The recurring dream I had for ten years…

Written by: Nick Ortner

I had the same recurring dream for literally 10 years until I finally figured out what was going on.
(sometimes I can be a little slow…lol)

In the dream I was often back in high school. Every single time I was playing soccer.

At first dreaming about soccer made sense. After all, my whole family loves soccer. We’re Argentine, (I was born in Argentina and moved to the US when I was 7 years old) and I’m not exaggerating when I say that the World Cup is an epic family event every four years.

Soccer has been a passion of mine since I was a kid. Why wouldn’t I dream about it?

As the years ticked by and the dream recurred, though, it started to seem weird.

I was in my late twenties, then early thirties, running a growing business, engaged, then married, then going to be a dad… and still dreaming about soccer?

I had to laugh the day I finally realized what the dream meant.


My subconscious mind had been sending me that not so subtle message—and it had taken me TEN YEARS to “get” it!

Soon afterward I joined a league and starting playing soccer every week. Sure enough, the dreams stopped. Just like that.

I think part of me knew I had to “play” more, to get out, to run, to sweat, to have fun, and since I wasn’t getting the message, the dream kept coming!

While recurring dreams aren’t always as straightforward as mine, they often contain some message that the subconscious mind is trying to tell us.

As fun as it is to try to decode dream symbolism…Like when you wake up and say, I dreamt that a white horse rode on a purple cloud and then my grandma was there playing the violin…ummmm…what does that mean exactly? Haha! Or when your dreams look like this:

…it’s also helpful to look at the broader meaning of dreams. Here are 5 simple, powerful tips for figuring out the meaning of your recurring dreams:

1. Notice how you feel in the dream.

Which one or two primary emotions do you (or the character you become) feel in the dream?

The energy or emotion you feel can be significant. For me playing soccer had always been an easy way to feel carefree. Now that I have more responsibility in my life, my subconscious mind was reminding me to balance it out by playing more soccer. Great idea!

2. Notice how you feel about the dream.

Do you wake up feeling anxious about the dream? Excited? Afraid?

Since dreams often mirror reality in strange ways, acknowledging how your waking self reacts to the dream can be important also. If, for instance, you feel scared in the dream, but then angry when you wake up and think about it, that gap in emotional response could be useful information.

3. Notice how your dream relates to your life.

Are there any parallels between your dream and your waking life? Even connections that seem far-fetched can help to clarify what your subconscious mind is trying to tell you.

4. Consider whether your dream provides any solutions.

We tend to focus on the emotional sub-text of dreams, but sometimes dreams provide solutions.

Larry Page, founder of Google, reportedly came up with the idea for his search engine in a dream.

In the 1800s Elias Howe, inventor of the sewing machine, had a nightmare about being taken prisoner by a tribe holding spears with holes near the tips. When he awoke, he realized that those spears were the perfect design for a sewing machine needle.

5. Remember that you’re not always (just) you in dreams.

Since dreams aren’t usually literal, remember that you may not be yourself in the dream. You may also be reflected in other people in your dream. Noticing how your waking self relates to the different people or characters can lead to useful insights.

For instance, if you dream that your partner is cheating on you, you might actually be your partner in the dream, as well as yourself. The dream could mean that you’re craving a little more freedom, but you’re scared that voicing that need might feel like a betrayal. The solution could be as simple as taking more time for yourself.

If you’re struggling to find meaning in your dream, try tapping on it! Tapping is a great discovery tool to figure out what dreams mean. Just tap through the points while asking yourself a question, and see where it takes you.

(if you’re new to EFT Tapping, learn the process for free here)

Tapping is also a powerful way to release the emotional charge of nightmares, even in children. Look out for a new children’s picture book from my brother Alex, “Gorilla Thumps and Bear Hugs”, later in the year, and this fall, an adult book from me, “The Tapping Solution for Parents” 🙂

Until next time…

Keep Tapping!

