Mt. Rainier and Lenticular Clouds - Dec. 2008 copyright: JMM

March 8, 2011

Processing

I have a very rare gift in that I can often remember my dreams after I wake up.  A lot of times they will fade quickly but leave me with residual feelings that can, and do, affect me all day long.  If I have a particularly vivid dream, I try very hard to get it down on paper so that I can always remember it, and I have quite a few of them written down, including 2 notebooks I unearthed in a storage box that contains about a year or more's worth of dreams I had while I was in high school, b/c they are all dated from 1978 to the early 80's.  Reading them brings them all back to me very vividly.  My nightly ritual back then was to get all ready for bed, put  "One Summer Dream" by ELO on the turntable, turn off the lights, get into bed and that would be the last song/thing I would hear before falling asleep and it always delivered vivid and surreal dreams that I would write in the notebook as soon as I woke up.

I know that dreams are a way to process unresolved issues.  I have recurring dreams over and over again, that center on where I grew up and the people with whom I grew up.  For example, if I have a dream about elementary school, the kids in the dream are the ones that attended school in my town only for a year or two.  I rarely, if ever, dream about the people with whom I have remained friends, because I know where they are and what they are up to.  But whatever happened to the kids who I befriended and who then moved away?  There was no way of knowing where my classmates were moving because there was no internet to keep track of anyone.  I still wonder what happened to those kids.

I have been tortured, and yes I do mean tortured, by dreams I have, representing so many unresolved issues from my childhood on the Cape, that I hate having them.  There are recurring dreams that I like a lot, even love, but the ones that take place in and around my childhood home and that end of my street are always somewhat troubling.  If I decide to follow through on having a private and invite-only "dream blog", I will pour out the details of those dreams, but in public I prefer to keep them to myself.  I am very in tune with my dreams because I have been writing them down and mulling them over to try to find the source of the dream's very odd subject matter.   Oh, I should mention that my dreams are very surreal and always with a sinisterness lurking in some element that just isn't quite right at all.  All I will say is that what I call 'the midnight sun at mom's house' dreams are among the most sinister I have, and it is because of those dreams that I could never live in Alaska because to actually have a midnight sun would be a horrible thing for me to have to deal with in real life as well as in my dreams.  

Dream-processing my dad's death from lung cancer was where I hit all the stages of grief.  I don't remember working through the stages in my conscious, every day life.  But I got hit hard every time I had a dream about him.  I went through a period of time in about 2005, 2 years after he died, where my dreams found me over the top, seeing red, pissed off, completely furious with him, no matter how nice he was being to me in the dream.  I was just being so hateful to him.  Hmm. Anger stage much?  Cause yeah, I was pretty damn angry about the way his health was handled and how quickly he died from the date of diagnosis.  And even more angry about the fact that he died.

My favourite recurring dreams have to do with beach combing, usually on Spring Hill Beach in East Sandwich, a place that has always been very special to me and which I find myself longing for, the older I get. I remember doing the whole 'if i won the lottery thing' not too long ago, and I thought to myself that I'd like buy a vacation cottage on Spring Hill.  What's this?  Me?  Longing for a place on Cape Cod?  In my hometown?  A place I swore I would never return?   In those beach combing dreams I'm at my parents' old cottage, and I only venture between the jetty breakwater that was in front of their cottage and the jetty breakwaters further down the beach on either side of ours.  Instead of finding cool shells and rocks, my dream-treasure consists of beautiful venetian glass vases, spun glass, art glass, all kinds of cool and colourful glass objects. Tons of them.   Sometimes Christopher Radko-like ornaments too. I greedily pull each one out of the sand and stuff them in a big bag. 

I spent so many wonderful, childhood days at that place.  Is my recurring dream telling me that the beautiful treasure that I desire so much is to live near, or own a cottage on, Spring Hill Beach?  Maybe like the one my dad used to own?  (That one, unfortunately, was torn down by the guy that my dad sold it to, and he built a 3 story house on the lot.  It broke my heart).  

