April 28, 2020 · 2 comments · Categories: Musings · Tags:

In the “definitely going stir crazy by now” category: Last night, I was looking online for good photos to put on my digital art display. I particularly liked this one, showing Beaver Creek, Alaska, which was posted by the United States Bureau of Land Management.


But I probably shouldn’t have been on the computer so soon before going to bed. Apparently as a result of seeing the photo, I had a wacky dream in which my family played a game of touch football in our backyard—against a team of giant beavers.

Their coach was using hand signals to tell them what plays to run, and they were pretty good at the game. In fact, the beavers were winning. I was getting pretty frustrated when I woke up and was thankfully restored to sanity—such as it is nowadays.

January 16, 2020 · Write a comment · Categories: Musings · Tags:

I’ve been feeling pretty good since Monday morning, as if old subconscious tension lifted away overnight. When I went to bed Sunday night, I was asking myself what I should do to bring more energy into my life. Sometimes I get interesting answers in my dreams when I go to sleep with a question in mind.

The dream that I had Monday morning wasn’t what anyone would call realistic. I saw myself going back to college to change careers, and I was on the rowing team. In effect, I became a teenager all over again—except that I was never a college athlete in real life.

College women rowing a four.

(Creative Commons image via flickr)

Then I woke up and bounced out of bed, feeling healthy and full of energy like a teenager. Some amount of physical tightness and stiffness, which seemed to reflect adult worries and expectations, had gone away.

I don’t foresee myself literally starting all over again as a college student, and of course there are some benefits to having a broader adult perspective. Even so, that dream certainly was telling me that the way to get more energy is by learning and doing new things. Maybe, sometime this year, I’ll discover an interesting opportunity that feels like a fresh start in life. I’m going to stay on the lookout for it!

January 7, 2020 · 2 comments · Categories: Musings · Tags:

I’ve been having odd dreams this week, and they didn’t seem to be about anything happening in real life, so I decided to write about them in my blog and see if I could make better sense of them. Putting things into written words usually helps to give me more perspective.

Photo of mountains behind hills.

First, I dreamed that I had been a prisoner. After my release, I was talking with a kind woman who sold nutritional supplements. She told me that I needed to take especially good care of myself.

In the next dream, I was standing in a parking lot next to a pile of junky machinery. An older man wanted me to take it away because he didn’t need it anymore. I told him that it wouldn’t fit in my car.

Then I dreamed that I was pregnant and was told at the doctor’s office that everything was going well.

Putting all of that together, I’d say that the first dream was straightforward advice from my subconscious to take good care of myself—not because of literal imprisonment, but to recover from past feelings of being stuck. The second dream probably had something to do with speaking up for myself and not letting people impose on me. As for the last dream, although I definitely am not pregnant in real life, I’ll interpret it as telling me that whatever I might be creating would go well. All helpful and encouraging messages!

October 8, 2019 · Write a comment · Categories: Musings · Tags:

I woke up in the middle of the night after dreaming about zombies. I was walking along a street when it suddenly seemed to tilt upward into a steep hill. All at once, the sunlight looked much brighter, and I got dizzy and began to feel very strange.

Street going up a steep hill.

(Creative Commons image via flickr)

I knew that meant I had caught the zombie virus, and I was trying to convince my husband not to give up hope. After all, I told him, we didn’t know for sure that everyone who caught the virus always became a zombie, so we shouldn’t assume it. Maybe some people were able to recover; or even if not, it was possible that a cure might be found soon.

Then I started to wake up. Unlike other dreams I’ve written about on this blog, I didn’t have to guess at the meaning of this one because it helpfully told me, just before I was fully awake. “The meaning of this dream,” a voice murmured in the back of my mind, “is to avoid assumptions and leave space for improvement.”

After a while I fell back to sleep and had more dreams, which I can’t remember. As each dream faded, I heard the same voice saying, “Don’t forget—avoid assumptions, leave space for improvement.”