Nick Ortner

Tell me below about a recurring dream that gave you an important insight! Did any of the 5 tips above help you to figure out the meaning of a recurring dream?

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37 Comments on this post

  1. malydia says:

    I was with my boyfriend and I had repeated dreams about my parents finding out, he and I not in the dream but in real life have done things we shouldn’t have done. I kept having the same dream but in different scenarios about our church finding out the truth and my parents. The dream would be so intense I would wake up sweaty and feeling as if I couldn’t breath, and I would throw up after the dream as well. After months of this torture I came clean and told the truth and broke the relationship off, I felt better and didn’t have any dreams and then a week or two later I then started having dreams again it was him being angry with me and people at the church finding out what we had done I have been having this dream now for 2 months. I am throwing up all the time after I wake up from this dream, when I have this dream even if I sleep throughout the night I feel deprived of my sleep and just tired, it either I have this dream and feel restless throughout the night or I just don’t sleep at all. This morning once again after having the dream I threw up imminently when I woke up, I am so confused to why I am still having dreams, I don’t regret my decision of breaking things off, I keep being told it’s a guilty conscience but I came clean to the people who needed to know, so I am at lost and extremely confused to why this is still happening.

    • Nick Ortner says:

      Hi Malydia! Thanks for sharing. One thing to look at is when you have felt this sense of guilt in the past. The mind and subconscious (especially in dreams) can work like that. The dream may simply be bringing to mind the most recent events that have caused you to feel guilt as a way of addressing where you may have felt the same way in the past. Think on that while tapping – it may be call to release something from your past. 🙂

  2. Pauline Wynne says:

    Whilst doing my finals at university I felt I should have done more revision. I obtained my degree nonetheless. Once or twice a year for the last fifty years I have woken in a cold sweat, convinced I am going to fail my degree because I am ill-prepared for one of the French literature papers that I have to take that day.

    • Nick Ortner says:

      Perhaps that would be a great opportunity to test out tapping on it, Pauline. Here is an issue that was a little traumatizing but still turned out fine. Yet years later it’s still with you. In your mind, you can go back to the original event and tap to release those emotions from your mind and body. 🙂

  3. Coaa says:

    I am amateur soccer player. ..I always dream about playing soccer. that just because it my passion?

  4. Frances says:

    I had a recurring dream until I was 38 – about being chased down & around a lane-way by an ugly Gnome – when I wrote a poem about the dream in a Creative Writing Glass the dream vanished – such a relief, as I always woke up in a cold sweat. The dream haunted me because I had been frightened when I was ten by an ugly man when I was searching for a lost ball I had hit over the house to a back lane way and I never told anyone. I was lucky I was a good runner and ran away when he made suggestions to me – so gross…..

  5. judith Hagen says:

    I do believe that we get messages from our dreams. It’s analizing them to see what they are telling us! I am always looking for the message. Great tool.

  6. Madeleine Bridges says:

    My dreams are always about traveling on a train or bus, packing a suitcase which is already overloaded, trying to get to airports on time to catch a flight and many such likes..
    I have traveled a lot over the years, however, I cannot understand why I’m still dreaming about it.

    I often dream about having found the man of my “dreams”, it all seems so real. These dreams usually leaves me quite emotional for a few days afterwards. I can understand why I’m having these dreams, unfortunately, sadly it did not happen. I married the wrong one.

    Madeleine Bridges

  7. Rita says:

    Dream – I am traveling an everyday path, when I realize the path provides crossing railroad tracks, climbing hills, and trying to cross a body of water to finish my journey. It is getting dark and I realize the danger, but realize its a necessary evil, as I have done this many times before, and know it can be done. I am always searching for that side of the hill, or the water where rocks, that provide the safest passage.

    I am a 70 yo female, who retired from an office position 7 years ago. This dream I have had intermittently for all of my adult life. I am usually alone, but know that I can make it. Dream is pretty self-explanatory, but would like to hear your take on it.

