|(Costa Rica: photo by Phil)|
I’m not one to believe that our dreams can predict our future or the future or any aspect of it (although I do believe that there is a certain kind of person for whom this might be true). But I do think that dreams are manifestations of our questions or concerns or stresses or even joys.
In the morning when I wake, I hardly ever remember my dreams. It was only several years ago when I was doing some research and was encouraged to really try and remember them that I made a concerted effort to recall details as soon as I woke up. And it worked! Suddenly I could see the strange places I’d been in my dreams that were kinda like familiar places in real life but then not. I began to write the details down in a journal that I kept beside my bed, and that process helped me remember the dreams with even greater clarity. This ritual was so effective that to this day I remember dreams I had during that period. (Okay, there was this one where I’m an amphibian creature crawling around a vividly verdant rainforest floor but I’m also looking at my creature-self from above, way up high from the lush trees, also trying to crane my eyes over the tree-line to the blue sky beyond it, when suddenly my amphibian self says, very clearly over the rainforest whoooosh, “What you’re looking for is not up there. It’s down here on the ground.” Even though it was my dream, I still think that’s a cool, apt life-reminder for any of us, no?)
|(Costa Rica: photo by Phil)|
Anyway, the cataloguing-dreams thing was just an exercise and pretty soon I dropped the habit and began again to jump out of bed as soon as I woke to hit the ground running. Dreams went back to being what they’d been before, these distant, vague, sometimes unsettling, sometimes blank impressions … and nothing more.
So I decided to heed my friend’s recent advice and from now on spend a few moments every morning trying to remember my dreams. At first it was frustrating. I couldn’t remember a thing. And what’s worse, I could feel the memory of the dream zinging away from my mind’s-eye like a yo-yo, now here, now gone up from whence it came. But I realized that if I really worked to grab the memory back before it was too far flung(!), the details would rack into focus and I could examine it, turning it first one way and then the other until it made some kind of coherent sense. Now I can tell you with complete confidence that each of my dreams (much like the amphibian dream) has featured me looking for something. But in an intent, calm, and specific way. Either I’m asking people questions, or I’m searching my house (but not my house, rather that weird, dreamly version of it), or I’m off in some distant land, exploring and discovering it. Or—like in last night’s dream—I’m either a newly minted police officer or an actor learning to be one, and I’m taking all these notes and being super anal and asking all these questions about how the sleuthing should be done but also giving my (unsolicited) opinion when I think the sleuthing could be more effective (sadly, this is so me, sigh).
The thing is, I don’t know what I’m searching for in essence through all these dreams, but it does make sense to me that this is the conundrum I’d take into my REM: what is it? what is next? where is it all leading? what will I find? will I know what to do with it when I find it?
There’s a really weird side-note to all this: the same friend who started this interesting dream-quest also reminded me about that pen I lost all those years ago—and she challenged me to be open to finding it. So I’m lying in bed this morning, freshly awake, remembering that police-slash-actor-training dream in all its strange detail and suddenly my thoughts go to that errant pen, out of nowhere. And I get this deeply aware feeling that I know where it is. And it’s an option I’d long ago forgotten. I see it with another person. A person who said they didn’t have it way back then. As I said, an option I looked into and then put aside in favour of searching high and low in my own home. I’m not saying I believe it was stolen, I’m saying I just suddenly felt it was gone to this other, unreachable place. A real pen’s real whereabouts … or a metaphor for something else?
Are dreams speaking to us from some place we don’t ever tap into in waking life, or are they simply a wild kind of movie-version of what we already know? Is it the truth … or is it all just a dream?
Deb: Fascinating and timely subject, Barb—for me too. I am finding of late the insomnia seems to be the order of the day for me. Or I should say, order of the night. 3am to 6am to be specific. My feeling around this is that my dreams and wakefulness are a manifestation of that which I cannot face.
Although my day is filled with positive active movement regards the changes in my Mom and Dad’s life, my dreams are filled with doubt and self-judgment. When I wake up sometimes it is all I can do to shake them. But shake them I do. I know these images and feelings are the part of me that wants to plant the seed of self-doubt. And I guess if I had to choose, I’d take them during sleep rather than during a waking moment, which might affect my life or someone else’s life. So, yeah, I think the dreams are what we don’t and won’t tap into. I also think they are daring adventures that an unused part of our brain’s spirit wants to go on. And if we won’t go willingly, it takes us regardless.