August 9, 2017 · 2 comments · Categories: Musings · Tags: ,

For those who enjoy dream analysis, I expect you’ll have lots of fun trying to make sense of this one! I saw time as made up of peaceful little moments that looked like tendrils or tentacles on marine animals, moving gently in the currents. The colors matched the ocean theme, in vibrant shades of blue, green, and purple. The time-creatures resembled this jellyfish image:

Jellyfish in shades of blue, green, and purple.

(Creative Commons image via flickr)

They left me feeling that there was no need to worry about anything from the past because time was not fixed in place, but was always moving into new patterns. While I can’t say exactly where that idea might have come from, I would guess that all the blog posts I’ve written about time and imaginary conversations with my younger selves had something to do with it.

Maybe I’ve started to feel that time really is not as linear as it seems. The subconscious is always adding new context to past events and changing their meaning, even if it’s not by much, whenever they come to mind. So, in that sense, we really do wander around in time by moving past events into different arrangements, just like the sea creatures I imagined.

May 30, 2017 · 2 comments · Categories: Musings · Tags:

I had a weird dream where my husband and I were driving home after a road trip, and we noticed that a broom somehow had gotten in the car. It was just an ordinary, well-used utility broom, like the sort that might be found in the garage next to the rakes and shovels.

Brooms, rakes, and other tools on a rack in the garage.

My husband wanted to turn around and take the broom back to its owners. I said that instead of wasting time and gas, we should just send them some money to buy another broom or return it the next time we were there. In real life, my husband is sensible enough that I am sure he would agree.

But in the dream, he didn’t see it that way; and suddenly I felt overwhelmed by sadness like it was a horrible tragedy and the end of the world. Then I started to wake up. As the dream faded, something urged me not to forget the details—that I needed to remember.

I dutifully committed this odd dream to memory, although I had no clue what profound message my subconscious mind might have wanted to communicate by way of a misplaced broom. After pondering it for a while, I decided that it had something to do with sweeping away unnecessary drama. Maybe what I need to remember is that small disruptions shouldn’t feel like the end of the world!

February 15, 2017 · Write a comment · Categories: Musings · Tags:

This curious title (which isn’t really a word, of course) showed up in a dream I had on Monday morning, as the title of a book. I was the author, and somehow I also had a magical superpower of flying. A tiny lucid corner of my mind looked out, complete with a judgmental frown, and decided to play the party-pooper by informing me that I’d better not get too happy because it was nothing but a silly dream.

My dreaming self came up with a snappy comeback—so what, it’s real enough now, dream or no dream, who cares? Then the alarm clock settled the argument by beeping to wake me up for work. I had to be at the office bright and early for a Six Sigma training class, so I didn’t have the option of trying to snooze for a few more minutes and perhaps go on with the conversation.

Alarm clock displaying 7:00 AM and "beep" indicator.

Looking at this dream as a message from my subconscious (as dreams often are), the main points seemed simple enough: Fun and imagination are good, my inner critic needs to shut up, and being present in the moment is what really matters.

But what might the book title have meant? I pondered that for a while, and only just now realized that it was a title because it accurately sums up the entire dream. When I freely enjoy fun and imagination in the moment, then I am not at a distance from myself; I am undistanced. As for the word’s appearance on a book, I would interpret it as a symbol of success. Take THAT, all you nagging judgmental voices, it’s not just silly stuff but a real, published, bestselling book, what do you have to say for yourself NOW?

Yes, it’s always satisfying to tell off the inner critic, even in a dream!

November 21, 2016 · 6 comments · Categories: Musings · Tags: ,

Several times in the past month I had dreams that seemed like they were telling me to be more responsible. What that might have meant was not at all clear, though. As far as I was aware, I hadn’t been neglecting anyone or anything recently. I had no workplace problems, my kids had gotten through college and found jobs, my husband and I were spending more time together, both of us were doing volunteer work, and the clutter in the house was reasonably well cleaned up.

Surely I didn’t need to take on more obligations right now. What I needed, if anything, was the opposite—to slow down, relax, and clear away old stress. Taking time for self-nurturing as part of a healthy life is not selfish or irresponsible. And in that regard, I didn’t feel that I had been neglecting myself recently, either. I’d been getting regular exercise, eating better food, and finding simple ways to make my everyday life more peaceful and refreshing.

