I didn’t sleep well on Sunday night. Although I went to bed at a reasonable hour, it seemed like I had already been lying awake for a very long time when a parade of my younger selves began showing up, one after another. They were all very distressed, crying about how unfairly they’d been treated on some long-ago occasion, even though they had done all that reasonably could be expected.

For a while, I did my best to comfort them with imaginary hugs, reassure them it wasn’t their fault, and sing them to sleep; but they just kept on coming. I tossed and turned, now completely miserable myself. I felt like I would never get any sleep no matter what I did, and then I’d have to drag myself out of bed for work.

Long after midnight, I got up to drink some water. I felt parched, like there wasn’t enough water in the world, even though in fact I’d had plenty to drink on Sunday. After lying back down, I couldn’t get comfortable because however I turned, my body seemed full of aches and pains, battered and worn down by many years of stress. Then the younger selves started in again with their litany of woes. It was all so unfair. I felt responsible for comforting them, almost like I was their mom; but who was going to comfort me?

This was definitely not just an ordinary night of “the blues.” There were so many layers of blues piling on top of each other, it felt like I was lost and doomed to wander forever in a deep blue wilderness.

Blue night clouds in Oregon wilderness.

(Creative Commons image via flickr)

Then I saw daylight behind my closed eyes. My first thought was that I must have gotten at least an hour of sleep. I carefully got out of bed, anticipating that something would hurt; but there was no pain anywhere. I felt healthy, refreshed, and full of energy. How could that be?

I got a cupful of water, picked up my mobile phone, and opened the Fitbit app in which I log my daily water intake. One feature of the Fitbit wristband is that it senses when the wearer is sleeping. The app showed that I had slept for a normal eight hours, with only a few minutes awake when I got up in the night for water.

Only then did I realize that I had just been dreaming. The achy, sleepless “me” who had become old, tired, resentful, and worn down from many years of taking on too much responsibility and complaining about life’s unfairness was not really me at all. Rather, she was a very literal manifestation of a wake-up call from Spirit, showing the natural consequences of such feelings.

I went into Monday morning with much gratitude, as if I had reached the end of my life and then, through miraculous grace, had been given a chance to start over.

May 6, 2018 · Write a comment · Categories: Musings · Tags:

I had a curious dream last night in which I was traveling. I stayed at a house that was supposed to have a magical Fountain of Youth nearby. Although I heard water splashing and birds chirping, I couldn’t seem to find my way out of the house to discover the fountain.

Fountain in a garden pond.

(Creative Commons image via flickr)

The house was big and untidy, with pet food spilled on a tile floor. After I saw that mess, I felt that I needed to take a bath; but when I found the bathtub it was dirty, with random junk all around it. I started cleaning the tub and was still scrubbing busily away when I woke up.

Perhaps not by coincidence, I’d had plenty of sleep for the past three nights. When I got out of bed and saw my face in the mirror, I looked young and refreshed. The physical function of sleep is, of course, to clean up the “junk” that accumulates in the brain and body while awake.

So I believe it would be fair to interpret the dream as a gentle reminder from my subconscious about the importance of getting enough sleep. Being well rested may not literally be a magical Fountain of Youth, but it does go a long way toward feeling healthier!

April 10, 2018 · 4 comments · Categories: Musings · Tags:

When I went to bed on Sunday night, I was feeling very drained of energy after having had a cold for a week; and no matter what I did, it seemed like I just couldn’t break out of that run-down feeling. I decided to give my subconscious mind a little prod to shift gears by way of dreaming, so I asked myself what needed to happen for me to feel healthier and happier in general.

Asking myself a question just before falling asleep has resulted in some interesting dream-answers on occasion. I wasn’t expecting the weirdness that showed up this time, though. I dreamed that my husband (who, in real life, is a software developer in Ohio) was a real estate mogul in New York making a deal that involved a penthouse party, a hot tub, and several women in very skimpy bikinis. I felt uneasy, but my husband told me not to worry because negotiating was the easiest money to make.

When I woke up, all I could do was shake my head and say “Seriously?” to my subconscious mind. That was also how I felt when I looked out the window at the backyard and saw that there had been snow overnight—again.

Snow on my deck in April, with trees still bare.

As wacky as that dream was, though, it did feel like there was something it wanted to tell me. The scenario, while it was ridiculously exaggerated in soap-opera fashion, clearly had to do with cultural notions of being successful and confident. So I decided that the message was pretty close to what I was actually told in the dream—there’s no reason to worry, life is easy.

I’ve been slowly getting back my energy since then, while looking forward to warm weather finally showing up. And if I start feeling blah again, I’ll just imagine myself in a hot tub at a New York penthouse party and have a good laugh!

September 19, 2017 · 2 comments · Categories: Musings · Tags:

I recently had a dream with some interesting symbols that practically begged for interpretation. My husband and I were staying in a hotel room that had a tiny door—it looked like a doggie door—connecting our room to the next room. A baby kept coming through the door into our room, and each time we had to take the baby back to the parents in the next room.

Baby looking through a doggie door.

(Creative Commons image via flickr)

Babies in dreams generally represent something new coming into one’s life. Staying in a hotel also has to do with new experiences. Having a baby show up in an unexpected place and then returning the baby—well, that probably means having mixed feelings about the change, whatever it is.

Because our daughter’s upcoming wedding has been on my mind, I’m guessing that it is the source of the mixed feelings. Not quite ready to think about future grandbabies showing up!

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!