Friday, February 6, 2015


So I've probably mentioned this before, but ever since I moved into this house I have had a lot of strange dreams of a recurring theme, and I've frequently experienced what I think some people would describe as lucid dreaming. 

The "theme" goes something like this: I get out of bed and walk out into my dark house. I try the lights and they won't turn on. I realize I am in a dream, and usually am simultaneously hit by a sense of fear, as if the lack of electricity is being caused by something vaguely sinister (which may just be me projecting something sinister into the dark/unknown, except that what always seems to follow is something not very fun, which I recognize may just be a self-fulfilling prophecy, but let me finish the story before we go down that road). I move through the house, which often morphs into a different architecture, sometimes familiar and/or similar if not the same as a place I've been before, but only in other dreams. Typically I find myself being drawn down toward the basement, in spite of an ominous feeling, although on some occasions I attempt to flee the house and its presence, sometimes successfully. Other times I just summon all my resources to wrench myself from the jaws of sleep, and turn the lights on for real. 

Perhaps I should interject here that I often encounter total strangers in my dreams, and a lot of these people are clearly dead. Some of them have obvious injuries, others just have the look and demeanor of death, as I would imagine it, I suppose... I've spent a lot of dreamtime underground and in dark, macabre places with these apparently dead people, and it's really pretty weird. It's also extremely creepy, from time to time. 

I am no stranger to nightmares, and by that I don't mean bad dreams that seem real and make you scared and sad (like being chased by a huge man with an axe who is trying to kill your family) but serious nightmares, which are literally terrifying, where it feels like my person--or even my very soul--is in danger. For example, when you are asleep in your bed and become aware of a presence standing at your feet, and you are suddenly grabbed by the ankles and dragged down the bed...that can be a highly unsettling experience. 

 I’ve acclimated to this, to the extent that I can. It hasn’t been particularly easy since it’s not something I can really control, though I can control certain external factors that may or may not contribute to these peculiar states of mind. I don’t think this is “normal” but I do know (or at least suspect) that I’m not crazy. I’ve always had vivid dreams and I guess it’s just part of who I am, and the mystery of existence. There are many positive aspects of active dreaming, and remembering dreams, but the flip side of that is all of this weird stuff. 

So, anyway, last night, after waking up and writing a love letter to my couch, upon which I'd been resting quite soundly, I crawled into my bed, turned out the light, and attempted to do a little more sleeping. I've been keeping odd hours for the past week, due to various social engagements, and probably haven't really gotten into any deep sleep cycles in a while, which may explain some of what happened next, but I don't think that accounts for all of it... 

Some time after falling asleep again, I sat up, got out of bed, opened the bedroom door, walked down the hallway and out into the next room. Suddenly I became aware that I was not awake but in fact still in my bed, and falling into a very deep sleep out of which it would be difficult to extract myself, which is sometimes cause for alarm, for me. As this was happening, I felt someone or something begin to pull me from the bed by my ankles, at an angle toward the door of the bedroom (not the foot of the bed, this time). This was disturbing, but not entirely terrifying, and my response--which seems quite appropriate under the circumstances--was to recognize what was going on try to wake myself up. I remember thinking, this has happened before, I know what I need to do...and so I forced myself awake, opened my eyes, sat up in bed, and, in an almost cripplingly drowsy state, got up, opened the bedroom door, walked down the hallway and through the doorway to the next room, at which point I was met with such a strong force of resistance that I could not move forward. It was as if I were being blocked by a current of water, or wind, and I simply could not take one more step, which would have put me past the threshold. Now, at this point, I actually woke up, blinked a few times at the mindlights darting around the darkness, and just to be sure, reached over to turn on the lamp--which, needless to say I did not turn off again for the remainder of the night. 

At some point during all of this--somewhat strangely, as I recall, it was while I dreamed I was awake but was still dreaming--I considered using my last lifeline, the Phone-A-Friend option... but who you gonna call, at that hour of the morning? And what's anyone going to do about it, if they even answered? And who can actually dial a dream phone, anyway? 

I will freely admit that this sort of episode could very well be the result of some psychological or mental defect of mine--or a physical one, for that matter. I'm sure there are "experts" who probably have some great ideas about what could be causing such drama, if that's what it is, or such exploration, if you want to think of it another way. But, frankly, looking to Jung or Freud or some Dream Doctor to shed some light on this rather dark situation seems about as useful as asking Marco Polo for his opinion on watersports, to me. 

I mean, what was that? Seriously. And who could possibly know, if not me? I guess one semi-rational explanation is that I am manifesting a bogeyman who tries to steal my soul while I'm sleeping, because I am so attached to my own ideas that I couldn't possibly just "let go and let God" and see what might happen if I allowed my mind to shut down for a few hours. But you know, "going with the flow" shouldn't feel like being forcibly dragged out of your bed by your feet, I don't think. I'm pretty well read, I went to college, I understand myths and metaphors, and when there's the semblance of an actual story or relatable experience involved, I can usually get a decent read on my dreams. It would make some sense to me if I were re-living a horrible accident in gruesomely realistic detail, or I was on stage without a clue what my next line is, or I was running through the jungle with a bow and arrow hunting peacocks, or showing a fairy how to use a typewriter, but I'm just walking around my own house in my pajamas, for crying out loud. Could we strip it down any more? And still I can't see it! Am I just terrified of my own shadow

If it's obvious, and I'm missing it, I would certainly appreciate being let in on this particular little secret. It really sucks being in the dark, sometimes. 

I'm puzzled, I truly am. It's one thing to analyze but it's another to grapple, emotionally and physically, with the sense of a presence and of a danger, in a setting that is an exact replica of actual reality, in both space and time. It's just so...real. 

Maybe I should do some reading up on bardos... If this is what I've got going for me right now, I'm really gonna be in for it when I kick the bucket. Holy hell, batman. 

Anyway... if you're still with me, thanks for reading, and I promise you that I'll be making an effort to get back to writing about all the mundane things like family and friends, life and death, food, animals, plants, weather, poetry, home improvements, and what's not on television, just as soon as I get my taxes done. 

And if intentions have any influence over anything at all: I'm gonna stick with the flying dreams, tonight, so help me God.


Cosmic Monkey said...

You are being flip with the sofa thing. I think you are at that point in your life where your shadow is now directly in front of you. What could be more terrifying. I know this, because I have been there. Let me tell you this - some nights I lay my head down onto the pillow, and as my soul disappears into that great expanse, the fear grows in me. And I wake up - because I am afraid. But this is not death, this is sleep. The scenario you described is fucking terrifying though. But at the same time, I think you are in need of some simple love, and not the love of objects but of people. They will comfort you. Never be afraid to reach out.

fremenine said...

CM, thanks for your thoughts. There's some truth in your words, although about the dreams, it's hard to tell if that's my own shadow or something else' I said, it’s puzzling to me. What realms exist outside, or inside, the psyche? Certainly it's possible to (over-) analyze such dreams and come up with any number of explanations, perhaps the most plain of which is simple fear, of any number of things potentially. For me, it's not fear of death so much as...something else. Which can also be scary :)

In any case, a nightmare is in some sense a literal "wake up call", and I've been giving that quite a bit of thought these past few days.

As for my being in need of simple love, that may be true… I shared a nice brunch with some old friends and acquaintances over at Krista’s the other day, and just having someone fill my cup and put food on my plate felt like being pampered. Everyone needs to be taken care of, sometimes, and I do seem to be missing that lately.

So it goes...