With no clue as to what I might be missing, I decided to look for an answer in my dreams. Just before I went to sleep, I asked myself: How should I be more responsible?

Early in the morning, when I wasn’t quite awake, I heard a voice speaking to me. It sounded like an angel’s voice, as I imagined an angel would sound—peaceful, kind, and otherworldly, neither male nor female. The angel said, “Caring and prayer.” Then I woke up.

Statue of angel with hands clasped.

(Creative Commons image via flickr)

That was a much-needed perspective adjustment! In today’s busy task-driven society, people often think of responsibility in terms of checking items off the to-do list. If we generally do what’s expected of us, then we can pat ourselves on the back for being good responsible citizens.

But at its root, responsibility isn’t about checking off boxes—rather, it’s a compound word that puts together “response” and “ability.” It means that when a situation comes up that needs our attention, we’re able to respond appropriately. That has a lot more to do with a caring, thankful mindset than with rushing around to get the to-dos finished. It’s about appreciating the small moments of grace in our everyday lives that gently, but persistently, invite us to rise to the occasion.

October 4, 2016 · 2 comments · Categories: Musings · Tags:

Last night I dreamed that I attended an event where someone was selling tickets for a charity raffle before the event got underway. Each ticket was 25 dollars. I opened my wallet to see if I had that amount and discovered that I had a lot of small bills, some in odd denominations that don’t exist in real life. It all seemed perfectly normal, though. I was looking at a 12-dollar bill and a 15-dollar bill, while trying to work out how to put one of them together with smaller bills to add up to the correct amount.

Wallet with edges of small bills showing.

Before I went to sleep I’d been thinking about how much our perspective on life changes as the years go by and we gain more insight. I suppose the dream must have been a variation on that theme, illustrating how many different things can add up to a prosperous life—even things that might never have existed in the past, but now are simply part of what we see every day.

While I don’t expect that the U.S. Treasury will literally start printing 12-dollar bills any time soon, I do believe that the future will hold many new and interesting discoveries, and that sometimes it will be a challenge to sort out how best to put them together!

September 28, 2016 · 2 comments · Categories: Musings · Tags: ,

Twice recently I’ve had a dream in which I am sitting in a parked car with the engine running, and it suddenly starts rolling backwards. I try to brake and to turn off the car, but the computer is malfunctioning and won’t take any input. The car keeps on rolling away no matter what I do, and I know it’s just about to crash into something when I wake up.

A car wouldn’t really do that, of course, and there is nothing scary happening in my life right now. So I’m guessing that the dream reflects a fear that I might somehow “roll back” to stressful times in the past when I felt like I wasn’t in control. How to deal with it? Well, mainly I’d say that I just need to take a few deep breaths and stay focused on the safe, straight road ahead.

Straight road with colorful autumn trees on each side.

(Creative Commons image via flickr)

Also, there’s no need to keep a narrow focus and look only at the pavement. Much better to slow down and take enough time to appreciate the pretty landscape, the soft sound of leaves rustling in the wind, and the crisp autumn air. There is always something in the moment to enjoy!

August 16, 2016 · Write a comment · Categories: Musings · Tags:

Do you ever dream that you are in school and didn’t do your homework? I have this recurring dream where I find myself in high school with no idea of how to do the math assignments, so I don’t even try. This is not based on anything that ever happened in real life. I generally got my homework done, even if I rushed through it sometimes. As for math, although I wasn’t the top student, I did reasonably well.

I’m guessing that the dream could reflect a general fear of finding myself in situations where I am clueless—unable to “do the math” not literally, but in the sense of figuring out how things fit together. As far as I know, there haven’t been any specific problems triggering this dream. Readers, any suggestions?

For those who like math puzzles, I’ve posted one here. There are nine squares, all of different sizes, within the rectangle shown below. The smallest square measures 1 along each side. How long are the sides of all the other squares?
 

Math puzzle with squares of different sizes. 

My husband, who is an engineer, sent this to me in an email from work about a decade ago. I solved it pretty quickly, with one variable. Meanwhile, the engineers were devising convoluted solutions with multiple variables—which goes to show, there are times when simpler can be better. With that hint, I leave you to have fun with the puzzle!

