Fresh Blood Podcast Episode Guest - Katherine Bell

How do you be honest with yourself about what you really want? What do you do when you find yourself unhappy with the profession you devoted your life to?

Katherine Bell is a trained astrophysicist who after spending years with NASA, finally decided in her 40’s, to follow her passions and become a dreamwork practitioner. Katherine went on to found Experiential Dreamwork where she is a Dream Coach running online dream workshops, online dream groups, one on one sessions and hosts an annual Festival of Dreams in Santa Cruz. Katherine is also host of the podcast The Dream Journal, which airs live on the radio with KSQD every Saturday at 10am PT.


http://experientialdreamwork.com/

http://festivalofdreams.net/

EPISODE TRANSCRIPT

Jolie Downs: [00:00:00] Today we are speaking with Katherine Bell. Katherine is a trained astrophysicist who after spending years with NASA finally decided in her forties to follow her passions and become a dream work practitioner. Catherine went on to found Experiential Dreamwork, where she is a dream coach running online dream workshops, online dream groups, one-on-one sessions and hosts an annual festival of dreams in Santa Cruz.

[00:00:35] Katherine is also the host of the podcast, the dream journal, which airs live on the radio with KSQ D every Saturday at 10:00 AM. Pacific time. Katherine. Thank you so much for joining us on Fresh Blood. I do find myself fascinated with your story. Please tell us a little bit about how you went from an astrophysicist to a dream coach.


[00:00:57] Katherine Bell: [00:00:57] Yeah, totally. Thank you so glad to be here. Being a astrophysicist. Oddly enough was something that I fell into. You wouldn't think that would something that requires 12 years of schooling past high school with a C something you fall into. But I, my family is very science based, three siblings, both my parents, they're all in the hard sciences. And so for me, science does seem like the logical thing to do logical. So there's that word, logical. And that it didn't really occur to me to ask, so what do I really want to do? And so I just basically picked the science that I felt that interested me the most and it turned out to be astrophysics, which I got interested in at Williams college and I So I got finished my degree when I was college, went on to UC Santa Cruz for a master's and PhD and then just naturally kept following my nose and went over worked at NASA and then was eventually hired on as a civil servant, but things petered out after graduate school.

[00:01:55] I found like I was losing my interest that I just was losing a, any excitement that I once had. And I got less and less. Interested in my work. And so once I started working at NASA, I I was still doing research, but I found that I was felt like I was going around in circles. I wasn't excited by my work anymore.

[00:02:15] And I I ended up in a managerial position, which actually is something that, scientists don't want to do. However, I discovered that I actually kinda liked it, and this was like a breakthrough for me to discover that I enjoyed working with people rather than doing numbers. And yeah.

[00:02:30] And so once I did discovered that working with people was something that I enjoyed. It led for a kind of a letting go of my, the rest of my career. And then my son was born when I was 41 in 2004. And at that time my husband said you haven't been that happy at NASA, would you like to quit?

[00:02:51] And so I was like, Okay, I'll quit. I don't need to stay anymore. And and then over the years I opened up to this passion of mine, which is dream work. And since then I've built a career on dreamwork and it happened organically since I quit, but I had to quit and let go of the thing that wasn't working for me before I could discover what my true passion was.


[00:03:12] Jolie Downs: [00:03:12] you got to give yourself that space. Okay.


[00:03:14] Katherine Bell: [00:03:14] Yeah.


[00:03:15] Jolie Downs: [00:03:15] How did you discover that? Because it is a big change, really


[00:03:18] Katherine Bell: [00:03:18] Oh, yeah.


[00:03:20] Jolie Downs: [00:03:20] Astrophysicist to dreams. So how did that happen?


[00:03:22]Katherine Bell: [00:03:22] I've always been interested in my dreams. And I was, I had done a certain amount of therapy cause I really wasn't happy and it was very helpful. But then I discovered dreams and playing with my dreams. Doing a, I led a dream group with my dreams for about 12 years. We met every single week with several, for some friends of mine.

[00:03:42] And it was just something that I really look forward to us really excited about. And it was like a great way for me to open up myself and personal growth opportunity. And I and after I quit my job at NASA, I needed. A much bigger personal growth. Cause I'm like, what have I done? I quit my job at NASA.

[00:04:01] Are you kidding me? What now is how I got deeper into the dream work? And I started having dreams about coaching. There are people, but by being like a practitioner and I had dreams about leading groups. And so I started following my dreams. I took a lot of classes, but I never went back for a degree.

[00:04:18]I thought about going back for for clinical, psychological psychology degree. But by then I was 50 and I'm like, I don't want like a huge amount of debt and all this time for clinical practice, I love doing what I do. I love the dream coaching I do, but I just wanted to do more of it. So I just decided not to do the degree and just to focus on what I'm doing and to find ways to do more.


[00:04:43] Jolie Downs: [00:04:43] Oh, I find it fascinating. I love that this was something that you were doing out of joy with your friends that just served you, it filled you up and you ended up turning that. That thing that filled you up, that you're doing with your friends into a business? I think that's amazing. Now. I know that's not always that easy.

[00:05:03]It's a process. What was your process like? Really you've been doing this for how long now it's your own company?