When I was young, I always thought I would be able to completely sever all ties to Cape Cod by moving west.  I swore that once my parents were gone, I would sell their house and never return  to visit, nor would I ever look back.  In essence, turning my back on, and shunning, Sandwich and my life growing up there.   As it turns out, and much to my complete and utter surprise, I cannot do that. My dreams won't let me. I've lived on the west coast for nearly 22 years, but I visit the east coast almost nightly after I fall asleep.  It's not quite so easy to shake one's hometown and past, especially if you've grown up in a small town like Sandwich, which truly was a great place to live back then. And over and above that, I can't shake the people from my past either, and I don't want to.  I can't.  I won't.  You can run, but you can't hide, from your past. Am I glad that I moved west?  Absolutely.  I've had a blast out here for sure.  It's a beautiful place to live and I have had the most amazing experiences.  No regrets. 

My dreams are in overdrive now, except now I'm starting to process Washington State AND Cape Cod at the same time.  It's overwhelming, but I can't turn away from it or hide from it.  I have to let it work itself out that way.  So it's off to sleepy dreamland now, to see where I go tonight.  

7 comments:

  1. Another awesome post. This is one of the subjects that interests me a lot. I too, remember my dreams in vivid detail, hell, I remember EVERYTHING in detail. My brothers will comment that they find this "abnormal", but for me, it is a way of life. It's as if a movie camera has been turned on since day one and has never stopped filming. I can tell you that you will have those reoccurring dreams until the issues are resolved. Because your mind can't "talk" to you, the images are represented "symbolically". I think the trip you are taking is a step forward in maybe finding some of that resolution and peace of mind that you are seeking...and deserve. I will be anxious to hear if it will be a "successful" trip for you. I remember years back, I worked at an assisted-living facility and one of the residents I took care of and was close to passed away. He had severe diabetes and needed help getting around. That night I had a dream about him and when I went to grab a hold of his arm to help him, he told me he didn't need any help...he was "OK" and walked to the bathroom himself. That was my sign that everything was right for him. I told his daughter about the dream and she ended up crying and thanking me. Bill, craggy old pistol of a man, gawd, I loved him. May your dreams find the answers you seek and that you sleep the slumber of angels.

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  2. I don't think we can ever sever ties to our past completely. As long as you have memories, it will always be with you. The good and the bad and it makes you the person you are.

    I am one of those boring people who don't have recurring dreams. I rarely even remember any of my dreams. When I do they're rather mundane and uninteresting enough to be forgettable.

    I do believe dreams are a way of working through unresolved issues on a subconscious level. As Nantz said, I think by addressing this you will find some resolution.

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  3. I don't think I envy you remembering so many of your dreams, or the recurring dreams (I'd only want them if they were about Vincent...) but I have to say, this is all absolutely amazing.

    The only dream I've remembered in a long time was one I had the other day between returning to bed after my early-rise to let out the hens, and reawakening a while later for work. It was so thrilling. I was checking out shopping at the supermarket and packing it in my shopping trolley, and remembered I'd forgotten the cat food and would have to go round again.

    Really worth going back to sleep for, eh?

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  4. LOL @ Val!

    I almost never remember my dreams. I know I had a dream, but damned if I can tell you what it was about. And I am thankful for that, because my dreams are sadistic in their own right, reminding me of things I can not attain and places I have been to, but can not place.

    I do have one recurring dream that I HATE --- but funny enough it is the only one which message I can understand clearly.

    In it is my dream house,an old mansion with towers and ivy and stained glass windows, with a circular driveway (I don't know why) and on the island of the driveway is a concrete "statue" of a pulpit with an open book, which no-one including myself is allowed to read the inscription of.

    I think I shall blog about it :-)

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  5. I can't tell you how many times I've dreamed I've gone on holiday and taken nothing with me, no clean clothes, no money, nothing. No idea what it means of course, but I wish I'd stop doing it, it's very embarrassing!

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  6. But at least you're only dreaming you're embarrassed Diane!

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  7. Dngrkitty11:30 PM

    Beautiful, thought-provoking post. Is it possible to completely remove the past from one's present? I don't think so. The people and places that shape us become ingrained in our identity. All of the little pieces come together to form the mosaic of our lives.

    My recurring dream always involves water. Powerful, scary walls of water. I had the dream the day before the tsunami hit Indonesia and I had it just a few days ago.

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