Friday, April 01, 2011


Do we sleep to dream or dream to sleep?

(Dreamland, Coney Island, Brooklyn, New York.)

Deeee-eee-eee-eee-eam, dream, dream, dream. As most people know a third of our lifetime is spent sleeping but what some people do not know is that 20% of this sleep state is spent dreaming. I love going to sleep every night so I can dip into my twenty percent. Most of the time I do not remember my dreams on awakening but I do remember dreaming. The dreams I do remember are varied. I've dreamed about visiting drive-in Psychics, I've dreamed about snakes, I've dreamed about being God, and I've dreamed about being murdered. I don't remember having what are considered the most common dreams; flying, falling, being naked, or being unprepared for a test but as a teenager I always had the same dream about my mouth being so full bubble gum I could not talk let alone breath. I even dreamed about houses we moved into before we lived there and when I was older about jobs I did not have or even know about yet.

When I was in weekly psychotherapy I dreamed about being murdered a couple of times. In one of those dreams I was in Denver waiting for a bus on Colorado Boulevard near South Cherry Creek Drive when an old muscle car from the 1960's raced up and a young man pointed a shotgun out of the front passenger window and pulled the trigger. (I just realized as I typed this that in the dream I was standing across from Shotgun Willie's, a strip club in Denver. This may have been my subconscious' attempt at humor.) Back then I did not understand that the dreams represented either my resistance to therapy or a fear that facing my childhood would kill me but I do now.

During that same time I had a recurring dream which started with me standing at the corner of Colfax Avenue and Downing Street in Denver. It was the middle of the night but Colfax had a continuous stream of slow moving cars driving up and down it. I wanted to cross but was afraid because the cars did not have their headlights on and their rolled up windows were darkly tinted. The fact that I could not see into the cars frightened me the most. Then in one of those dream shifts of time and space I was walking up Emerson Street just south of Morey, my old junior high school. It was daylight and, at first, I could see the school baseball field, the old houses lining the street, and the sidewalk in front of me but with each step I took the light got dimmer and dimer until I was walking in complete darkness. This darkness terrified me and each time I woke up with my heart pounding.

The last time I had the dream everything was the same except the cars had their headlights on and their windows rolled down with lively music drifting out of them. When I reached the point where I was walking in complete darkness instead of being afraid I welcomed it and walked on with complete confidence and a feeling absolute peace. That is when I knew therapy was helping me. That is also when I understood that even disturbing dreams can be helpful if you are willing to examine them and figure out what they are trying to tell you. This is the reason why I love dreaming, I can't wait to fall asleep and find out what I have to tell myself.


Rain said...

I generally enjoy dreaming and most of the time do not feel they have any big message for me but once in awhile they do. A friend told me they are all our subconscious educating us and it has been proven to be so. Well I think my subconscious often is just having fun, like on a vacation and playing around with this or that with no big message although once in awhile there is one. My favorites are the movie dreams where it's like I am watching one unfold but when I get that occasional 'message' dream, they are the ones that make me think there is more to life than biology alone can explain

la peregrina said...

Funny, I now see that I also have "movie dreams"  which I truly enjoy as I am dreaming them.  Those are the ones I usually forget once I wake up.  The message dreams don't come that often but I appreciate when they do.  And I've always thought there is more to live that biology alone can explain.