[00:05:10] Katherine Bell: [00:05:10] The dream of when I started experiencing framework, I think it was 2010 or 2011 or so. It was also, based on dreams, of course we just found it was falling my way, but part of it is I did have support in my life. I'm really blessed that I was able to that I was able to have support to get started from my now ex-husband.

[00:05:29] But he's been, and I've have a, we have a song together I've been raising. And so he supported me and he gets started with my business. So that was super helpful. Really making the commitment was was a key point, a key moment. Sure.


[00:05:43] Jolie Downs: [00:05:43] Oh, yeah. Yeah. Making the commitment and sticking with it through. The ups and downs, I would imagine what has been some of the challenges that you've had to deal with through this process?


[00:05:54]Katherine Bell: [00:05:54] Some of the, finding enough clients is always the tricky thing. Because that's this is basically about, I've found that I've tried all kinds of advertising techniques, but what really works best is word of mouth. And having my current clients recommend other clients to me. And so when someone in session with somebody and they say, wow, this is amazing work.

[00:06:14] I love it. I'm like tell your friends.

[00:06:21] And and that seems to be the biggest way to spread the word about what I'm doing.


[00:06:27] Jolie Downs: [00:06:27] yeah. Now what about you? What would you say has been one of your greater accomplishments since you've started this process?


[00:06:34]Katherine Bell: [00:06:34] Love the radio show. The radio show has been doing that two years just passed my two year anniversary.


[00:06:40] Jolie Downs: [00:06:40] Great. Congratulations.


[00:06:41] Katherine Bell: [00:06:41] you. So really I've never done anything before in audio at all. Maybe I watch too much Frazier at one point, where he sought assistance right here. I'm like, Hey, I can do that with dreams.

[00:06:54] But then I started having dreams about talking on the air and I just follow my intuition. Some of the dreams were just were hinting at things, but I would wake up and go. That's an interesting idea. Like I got an email about this new radio station that was started about three or four years ago now.

[00:07:10] And I'm like maybe this is a chance I can I can do my radio show that I've thought about. And I just did , I don't know if I could, I'm not qualified because I've never done any audio. But let me just do one step at a time. And I put together a proposal. And then I did a little interview with one of my clients as like how we would talk about dreams on the air.

[00:07:29] Bit by bit. I just went through each step and pretty soon they were like, how about Saturday morning at10 o'clock? I'm like, ah, I guess that's what's happening.

[00:07:39] Yeah that's a that's one of the things is just following my intuition and like starting a workshop, a whole workshop series that started during the pandemic. I have been doing groups where we work Drew's, but the actual workshops where I actually do a teaching piece. And then we do exercises together is all new since the pandemic started.

[00:07:58] And I've been learning so much from that. And it's giving me the courage to do my next thing, which is I'm actually starting to write a book. Yeah,


[00:08:06] Jolie Downs: [00:08:06] That's great. And so now in your workshops, so before the pandemic, you were doing groups, so it was all local, you had, you were limited really. And so these workshops have you felt it's opened up your clientele and opened up your exposure to other


[00:08:19]Katherine Bell: [00:08:19] definitely. I know that the pandemic's been hard for a lot of people, but I found it's been a real boost for my business because a lot of people are very anxious. A lot of people are also sleeping in more than they used to because they don't have to commute. And so people remember their dreams. When you wake up without an alarm, I think of alarm to this dream destroyers that if you wake up just naturally, there's often a dream there.

[00:08:41] So people are remembering their dreams. Also there's a certain amount of anxiety during this time. And so that also creates more dreams. So I have found that. And also what you're just saying about having to do everything in person before the pandemic, I had an office in town and people would come to me for sessions and also for the groups.

[00:09:01] And then once the pandemic happened, everything went online. And now I working with people from Canada and I have people on the East coast come to my groups. And people in the radio stations worldwide. So it really has opened things up in in terms of being able to reach more people in a much wider platform.


[00:09:18] Jolie Downs: [00:09:18] Oh, wow. That's amazing. I can imagine it would add a lot of richness to your groups, to


[00:09:23] Katherine Bell: [00:09:23] Oh yeah.


[00:09:24] Jolie Downs: [00:09:24] expansion. That's fantastic. Now you also do a festival, which I find fascinating.


[00:09:31] Katherine Bell: [00:09:31] Yes. Yeah. So we've done it three times now. The last one was 2019, but thank goodness we did. We were going to skip a year and then the pandemic hit, which we would have certainly had to cancel it last year. So we're going to start up again, probably 2022 is what we're thinking of next. And it's a kind of a two day.

[00:09:49] Conference where people come together and they share their dream experiences. And we have experts offering workshops. And we what we did our third year, which was really fun as we had a dream ball.

[00:10:06] It's a dance party. You get together with all your fellow dreamers at the conference. We had a hundred people, almost a hundred. So that's and you get your costume on based on a dream character. And then you dance and you get to embody the gin character. And I actually had a zebra Stripe Wednesday on with little zebra ears because I had a pivotal dream of mine who was about as in the zebra tribe and a herd of zebras.

[00:10:31] And so I'm like, okay, so did my zebra.


[00:10:36] Jolie Downs: [00:10:36] okay. I have questions around that, but before we go into that, what was your inspiration for starting this festival? Cause that's a big step.