That seemed strange enough in itself, but it got even weirder after I woke up. While I was getting a cup of coffee, the nagging voice in my head made an appearance once more. Nothing like this had ever happened to me before, and I couldn’t guess what was so urgent about the dream’s message.

When it showed up again mid-morning while I was sitting at my desk doing my usual work, I decided that I’d better do something about it. I wrote myself a note in all caps: AVOID ASSUMPTIONS, LEAVE SPACE FOR IMPROVEMENT. Then I put it prominently in the middle of my desk.

“There, subconscious mind, I won’t forget,” I said. “Are you happy now?”

Apparently it was, because I didn’t hear anything more from it after that. I was still left wondering, though, what exactly my nagging subconscious wanted me to do about the mysterious message. It seemed like reasonable advice, but what was so important about keeping it in my thoughts right now?

As far as I knew, there wasn’t anything going on in my life that put me at risk of turning into a zombie in some figurative sense of the word. Sometimes traveling to rowing races on the weekends with my husband left me feeling tired on Mondays, but not to the extent of being zombified, and I didn’t feel that I was making negative assumptions—or at least, none of which I was aware.

But of course, if people knew they were making assumptions, they wouldn’t be doing it. So I concluded that the nagging voice wanted me to watch out for harmful assumptions that might be holding me back from some kind of improvement. While it would have been much easier if my subconscious mind had given me any clues as to what those assumptions were, I suspected it probably thought I’d benefit from reflecting on the question for a while.

August 1, 2019 · Write a comment · Categories: Musings · Tags:

I was putting things away in the basement of an apartment building. What they were I can’t remember, but getting them tidied up felt like something I needed to do.

Then it occurred to me that I had left my purse upstairs in a common area. I started to hurry back and get it before a thief noticed it was there.

“Wait a minute,” I thought, “this is just a dream. That means I can finish what I’m doing, and the purse won’t have gone anywhere.”

So I got everything put away neatly, in its proper place, before I went upstairs. Sure enough, the purse was exactly where I had left it.

Purse on a rug next to a white wall.

But as I got closer, I saw that the purse was open and my wallet was empty. A thief had gotten to it after all.

“It’s a dream,” I declared in exasperation, giving a nasty glare to what appeared to be nothing but a blank white wall. “When I look down again, that money had better show up back in my wallet where it belongs.”

I gave it a moment and then looked down. The small amount of money I’d had in my wallet was still gone—but instead, my purse now held a big wad of 50-dollar bills.

“Well, that’s more like it,” I said, as the dream faded.

Then I spent some time afterward sorting out the symbolism. An apartment building is a place where many people live. A basement is where old things are stored. So, perhaps the dream’s setting had to do with tidying up memories of past relationships and social interactions.

The forgotten purse likely represented anxiety about leaving behind something of value. Realizing that it was just a dream could have been my subconscious mind’s way of reassuring me that I am in control of my circumstances. Even when I feel vulnerable, I don’t need to worry about losing small stuff; instead, I can feel confident that there are better things coming my way in the not-so-distant future.

My subconscious mind has been in a cranky mood for the past few weeks.

It all started out innocently enough. I was going out to get my hair done, and then a peculiar thought popped up out of nowhere. Wouldn’t it be interesting to go back to college and study biochemistry?

Well, no, that actually made no practical sense whatsoever, given the fact that I do not have a science background and it is a very difficult and time-consuming course of study. If I wanted to change careers, plenty of other options would be a much better fit.

But it would be so fascinating, the little inner voice persisted. So many amazing things to learn and discover!

I left that odd thought to settle for a few days, and it quieted down. Meanwhile, I was still writing a daily “kindness journal” as described in my New Year’s resolution post, keeping track of ways in which others were kind to me. It was meant to be a reminder that the world is full of kindness.

When March came to an end I’d been keeping that journal for three full months. My subconscious mind made clear it wasn’t happy about that accomplishment, though, because when I picked up a pen to make an entry, it snapped at me like a bad-tempered badger.

Badger showing its teeth.