  8. Cindy says:

    I have a recurring dream that I am on a narrow jetty with a chain link fence at my back. I must sidestep to the end on one side and back on the other. I am waist deep in the water and all the while there is a shark following my movements and occasionally nudging me in the stomach with it’s nose. The dream is terrifyingly real, I can feel and smell it and everything around me and I’m afraid to breathe. When I wake up I feel incredibly sad and alone with a knot in my gut from holding it in. I can’t wait to get home today and try tapping to understand what this dream is trying to tell me. I’ve had the same nightmare for a number of years now and it is just as frightening each time.

  9. Desiree says:

    Just came from a self help meeting. After the meeting a lady says to me, “Ive just bought a book on Tapping” I say, “Oh Nick Ortner”……..Lol x sent her some of your links as shes never done Tapping x Told her I Tap and love Nick and his sister Jessica xx
    Thanks for sharing these things to consider regarding our dreams, I use to have 2 recurring dreams of 2 different people I loved dearly, they carried on for many years, then stopped….Cant remember when and what changed!! Think the one changed when acceptance came??

  10. Peggy Wong says:

    Thanks for helping me broaden my thinking about life in general. Now I’m realizing what my dreams are about.

  11. CATHY says:

    I have a recurring dream of churches??

  12. Susan says:

    My recurring dream for over 40 years was very scary. I would literally always scream for help! I was being chased, trying to get away. After my husband died 3 years ago, the nightmare became more frequent. I had just discovered tapping and had found a practitioner not too far from my home.
    With her help, I discovered that my fears and nightmare were rooted to when I was a small child, ( while walking through town with my grandmother, she would always cross the street when a man was coming), along with an incident that happened when I was caught in a riot in high school where I was thrown against a wall, hit my head, and then when the guys left, my friends and I ran out of the school to a business near the school.
    Since the practitioner and I tapped on my fear of being alone and nightmares, I have
    not had that recurring dream.
    Tapping is amazing!?

  13. Christine G says:

    Thank you Nick. I also love to read your Sayings. Every0ne means something of value

  14. Leigh Welsh says:

    I had a recurring dream for at least 10 years, starting when our adult children left home. I was wandering in a house that was a composite of the one I had been living in with my family, my grandparents first house, and others I had known. I would feel calm in the dream but curious – as if wondering what was around each corner. The rooms were often empty. Then I left my husband 2 years ago and the meaning became clearer. I was realizing subconsciously that with our “empty nest” my husband and I didn’t have much in common anymore and I was searching for a way out. I haven’t had the dream since.

  15. Gill says:

    I love my dreams – it’s like going to the cinema every night! I believe they almost all have some meaning although I also think if it’s important to understand, it will be very clear. Ihave recurring scenarios and they change over the years – for example in my twenties my dreams were set in a dream-version of my real school. I saw this as all the opportunities in life. I have dreams about floods and airports – I am currently ‘stuck’ in life until I can find the right job, and I think the dreams are reflecting this.
    I have long known that a house and car represent me myself.
    I had a dream for many years which I eventually realised was a birth memory.
    But perhaps the most amazing one was a dream in which I was in a car with someone and we were driving towards a full moon on the horizon – huge and low, and we were driving right ‘into’ it. But as we reached it, it disappeared and became a black hole. We continued into it and I saw from a different perspective that I had been sucked into the hole. But then a myriad – maybe INFINITE – Me-s emerged, spinning at great speed off in all directions – tiny, rainbow-coloured versions of me. It was the most amazing, uplifting sight. I woke to an awareness of my potential, and a feeling that this might actually be what happens at death.

    But more than anything else, I think it was a reminder of the vastness of the Universe, and therefore the vastness of our capabilities.