[00:10:43] Katherine Bell: [00:10:43] Oh, it was a very big step. It was interesting because I'm now very much involved in the I a S D the international association for the study of dreams. But at the time that I started the festivals, I was not yet a member. I didn't know that they were doing conferences similar to what I was doing, but I was inspired by a dream practitioner named Keizer, came in a new Orleans area and that she had which he called the dream caravan, where she had an all day event.

[00:11:12]All about dreams. And I went to that. I was there for a retreat and I was blown away by the richness of the conversation and the excitement of people, just really coming to understand how powerful their dreams are and talking about their own dreams, listening to other people's dreams and how they've changed their lives.

[00:11:32] And I was like, I want to do that. I want to do a Santa Cruz dream caravan. And so we called it the caravan first year. And the second year we changed the festival. It's just evolved over time. That's the thing it's been in a different place each time. And we have a group of volunteers who puts the conference on, puts the festival on, has grown over the years, but there's a lot of enthusiasm.

[00:11:54] And I have since joined the IASD as I was mentioning. And that opened me up to a huge network of people. Who get together? They have a conference every year with about 300 people, usually show up to the conferences.


[00:12:09] Jolie Downs: [00:12:09] That was great.


[00:12:10] Katherine Bell: [00:12:10] Yeah. So I got I got exposed to all those other people and these other ideas about how to get people together.


[00:12:16] Jolie Downs: [00:12:16] That's fantastic and that lead to other things for you. Which makes me curious, because really, deciding to start a festival, thinking, I want to do that. That sounds like something that I really want to do. And then actually. Doing it there's a whole lot that is happening in there.

[00:12:31] Can you share with us a little bit about your experience at first time and, thinking that this wanting and then making the decision and all of the things that emotions and things that happened while you go through that process?


[00:12:41] Katherine Bell: [00:12:41] Oh yeah, no, there was a it's okay, there's this thing people always say ready, aim, shoot. This is like the standard thing. And so I've changed it around now. It's shoot. Maybe or whenever ready? Just pull the trigger.


[00:12:56] Jolie Downs: [00:12:56] You have this actually.


[00:13:00] Katherine Bell: [00:13:00] And then you can adjust as you go on. And so many of the things like, the radio show, the workshops and the festival were like that, even starting up with clients, it's kinda, I want to just start asking your friend, do you want to sit down with me and talk about your dreams and let's just start and see what happens and then adjust from there.

[00:13:18] That was the festival was very much like that. I actually it was. An idea. That was one of these ideas that I just couldn't let go of. And those are the ones, that are really valuable. So it just kept coming out. I was like, okay, what can I do? And I started to think about. What it might look like.

[00:13:32] And one of the first things was, so where would I hold such a thing? And that was a key for me when I just thought about a local church and I was able to rent some space at a local church. So I actually rented the space for February. Our first festival was in February and I rented it like in August.

[00:13:47] I'll have it figured out by then. I'm sure. And so between August and February, and I was just like

[00:13:56] calling all my friends and people I was doing dreams with. And so what would you like to see and talking to Kesha, I've talked to QSU a lot about what worked for her and what didn't work so well. And B did a lot of brainstorming sessions and, it's okay to go forward with a lot, with a sense of fear and panic is okay.

[00:14:14] I've discovered that I can ride this panic and go, okay. All right, this all I'm still here. I'm still moving forward. And just because I'm scared, doesn't mean I'm not going to do it. So I've gotten a lot more comfortable with being afraid than I ever thought I could be.


[00:14:29] Jolie Downs: [00:14:29] Isn't it liberating,


[00:14:30] Katherine Bell: [00:14:30] Oh my God.

[00:14:30] It is. It really is.


[00:14:32] Jolie Downs: [00:14:32] Yeah, we spend a lot. I find that I think I'm hypothesizing, but I feel that people spend a lot of time trying to avoid those feelings, trying to do whatever they can to not experience those feelings. But when you step into it and you do something that's really scary, and you experienced all those feelings, but you still move forward.

[00:14:51] It's just such a liberating. And then you're still standing, even if things go wrong is if you're still standing and it's just this Oh, I can do this. It's okay.


[00:15:05] Katherine Bell: [00:15:05] I actually liberated me to to find relationship as well. I divorced my husband years ago, then it was probably 10 years before I I found a fellow that I'm interested to know. And I just got to the point, I'm just like let me just ask. And I never can tell if people are flirting or not.

[00:15:23] I just, I have blind about that, but I'm like, okay, let me just ask, are you available? Would you like to go on a date sometime?


[00:15:31] Jolie Downs: [00:15:31] Powerful. Yeah. I love that. I think that's fantastic. We all need that power, so going back to your dreams because you brought up a number of times, Dreams. And it seems that they're influencing you or decisions in your life. Have you been making a lot of important decisions based on the dreams that you're experiencing and evaluating?


[00:15:59] Katherine Bell: [00:15:59] Yeah. Yeah, definitely. I would say that usually the dreams are way ahead of me. Like the dream is going to offer me something that I never even considered. I might want to do that. And then I might not even recognize to like months later. Oh, that dream was like letting me know that was happening.

[00:16:15]One example I could give you back from This was before I started my business in 2008 or so I had a dream where I'm standing on stage and that's evening gown, and there's a man playing the piano and he's gazing into my eyes. And it's just this wonderful moment of connection and feeling seen.

