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...

10 comments:

andrea said...

you know what i don't get? when people randomly appear in your dream from like elementary school. people you literally haven't seen in 25 years. where did they come from? what are they telling me?
my dreams are so bizarre and complicated, no one will listen to me tell them anymore. maybe i'll do some journaling like you suggested, and then turn it over to you for interpretation.
scaaaaaaarrrrryyyyy....

Wendy said...

I love that dream you had of yourself in Scotland - that's a crack up. I especially love the dark tights and white tap shoes.

I always hope I'll get some sort of personal revelation in my dreams. So far it hasn't happened.

michaelstubbs said...

I used to remember my dreams quite frequently, and I loved having conversations about them. I even had a few in which I dreamed things that happened the next day. Doesn't happen any more. I must sleep much too deeply when I actually get to sleep.

emma jo said...

I dream every night. But you are right, as an adult, they are typically not as enjoyable as they used to be. We must be too stressed. I love when I am conscious of the fact that I am dreaming and suddenly I have all control to do whatever I want. And remember Cory whats his name in that movie "Dream a Little Dream"? Weird.

Amy Lynn said...

My dreams are always very strange. I love to try and "interpret" my dreams although my husband claims there is no real correlation between what we dream and real life. But how can that be? My head is my head and my thoughts are MY thoughts and somehow they are all jumbled and trying to get themselves organized.

It's way too racy to relate here, but remind me of the type I dreamt I was a lady of "ill repute" and discovered I was in a room of orange and brown velvet. Still very vivid...

Svenska & Sheaux said...

Sheaux sings your one line from that song all the time, but she replaces 'Joe' with 'Sheaux'. How funny is that?

Suzie Petunia said...

I remember my dreams every night. It gets a little tiresome for me. I wish my brain could just "turn off" so I can feel like I have really relaxed during the night. Maybe if my dreams were as entertaining as yours... :) I can't even count the number of times I've quoted "Oh, Joe! I love you so! You do so much for meeee!" this last week while we were in Utah. It seemed to come up a lot... especially when it was appropriate to substitute "Mo" for "Joe".

Oprah makes guest appearances a lot in my dreams lately. I have no idea why. I very rarely watch her show. She always seems mildly interested in me and my life and I am flattered. Weird, huh? Mimi, our old ballet teacher, also sometimes makes an appearance. It makes me nervous and self-conscious. Ex-boyfriends are also frequenters. Sometimes I am in love with them again, and sometimes they are trying to win me back. Those are always confusing to wake up from.

Well, wouldn't you know it is time for me to go to sleep and dream now. I'm not surprised that you imagine your home in its perfect state when you go to your "happy place" before sleep. I do the same thing. After reading Grandma's history, I'm pretty sure it is a genetic thing. As an Oscarson it is a part of our genetic makeup to think constantly about our homes and the potential for beauty therein. In fact I often dream that I find a room in my house that I've never seen before. I'm sure this is just a result of my frustration regarding the poor use of space in my house.

Is this comment long enough for you? :) I miss you. I had the time of my life being with you and the fam in Utah. Really, it was just perfect. I'm excited for our new "project". Have you been working on your part?

Suzie Petunia said...

OK, so it is morning now. I dreamed about sitting around a table shooting the breeze with my old high school teachers and track coach. Then I swung around a big pear tree like it was an amusement park ride. Go figure.

Mary said...

I remember once I had a dream of this amazing house I went to for a party. Each room was so cool. Off the main living area it had huge glass doors that slid open to reveal a lap pool. I remember waking up and thiking that was the coolest house ever! I wish I could design like that.....and than I realized it was a dream and I did design it! LOL!

Jaime Mormann Richardson said...

I used to dream when I was in high school and college all the time. They were vivid and complex, but now they are just fleeting impressions and faces. What is that? Is it because all our dreams are fulfilled now that we're married? Ha ha.