by Yvonne DiVita, Book Whisperer at Master Book Builders
There came a day when I wasn't there. I wasn't here. I wasn't anywhere.
I dreamt of a girl in a ballgown. Bright and sparkly like Cinderella. With beautiful slippers of silver and gold.
I dreamt of a sky the color of larkspur, stretched across the heavens like a gossamer scarf made of satin. All shiny and new with glimpses of far-off worlds seen through pure white threads around the edges. And a sun that burst forth in blazing glory, lighting the day with its warmth.
I dreamt of mountains, enormous and strange. They stretched to the sky like trees in mid-fall, with colors all swirled around them, green and orange, and bright red, hints of purple here and there, growing as if the sun and the light and the air were all the encouragement they needed to stretch as high as they could.
I dreamt of creatures not of this planet. With eyes like great plates - white and yellow and blue. I glimpsed them only in passing, as they slipped between the trees and plants and even the air, like shadows made of cobwebs. When I tried to look at them, to enjoy them, they were suddenly not there and I wondered if I had imagined them.
I dreamt of voices. Soft and subtle. Voices of welcome and thanks.
I dreamt of people welcoming me with open arms. With smiles of delight. With food - unusual food, on plates of find china.
I ate. I enjoyed the company around me. I laughed. I was warm and comfortable.
But daylight came. And woke me from this dream.
I felt as if I weren't really here. Not here, in this house, on this planet. But somewhere else. Somewhere I could be completely free. To be me.
The room was the same. The house was the same. But I was not the same.
I was not going to be just the me others saw or expected me to be.
I was going to cling to that beautiful ball gown and the world with the big mountains and creatures who were sometimes there and sometimes not. I was not going to step back into this world, where life was full of strife and worry.
I was ready to step into the place I was meant to be. No longer not there, or here, or anywhere. But fully aware. Fully myself. Fully who I was meant to be.
The dream was vivid in my brain, still. I could almost reach out and touch the plants that danced in the breeze of a cool afternoon. P
I went into my dining room. I looked at my plants. They looked back. I caressed them and sang to them and said to myself, "You are like those other plants. You need more than sun and warmth. You need connection."
That's what we all crave.
Someone said, recently that we are not connected. Not the way we used to be. Not like we were in those long ago days of the 1950s. We don't know each from across the way, waving good morning, shouting, "Let's get together soon!" We are like the bits and bytes in our computers, just connected by a thread of technology.
But this is not true. I submit that many of you dream of other worlds, as I did. I submit that many of you want true connections, whether they be via Zoom or email or phone. Yes, I said phone. My granddaughter, who is 25, waves away texting and FB messaging. "Phone me," she says. "I don't want to text people."
We are all that way. The phone, or whatever tool we use, becomes the connection. And if, oh yes, IF, we are able to meet face-to-face, we make it happen. Because we are human and we cannot live without these connections. Without each other.
I loved my dream. I was sorry to wake up from it. I did cling to it a bit too long, but then, I sat down and wondered, what did it mean?
Do dreams mean something or are they just movies our brain plays for us to keep us calm at night? Never mind nightmares. Let us not go there!
Dreams Are Stories We Tell Ourselves
We dream, I think, to (mostly) comfort ourselves while we sleep. I have no scientific proof of this, and studies on why we dream are all over the place, but I believe we need to tell stories - something we do repeatedly throughout the day - to organize, inspire, comfort, and explain ourselves to ourselves.
At the SleepFoundation.org, I learned this about dreaming:
Debate continues among sleep experts about the purpose of dreaming.National Center for Biotechnology InformationThe National Center for Biotechnology Information advances science and health by providing access to biomedical and genomic information.View Source include:
- Building memory: Dreaming has been associated with consolidation of memory, which suggests that dreaming may serve an important cognitive function of strengthening memory and informational recall.
- Processing emotion: The ability to engage with and rehearse feelings in different imagined contexts may be part of the brain’s method for managing emotions.
- Mental housekeeping: Periods of dreaming could be the brain’s way of “straightening up,” clearing away partial, erroneous, or unnecessary information.
- Instant replay: Dream content may be a form of distorted instant replay in which recent events are reviewed and analyzed.
- Incidental brain activity: This view holds that dreaming is just a by-product of sleep that has no essential purpose or meaning.
Experts in the fields of neuroscience and psychology continue to conduct experiments to discover what is happening in the brain during sleep, but even with ongoing research, it may be impossible to conclusively prove any theory for why we dream.
And then we get into Lucid Dreaming. This is where you are dreaming and you know you are dreaming. It's happened to me many times. Apparently, it does not happen to everyone. Did I know I was dreaming when I was there and not there, moving in a world of my own imagination? Yes. Partly. I knew the world was not from a book or a story I'd heard. I knew as I walked through it, that I was searching for something. I did not know, until I woke up, that I was searching for myself.
From Medical News Today, we learn,
Lucid dreaming is a fascinating phenomenon in which a person is aware that they are asleep and dreaming.
Those who are more adept at lucid dreaming are able to control the action and content of their dreams to varying degrees.
The article goes on to describe how they studied this phenomenon and why it's worth scientific research. One answer is:
“One of the applications of lucid dreaming is that it provides a way to have vivid, life-like, and fulfilling experiences while dreaming that are not possible for some people while they are awake. This could be due to debilitating medical conditions, but also due to circumstances like self-isolation or quarantine when daily habits are disrupted, and emotional stressors are high.”
– Denholm Aspy, Ph.D.
Becoming the Dream You Dream
There are times that I wake from a pleasant dream that still left me feeling worried. I dreamt recently that we moved back to CO to be where the sun is - and most of my family was there. But I was also preparing to attend an important event with my oldest daughter, Chloe, and I couldn't find anything to wear. I wasn't naked or anything, I was merely stuck in front of my closet - which was full of clothes - and baffled about what to wear. My younger granddaughter, Frankie, came and grabbed a dress and said, "Wear this, Grandma."
I am still pondering this dream. I am still telling myself the story of this dream. It meant something. More than a desire to be out of the rain of NY. I will ponder it some more but not let it be too distracting.
In my little corner of the world, as Marie Osmond sang in 1974 dreaming can be an escape measure. Escaping the dreary drudgery of one's day-to-day life. She was singing of love, not life, but still, the idea is that we can dream ourselves into a better place. Be a better person. Live a better life, if we but open ourselves to dreaming.
I believe we can become the dream if we have a passion for it. I believe we dream for a reason and the stories we tell in our dreams can open our eyes, in the morning, to new realities and new purposes.
Only you can find yourself in the world you create as you dream. I do not believe we are yet able to dreams our dreams together. Not while we're asleep, anyway.
Dream something wonderful tonight. Be here and there and nowhere. Just be.