[00:16:31] And this was like a breakthrough for me to really feel connected. And I'm at a stage of this very public place. And So my dream coach at the time. So this is, we have blind spots, so it can be very helpful to have a coach. My coach at the time was like, I love it, that you're having this connection, but I think there's something the else here.

[00:16:48] And I'm like what else could be here? And she says, step back and take a look. And you're in an evening gown, you're standing by the piano and I'm like, Oh my God, it was like Billy holiday. I could be singing. I had not considered that, but I do love to sing and I hadn't sung in quite a while. And it came back around in my life.

[00:17:05] I started actually writing songs about my dream work and then performing them off Capella in front of retreats and people. And it was very vulnerable and it just really helped me enter in my body. And I think it's helped me find my voice in a kind of a literal way. And so the stream kind of led me down.

[00:17:22] The path of this thing is going to be really helpful. And it was very powerful and I led the way


[00:17:29] Jolie Downs: [00:17:29] This is amazing to me. I'm going to be honest. I have not spent a lot of time evaluating my dreams now, but I feel, listening to you talk, is there a way for myself, for listeners to use their dreams, to move them closer to their own success?


[00:17:46] Katherine Bell: [00:17:46] Absolutely. So one of my my pet theories about dreams is that they are part of our emotional immune system and that, when we go to sleep and wake up in the morning, we always feel a little better. And the studies have shown a lot of that is about dreaming. The dreaming is what actually helps us get to equilibrium.

[00:18:02] And it also helps us move forward. So I don't need to understand a dream for it to help me. So if our listener would like to work are working with the dreams, just write them down and you might scratch your head go. What is this about? But you don't need to understand, but just feel into the dream, read it back to yourself and notice the feelings.

[00:18:23] So the feelings are very important and dreams and the feelings have a lot to do with moving us forward. Emotion makes, puts us in motion. So the, so to read through the dream and feel into the different parts of the dream and notice if there's anybody helping you because often and dream somebody is there to help us.

[00:18:41] And we go, Oh, I got it. No, I'm fine. And we just rush on and the dream and waking life. But learning to notice when help is available is going to change your whole life. Because he had you'll notice in waking life, the help that's available. So as you make friends with your dream characters and start to say, Oh, thank you.

[00:19:00] Oh, I know I rushed past you in my dream, but now in waking life, I want to turn and say, thank you. I would like some help that helps us learn how to turn to the people in our lives for help.


[00:19:12] Jolie Downs: [00:19:12] Oh, that's really big. That's really powerful. It gave me a little bit of chills because it is true. We all not all, I'll be honest. I need help. Maybe I say we all, but I know many people are similar where they need help asking for help. It's very, there's something that stops you and I'll be honest.

[00:19:32] It was actually a podcast guests that helped open that up. And for me, it made me realize, yeah, I. I don't ask for help very often very powerful thing to do. And once you open up that door to help

[00:19:49] open up all these other doors. So that is really interesting. So fine. Looking around to see who's helping you in your dreams.


[00:19:54]Katherine Bell: [00:19:54] I really think that the dream work that I did has really transitioned my my experience of being alive. I always felt like life was such a burden and a struggle. And, I was. I was actually suicidal for about a decade or more. And just really wasn't happy just Oh, but I could function.

[00:20:12] I like doing. But then as I started to find these helpful characters in my dreams and then started to notice it in my waking life, the humans, but then also just coincidence and synchronicities and things I started to shift over. And so now there's like a sense of me that the universe is a friendly place.


[00:20:29] Jolie Downs: [00:20:29] Isn't that right? Yeah.


[00:20:30] Katherine Bell: [00:20:30] Such a blow me away. Because there were so long when I just felt like it was a burden, like being human was such a burden and now I just feel like it's such a gift and I really feel like the dreams have led me to that place where I can connect with the support that the universe has for us.


[00:20:48] Jolie Downs: [00:20:48] Oh, I find that so beautiful Noah and there's I know there's a lot of people out there who feel that way. Is there anything else that helped you get through that time and come out of it?

[00:20:57]Oh boy. I had a crisis in 2005 when my baby was one year old and I was with my now ex-husband and very unhappy I had quit my NASA job and I wasn't sure what was coming next. And I actually I was up in Oregon and I was denying my pain so much that I actually ignored my symptoms until I had a ruptured appendix.

[00:21:20] My actually my appendix actually popped and I could, if I almost died, the doctor was like, this is how people die of appendicitis is you've got to pay attention to your feelings. And I was like, how have I abandoned myself? So that I almost died for something that I could have just said, okay, I got time to go to the hospital, but for three days I ignored my pain and I just brought me back as face to face with how I could, how I ignored my pain and how sad I felt about that, that I was able to totally deny myself that I set the point that I almost died.

[00:21:58] And it was really a wake up call that it was like, okay this isn't right. This can't go on. And and it was such a wake up call that I, I was like, okay, I have to be more office. I have to be more in touch with my body and willing to listen to my body. And that's the dreams of a lot of things.

[00:22:17] Work, dream work is about our bodies and connecting to our bodies and listening to that intuition from our gut and from our hearts. And the dreams really helped us connect. You don't have a neurological level actually, because there's a wake, all the, all of our energies to the front of our brains, that forebrain.

[00:22:33] But when the dreaming is all deepen in our brains and all that stuff, I'm still a scientist. I can't help it. But when we work with the dreams and waking up, it actually builds these neural bridges. So we actually learned to get more connected with our body, by working with our dreams, and that opens us up to intuition and it's very powerful and it was, for me, it was exactly what's needed.

