October has really been full of dreams, hasn’t it?
I hope you have enjoyed our wandering in and out of dreams and nightmares. If it seems that although the world around us is strange, it doesn’t hold a candle to the world inside of us.
I have a wonderfully talented artist lined up for Sunday’s Art Gallery — a fun way to tie together Halloween and All Hallow’s Eve, dreams, and, who knows — nightmares, too.
But what have we learned, spending the last month in and out of the dream state?
- We all dream. Whether or not we remember, we do. It’s the body’s way of relieving stress, rebuilding on a cellular level. It’s just that some of us sleep so hard that dreaming seems a drifting dream itself. So quit running around saying “I don’t dream.” You do. Keep on doing it. Even if you don’t remember it.
- Many dream about people who have passed on to the next life. And some are upset about that. To me, dreaming about my mother (who passed away 30 years ago) and my dad (who moved along to be with her 5 years ago) just keep them in my life. I remember at first, going along with the dream, then suddenly saying (to myself or to my mom in the dream) “Hey! You’re not supposed to be here! You’re dead!” Now I know this is just a way to continue my life with the two of them. It’s often in the house I grew up in, and I love hanging out there. I love, laugh, talk or argue, then move along through the rest of the dream. It doesn’t hurt. And it shouldn’t hurt you, either.
- Nothing makes sense in dreams. Studies show dreams (and nightmares) are a way for our unconscious side to deal with our conscious side. But I’ve also come to the conclusion that it doesn’t matter if they make sense or not. People I haven’t seen in ages, places I’ve never been — where does that come from? Who cares? We have to quit trying to make “sense” of everything. Like black holes, most of their evidence is indirect. Probably with a “to be continued” sign hanging metaphisically on the doorway.
- Nightmares are also a way of life. A way of coping. Some people bring their day nightmares into their dreams; others pick them up on the way. A bit of advice from a non-psychology major. If your day job (family, job, friends) give you nightmares during the day, leave them. You only go through life once; don’t waste it on those who don’t understand or appreciate you. Get professional help. Or listen to the friend who has been there for you all this time. But get out of the toxicity.
- To those who have a fairly balanced, often off-center, goofy, busy kind of life, let the nightmares do their thing. Most times they don’t make sense anyway. The monsters, the chasing, the cars flying off the cliff, all are ways we cleanse the soul, the mess we have to deal with every day. If you can find a way to stand back and just watch them, do it. If you wake up with your heart pounding and your mind dizzy, sit up, breathe, go to the bathroom, get a drink of water, and slip back under the covers.
- Sigmund Freud believed that every action and thought is motivated by your unconscious at some level, and that in order to live in a civilized society we have to repress our urges and impulses. Because these urges and impulses must be released in some way, an easy outlet is through your dreams. Because the content of the unconscious may be extremely disturbing or harmful, Freud believed that the unconscious expresses itself in a symbolic language. That’s why they don’t often make sense. That may be true, but I don’t believe the “content” is always disturbing or harmful. Dreams are alternate choices, alternate paths, our minds take, each one as valid as the one taken during the day. Don’t psychoanalyze what more often is a vivid playground you can only visit during sleep. Go play.
- If you can retain the essence of your dreams, retain it. Savour it. Write it down. Transform it into poetry or a painting or a piece of jewelry. Let it encourage the creative side of you. Explore those feelings that float in the mist just beyond your reach, the light just around the corner. You will find that there is such a thing as magic — and the magic is you.