  16. Mary says:

    I had a recurring dream for years. I was on a bus and at a junction in the road the bus would take the wrong turning and leave me at a destination I didn’t recognise. I would walk up and down streets trying to find my way home but couldn’t, I was lost. The panic I felt always woke me up. On reflection the dream pretty much described my reality because after I left my marriage I struggled trying to get my life back together again and it took me many years to feel in control and happy again. I haven’t had those dreams for years now. I guess in the dream there was not a solution to my problem except making me aware of the problem that I needed to address.

  17. Barb says:

    My recurring dream is not exactly the same each time. I get the message, though. I’m always lost somewhere trying to find my way home. I moved to Florida 4 years ago after my husband passed away. The last few years is when the dreams started. I know I want to go home to Ohio but do not have the money to do so. I wish there was an answer but I know there is not. I’m not happy here and am pushing 75 years old. My dog & I just want to go home. 🙁 Such is life!

  18. Maryanne says:

    A few nights ago I had what I interpreted as a major breakthrough with confronting fear, through my recurring dream. For around 50 years now ( and you can yourself a slow learner!) I have had a dream that fills me with fear. I am in a house and go to put the light on and only the dimmest possible light comes on, I go through the house with the same result at every room. I used to be terrified of this, feeling there was doom waiting to take over me. My heart would race and I’d end up waking in a panicked state. For the past ten years (or so), I have been able to become lucid when this dream starts, I recognise it as a dream and wake up or it disappears.
    Two nights ago, I was in my new house when the lights wouldn’t turn on properly, and the blinds were half open. As I started to feel the fear I asked myself if it was a dream and I told myself No, it feels very real. So I went into the dimly lit rooms and closed blinds, kept turning on dim lights and telling myself… It’s ok, this is just how it is, there’s nothing to be afraid of.
    I woke up feeling great, empowered, and when I wanted to face my fear of going back into the gym the last few days, I have used the words, it’s ok, this is just how it is. I’m overweight, unfit and people might look at me strangely but it’s ok, I’m ok. And I’ve done it.
    Thank you for this opportunity to reflect on it and explain it. Helps me make sense of it all. PS love the Tapping, has helped me heaps over the years xx

  19. Denise Jurkovich says:

    I always have a dream that I can fly. I just start running and next thing I know I am high in the air flying around. I have never figured out what it means.

  20. Tami says:

    I really don’t have recurring dreams or when I do dream, it is difficult to recall them. I did have one a while back that was so vivid, I am able to recall the whole dream-which was short. I was a teen coming down the stairs from the second floor to the front door of my parents house. At the end of the stairs was my father and my mother-who was walking towards him. He had a worried look on his face and he said a couple of times to my mother—don’t worry, it only happened once, she won’t remember. I just remember I couldn’t see myself in the dream-it was like I was actually in my body–not watching a dream. I have just never forgotten it and I can’t for the life of me remember what, if it was even anything about me, that he was talking about. It is just really odd, that’s all.

  21. Michele says:

    I have a lot of different reoccurring dreams. I used to dream a lot about the house I lived in as a child and how we didn’t live there any more. I’ve dreamt I was shot and killed several times as well as wonderful dreams about flying as naturally as walking. But the theme that always makes me think is when I dream about a past boyfriend when I’m with a current one. And the dream isn’t me getting back with the old flame, it’s more like they are just there as a reminder that what currently is going on is not a good fit for me either. I’m 55 years young, was married once, but have been in several long term relationships. So this is a recurring theme, and one that makes me pay closer attention. Thanks for all you do, Nick. Love the tapping. ?

  22. Jodi says:

    Interesting, because I used to have a dream over and over but not every night, just continously for many years about being killed but not dying. In other words someone was trying to kill me but I was always left for dead, yet I didn’t die……… Anyway later I found out about a brutal accident that happened to my great grandmother where she was beaten in the head with a hammer and left for dead, yet did not die. With a therapist I worked on and cleared that energy blocked inside me and since then I’ve haven’t had the dream again (almost a year now). Yeah!

