In my dream I had lost everything. My house, my money, my family. And I was incarcerated. For a crime? Or for being crazy? It wasn’t clear in the dream. What was clear was that I was searching for something. In the middle of a group of women prisoners, I was always on the lookout for something as we were taken to various parts of town to work, supervised by some nice man. Who loved me. And maybe I loved him back. A little. Because when the dream ended and I woke up, I lay very still, trying to get back into the dream.
“Don’t move when you wake from your dream,” I’d been told in real life, at a conference for bereaved parents months ago, “or you’ll forget it.” They’d given me a blank journal to record dreams of my daughter who died. But ever since I got the journal, Marika stopped showing up in my dreams. Completely. This latest dream, about being an inmate, had not included her. So I let it go. The journal still sits on my night table. Still blank.
How are you supposed to dream if you hardly ever sleep? Most of each night I lay awake with my mind racing, and tell myself it’s enough to just be resting my body.
Somewhere, I’ve read that we dream what we think about. Hah! Also, that our brain is simply remixing and replaying our waking times, and searching for connections between unrelated experiences.
Maybe dreaming is really just our minds continuing to search, endlessly, even as our bodies rest. And maybe the important things in life are not who we are or what we have, but rather what we’re searching for. I’m just putting that out there, being one who searches day and night, awake or asleep. All that seeking; you’d think it would tire me out.
New plan for before bedtime: watch less of Orange is the New Black, the Netflix series about women prison inmates, and read more of Anne Lamott’s inspiring books about finding hope, and mercy, and faith. Spend more time looking at photos of my daughter. And maybe even consider taking a peek, now and then, of the offerings on Match.com.
Dreams don’t matter, you say?