[00:22:54] And some of the people I've worked with have said it was very valuable for them too.

[00:22:58] That's amazing. These are things that I've not thought about. And so it's really interesting. Did you now, coming out of this time of. Depression, if you will of feeling that low, that loneliness, that, that unhappiness, did you adopt certain habits that helped you lift you.

[00:23:18]A lot of it around that time was around dreams and accepting help. I was actually when I was pregnant, that's that I was a yoga teacher of the yoga class for pregnant women. And she said, make it a prayer, a spiritual practice to always say yes. When someone offers to help. And I ha I have a hard time, even that even would have bad to have a baby.

[00:23:42] And then I had a baby. I was still very hard for me to accept help. And so that's really, that's one of my big spiritual practices is finding out a way to accept help, because people will say, Oh, can I help you with this? And even if I can't imagine how they might possibly be, I tried, it's still hard. I still have to fight the urge to say no about it.

[00:24:04] I try really hard to say. Yes. I'm not sure how you can help quite now, but I do what would like your help?

[00:24:11] Oh, I like that. That's good. I'm going to use that. That's a good response right there.

[00:24:17] Because I can picture myself doing all kinds of things. I'm very strong and, I can muscle through all kinds of stuff, that's life is that's not the life I want. That was part of what led to my depression thinking I was all alone.

[00:24:28]Not connected. Yeah. Big, a big thing. Not feeling connected. How did you regain that connected feeling?I'm curious as this is something people struggle with.

[00:24:41] Oh, absolutely. So while there's the dreams, that dreams is really, so that's really my main spiritual practice these days is the dream work. And to see what's in there, that's one of the things about dreams is it's even if it's like a small thing in a dream and you think, Oh, this is.

[00:24:57] Not a big deal, but it's just okay like maybe I noticed how I give people something. Rather than asking somebody what they want. I try to figure out what they want and then give it to them. Like you might think, Oh, how wonderful look, you're not even bothering you. Don't need to ask them, but that's my bossiness.

[00:25:14] That's actually not very helpful. And that actually even, so even though it seems like a really small thing, it becomes a big thing because I find that I spend a lot of energy trying to figure out what people want, what they need. And certainly as third of four children growing up as a middle child, I was definitely a mediator.

[00:25:33] They want that. They want that and can figure it out. And I was like really good at figuring out people could like work things out or I'll be like, okay, I'll do that. And so it becomes this. What seems like a little thing at first becomes as big thing that was sapping a lot of my energy and the dreams will start to tell you about your habits that are not serving you, because what the dream is doing is trying to nudge you into a place of a better, more stable, emotional condition.

[00:25:59] And so the issues that the dreams bring up will be issues that you can work with in waking life.

[00:26:06] Now what if someone doesn't dream very much, do you have suggestions for that?


[00:26:10]Katherine Bell: [00:26:10] One thing is just to know that you are dreaming everybody dreams. The studies have shown that every human being dreams four or five, six times every single night. So you can at least know that you do dream. And then typically people remember only the one right before they awakened. And I would say that if you, I liked the phrase you said not very much.

[00:26:30] So if you're dreaming at all, then you are dreaming. So even if you just wake up and say, I was climbing a tree and that's it, we'll write that down. That's a dream. That's a dream and there may be something for you about how you're feeling like you, you have to you have to work really hard to get to the top, or maybe there's something there about where's the ladder.

[00:26:51]There can be a lot of metaphorical ways of working with that. Just that one little image. So any hint you wake up with. That write that down. That's a dream. So it starts with having gratitude for the dreams that you do have. So recognizing that you do have dreams and the ones you do have that you can say, okay, thank you.

[00:27:10] That's a dream rather than, Oh, just that. Okay.


[00:27:15] Jolie Downs: [00:27:15] you have you noticed you've had more dreams since you started paying attention to your


[00:27:18] Katherine Bell: [00:27:18] Oh, definitely. Yeah. Having an intention makes a big difference. Having some, a journal by your bed. I actually speak into my phone. I do the little voice to text thing you speak, and then it shows up as words on your phone. That's my favorite way of doing recording, but whatever works for you, a pen and a piece of paper and have something set up.

[00:27:37] So as soon as you wake up in the morning, you can grab it maybe even before you get out of bed and write it down because it will disappear very quickly.


[00:27:45] Jolie Downs: [00:27:45] I'm going to start doing this. It's not practice I've adopted, but I'm going to, I love it.


[00:27:51] Katherine Bell: [00:27:51] If you have another journal where you're doing other kinds of practices, like gratitude practices or meditation or journaling just do it at that dreams to that and that just whatever dream you get, just model it over. Go. Okay. There's something here. I don't know what it is, but just have faith in yourself.

[00:28:07] Trust yourself that there is something helpful.


[00:28:10] Jolie Downs: [00:28:10] Yeah, because I feel, I don't remember my dreams very often. So maybe doing this process will help me start remember them a lot more that'd be very exciting. So now is there anything that. You've gone through. That's been a regret.


[00:28:27] Katherine Bell: [00:28:27] Ooh, that's interesting. I've gone back and forth over over my schooling and that But, I dunno, I've, I don't know if I still regret it, but whether I caved into family pressure or like my perceived pressure, it's all my perception. This is not anyone's fault, but I just saw that the only thing that one could do is.

