I’ve been trying to make sense of a dream I had last night, in which my family lived in a comfortable townhouse in a large apartment complex. We had bought a wooded lot in the country some time ago, but we still hadn’t gotten around to building a home on it yet.

Photo of woods along a country road.

(Photo credit: Robert Lyle Bolton)

In real life, there was no dilly-dallying when we built our current house. We looked at several subdivisions, found one that we liked, met with the developer, chose a floor plan, decided on a lot, and signed a contract to get the construction started, all in fairly short order.

My best guess is that the dream was illustrating the inertia that people commonly get at the end of the year. Our culture tells us that we’re supposed to be making long lists of projects to get busy on when January starts, but instead we’re comfortable just sitting in our quiet, cozy homes in the dark of winter. For now, it feels like there’s no hurry, and all those grand projects can wait a little longer.

December 11, 2023 · Write a comment · Categories: Musings · Tags:

Last night I went to bed wondering what I might do to be happier. It’s not that I was unhappy about anything in particular, but staying cheerful when winter’s short, dark days arrive is not always easy.

My subconscious mind obligingly answered the question by putting the disco song “You Should Be Dancing,” from the Saturday Night Fever soundtrack, in my head when I woke up.

When I went to do a rowing exercise on the Hydrow machine in the early afternoon, I set it to play disco and funk songs during my 10K row, which took about 48 minutes. “You Should Be Dancing” wasn’t one of the songs, but it definitely did put me in a more cheerful mood!

November 28, 2023 · Write a comment · Categories: Musings · Tags:

Perhaps because I’ve been reading historical novels, I dreamed that I was a young medieval princess. Unfortunately, that wasn’t a good thing to be. Some rebel faction had killed my father and taken over the country, and they wanted to dispose of my mother and grandmother—literally, as in “off with their heads.”

All of us were walking along a path toward the execution grounds, with a jeering crowd on both sides gleefully anticipating the spectacle. The rebels weren’t quite vicious enough to murder girls, so they were going to lock me in a dungeon afterward, along with my baby sister. My mother was holding the baby, who blinked sleepily at me when I offered to carry her.

Princess image in black and white.

“Don’t take her from me yet,” my mother said, in a voice that allowed no argument.

I kept moving, one foot in front of the other, telling myself this didn’t have to be real. If only I had enough faith, then it would all go away. Quietly, I began saying a prayer as I walked.

“Dear God, please let me be dreaming. Let this be a nightmare. Let me wake up.”

Surely, God was more than powerful enough to change the world around me, making my life completely different. I pictured the hostile crowd melting away, taking another shape—flattening out, turning into the covers on my bed. They couldn’t hurt anyone because they never existed.

Waking, I found myself in a completely different life, just as the prayer had asked. It took me a moment to sort out which version of me was the real one!

November 20, 2023 · Write a comment · Categories: Musings · Tags:

I woke up this morning with a dream in my head that wasn’t entirely clear, but its theme definitely was mindless repetition. I had been banging my hands against something hard—maybe a brick or stone wall, I can’t quite remember—and every time, I said “Ow,” and then did it again, like an automaton.

Photo of a wall made of bricks and stones.

(Photo credit: Caroline Léna Becker)

Evidently, my subconscious wants me to quit doing something thoughtless and futile that is hurting me. Perhaps it’s related to another dream I had recently, in which I had to back up when there wasn’t enough space to walk through construction vehicles. I still haven’t figured out where in my life I might need to change direction, but my dream-self seems to be prodding me to reflect on it more.

October 29, 2023 · Write a comment · Categories: Musings · Tags:

I dreamed last night that I was walking through a muddy and cluttered construction zone, full of heavy earth-moving machinery, while holding a baby.

Photo of construction machinery on a muddy site.

(Photo credit: Clyde Robinson)

The baby was old enough to talk, at least a little, and seemed to be very unhappy about being carried through such a big, scary place.

“Don’t drop me!” the baby said.

“I won’t,” I promised.

Just after that, I turned a corner around where several large construction vehicles were parked, and I found myself boxed into a narrow space with nowhere to go forward. I couldn’t do anything but back up, as carefully as I could manage. The baby started to cry. Then I woke up.

Looking at how to interpret this dream, one thing stands out: A baby and a construction zone both represent something new being created. Maybe I’ve been trying to do too much (as shown by the clutter) at once, and my subconscious mind is cautioning me not to lose my grip on what is most important. As for being in a place where I needed to back up, that probably means there’s something I need to quit doing—some aspect of my life where I need to reverse direction—because it’s not getting me anywhere useful.

Although it’s generally good to be open to new experiences, a reminder not to overdo it can be useful.

September 13, 2023 · 2 comments · Categories: Musings · Tags:

What does it mean when you suddenly disappear in a dream?

I recently dreamed that I walked into a quiet, ordinary living room and was looking around. The room had white walls and white furniture, sort of like this photo:

Photo of a room with white walls and furniture.

(Creative Commons image via flickr)

Then my body vanished from the scene, but somehow, I was still there looking at the room. While I was trying—without much success—to make sense of how that could have happened, I woke up.

I’ve been wondering how to interpret that dream, and my best guess is that I feel lost in ordinary routine, searching for myself against a backdrop of plain white walls. Where do I want to be, really? And how do I keep myself from disappearing before I find it?

Of course, many of us are having such thoughts these days—so I’d say that dream was a sign of the times.

May 9, 2023 · Write a comment · Categories: Musings · Tags:

I woke up in the middle of the night, face down with my arms stretched out wide, in Superman position. I felt as if I had been flying. But unlike Superman, I did not have long-range vision to see everything on the ground. Instead, everything below me was foggy, and I had no idea what was down there.

