Only In My Dreams: The Book that Changed My Life – Introduction

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I am putting together a new series based on the impact of dreams and how they affect our lives.  This is the introduction to explain a little about the motivation for this series.  I hope you enjoy it and I look forward to your comments.

I asked myself a question not too long ago that was provoked by one of my writers’ group meeting topics that was posted for discussion.

Up for discussion was what books had influenced us and why.

I had several titles that sprang to mind.  There was a time during the early nineties when my appetite for reading could not be satisfied.  I was voraciously reading every book, magazine, newspaper I could get my hands on.

Following our meeting I found myself taking the question a bit farther and pondered if there was one book that had in fact changed the course of my life.  Was there one in the hundreds of books that I’ve read that could lay claim to such an auspicious occasion?

Oh, there are many books that are dear to me and whose stories reduce me to a blubbering mess.  There are others that gentle the heart and warm the soul and still others that send me into bouts of hysterical laughter.

Then one book emerged.  It was a quick read actually with a journal attached.  it was called “Awakening” and I cannot for the life of me recall who wrote it.  It was an over-sized white paperback with purple lettering.  I found it in the self-help section of Cole’s bookstore in Brentwood Shopping Centre back in the early 1990’s.

I lent the book out and the person I loaned it too never did give it back. They then kind of disappeared from my life just about as fast as they had come into it.

The appeal this book held was that it would teach me to take control of my dreams.

For the majority of my life I slept badly.  Nightmares plagued me and high anxiety dreams left me waking exhausted.  My bed often looked like I’d played football in it from all the thrashing about.  And then having to get up and work all day, well I can assure you the stress was beginning to show.  I was beginning to crack.  At  31 years of age I should have been far more energetic in my mind.  And I simply felt old and used.

As stated earlier I had begun to read everything.  I read to escape the reality I created for myself and I read to try to concoct a manner by which to change this.  There was some dull idea in the back of my cerebral cortex that this just may be possible though the how of it had not yet merged into thought.

I had glaring character flaws that seemed to feed into my inability to move forward.  Much of my progress in the personal growth department twenty some odd years ago felt as though I hiking uphill through quicksand.

After reading this book I began to keep a dream journal….then I read it through a second time.  Over the course of the next year I would refer to it at times wondering what I had doing wrong.  Wasn’t I supposed to be able to control my dreams?  Weren’t they supposed to get better?

I was sitting on my sofa feeling as I always did back then.  Depressed with the weight of world leaving me stagnant and ineffectual.  The book sat on my coffee table looking a little battered.  I’d earmarked pages, written illegible notes in the margins in my frustration to find the key that I was sure there among the page.

My neighbor came over and had coffee with me.  She asked if she could borrow the book. I never saw it again.

About four months after that I stopped keeping a dream journal all together.

The entire process now seemed foolish.  If anything, my dreams were now out of control and worse than they had ever been.

I woke many times sobbing.

There was much I didn’t understand about the dream state at that time.

The book ‘Awakening’ instructed to first record how the dream makes one feel.  That was far more important than the visual aspect.  I was then encouraged to write down details about the dream and if certain people, animals, items of note recurred in the dream…how did them make me feel?  What did I associate with them?

My dreams were a frightening place to be, often running some apocalyptic event as a backdrop to the main portion of the dream.  For example going to friend’s house for coffee while the city burned down around me, and I was seemingly unaware of this fact and quite agitated that my friend was rushing about in the manner that she was.

Then it would be as if a switch would be flipped and I would find myself in a high anxiety situation as now I was alone and in dire straits feeling quite abandoned.

The other aspect was to describe a character in your dream and what you associated with it.

The dream journal was kept at my bedside and I would and did wake several times during those nights and jot down feelings, images, characters.

Describing a recurring person, place or thing might look like this.

“Blond, impeccably dressed in an expensive black suit, beautiful, coldest blue eyes ever = death”

And so I continued on in this vein as the dreams proceeded to grow worse and more sinister than at any other time of my life.

Unknowingly I was unlocking the vault of all those suppressed memories from my youth that had been far too painful to deal with at the time.  The night terrors had been dancing around this for years letting me know on some level I had some issues that needed some serious attention if I wanted to find any kind of peace.

I surrendered the journal.  Tucked it away feeling the last year had been a fruitless attempt at what, I wasn’t sure.  I’ve always had an absolute fascination with sleep and dreams.  I wonder where it is we go?  What realm are we in?  What dimension?  And what are those messages buried in our sub-conscious mind trying to tell us?

Twenty-five years ago I was simply on a quest to master a good night’s sleep.

When suppressed memories rise up out of the fog of denial, it is often confusing.  More often than not I thought they were just sick dreams.  Keep in mind too, that when memory is suppressed, the good memories are locked away with the bad as well.  And while there were pockets of memory that I had not suppressed and the detail of these was unerringly accurate I wondered why.

How could some of my memories be so graphic and then I would have blockages of time that remained in complete shadow?

Years later when I came upon my dream journal during a move, I almost didn’t want to read the contents.  It was an interesting experience actually.  What amazed me was my understanding of certain dreams and their meaning now having fought through that darkness.

And yes, today I enjoy sleeping and where I go at night.

I will be sharing a few of the more profound dreams with you and their meaning for me over the next little while.  I look forward to your comments as always and if you would like to share your experiences with this topic it is of course welcome.

Have a great day and thanks for stopping by!









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