  23. Kathy says:

    I have recurring dreams of going back to work and feeling under-appreciated. I’ve been retired for 7 years and have no desire to go back to my former job. I am currently “working” on a novel and nearly finished. Maybe it is this “job” that I need to complete to find the appreciation I seek in life. It gives me motivation to just finish up and seek publication. Who knows what will happen when I seek an editor/publisher?

  24. vivianna says:

    After a long battle of sexes calmed down.(divorce) I had this dream.
    Myself and one other person were suddenly surrounded by a circle of enemies with guns pointing at us.
    I reached in my back pocket for a harmonica. (which I don’t own and don’t play)
    I started to play “Amazing Grace” It was beautiful, every note was thrilling.
    As I played we both started to move away from the circle as the gun holders were mesmerized by my music….. also. Suddenly we found we were safe. And over joyed. I woke laughing.
    I said out loud. “Wow I won the battle with Amazing Grace.”

    Is that what you Mean.?

  25. Susan says:

    Ahh I dream about walking again I have MS and don’t walk by myself but I do dream about it. I’ve always felt one day I would. In the dream I start off slow and easy and I feel it , by the end of the dream I have the confidence to walk. You see I’ve always told my husband one day I’ll be better I’ve had that insight. That’s why I love tapping, it releases the stress, tension emotions. Thanks for sharing now I am beginning to see the big picture. Susan ?

  26. Marni says:

    My recurring dream over the past 20 years which I find very disturbing
    I wake up very frustrated is I am always trying to make a flight and the piles of Laundry usually or some other obstacle keeps me from ever making it ???

  27. Debbie says:

    Not really helped yet ? Mine is reoccurring for years now I’m always a server (that’s what I do I’m a waitress) my dreams are nightmares I can’t get the people served or waited on for some reason out of my controle and no one helps. Either there is no food or no supplies or too many ppl at once and there all yelling that they can’t get waited on or can’t get their food !!! Everyone is unhappy or angry and I’m running around trying to get it all done and it always takes too long and ppl leave and I feel inadequate and upset . I try to go back to sleep only to have a similar dream till I must get up to stop them . How can I stop them help!!! Thx for listening Debbie

  28. dragica says:

    I am glad these things happen to other people too. I had many recurring dreams but one more stubborn than others.. For years i kept reading articles and newspapers in foreign langages in my dreams. When I enrolled in the university and took up two langages, never had that dream again.

  29. Hio Tiao Lim says:

    My dream do not reccur, but they come true

  30. CONNIE says:


  31. Medihas says:

    My son had a nightmare when he was around five years old. He dreamt that his rabbit broke out of his cage and ran out. Our rabbit was a house pet totally free. He had the run of our garden flat and a cat door into the garage where he often liked to stay. He was never caged and he never did his business in the flat. His only fault was that he loved electrical wires and rounded all the wooden skirtings.
    The next day he died of a heart attack and was FREE.
    This is when I realised that we were all doing a life sentence and that many sentences in our vocabulary were literally true. Have fun.

  32. Sage says:

    Dreams have always fascinated me. You talk about the healing you can sometimes find in recurring dreams, and everyone has recurring dreams of falling for instance, but have you ever heard of more than one person having identical recurring dreams with specific details? What could this mean? The dreams have long since ceased for each of us, but the question remains.


  33. Maria says:

    I’ve had the same recurring dream for probably 15 years. In my dream I am either in high school or college and I am not going to graduate. It’s weird because I graduated both with no problems, but my dream makes me feel anxious and worried when I wake up but I keep telling myself that I’m fine because I’m no longer in school. I have always regretted not going to university and becoming a teacher so I believe my dreams are reflecting that.

  34. Barb says:

    What does it mean when you neve dream??

  35. Soares says:

    I keep on dreaming a person vision of a black mam/woman statute whichi is very dark(black) wearing something like an islam cap or a cloth rounded on the head. His figure is very serious and seems very furious, I once saw it trying to smile after another statute tald it to enjoy what their children have gifted them. This dream has been reccuring since last year

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