Hi everyone, My intention was to write an inspirational spring blog about rebirth and daffodils, but the day I started this post, Denver was experiencing a blizzard and category 1 hurricane winds. Given all the flooding and snow-related challenges all over the country, thank goodness the winter of 2019 is officially over—at least according to the calendar.
With that, instead of sharing sentiments about rainbows, unicorns, and hope for a new day, let’s dish instead about one of my favorite topics….my creepy, weird dreams.
Now, for those who have read The Unlikely Gift of Breast Cancer, you know my dreams are essentially my own free psychotherapy sessions. The stuff I successfully repress by day eventually manages to haunt me by night. I don’t mean to make light of bad dreams, as many who have had traumatic experiences struggle with horrific nightmares. Some of those traumatic experiences include the horrors of war, abuse, and—yes—even cancer.
I have only had one cancer-related traumatic dream, thankfully, and it happened last year about this time. I was visiting my alma-mater, the University of Nebraska-Kearney, to speak about—of all things—the psychological impact of traumatic health experiences such as cancer. The details from my nightmare are much too graphic to share, but I woke up barely able to breathe. It took an entire hour for my heart rate to slow down.
This is likely not a surprise, but the only dreams I remember vividly are those that haunt me, like the missing piece of paper dream and the Bimmer dream (“Why did you give me away?”) from The Unlikely Gift.
For the past couple years, I have kept a list of memorable dreams that illustrate just how stressed or uptight I must truly be. So, put on your dream analysis caps, ‘cuz here we go:
I am in a massive shopping mall, but I can’t find my way out. I try walking into restaurants, thinking they must have an exit door out the backside, but every restaurant entrance is blocked. So, I just keep shopping.
While in Vegas, I can’t find an elevator that goes down. All I can find are narrow amusement park slides that look like the inside of an MRI machine to get down. I am carrying a big purse that won’t fit in any of the tubes with me, so instead I keep walking through conjoined hotels on the top floors and end up in an unsafe part of the city, still trying to find a hotel that has a down elevator.
My most common recurring dreams take place on cruise ships. Ships that are configured so that I have to go up to a certain floor, get off and find another up elevator to get to my room. In every dream, an elevator that has the ability to take me to the floor I need to get to in order to switch elevators doesn’t exist, so I keep searching.
In one dream, I actually make it to the floor I need to get to, but then all the elevators I find are only able to go down, not up. In yet another bizarre dream, I need to call 911 but can’t find a phone with the number one. Why do I need to call 911? Who knows. I keep picking up different types of phones—an old flip phone, a phone shaped like a hair brush, even a hand-crank wall telephone. I never find a phone with a number one, so I never call 911.
A man I don’t know has just been promoted to a Colonel in the Army, but now he is retiring and is wearing a uniform from World War I. “No, no, no, it’s all wrong!” I shout in my dream. “He’s wearing the wrong uniform! Plus, he wouldn’t get promoted and then retire!”
Even in my dreams, I can’t stop searching or critiquing.
These dreams are intriguing, but they are also exhausting. Something is obviously missing in my life that I haven’t yet found. I don’t know what I’m looking for, but when I find it, I believe I will know. Perhaps what I’m looking for doesn’t even exist yet.
Perhaps I should just lighten up?
That’s it, lighten up and trust that my purpose and future value on this earth will come naturally. Stop actively looking for something that doesn’t exist and just live in the now. Sounds good to me!
Before I go, a couple quick news updates:
• My favorite retired Air Force Command Chief, a.k.a. that incredible husband of mine, Rene, finished all five years of his allergy shot regimen a few weeks ago! Bravo, my love! I have never known anyone who actually finished before giving up, but he got ‘er done. Now that spring blooms are beginning to pop, we have a good laugh every time he launches into a sneezing fit. Which, unfortunately for him, seems to happen as often as they did five years ago.
• Save the date! Speaking of “the book,” the Graduate School of Professional Psychology will be co-hosting a book launch for The Unlikely Gift at the University of Denver campus the evening of Monday, May 13. It is free and open to the public, and I have been promised that parking will be easy. You will hear an update about the Center for Oncology Psychology Excellence (COPE) at DU, plus I will give a short talk about my writing experience, then there will be time for Q&A. Complimentary adult beverages and hearty appetizers are included, so please join us! I will be sending an invitation to followers as soon as details are confirmed.
Welcome spring! We’ve been waiting a long time for you.
(Hopefully) Your favorite dreamer,