one person looked at me or acknowledged the odd situation. I didn't know what to do.

And then I woke up, perspiring and shaking.

It took me all day to get my tremors to calm down.

It was the night before a gig. I would be performing on stage that evening; singing songs I knew well, with musicians I knew would competently back me up. And yet, clearly my subconscious mind was telling me I was nervous.

I’m a big believer that our dreams can help us identify issues that are buried in our subconscious minds. When we can interpret a recurring dream, we can start to address the concerns we have that aren’t as straightforward or obvious as we might hope.

I have this exposure dream or something similar to it, pretty consistently before gigs, presentations, and other events where I know I’ll be putting myself out there – working outside my comfort zone.


Sometimes the dream involves me looking for a shower, or taking a shower and realizing there are no curtains and people can see me. Sometimes I care and get embarrassed, trying to cover up. Once in a while in my dream, I decide it doesn't matter if people can see me naked in the shower, I feel proud and free and not at all embarrassed. That doesn't happen often.

My dreams have always been vivid and generally easy to translate and interpret. The two described above are the easiest to figure out. It's simply a matter of feeling naked, vulnerable, and exposed. The fact that I have these dreams before a gig or presentation isn't surprising; after all, singing & performing for an audience is like being naked in public - if you're doing it right.

Being authentic is easier for some people than it is for others. It's probably the most important aspect of public speaking and performance. Read any book on public speaking, including one of my favorites, Talk Like TED, and you'll read the same concept:

Be authentic because any audience can tell when you aren't, and they will simply dismiss you and your message.

There’s another important side of the discussion of dreams: The ones you have in your waking hours. You know - the dream of owning your own business, being your own boss, being a rock star, having a successful career, writing a book, and on and on. The question about those dreams is whether you have to monetize them to make them relevant, valid, and successful. I don’t think so.

It started with Craig’s list. My husband responded to someone looking for a musician to play with, just for kicks. Ryan came over one night while I was out with friends and when I arrived home, he was putting his guitar back into his car. I introduced myself and asked him about his music, about his family. That’s when he told me about his wife, Twila. She used to sing with a couple of gospel choirs. Instinct kicked in and I invited him to bring his wife and daughter for dinner the following week.

We had a lovely meal, and while our boys and their daughter watched anime movies in the other room; I pulled Twila into our music room and picked a song for us to try together. Neither of us had been singing for a while, for me it had been about 20 years since I had done anything more than sing to our children. It was magical. Our voices blended and wrapped around one another in an extraordinary resonance. We had chills up our spines, the hairs on our necks rose as we sang together. There were moments when our voices were so well balanced, so completely joined, it sounded like there was an organ behind us.

One music night turned into a music night each week, which turned into two music nights some weeks. More musicians were invited to join us, friends came by for dinner and to listen to us practice. Our house developed an incredible reputation for good food and great music. Ryan and Bob learned each other’s strengths and weaknesses and challenged each other to practice and improve their guitar playing. Twila and I were so inspired; we would begin a song and could feel our voices taking it to a different dimension. We experimented with songs that we had never heard performed with harmonies, magical is an understatement. We eventually realized that we had about a dozen songs down well enough to perform them and took the first step to creating a band – open mic night at a local coffee shop. We had such positive feedback, we needed a band name. The Perfect Jones was born.

I had no idea that performing – singing – was my dream.

I never dreamed I would be a professional musician. I never dreamed that people would pay to hear me sing. Now that it’s happening I realize it is a wonderful dream and one I am not willing to give up any time soon. When I talk about our band and performing, my grin shows all of my teeth.

Singing is my part-time job, and it doesn’t pay well.

But it’s my dream.

Do I have to monetize it to make it real or valid?
Does my dream have to get bigger; do I have to want more from it? No.

I just have to keep wanting it, despite my sleep-time dreams of vulnerability and exposure.

If your dreams are trying to tell you that you're stressed, anxious, and feeling exposed, listen to them.

Acknowledge the fear and find tools to work through it. When I wake up from one of these dreams, I take time to assess my fears in a clear, strategic way.

What am I really afraid of?

What's the worst thing that could happen?

How likely is it that the audience will be as critical of me as I am of myself?

What steps will you take to realize your dream, even if it scares you?