Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Dream a Little Dream

"To sleep; perchance to dream..." wrote the bard. I love to dream. Dreaming is the only good reason to sleep. I have been fascinated with dreaming since I was very little and still remember some of my dreams from my childhood (and some of the nightmares which are not dreams... like I said, they are nightmares...).

While I have not come very far in controlling my dreams, I have become good at remembering what I dream. When I am almost asleep (meaning very, very relaxed and letting my mind be "loose") I tell myself "Remember your dream, be conscious of your dream...". It totally works.

From 1995 to 1999 I wrote down my most memorable dreams in a journal. You know how a dream is like a detailed movie sometimes with distinct feelings and emotions? Well when I re-read those dreams I am taken right back to those feelings and emotions with astonishing clarity. I can see the movie all over again including details that are not necessarily spelled out in the journal, and I can feel the feelings I felt the first time I dreamed it.

One of my most memorable dreams is the "Oh, Joe" dream:

I am standing on a stage in Scotland and I am a missionary. I am wearing thick, darkish nylons and white mary-jane tap shoes. The curtain is closed and I am waiting to dance with the other chorus girls in a performance at the church building in front of a large audience. The problem is: I can't remember the dance because I procrastinated rehearsing and now I have to perform. Yuck. In front of the curtain there is a trio of sister missionaries singing a light ditty to the accompaniment of an old church upright piano. As a diversionary tactic from my inability to remember the dance steps, I know that if I stick my head through the curtains and sing part of the song in a funny voice I will get a big laugh, and who doesn't like a big laugh? So I wait for the part in the song and stick my head out and sing, "Oh, Joe, I love you so, you do so much for me..." Instead of a laugh, I get crickets. I feel the sensation of a deep rush of blood to my face as I withdraw my head. I walk off the stage in disgrace.

I am also really good at dream interpretation.

One thing that has puzzled me through the years is the question of why I dreamed about celebrities for so long. I don't anymore, and I have never followed celebrity gossip, but during my college days people like Julia Roberts, Kurt Cobain, and Robin Williams were frequent guest stars.

These days I wonder why my dreams aren't more... wonderful. I am working on this. I have a lot more responsibility than I used to, now that I am a full-fledged adult, and I am concerned that I can't control my dreams to be more restful and pleasant. Once I am lying on my bed my brain can get out of control, so to reign it in I have an exercise (one that used to be more pleasant than it is now, but it is habit). I imagine that I am walking down my street towards my house and I begin with the exterior and imagine it in its perfect state (with all the features and amenities I could ever desire included... my dream house). There is a white picket fence holding back the roses, and a brick-paved path, and inside, everything is complete and clean. I imagine going through each room and seeing it is a perfect fantasy form. I rarely get past the front living room before I am completely loosed from my conscious moorings and "asleep".

I am glad that I dream. I feel sorry for people who say they don't. Dreaming can be an escape. It is a way for us to work through the day, or a way to work through or problems. It's self-therapy. I know what's going on in my head when I wake up and remember last nights fanciful scenarios. I can correct and move forward.

So go ahead and give yourself permission to dream a good dream. Lay down and think to yourself, "Remember your dream tonight, be conscious in your dream..." and see what you are trying to tell yourself. Sweet dreams...