(Creative Commons image via flickr)

“Quit! Right now!” it snarled. “This journal is just another chore draining your energy, and you’ve had too many of those already! You need to take better care of yourself and quit piling on random obligations.”

Well, okay. I hadn’t in fact done much over the winter, but it was true that I had been feeling low on energy, for whatever reason. So I decided to take my cranky inner badger’s advice and abandon the journal, which I figured had probably served its purpose well enough.

After two journal-less weeks, I had a dream that seemed like it was related in some way. In this dream, I asked my husband a question. Instead of answering it directly, he said “Remember,” in a tone that might have been used to lecture a forgetful child. Then he told me something tangential.

I felt annoyed for a moment, and then I started to wake up. As is the way of dreams, I promptly forgot whatever he had been telling me to remember. That seemed hilarious to my half-asleep brain, and I snickered, “Ha, guess what, I forgot already! Phooey to whatever you said!”

After that I woke up more fully and realized that I was being snarky and childish with someone who wasn’t even there. Still, it felt like there was some meaning to this nonexistent and totally silly conversation.

I gave it some thought for the next few days, along with the other weird messages I’d been getting from my subconscious recently, and decided that all of them had to do with saying “Phooey” to expectations. That is to say, I need to lighten up, be more flexible, and not let routines and assumptions get in the way of seeing the world’s possibilities.

I didn’t sleep well on Sunday night, perhaps because of the time change. Waking up at some dark hour, I tossed and turned for what seemed like a long time. Old fears, mainly about having no money and being powerless and pushed around, wandered out from dusty corners of my mind.

Then I fell halfway back to sleep, and it only got worse. Some kind of thick, heavy energy was sitting on my chest, directly above the solar plexus. When I tried to push it away, it solidified into an enormous boulder and squashed the middle of my body totally flat.

Boulder in a field on a cloudy day.

(Creative Commons image via flickr)

Despite my dream-body now being mostly separated into two pieces, I was somehow as much alive as ever, and I was angrily trying to shove that gigantic boulder away from me. Not surprisingly, it didn’t budge at all. I felt that nobody would help me with it because all the people who should have helped me in the past, but didn’t care enough to do much, were responsible for putting it there.

After a while I thought of someone who might want to make herself useful: Dame Shadow, an eccentric bodyguard of sorts who inhabits my subconscious as a self-appointed protector of the realm. When I last wrote about the Dame on this blog, she had given me a backache as a melodramatic way of prodding me to think about how much emotional weight I’d been carrying around.

I figured she owed me something after that annoying stunt, and I launched into an imaginary tirade. “Dame Shadow, I know you can hear me, and you’d better do something to get rid of this horrible boulder RIGHT NOW! You like to pretend you’re a superhero who can move mountains to save me, but where are you when I really need help?”

Another minute or so passed. Crickets chirped. Finally I heard light footsteps, and Dame Shadow walked around the boulder. She was dressed in a Wonder Woman outfit, complete with lasso.

“Okay, whatever,” I gave an exasperated sigh. “Just lasso this boulder already, and get it off me.”

The Dame replied, with an evil smirk, “Haven’t you learned yet that letting gravity work for you is much more efficient than brute force?”

She beckoned with her right hand, and several peasants promptly came forward and began digging along the downhill side of the boulder. They were dressed in muddy clothes and had bits of straw sticking to their boots. The shovels they were using looked (and smelled) as if they’d been mucking out the Dame’s stables very recently. Needless to say, the Dame had prudently positioned herself at a comfortable distance upwind.

Given the fact that my body had been effectively cut in half, I didn’t see myself as being in much of a position to complain. So I kept my dignity and pretended everything was fine while the peasants kept on digging. Eventually they undermined the boulder enough so that it rolled a short way down the hill. My midsection started inflating at a steady rate, as if by means of an air pump, until everything was back to normal.

Dame Shadow smiled again, this time with what looked like genuine friendliness. “You see, there are always plenty of sensible solutions to be found, but first you have to take the time to reflect on them.”

