Thursday, January 28, 2010

At home in the world of sleep

I enjoying my days...most of them, anyway.  But I also love to sleep.  Mostly because of dreaming. 

Ever since I made peace with dinosaurs, bears, evil soldiers and other characters that used to create nightmares when I was an adolescent, my dreams have mostly been interesting, with only enough anxiety to keep the plots moving.

I haven't done it for a year or so but for periods in my life I even kept a computerized database of dreams with verious fields for keywords, names, places, object so that I could cross reference them and see how images in my dreams related over long periods of time.

Yes.  I'm a geek.

I've never tried to interpret dreams because I have a gut feeling that the real purpose of dreams is to interpret me, not vice versa.   So I just watch them.  Kind of like Louis and Clark exploring an unknown land. 

Having gone to sleep now for approximately 23,239 nights (plus an unknown number of naps and minus a handfull of all-nighters), I've identified several common threads --

My deams often involve
  1.  exploring strange wilderness places
  2.  driving various vehicles
  3.  flying
  4.  discovering, in public places, that I've forgotten to put on my pants
  5. hanging out with famous people
  6. and, of course, lots of romance and sex
One thing that has amazed me is the number of ways that water shows up in my dreams.  I can be drinking it, swimming in it, walking around puddles.  It can be ice, snow, rain.  I would say that some form of water appears in almost 80% of my dreams.

And there are a batch of locales that show up enough so that as soon as I see them, I'm right at home.  There is a long forest path (sometimes a road, sometimes on a mountain).   And there is an old apartment building that is very interesting, inhabited by lots of wonderful women.  Sometimes, however, it is on fire and sometimes it is made of cardboard or molding wood that makes walking around a challenge.  And finally there is a fascinating museum or antigue store -- often associated with underground passages.  

During the last few years, I seem to have become part of a big, extended family.  They seem to be of a Slavic ancestery.   They love me a lot and I'm usually in love with or planning to marry one or more of a wide assortment of women of all ages. 

And finally in almost all of my dreams there are three main characters -- myself, a kind of masculine shadow self, and a woman.  Sometimes I will begin the dream as myself and suddenly shift into the other male character, interacting back with myself. 

I suppose with all this accumulated dream experience, I could breeze through psychiatric analysis.  But I'd rather just enjoy them.   Sometimes I feel very lucky that I'm experience all 24 hours of each day, both awake and asleep. 

Yes, I'm probably crazy. 


  1. Love this post Mark. Dreams are such amazing gifts from our unconscious!

    I look forward to sleep too because I am entertained all night by intriguing people, plots, landscapes and architecture. I, too, have many dream places from previous dreams that are so familiar (big old houses that sit beside or over water, etc.) and provide enjoyment and comfort when revisited.

    The other night my dream started to take a 'Fatal Attraction', frightening turn and some observer part of me said - 'no I don't want dream that' and caused me to wake up ... back to sleep, same thing happens again. Intrigues me that some part of our consciousness is monitoring our dreaming.

    What a great idea to have cross-referenced your dream content over the years. Now that is honouring your mind's dreamscapes! If that makes you a geek, then I like geeks!

  2. Your mind is an amazing place for all of us to visit!
    Thanks for sharing!

  3. This was an interesting post. Since I am able to interpret dreams you would be amazed what I know about you now. LOL just kidding. My dreams always include groups of tradespeople selling things under tents and crafts and fabrics and oriental things. Sometimes I get lost and need a handsome cavalier to escort me home. Maybe we will meet up one day.

  4. Laughed out loud at the forgot my pants point.

  5. Not crazy. If you didn't dream, you would be.

  6. quite the opposite -- I think this is all quite fascinating. I dream always that I'm me, but I do experience flying a fair amount and yes, I cop to the last bullet point - sex. My sister often dreams of her teeth falling out of her mouth, the horror and shock of that. Apparently that is a standard and means that you feel out of control.

    I applaud you for having the wherewithal to record and cross reference them. I have found if I try to remember or record dreams, I get insomnia. Having struggled with falling asleep and staying asleep since childhood, now that I'm old and tired enough to do that, I don't WANT to dream so I can catch up on all the sleep that I missed, lol.

  7. I always dream me but I can be different ages and if my children are in the dream they are their real age - so sometime (especially when my children were young) I would dream that I was younger than them but still responsible... yes a nightmare...
    is interesting about the 80% water dreams becasue aren't we humans over 80% water - but maybe you just need to not drink anything for the last 2 hours before bed and go pee before turning out the lights.
    my understanding is that the dream is us sorting out our visual /emotional sights for the day (or longer time) - a computerized indexing - and its the feelings we have during the dream that is important - anxiety/fear/loneliness/happiness etc. the pants down (or in my case being in school naked) is a fear of exposure of our real selves... that will be 250.$$$ please.

  8. A big, extended Slavic family. Now there's a dream theme I've never heard anyone talk about.