Last month I dreamed about a coffin, as I blogged about here. I thought the dream probably meant I had something in my subconscious that needed to get buried. But, what might it be, and how to go about it? Then I decided that I really didn’t have to be so exact about finding one particular issue from the past. After all, everybody has lots of failed expectations wandering around in the dark depths of the subconscious. Giving myself permission to lay them to rest, generally, ought to be good enough.

So I put together an imaginary funeral service for the poor tragic character, Ms. Failed Expectations, burying her in the coffin from my dream in a beautiful but never-worn party dress. My various younger selves were in attendance as the mourners, bringing lovely bouquets and recalling their memories of the dearly departed. It was a dark and stormy afternoon straight out of a bad novel. No rain had started to fall yet, but lightning flashed all around. The air smelled of ozone and melodrama. The casket, piled high with bright flowers, rested beside the open grave.
 

Casket covered in flowers.

(Creative Commons image via flickr)
 

My 20-year-old self, wearing a dark gray suit because she didn’t own a black one, brushed away her tears with one hand while straightening her 1980s floppy bowtie with the other. Her lower lip quivered as she began to speak. “I’m so very sorry for how much I stressed you out by expecting to have a fabulously successful career just as soon as I got through school. I never gave you a moment’s peace, but just kept on reminding you of all the ways you didn’t match up to my fantasies. I’m so sorry.”

Then my inner 25-year-old stepped forward, with windblown hair, slightly uneven lipstick, and a corner of a romance novel sticking out of her handbag. “I’m also to blame for sending you to your grave. If I’d had any clue about how much work goes into building a marriage, then you wouldn’t have felt like everything was about to fall apart if it wasn’t totally perfect.”

Mourners of all different ages spoke a few words to pay their final respects, ending with my 45-year-old self, who looked tired and frazzled. “I thought that I could save the world before breakfast, work a regular schedule, spend quality time with my husband, never miss any of my kids’ sporting events, and still have boundless creative energy left over for stories and fun projects. Well, maybe I did for a while, but…”

The gravediggers slowly lowered the casket into place and began shoveling the dirt over the bright flowers, while my grieving past selves wailed and a cold rain began to fall.

July 16, 2016 · 2 comments · Categories: Musings · Tags:

Here’s a puzzling post for readers who enjoy dream interpretation! A few days ago, I dreamed that I had a large box, which looked like a coffin. The police were investigating me because they suspected I might murder someone and put the corpse in the box. I thought that was ridiculous because if I had any plans to commit a murder, I wouldn’t get a coffin ready first, like Clint Eastwood…
 

 

Now I’m left wondering why my subconscious mind wanted to give me a coffin-shaped box. Maybe it’s telling me that there is something in my life that needs to get buried, or boxed up and put away, such as old habits or ways of thinking that no longer serve me well.

The investigation could mean that whatever might get buried or put away is unknown. Maybe the police are there to stop me from going too far and “murdering” some part of my life that is good and healthy. The dream could have been telling me not to worry because it wouldn’t actually happen.

If any readers have more suggestions, feel free to post them—I’m curious!

June 18, 2016 · Write a comment · Categories: Musings · Tags: ,

Just before waking up this morning, I was dreaming about time travel. In the dream it felt like I could step out of bed and then I’d be in another time and place. Maybe I’d find myself in a place where I lived as a teenager. I could end up anywhere!

When I finally woke up, I wondered for a moment if I had somehow chosen this time and place from many possibilities. It didn’t seem farfetched that I might be able to wander freely from one timeline to another, like a child discovering the magical entrance to fairyland in a storybook garden.
 

Trumpet vine on my backyard fence. 

And then I realized that it’s a fact—we really do choose the time and place where each day begins. We can start the morning with happy memories of good times. Or, we can “wake up on the wrong side of the bed,” full of grouchy thoughts and old stale grudges!

We revisit the past whenever we look at memories in light of new experiences, sorting them into more useful patterns and updating our mental maps. Sometimes that can be hard to do, but it’s better than getting stuck in outdated thought loops like a computer with obsolete software!