Photo of fog over treetops.

That didn’t worry me, though. It seemed like a good thing, actually, because I was in motion and not stuck in some tiny, isolated spot way down in the trees. Maybe I didn’t know where I was going, but at least I had the potential of finding somewhere better. Super possibilities ahead!

April 17, 2023 · Write a comment · Categories: Musings · Tags:

Several times in the past week I’ve had dreams in which I am walking along a hallway or up a staircase. Sometimes it is dark, but there is light ahead. I wake up with a clear spatial memory of the area and some visual details, but I have no idea of my destination.

Black and white image of a dark staircase with light shining down.

(Creative Commons image via flickr)

I meant to write a dream-interpretation post over the weekend, about being on a journey with much to be discovered. That post never got written, though, because I wasn’t in the best mood on Sunday. I went to get groceries in the early afternoon, with a storm blowing in and the temperature rapidly dropping. I made it back to my car just as the rain was beginning to fall, which was all right, but the house felt kind of blah when I got home with howling winds outside. Soon afterward, past grudges and self-pitying thoughts crawled out of their subconscious lair, leaving me grumpy for the rest of the day.

On the way back from the supermarket, I had been listening to the old song “Poison” by Bell Biv DeVoe. Somehow it got into my sleep on Sunday night. I dreamed that I was a murderer who poisoned a young woman. Other people in the house hadn’t yet realized she was dead; they thought she was just sleeping later than usual. I was wondering if I ought to leave the house or if that would be too suspicious. Maybe it would be better to stay there and play innocent? I hadn’t yet decided when I woke up.

That one is harder to interpret, but I’m guessing that the murder victim is my poor pitiful younger self who disturbed me with memories of feeling like a powerless victim on Sunday. Rather than showing compassion for this past version of me, I probably had a subconscious wish to kill her off! As for wondering whether to leave the scene of the crime, maybe I felt conflicted about owning such feelings. Anyway, writing this all down might help me to sort through them.

February 1, 2023 · Write a comment · Categories: Musings · Tags:

I dreamed about living in an apartment complex where the management cut down some trees and shrubs, which left me unhappy. That seems easy enough to interpret. Apartment buildings in dreams generally represent the social environment, and I’d guess that the removal of landscaping has to do with how quickly the world has been changing. Even when we like something new, there is a sense of loss for what has been left behind, and often it is not within our control.

After I woke up, I had an old song by Jackson Browne running through my mind, in which he wishes that his audience could “stay just a little bit longer.”

Of course, I wouldn’t really want the world to stay the same forever. There are some pretty amazing discoveries being made in modern times, and I’m enjoying the adventure, for the most part. Still, every once in a while, some little sentimental item triggers those “just a little bit longer” feelings.

When I went on vacation with my husband the last week of February, we brought along a rowing machine—a Concept2 RowErg, which has the advantage of being easy to take apart and move. It fit reasonably well in the back of my husband’s SUV with one of the back seats folded down and our daughter in the other seat, with her little dog on her lap. Arranging the suitcases around the RowErg was manageable, and the boats and bicycles went on a trailer.

Our plan was to row our double scull on the Florida Intracoastal Waterway for a week, so as to get back in practice after being off the water during the cold northern winter, and then race in a regatta on Sunday, February 27th in Sarasota. The regatta was smaller than usual because a circus had taken up much of the space in the county park where it was held, but we still had good competition. Bringing the erg to Florida allowed us to keep up with the winter fitness schedule our online coach had given us.

We set up the erg on a screened back porch of the house where we stayed. The view of the bay was gorgeous. Before rowing on the water in the early afternoon, we did our workouts on the erg in the morning, while the temperature was still reasonably cool.

I still felt like I was wilting in the Florida humidity, though. After being indoors all winter, I wasn’t at all used to it. A demanding workout on Wednesday morning, which focused on more strength at a slower rate, left me totally dripping with sweat and grumbling to myself about how I could’ve been so crazy as to be a fitness freak while on vacation.

The afternoon rows on the water were easier. We just paddled around with the dolphins and enjoyed the sunshine and the lovely scenery. Then we rode our bicycles in the late afternoon, on a path that ran beside the Gulf Coast for part of the way. It felt like a great, relaxing vacation—but for self-inflicted erg misery.

When race day finally came, though, I gained more appreciation for the daily workout schedule. Sprinting for the 1K distance that is standard for Masters races didn’t seem nearly as long, or as hard, as in past years. I was able to keep the pace more even, and each stroke felt more powerful. When I looked to see how far I had gone on the course, thinking that I was about halfway, I was surprised to see that my boat was already two-thirds of the way to the finish line. In the single, I was far ahead of my competitor in the next lane; and in the double, we nosed in front of a team that always used to beat us handily at regattas.

Now I feel as if I am recalibrating—that is to say, tossing out old assumptions about my limits and getting used to having a healthier and more capable body. My husband just signed us up to row our double next month in an open 2K sprint with a younger field of competitors, which we haven’t done before. We may not win, or even place, but it will be a good experience no matter what happens; and I’m not going to make any limiting assumptions before we even try.

After we got back home, I had a weird dream in which I lived in a messy apartment. A circus started setting up on the grounds of the apartment complex, like what happened with the regatta at the park. I left the apartment and came back to find that the building where it had been, just a few hours earlier, was no longer there. I saw a construction worker walking by and asked him what had happened. He told me that the apartment building had been temporarily disassembled to make space for the circus and would be put back together afterward.

There’s plenty of fodder for dream interpretation in that one!