Our mind has a funny way of breaking the ice between our unconscious and conscious self. It’s called dreaming. Dreams say what we can’t openly admit to ourselves. They reveal our deepest desires and darkest wounds. I have always been interested in how dreams and sleep work together. Lately, I have been recording my dreams, only because I am looking for some answers. To speak more about that, what I mean is, I am an emotional wreck right now. There’s good days and bad and writing down my dreams helps me reflect on why my day plays out the way it does. “Emotions” are basically who directs the play we call our dreams. They bring in the perfect characters for particular roles, decide where the dream takes place, and bring forth the romance scene or dramatic thrill. Now grab your blankie, get tucked in, and don’t let the bed bugs bite while you read this dreamy dream blog.
Ever since my mothers accident, I have had an array of dreams. Some are tragic and scary, some are sweet, funny, adventurous, some don’t involve her at all but represent her. I will share with you some of the dreams that I’ve been having and also give to you ways to decode your own dreams so you can better understand what your emotions are trying to tell you.
“Dreams are the bridge that allows movement back and forth between what we know and what we think we know.”
First off, there is a lot going on in our mind and body whilst dreaming. Did you know that our bodies are completely still while having even the most terrifying dream due to survival skills. Our subconscious knows we could fall out of the bed and hurt ourselves, crazy huh? We dream for about six years over our entire life! We also only dream about familiar faces. Even if we have only passed by this mysterious person, our mind liked their face I guess.
REM (Rapid Eye Movement) sleep is when our dreams occur and is linked to memory and learning, this is also when we get our deepest sleep. REM sleep helps reprocess emotional memories, even disturbing ones. It makes dreams seem more factual and less miserable. As stress related hormones like norepinephrine, decreases our REM reassesses the memory to have less of an emotional sting in reality and soothes the pain we experience when we wake up. This is why people say, “Sleep on it.” A good nights sleep can reveal the answers we are all searching for. Dreams let us play out different painful or puzzling scenarios in a safe place. That’s why it is common to dream of “rule breaking”, because our mind knows that we are safe, so why not experiment.
One type of dreaming that is pretty interesting is called Lucid dreaming. This is when the dreamer is aware of the dream. Some believe that this is hardly true and think that you are mildly awake. You know when you kinda wake up and then want to finish winning the lottery, so you shut your eyes really tight. This is lucid dreaming, you can think of this as a superpower if you want because this skill gives you the ability to change up your dream as you please. I remember doing this as a kid when I would have a nightmare. My mom would tell me to pretend that I had a remote and that I could just simply change the channel if I got scared.
Nocturnal Emission, also known as a wet dream, occurs mainly in adolescence after puberty and young adults. While anyone can have a wet dream, 85% of women have at least one by the age of 21, sometimes as early on as 13. A close second, 83% of Men in the United States will most likely experience a wet dream at least once in their lives. Surprising enough, only 8% of dreams involve sexual-related activity while a smidgen of 4% of sex dreams among men and women result in orgasm. Unfortunately guys, you will most likely sleep through this while women wake up to experience the orgasm. Just in case you wanted some spicy statistics for the blog today. Wink.
Here are some examples of some symbols your dreams are trying to tell you. Take them with a grain of salt as dreams are unique to each individual. These are common dreams/ nightmares that most folks experience.
- Falling is your minds way of altering you into your wakening life explaining that you feel out of control.
- Being chased in your dream can symbolize that you are running from a problem and that you should deal with it. Are you running from obligation, maybe confrontation?
- Dreaming of water can mean a couple things, context is important. If you are drowning, it could be trying to explain that you’re feeling overwhelmed.
- Being naked indicates that you may feel exposed and vulnerable. Are you hiding behind some mask of lies you can’t keep up with? Trying to be someone you’re not, this dream reveals weakness.
- Being late! Ugh do I hate this one. When I was a server I would dream about being late for work and accidentally show up naked… Talk about a double whammy. Showing up late suggests that you are missing fulfillment or missing out on a good opportunity. On the other hand it could mean you regret a missed opportunity.
- Getting cheated on can indicate that you feel cheated out of time spent with a loved on or maybe you’re feeling insecure about the relationship.
No need to sleep on it, here are some easy tips to record your own dreams and possibly figure out how to handle your daily emotions and life problems.
- Record any key points as soon as you wake up. We can forget 90% of our dream within five minutes of waking up. I recommend leaving a journal by your bed to write down anything you remember from your dream. If you can’t remember anything, it helps to jot down that there is nothing to record.
- Identify how you felt in your dream. Do you still feel this way after waking up? Has it effected your mood throughout the day? Figuring out what caused these feelings will help you deal with them. Try and pinpoint the exact symbol in your dream that created this feeling.
- Identify recurring thoughts in your dreams and in daily life. Notice throughout the day if these same thoughts come up. Your dream is probably trying to help you make a decision.
- Dream dictionaries, while can be helpful cracking the code on what your dream was about, it can be misleading. Dreams are unique because we all live different lives. Smells, tastes, objects, and events can symbolize various things amongst people. It may be better for you to think about the dream and what it means to you.
We can learn so much from the most ordinary dream. Sumber gave a great example of how dreaming of something as mundane as oatmeal can mean something much deeper.
“Am I alone with my oatmeal? Am I inside or on a veranda with a gentle breeze? Are the oats organic? Overcooked? Is there a horse nearby? How do I feel about the oats? What do oats typically symbolize for me? Are there any memories that I can tie to eating oatmeal? When was the first time I remember eating oatmeal for breakfast? How did my mother make oatmeal and do I make it the same way as an adult?”
I had really painful dreams after my mom passed away. I would jolt awake gasping for air, sweating, heart pounding and sometimes with my eyes crusted shut from crying in my sleep, which I did not know you could do. Many of my dreams involved motor accidents such as getting hit head on by a semi in the pitch black of night, lights blinding and horn blaring. One I was watching a car in front of me crash into a canyon, explode, and then swerve off the cliff. Another, I saw my mom on the side of the road and I warned her not to go to the bar that night. In most of my dreams that I have of my mom, she is in a way already gone, but I am not sure if she knows it, this may be my way of trying to accept her death. It’s creepy to explain but in one dream after writing it down, it explained how I have been feeling this whole time… I asked my mom if I did okay, I asked her if its [her service/cremation] what she wanted. I’m craving approval from her and I always have. In another dream I was sitting at a picnic table with her, she was wearing a white shirt. She was sitting across from me, smiling back, our eyes locked, her hands stretched out to hold mine, the wind was warm and then it got cold. I asked her to apologize, she then pulled away and turned her head away from me and began to cry. I know she’s sorry and I understand the that pain she expressed to me in this dream is how I am feeling. I am sorry. I feel guilty for admitting my anger towards her for this mistake. We all make mistakes, and I shouldn’t hold this against her because I know how horrible she would feel that this happened. These emotions come through in my dreams in the state of her, I’m guessing so that I will listen and find acceptance of not only her passing, but for forgiveness as well.