February 12, 2019 · 2 comments · Categories: Musings · Tags:

Last night I dreamed that I was a refugee trying to get away from a war zone, sometime long ago. I was helping a young woman who just had a baby. Although that made it much harder both to travel and to hide from the soldiers, it seemed the decent thing to do. Our dinner was rat and weeds soup. Rather than thinking about how yucky that was, though, I felt lucky that I had found an old pot to cook it over a fire.

Old pot hanging on a hook.

(Creative Commons image via flickr)

After I woke up, that dream certainly had put all of my trifling modern-day gripes into better perspective. People typically judge their circumstances by comparison to what they see around them, which is why surveys asking about happiness levels generally tend not to show any increase as populations become wealthier. We don’t often compare our lives to what’s in the history books.

Indeed, unless we regularly work to cultivate the habit, we don’t often reflect on our own personal history and all the ways we are doing better than in the past. Small annoyances get our attention instead. Given the fact that we have so many comforts in the here and now, we shouldn’t take them so much for granted.

January 31, 2019 · 6 comments · Categories: Musings · Tags:

I had a really weird dream last night. I was some kind of ancient prophet, and God spoke through me in my dreams while a group of disciples carefully wrote down the words. Every morning I would wake up to see a new parchment scroll beautifully illustrated and full of divine wisdom.

Ancient parchment prayer scroll with illustrations.

(Creative Commons image via flickr)

When I woke up this morning (for real), I decided that my subconscious mind most likely was telling me to pay more attention to the wisdom in my dreams. Even if they’re not divinely inspired, my dreams may have useful insights and be worth taking the time to write them down.

So, I put this one into my blog, which seemed as good a place as any. Maybe it’s too weird to inspire anyone, but it might at least have some entertainment value on this cold winter day.

After spending so much time this year rowing with my husband and traveling to regattas, it feels sad to look outside and see frost on the grass in the morning, while the boats sit empty until warmer weather returns. But, on the other hand, it’s not realistic to be on the go forever. Although it would be nice to have unlimited energy for fun activities, sometimes what’s needed is to relax and not be in a rush.

My subconscious mind drove home that message on Monday morning with no subtlety whatsoever, before I fully woke up. An unexpected thought came into my head without any filtering. “Thank God it’s Monday,” my half-asleep brain informed me. “It’s just an ordinary workday, and there’s no need to go anywhere.”

That left me considering how I might do a better job of balancing travel and adventures against the need to rest and replenish my energy. Even though this wasn’t something that happened long ago, I decided on Tuesday evening that a make-believe conversation in one of the tiny houses of Channelwood, the imaginary village where I send my stressed-out past selves for a restful vacation, could give me some insight.

I pictured my half-asleep Monday morning self sitting on the bed next to me. The scenario reminded me of a dorm room because the only other place to sit was a desk chair. Outside a narrow window, a cliff fell sharply away to the ocean, and I heard the surf and seagulls clearly.

Cliff with trees and shrubs dropping away to the ocean.

(Creative Commons image via flickr)


I couldn’t manage to compose any useful dialogue, though. Monday-Morning-Before-Coffee-Me was not lucid enough to put more than a few words together, and just looked like she wanted to go back to sleep. And to be honest, I didn’t think of any good questions to ask her before I was dozing off too.

It wasn’t a completely wasted exercise in imagination, though, because the idea of a dorm room left me dreaming that I was back in college. I wanted to eat a leisurely pancake breakfast in the cafeteria, but my husband (who was, of course, my boyfriend then) was telling me to hurry up and grab something quick.

In real life, he generally doesn’t try to rush me when I am eating breakfast because he knows I hate that. So I interpreted the dream-image as referring not to him in particular, but to whatever might put me in a rush.

As for the pancake breakfast in the cafeteria, I decided that was my subconscious mind’s advice for enjoying a more restful life; and I made banana pancakes with real maple syrup. Yum, that left me feeling better!