Dream Coaching (A Ponderous Ramble)

Today a friend of mine interjected our conversation to say that something I said reminded him of his dream last night. I dropped everything and asked if he would be willing to write it down. He meant to start a dream journal, but had never tried. I offered to prompt him through the process, should he be comfortable with the idea of sharing with me.

It blossomed into an interesting gambit of quick-tips as he scribbled fragments of an almost-lost dream. I focused on just getting an outline of the dream rather than trying to create a narrative. I asked general questions about the environment and company, “were you inside or outside?” “was there a crowd of people or a just a few.” With a couple of jumpstarts he was able to remember facts about the dream that he hadn’t originally recalled in our initial conversation.

I tried to stress the need to move forward with the narrative rather than get jammed up on the little details. If an action or character in the dream has you stumped then just note it quickly and move on. As his ideas slowed down, I asked him to draw any vivid images (stick figures allowed) to give him something to look back on. My friend said it was a very useful experience and I wondered if I could recreate it for others.

I like the idea of developing a coaching regiment for dream journaling. I think people would enjoy a lecture on the subject of dream recollection. Would you attend? What tips do you think are important for inexperienced journal keepers?

Dream on Little Dreamers,

EB

Bittersweet Sigh of a Forgotten Dream

Awakened quickly to ringing tones

I set myself to this day’s home

Traffic hums – the beasts’ moan

Listening to my mind of stones

I feel so close and yet so vague

A woman there, I think, a shade?

Time’s too finite here.

Car door opened, no longer alone

solid things needing to be known.

On desk-like parapet I note a peer…

There were eyes like that one’s

with star mist gaze like talons.

I shook it off, not in this world.

Despite myself, no dream unfurled.

A Recording Revolu(a)tion

Recording dreams is hard, like sorting a grocery bag full of Magic ™ cards under a dose of morphine hard, but damn is it worth it. So lets talk about how to see the forest for the trees and how to equip yourself for ease.

In the past five months I’ve been experimenting with using an audio recording device to supplement my journaling practices. It’s been extremely effective for extracting dreams from days where grogginess or morning responsibility would leave them to exile. The audio plays out like a yawn-fest ramble, but the point gets across. Personally, I have a lot more peace of mind hitting the snooze button after taking a few minutes to note that space alien that was just about to eat me moments before.

I want to stress that there is no cost barrier to entry for this style of dream recording. To quote our Apple overlords “there’s an app for that.” There are free audio recording apps in abundance on smart phone and tablet app stores.

On my IPhone I’ve used the free Voice Memos app and was satisfied with the quality; my only complaint is the transferred file defaults to entering your iTunes library. I’ve dabbled more with audio apps in the Android app store and would recommend the free Smart Voice Recorder app. I’ll often switch between my Android tablet and my Sony device depending on which is closest when I wake up.

Let’s lighten up and talk about wiggly dream-stuff. I find that dreams recorded with audio have a different feel than written ones upon review. Audio has a way of catching the discreet details of dreams at face-value while words tend to capture higher themes and roll with them. As an alternative metaphor, on a canvas audio dreams would look like water colors applied with a spoon while written dreams would look more like acrylic applied with a window wiper.

There are strengths and weaknesses to both, but using them in conjunction is a good way to adapt to your morning circumstances. The greatest danger to someone seeking to lucid dream is burnout when a few dreams are forgotten. Why wouldn’t you equip yourself with more tools to catch your inner self before it slips from you?

I’d like to finish this post with an experimental dream record analysis of something on my Sony from last night, which may give you some idea of the dialogue.

——————–

I had a dream that I woke up in a computer chair in the middle of a Renaissance fair. My chest hurt and I wondered if I had slept incorrectly [a pain that I attributed on record to weight-lifting strains]. Everyone was in costume and I knew I had to blend, I grabbed a heavy blue blanket and tied it as a cape as the start of my own costume. I needed a mask and saw a stand with a child’s Transformer mask that was also blue [on record I grumbled that it wasn’t cool enough for me]. I met an old friend Kristina and her fiancee Rene [on record I mused how radiant she looked in her pregnancy, talked briefly about how beautiful her baby bump and her enchanting happiness].

