I have a strange recurring dream. It’s been going on since I was a child. In the dream, I am me, but I cannot see myself, only what I can view through my eyes. I am running through white space, which becomes a desert, and suddenly I realize that someone is holding my hand, pulling me along. I cannot see them clearly, only that they are tall and have a long, dark cloak. There are arrows piercing the sky and space around me, and I am pushed by what appears to be a Geisha into a large rock. Within the rock is a hollowed out cave. I am told by a sparkly fish that is floating on a cloud of water above the sand to stay put so I will be safe. Suddenly, behind my eyes is a wash of crimson and flash of bright light, and then I wake up.
Truthfully, I had forgotten all about this dream. It started when I was around five, and stopped somewhere in my early twenties. I never considered the symbolism (odd, since if you knew me, you’d think I would have investigated) and wrote it off as a strange fantasy dream, most likely from overindulging in sugary sweets and too many comics. But now, as I evolve and learn, I wonder what it all means, because it has returned. Dreams can tell you a lot about who you are, where you have been and where you are going. They can be a warning, a guide or even an escape. They may also help you improve your life.
I am beginning a dream journal. Not a new idea, but I am setting up a pretty journal and some colored pens by my bedside to capture the oddities that appear within my nighttime revelries. Of course, those that are too dark will make it to the poetry journal first, but more on that another time.
Here’s a troubling fact; research shows that people are dreaming a lot less these days. Society is in a state of dream deprivation, being overexposed to technology, chronic stress, and unhealthy habits. REM stage sleep is becoming rare, and that’s where all the magic is folks. And honestly, as adults, how many of us are paying attention to our dreams? We tend to shrug them off as something weird, but truthfully, they are a way to explore hidden facets of your true self. So pay attention – write them down, and revisit them with caffeinated clarity in the daylight hours. Besides, don’t we all deserve a little magic in our lives? Let me share three reasons why you should start keeping a dream journal; they could change your life.
- Understanding Yourself. We all try to hide things from our conscious, waking selves. In dreams, the truth is brazen and bold and stares you right in the face. Perhaps we are afraid of failing, or we have a desire to travel or to write or change our lives in some way or another. It all shows up in live, technicolor on a colossal, HD, larger than life screen in those wee hours of the night. If your dream is recurring, sit back and take notes…your subconscious has a message for you.
- Creativity Booster. Dreams are portals to your wildest imaginings. Many writers and artists will tell you, “it all came to me in a dream,” and they aren’t kidding. This is yet another reason to keep that journal handy – what you recall at 3 AM is not going to be the same three hours, a shower and a coffee in hand later.
- Emotional Support. Keeping a journal of your thoughts is good medicine for what ails your aching mind and heart. Just grabbing at the thoughts and emotions from the whirlpool of your brain and jotting them down is a healing practice. It helps to bring clarity and confidence when you analyze the dream.
Keeping a dream journal is about learning to decipher your dream and understand its purpose in your life. It is about gaining an understanding by looking at your first impression of the dream, no matter how crazy, looking at your actions within the dream, and thinking about how you felt. Were you excited, overwhelmed, frightened, paralyzed? How does that reflect what you think when you’re awake?
Next, think about the symbolism of what you dreamed about, and does it resonate in any way with the waking life you live? Take all of this as a gift, as you consider what you are taking away from the dream. Is it revealing a state of despair? Fear? PTSD? Awareness? Excitement? Understanding your dreams gives you a different perspective on how to tackle life’s most significant obstacles. You can gain increased knowledge, self-awareness and self-healing the more you practice dream recall.
Summing up, I’ll share a few of the symbols in my dream. Let’s start with the arrows being shot at me. Arrows have different meanings, whether they are broken, on the ground, did it hit me? But arrows flying through the air, whizzing around me are symbolic of being made to feel vulnerable.
The Geisha? She represents life-balance and the ability to have an adaptive nature to different life situations.
The sparkly floating fish? Fish are lucky in dreams; they represent spiritual growth and transformation. The fact that it is swimming, albeit above the sand, signifies insights from my unconscious mind. The size of the fish reflects how significant an issue is; mine is pretty big, so it must be trying to tell me something I know is essential, but don’t understand yet. That it is sparkly, means to be wary of things that appear pretty, and that something or someone in your life could be trying to get your attention, but it is not right for me.
The big rock harboring the cave, well, rocks usually represent endurance and power. I should know what I am about and that nobody can break me. On the other hand, it could be symbolizing that I need to develop a stronger personality. And the hidden cave? This represents my subconscious mind and an attempt to seek shelter; It means that I am enduring a bad spell that was completely unforeseen.
So what does it all mean? I’m going to end by saying that I think this dream recurs when I am going through tough times, emotionally or socially or in any aspect of my life. I am going to ascertain that I need to be alert and aware and use my intuition to guide me forward. I am also going to grab a cup of coffee.
Stay motivated and caffeinated!