Holding on to your dreams

You’re sitting up in bed, the most amazing dream just happened and you have pen in hand ready to right it down. Suddenly, you get a text message and your attention diverts for just a moment. Even though it was just a second, the dream fades seemingly never to be remembered again. Anyone who tries to recount their dreams ends up coping with this on a daily basis, well…at least I do.

So how do you avoid it? Well I’ve picked up a few tricks over the years that I think could help you bring back dreams from the graveyard that is weak morning-memory. I’m going to use a dream of mine that I recently recovered from forgetfulness to demonstrate.

The first step: Use what you have.

Usually when you forget a dream you are still able to hold on to some notion of what just happened. Try and gather the tiny facts no matter how trivial they may seem and make a picture of it in your mind. In my case I remembered that there was a small creature, some small cloudlike structure and the face of a girl I knew from highschool. I put the images in my mind together to create a small creature with that girls face and clouds dotting the backdrop.


The second step: Setting, setting, setting.
This is the step where you’ll find yourself eyes closed head in your hands for a good five minutes but a necessary part of the process. Use context clues from the scattered bits of information you have to make an educated guess at the setting. Anything could classify as a setting from the reaches of space to the bottom of the Atlantic ocean. At this stage DO NOT try to rationalize your location, if all the information you have was that you’re surrounded by hot air balloons but you’re in your room ACCEPT IT. A setting does not necessarily have to make sense when it comes to dimensions. In my case I took the clue of the clouds along with some vague sense of “correctness” and hypothesized that my dream took place in the sky at about airplane-height.

The third step: Get your hands dirty
Ok, now you have a brief idea of what your dream was like: WRITE EVERYTHING. Any little disconnected tidbits of information that you may have picked up along the way hold on to and try to connect them to the overarching story of your dream. For me I started by saying “There was a creature with the face of a girl, it was a girl I knew from highscool. Behind her there were clouds and as I looked around I found that we were floating in the sky…” You’ll find that once you start writing the detail that you remembered seems to be much more dense. Even if you just are able to get a paragraph of extremely vague details down a full paragraph of writing will be enough to train you to remember more the next day.

Oh and if it wasn’t obvious, try and make sure that you’re in a quiet place for the 10 minutes that you are recollecting your dream. (Mute the cellphone and turn off morning alarms as quickly as possible before beginning.)

Dream on little dreamers,

A quick tip to make your next dream stand out

I find that many people that I have tried to introduce to lucid dreaming have been very dissuaded by an eventual boredom with recurring dreams. Some monotonous recurring dreams that I have seemed to share with my close friends include: the death of a beloved family member or friend, a missed test/assignment causing stress and the ever-dull wandering through a blank landscape.

Dreams are not as spontaneous or creative as one might think. You need to find ammunition for your dreams in your waking hours, oftentimes in ways that require a bit of patient thought.

My suggestion is to find the nearest fiction and read it slowly. Instead of reading the fiction for it’s lessons or twist try reading it for its imagery. Use every instance of imagery to make a real effort to place yourself in the story. If a man is described as having an overbite while wearing loose blue overalls try and complete the image by using someone similar you’ve seen (I think Earl from the old show My Name is Earl). I’m not asking that you spend hours trying to get to the bottom of each page but don’t skimp out on the final image, be patient with your mind and picture each scene fully.

Try and imagine yourself as a highly distracted bystander in each scene. What does the place smell like? Which way is the wind blowing? How bright is it outside? Personally I find it fun to add in little details that I think are appropriate, its a kind of creative feedback into the reading process. Once you add in the little details once you’ll find they follow you through the story and make things a little more clear overall. The point with this exercise is to test your ability to fill in the blank and learn how to “get the picture” off of only a few minor details. Testing your creative mettle against the landscapes of fiction is very similar to the process you have to undergo to make your mind make sense of a dream scape.

Admittedly I’m the sort who can’t help but speed read a riveting story. My best tip for this kind of reader is reread an old favorite since you’ll be less driven by the end result and more driven by an interest in the journey itself.


Oh and new side-quest: take some time to see shapes in the clouds. What’s the craziest thing you’ve ever been able to picture in a cloud? How about in the branches of trees or the black etchings on a classroom floor? I’d love to hear any comments 😀