[00:28:47]Sciences, and yet I've always been interested in psychology. I took a psych class in high school and I loved it. It was fascinating. And I read books about the brain. I've always read about psychology, it seemed like it was, I dunno, trivial. I don't know. I guess it's, it comes down to not respecting myself and that, I guess I regret is that I, that I didn't learn to respect myself and


[00:29:09] Jolie Downs: [00:29:09] Yes, that's a big one right, a lot of us are still learning to do that.


[00:29:14] Katherine Bell: [00:29:14] absolutely. I still, I'm still am so it's absolutely an ongoing process and forgiving myself is extremely important. Product of this process is forgiving myself for the things that I didn't do for and for, for the choosing what I thought I was supposed to do rather than what I wanted to do.

[00:29:30] And I need to forgive myself and it feels, get to tell myself that this is, I was doing the best I could, and I thought that's what I had to do. Forgiving ourselves is super important.


[00:29:40] Jolie Downs: [00:29:40] That's something I just learned. I actually, a year ago, almost to the week. And it was one of the more powerful things that I've learned in my life to free me up from all the past burdens. So yes, forgiving yourself is a really big deal.


[00:29:57] Katherine Bell: [00:29:57] Absolutely. Yeah. And I'm also curious to find out what that was all about, and it must've been an experience for you to to have this moment of learning to forgive yourself. Is it okay if I ask you about that?


[00:30:06]Jolie Downs: [00:30:06] Yeah, actually it was, I was at a was at a conference and it was, does a talk that they were doing about forgiveness and they actually led us through a forgiveness meditation. And they said, don't pick something too hard. Cause it'll be your first time. And I thought to myself, you know what, I'm sitting in this room full of people, ready to do this together with someone who's an expert.

[00:30:26] Who's going to walk me through. I'm going to pick. I'm going to pick the most important thing I can. And I picked myself, I picked a big thing, the big one, and I just went for it and it was so liberating. It was, it literally felt like weight off my shoulder and I felt that lightness ever since.

[00:30:48]And I continuously use this practice now, not only myself, but on everybody, I can forgive everybody and I don't have anything holding on. And you know what? I was a lifelong, pretty much a lifelong insomniac, I've had always had some issues and I have had the best sleep of my life in this past year.


[00:31:06] Katherine Bell: [00:31:06] We have so much energy. That's tied up in resentments against other people or just ourselves. And, I get it, that things happen and it doesn't mean it's okay. That bad things happen, what did I say about resentment? Resentment is taking poison and hoping somebody else will die.

[00:31:25] We get poisoned by the resentment.


[00:31:27] Jolie Downs: [00:31:27] Yes. Now, when did you start learning to forgive yourself though? Because this is something that isn't always talked about, were you older when you learned.


[00:31:35] Katherine Bell: [00:31:35] I think it must've been older because yeah, that's a good question. Yeah, I think it must've been fairly recently. I, you know what I can think about one of my dream teachers was talking about That there that when we're like taking care of other people caretaking, like when we're like taking care of someone else and ignoring ourselves, then that gets labeled old bad that's bad behavior because you're ignoring yourself.

[00:31:58] But this teacher of mine said, okay, but wait a minute. But with me, you're doing the best you can. And, if all the things you could be doing in the world, that's not so bad, taking care of somebody else instead of taking care of yourself. And, but the key was that this is how you survived.

[00:32:12] This is how I learned to survive as a kid was by like reading my mom and really figuring out what the teachers, what do they want? And that this is a way that I had survived. And it's assessable, how I learned to forgive myself about that particular trait of mine. And it just really bled over into all kinds of things.

[00:32:32] The things that I do. No, it doesn't and some things I do, I still have regrets about. And yet I forgive myself because I was doing the best I could and I was trying to survive. And that's what I think about people around me that when I bring my praying until we get conscious, it's even when the people get me angry, it's okay, they're still doing the best I can.

[00:32:55] Even the, the biggest most destructive person, you can imagine they're still doing the best they can. And some, however, they were raised, however their mind sees it, they see is they're doing their best. And that's a tough one, but I, but it's been so helpful for me to start to see things that way, because it's it's free to have all this energy, like you said, it's frees up a ton of energy in you to not be holding this resentment.


[00:33:21] Jolie Downs: [00:33:21] Yeah. You've done a lot in your life. You've had a lot of changes and you've had a lot of accomplishments. I'm curious. What would you say has been your greatest success in life?


[00:33:29]Katherine Bell: [00:33:29] Greatest success in life. Wow. That I was weird, but there's something about that I feel. Happy

[00:33:43] embarrassed to say that

[00:33:47] we were supposed to keep ourselves down and is very serious, Yeah. That's every day, all day, every day, 80% of the time, I'm basically coming along and I feel so blessed all the support in my life. And that's the success.


[00:34:03] Jolie Downs: [00:34:03] I love it. That made me happy. Perfect. This is great. Now, thank you so much. This has been a wonderful conversation before we wrap up. I'm just wondering if there's anything that one piece of advice that you would share with the audience that, that you think might benefit them the most in life at this point in time.


