About Gloria Sturzenacker
Gloria Sturzenacker, M.S.
I'm a freelance editor, writer, graphic artist, and instructor. My professional background is in journalism--with experience in nearly all media: radio, wire service, magazines, newspapers, book publishing, technical writing, and the classroom. True to the definition of journalism, I consider myself a generalist, but Ive also worked a lot in two specific fields--information technology and the fire service.
I love to understand how things workboth objects such as tools and processes such as learning, growth, healing, and dreams. I like to analyze and synthesize--take ideas apart and put them back together in new ways. Besides my bachelor's and master's degrees in journalism, I have certificates in teaching critical thinking (a combination of developmental psychology and general semantics), multimedia technologies, and managerial development. And Im very visual. Ive studied design, mostly informally but also by taking a few courses.
As an undergraduate at Northwestern University, I lived in Philosophy & Religion Residential College. A rocks-for-jocks type of course on the theory of relativity shattered my world view--I went around literally shaking for a whole weekend, as I realized how much it has in common with mysticism. (Hint: All points in time coexistpast, present, and future are all Now. And light may be a lot more than we think it is. Those ideas werent so well known then as now.) Many other experiences and studies have followed.
When I was planning to leave a job in 1983, I did a lot of informational interviewing. Many meaningful coincidences (synchronicities) happened from following my gut feelings about things, and I got the idea (which I only filed away mentally at the time) to create a visual system for tracking such things.
In 1992, I had the first dream that I recognized as precognitive. It didn't seem to have any larger meaning; I decided it was meant to catch my attention and let me know precognitive dreams are really possible.
In the spring of 1994, my life seemed to accelerate dramatically in terms of synchronicities. They threaded together over half a year, with a definite direction -- bringing up again that idea of a symbol system to track such things. I sketched it out for the first time that fall.
I had kept dream journals on and off since at least high school. Often it was off, because I couldnt make head or tail out of what the dreams meant. Meaning opened up for me thanks to two people: first, Mark Thurston, via his wonderfully deep book How to Interpret Your Dreams, and later through psychiatrist and recovering psychoanalyst Montague Ullman . His Ullman Method of group dreamwork is designed around the idea that ordinary people (non-therapists) can help each other understand their dreams. Ive since attended his three-day trainings in dream group leadership more than half a dozen times.
In 1996, I committed to writing down virtually every dream I remembered (and continued until 2001), as an experiment. I quickly discovered that coherent narratives developed among dream and waking life events--intricate weavings, studded with dramatic and inexplicable coincidences which sometimes involved long periods and many people.
I threw myself into developing Inner Guide Mapping. This system uses symbol and image combinations to represent events, so connections among events can be depicted visually and scanned easily for patterns. Predefined, monochromatic symbols are provided to represent categories of experience. The user combines these with her or his own individual images (doodles, artwork, clip art, cutouts) to illustrate the content of the experience. To track a series of events, the map is arranged in timeline form. To explore the levels of meaning within a single dream, the map is arranged as concentric circles. The symbols can also be used to highlight events in the actual dream record.
I've presented Inner Guide Mapping at several ASD conferences since 1997 and have participated on the Long-Term Journal-Keeping panels. I was elected to the board in 2005 to fill out the remaining year of an existing term. ASD has become one of my most cherished communities. I've found invaluable mentors and wonderful friends. I avidly enjoy the mix of therapists, artists, academics, scientists, and "ordinary" dreamers.