When I met with my therapist yesterday we talked a little bit about my dreams. After sharing a few with her, I realized that perhaps my dream life was a bit unusual, maybe more active than most? I don’t know. You tell me…
I remember a lot of my dreams – many times because they feel so real. Many years ago I was house/babysitting for a family. The kids were in my youth group, so they didn’t really need a babysitter, but having an adult around while the parents were out of town was beneficial. I “woke up” one morning because I felt someone sit on the end of my bed. It was one of the kids. We sat and talked for a few minutes then moved on. Not long after that I actually woke up – for real. I was very confused. Did that conversation happen? Was someone sitting on the end of my bed? I felt the bed move – I was certain someone had been there. But, I didn’t know if it really happened. I could ask the child and have a potentially awkward conversation about coming into my room while I’m asleep, or I could pretend it didn’t happen. I don’t remember the details, but I’m fairly certain I went with option B!
After seeing Inception, I realized that not everyone has dreams within dreams. The premise of the movie was that by hooking themselves up to machines they would fall asleep and enter a dream. Then, once in that dream, they’d go down another level to the next dream, etcetera etcetera. At one point they went down so far they weren’t sure they’d ever be able to get back to reality – and the problem was figuring out what reality really was. I understand that to some degree. I have dreams where I go to bed in the dream and then have a dream. I “wake up” from that dream and go about my day – laundry, cleaning, work. Eventually I actually wake up and find myself disoriented. Did I do the laundry already because I feel like I did… what’s real, what’s not? It’s not uncommon for me to have dreams within dreams.
Some of my dreams are gifts. Every now and then I’ll have a dream with Katy or one of my grandparents. In the dream we are all aware that I’m alive and they aren’t. We walk, talk, sit – we just spend time together. I can tell when the dream is winding down and we have to say goodbye. I hate that part. But, at the same time, I’m so incredibly grateful for the opportunity to spend some time together. I really feel like they are intentionally visiting me in my dreams. If I can’t be with them on earth, this is the next best option. However, these dreams are rare. I suspect there’s a reason for that – if they happened too often I think I’d want to sleep too much, hoping to be there when they are.
I have had two recurring dreams. One involves gum. The dream can be about anything, but I’ll be chewing gum. At some point I decide to spit it out but over the course of the dream I discover more gum in my mouth. It’s like it multiplies or something – I can never get rid of it and it’s very frustrating. After thinking about this dream and paying attention to the times in my life that it shows up, I realize it’s about saying something important. Most often it would recur when I needed to end a relationship but was stalling. I think I had it a few times when work was really challenging. Thankfully I haven’t had that dream in quite awhile – I hope it stays that way! I also had one other recurring dream – maybe only 2 or 3 times. I was in a pool and a large sea monster – think Loch Ness – was in the pool too. It was dark and scary. I didn’t have that one enough times to analyze it. I was just glad it when it stopped showing up!
Some of my dreams are cinematic. The scenery is detailed and beautiful. The plot is complicated and intriguing. They even feel like full-length films. When I wake up from these I wonder if I could ever find a way to record my dreams. I think some would make really good movies! My unconscious is very creative. J
And then there are dreams like yesterday – when I dream I take a pregnancy test and it’s positive. Then I have to wake up and realize – it was only a dream.