[00:34:30] Katherine Bell: [00:34:30] Okay. I've been keeping it broad because not everybody remembers dreams, but I would say consider trusting yourself. And notice when you don't and not to shame yourself when you don't trust yourself, if you second guess this or that, that's okay. You're just doing the best you can. But consider that, that impulse you have might be good, might be a good thing.

[00:34:53] And it's a practice,


[00:34:57] Jolie Downs: [00:34:57] And now let's say they have an impulse, and they should think it's a good thing. Is there anything that helps you actually make that step? Because that moment from thinking about something and taking that step is anything that helps you do that.


[00:35:08]Katherine Bell: [00:35:08] I, one thing that the brain is the most useful at it's like simulating what's going to happen going forward. So don't consider myself impulsive and that I I will at least run it through the simulator to make sure no one's going to get hurt. And if I, even if that's, so something is , I want to go do something today and I don't really know why.

[00:35:25] So like I'll first check and make sure nobody's going to get hurt. Okay. Then what's the cost. There's no big downside here. I'll go ahead and try it. So what can I, what do I have to lose?


[00:35:38] Jolie Downs: [00:35:38] So you go through the, why not? It's like, why not?


[00:35:42] Katherine Bell: [00:35:42] Who knows what's going to come of it. It may not be what I think is going to come of it, but maybe something else will. And even if it doesn't, at least I had a nice day.


[00:35:50] Jolie Downs: [00:35:50] Yeah, there you go. And you're right. You never know what's going to come, but it's worth a shot things. We see this all the time. They lead, they, they tumble and they might take different paths, but it always leads somewhere.


[00:36:03] Katherine Bell: [00:36:03] exactly.


[00:36:06] Jolie Downs: [00:36:06] 2020,


[00:36:06] Katherine Bell: [00:36:06] what a year?


[00:36:07]Jolie Downs: [00:36:07] Now for anyone who's interested, we'll have your website on the show notes and I take it. You have ongoing groups that, that are occurring.


[00:36:15] Katherine Bell: [00:36:15] Yep. I do. I, right now I'm teaching three groups a week. I have my Monday workshop, which is a hands-on workshop where you learn about your dreams and this, that was a real community. We have about seven or eight, nine people where we're really exploring dreams and I have different themes.

[00:36:30] The theme for the month of March is going to be dreams and spirituality. So I'm nervous about that. That's a, but that's going to be great, but like I said, nervous is fine. I'll go. That was just fine. And then I have two groups a week where we specifically work during these people's dream big dreams and we explore them together.

[00:36:50]I also offer a free consultation if somebody would like to consider working with me as a coach, then I offer a free 30, 45 minute consultation so they can contact me there about that. And then, the radio show is on any, it's called the Dream Journal and it's available on any podcast.

[00:37:07] You can look that up and I'd love to hear from anybody.


[00:37:10] Jolie Downs: [00:37:10] Yeah. Do you have guests on your show?


[00:37:12] Katherine Bell: [00:37:12] I do I have dream experts on every week or also just dream enthusiast. I love having people who tell them and talk about their own dreams. And occasionally I'll work dreams live on the air. I take Collins and people want to call in and talk about a dream on the air or ask a question.

[00:37:28] And sometimes I'll have a, my guest will be someone I can work a dream with. So that's always fun.


[00:37:34] Jolie Downs: [00:37:34] Oh, yeah, but that's interesting. Cool. Okay. And then we should also keep an eye out for the festival in 2022. That's coming back. Okay.


[00:37:41] Katherine Bell: [00:37:41] And that's festivalofdreams.net is that webpage and my regular business page is experientialdreamwork.com.

[00:37:49] Jolie Downs: [00:37:49] great. And that's and the festival is in Santa Cruz. Yes.


[00:37:52] Katherine Bell: [00:37:52] Yes. In Santa Cruz.


[00:37:53] Jolie Downs: [00:37:53] Beautiful Santa Cruz. So you can't go wrong with that. Thank you so much for your time. I really appreciate it.


[00:38:01] Katherine Bell: [00:38:01] Fabulous.


[00:39:53] Jolie Downs: [00:39:53] I love Katherines story – going from astrophysicist to Dream Coach and everything she learned in between, there were so many good messages.


Katherine went into science, becoming an astrophysicist, because her family was into science and it was expected she would too – even though she found a fascination with psychology, she stuck with her science based schooling, becoming an astrophysicist and landing a coveted role at NASA. Once in the ultimate role, she found she wasn’t feeling excited about her work anymore.


To me, this is a perfect example showing that the only dream role that exists, is the one that is perfectly right for you. Katherine’s experience is a common one, I’m sure many people can relate to waking up one day and realizing their profession, the one with their current expertise, is not making them happy. It’s scary and difficult to make a change and so many out there suffer through, spending years doing work that doesn’t fulfill. I’m so glad Katherine had the opportunity in life to give her a big pause and allow her the time to figure out what she wanted to do. I know we all don’t have that luxury, but if I can urge anything, it would be to carve out personal time to follow your passions. You never know what might come once you start putting focus and energy into something that excites you. For Kathleen, spending time on her hobby, that thing that just naturally filled her up, led to fulfilling career. At the very least, spending time on things that excite you will bring more joy into your life and we can all use more joy.


