Dream On

Dara LevanBlog2 Comments

I’ve had a tough time finding inspiration for this week’s blog. I wrote something yesterday, and I reread it today. The piece didn’t move my soul. I did not think you would connect with it either. I was rather frustrated creatively and cognitively.

So I tore it up and tossed it in the trash. I opened my office window and inhaled the first wind of our brief winter. It is a breezy, brisk day and the blue sky is simply stunning. This crisp, invigorating weather is rare here in South Florida. I am grateful for it!

I have not slept deeply nor uninterrupted this month. I am having what I call “life review mind movies.” This has happened numerous nights each week. And I finally realized today’s topic: Dreams.

Since I was a young girl, I have had vivid dreams. I remember most of them. Some are sad and somber. Others are joyful and jubilant. A few have been downright bizarre. You know the type. The dream that while you sleep is a scene that’s sequential and seems to make sense. Yet after you arise, you spend the daylight hours attempting to understand it. (At least I do!)

Research suggests that dreams represent the subconscious processing what the conscious mind does not. Other theories hypothesize that dreaming is a way of recovering from trauma, receiving messages, or accepting a loss.

Dr. Ernest Hartmann was a professor at Tufts whose brilliant work focused on the emotional learning that occurs during dreamtime. His theory is that dreaming visually presents our challenging and upsetting emotions. Dr. Hartman taught that we make connections while we dream that we do not in our waking hours. He also indicated dreams aren’t random. The dreamer is guided by his or her concerns at that time.

In dreams, we confront our feelings in a safe and secure space—within our own heads and hearts. Sometimes we make connections that we would not make if we solely used our conscious mind. When we are awake, we are often judgmental and reactive. We may have self-realizations, expansive awareness, and work on accepting the reality of situations while we sleep.

Some people think dreams also provide practice for alarming, scary situations. Do you ever observe the intensity of your dreams? I’ve been curious my entire life about the meaning and reason for this fascinating nighttime phenomenon.

I’ve had wonderful, soothing dreams about grandparents who’ve passed. I awaken with a sense of peace. I had one a few months ago about our Grandma Pearl, and I feel certain it was what I refer to as a “visit.” It felt so real; I hugged her as if she still physically exists. I dreamt recently about a friend I lost in college. These types of dreams, for me, evoke sadness and longing. Yet they’re also a catalyst for healing once I allow myself to embrace the feelings that surface.

I have also realized I should be open to the creative insights and ideas that develop during dreamtime. Inspiration for writing (such as this piece) occasionally sprouts from seeds of slumber.

Lately my dreams have shifted. They’re making me uncomfortable, uneasy, and unrested. I’ve definitely had nightmares, though not often, and I’m thankful for that. These dreams are stirring up an emotion I rarely if ever feel: Anger.

So I’m exploring this newfound, fledgling emotion. I feel like a toddler touching a hot stove. I get burned. I am hurting. I am forcing myself to feel the pain rather than avoid it.

Yes, I realize what I am stating sounds asinine. Yes, I do know anger is a rather common human emotion. I’ve been on the receiving end of it. I’ve encouraged my children, husband and others I love to express it. 

What I am learning is that I’ve apparently chosen or learned as a child not to feel nor express anger. I am also awakening spiritually. Returning to my life’s passion and purpose—writing and photography—has certainly accelerated my personal growth. I’ve been quietly pursuing this path for many years, but I am now living it daily. I am choosing to share this today with the hope of connecting with you on a deeper, personal level.

And during this process, I have realized how unhealthy it is to repress or deny anger. I have felt sadness, disappointment, and frustration but for some reason anger is an emotion I haven’t felt until recent years. So clearly my dreams are shouting at me “It. Is. Time. Feel. It.” My dreams seem to say to me, “If you’re not going to address this during the day chica, then we will insist you do so while you sleep.”

As this year comes to a close, I am pondering resolutions now rather than waiting until December 31st. I live my life with intention. I’m referring to long-term goals and a focus on health. In 2018, I will finally and consistently begin a dream journal. I know and sense there are infinite insights I can and will receive from my dreams. I encourage you to do the same. And I look forward to hearing from you! In the words of Steven Tyler from Aerosmith: “Dream ON!”

2 Comments on “Dream On”

  1. I am touched and honored by the honesty and kindness of your sharing this with us your fellow travelers. We all live with fear of some kind – my own deepest fear is exposing my vulnerability. It takes a brave and courageous soul to open up so that others may see how differently similar we all are. Thank you my Dara for being and remaining you.

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