[[[At this point there is a nearly incoherent section about a damaged wedding-cake, a black child facedown on the floor, and a large group of costumed people — this apparently was a bad dream sign that I decided not to express to Rene in the dream]]].

Rene [who I noted I’ve never actually met in real life] and I got along well in the dream, I asked him about his experience in the peace corps as we walked down some royal-looking white stairs. Kristina interrupted his answer by bounding down the steps 2-3 steps at a time [above Rene’s head I saw a thought bubble that expressed 5/5 stars, a concept that I have trouble describing in writing even now]. We get to the bottom of the steps and all start running through this gorgeous mansion: the floors made of checkered peach/black marble, the walls etched with “long dead important people.”

They ran past me towards another staircase that was wider at the bottom than the top, it lead to heights I couldn’t see. As I tried to catch up a decrepit woman appeared from an airport walkway [I had great trouble describing this object in audio, and bumbled my words for awhile] off to the left and told me “Turn back! this is a museum, you’re not supposed to be here.”  I considered whether to tell her that I wasn’t the only one there, but as I looked up and saw them holding hands walking up the steps [they looked so happy, I can almost hear myself smile], I decided against it – apologizing for my transgression and walking away.

———————-

As you can see there’s a certain monologue that takes place alongside the dream. It can be difficult to extricate the observations of my grumpy morning self from those I experienced during the dream. I hope this gives you some idea of what an audio record feels like and that I’ve made you a bit curious to try it for yourself.

Dream on little dreamers,

EB

Recycling a half-remembered dream (pondering)

So you’re whizzing around like a bird through the air, or hanging out with your favorite fiction protagonist or maybe even getting a handshake from the super charismatic boss of the galaxy  when tragedy strikes. You wake up.

“Wow! What an amazing dream, I can’t wait to write it down or share it with friends,” you’ll think, rolling out of bed beaming with pride. But after a warm shower and a cup-o-joe all too often the second tragedy strikes, you can’t remember most of it.

 

For me this happens all the time and generally bothers the heck out of me. I can’t help but much of the day dwelling on the fantastic but cloudy images left as a residue on my conscious mind. So what is there to do about it? Well quite frankly I don’t know, but I have some ideas I’d like to bounce off of you all.

I figure the best way to teach is by example, so I’ll begin with some dream-fragments I have left from last night. The first is of a friend of mine who every time I looked at him I saw broad shoulders and neat military dress, but every time I looked away he looked slob-ish with a protruding belly. The second is of an particularly shiny void shaped as the human body, it looked proud and wonderful but I was left with the lingering feeling of impermanence .

The first idea I had to recycle these fragments is to write them into poetry, for this I’ll choose the easiest format: a haiku.

Eyes on a proud shape

Such is sight to beauty bring

lo, impermanence

What possessed me to add the shakespearian “lo” to that haiku I may never know. Once I wrote it I couldn’t allow myself to take it out because strangely it makes sense to me. Point being a haiku may be a good way to extract meaning from a rarified dream.

Another idea I had was to use the dream(s) to develop some kind of character description.

In this case I imagine a man with the ability to change the world just by his sight of it. In essence this would derive from the burst of intellectual joy someone has when they discover the word “perception” and want to go around telling everyone how they see the world differently from the person next to them. But I would make this character the literal extreme of that, making it so that he always sees the world more positively despite the knowledge that it may be otherwise.

A character like that could be very useful as inspiration for doodles, short stories, music or make for a neat imaginary friend. I don’t know, heck, do what you want with it.

Any other ideas? Maybe with a bit of creative recycling we can all clean up some disk space off our waking minds and be more proactive dreamers (that sounds pretty contradictory but I promise it’s possible).

 

Dream on little dreamers,

EB