Now as Katherine was starting up her Dream practice she found that her best business development success came from word of mouth – doing a good job with her clients and having them share with friends. I want to call attention to this because this how a large percentage of small businesses grow – through word of mouth. I’ve been reflecting this a lot lately so wanted to suggest, that we all work on being mindful of how we can use our own voices to life up those around us – the people who are doing good work, providing good services, delicious food, good music, reliable product, anything we feel grateful for, let’s be sure to share with our friends and use our voices to help all these small businesses around us thrive.



Once Katherine felt established with her Dream practice, she just kept building on to her expertise, stacking different successes and experiences to create a strong Dream brand. She has followed her intuition as she goes along and has expanded into a Radio Show, home workshops, video workshops, a dream festival and now she is writing a book.


I love that Katherine throws herself into these things she has never had experience with yet completely opens herself up to it. It’s not that she doesn’t have fear, it’s just that she’s become comfortable moving forward in the face of fear. This is key. This is HUGE for success. Fear is a part of life and creeps up endlessly, it can also control your life and stop you from experiencing much of what life has to offer. If your fear is not based on the physical safety of yourself or others, then I suggest making a promise to yourself. When you feel fear, if it’s not safety based, step into it. Push yourself past that fear and do whatever it is that you are stopping yourself from experiencing. Learn to walk with your fear rather than behind it and watch your life open like a flower blooming into existence. Really so much of what we are scared of is because it’s unfamiliar. Our brains naturally like the familiar and gravitate to the familiar, even if it’s not good for us. Remember this and know, you can make the unfamiliar, familiar. It just takes a bit of practice, a bit of repetition, a bit of exposure and effort in that direction and all of a sudden that scary thing, that unfamiliar thing, has now become familiar and you have grown that much more because of it. So take Katherine's advice, if there is a goal you are wanting to go after, even if you aren’t ready, move forward anyway and see what happens. Deal with what you need as you go along, and remember, perfection is the enemy of progress and action the antidote to fear. So take one step at a time and bit by bit you’ll find yourself closer to all your goals.


I learned so much about dreams from Katherine, I’m paying attention and noticing my dreams more now, writing them down and I hope you’ll consider doing the same. Katherine gave such great advice around learning from our dreams – to write them down, notice your feelings as you read through what was written, notice when help is available in your dreams and from where its coming from.


Paying close attention to her dreams helped Katherine shift herself from a highly depressed state to seeing the universe as a friendly place. Her dreams helped her feel connection to the universe again. They taught her how to notice the help available in life and to be open to accepting that help. I love that Katherine made this a spiritual practice to accept help when it’s offered. Even if it’s yes, I’m not quite sure how you can help right now but I would like your help.

Accepting help from someone not only deepens the connection between the two of you but it allows someone else to feel good about doing something good – helping others is as good as helping yourself so being willing to accept help is as good as helping others. Now is a great time to pick up our giving and receiving game.



Forgiveness was another big lesson for Katherine, learning to forgive frees you from your past burdens, it releases the negative energy you’ve been carrying with you for much too long. Forgiveness of self and for others is transformative in the very best of ways. I bought every insomnia product out there promising me sleep but in the end, shocking to me, the only thing that brought me peace in the middle of the night, was a forgiveness practice. Remember that forgiveness doesn’t mean you have to let go of justice when dealing with something illegal, it simply means that you are letting go of the hold it has over you. You are letting go of the resentment, the anger, the hook that continues to be a barb in your side at those unexpected moments. It’s letting go of the poison that remains inside.

I highly suggest adopting a forgiveness practice. I may create a forgiveness meditation to add to this podcast for listeners. The forgiveness meditation I learned is a six part process from Vishen Lakhiani of Mindvalley, he also includes forgiveness in his 6 phase meditation which is excellent for anyone looking for a guided meditation. You can do a simple forgiveness meditation yourself by following these steps:

1. Create the space, visualize the space where the situation occurred or visualize a safe/protected space.


2. Read them the charge, See the person in front of you, tell them how they have wronged you. Feel the emotions, relive the anger and pain, feel it burn, but only for a couple of minutes. Once you bring up the emotions, you want to move on.


3. Think about this person. What kind of experiences have they gone through in life to make them act this way? What did they lack in life? What hurt have they gone through that made them do what they did? What has helped shape them? Remember that hurt people hurt people.


4. Attempt to see things from their eyes. See the situation you are forgiving from their perspective. Feel compassion for this person.


5. Think about what you learned from this situation. Ask yourself, was there meaning that helped you become a better you? How did you grow from this? Reflect on your own growth from the situation.


6. Forgive them. Let them know you are done holding on to this grudge or pain. Imagine hugging them, passing love on to them and setting them free. See them fading away. Feel yourself letting go. Feel yourself lightening.

Remember to do this on yourself as well as others. We are all doing the best we can at any given time.


I’m going to leave you with one final thought from Katherine, to live a successful and fulfilling life you must learn to trust and listen to yourself. So many of us haven’t spent the time, getting comfortable in that space that is purely you, to really listen let alone fully trust. Listening to our inside world is where we will find our answers. Katherine urges us to get in touch with that trust by giving voice to your impulses. Consider any impulse that comes your way, run it through the simulator to make sure no one will get hurt, first rule, no hurting yourself or others, but if no one will get hurt, then what’s the cost? What do you have to lose? Why not follow the impulse?

Go for the why not, , that’s my wish for us, you never know what will come from it and at the very least, you’ll satisfy that soul urge and add a new experience to life. Why not?


Until next time


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