Why is it that for the life of me I can never manage to run in my dreams?
It seems that whenever I feel the urge to make haste itʼs as if I am wading through the obstructive thickness of molasses. Somewhere within the early hours of a restless winter morning; swinging between various vines of slumber, I reflected on the curious nature of dreams and the subconscious.
Contrary to what may feel at times like spelunking through vast, cavernous depths within our pysche, itʼs particularly sobering to learn that your average dream supposedly only runs for the duration of seconds. In some instances dreams appear to continue on in episodic intervals throughout our sleep, like some bizarre television series of the trivial and tumultuous. I often find dreams are as elusive as slippery eels once awake… and if we do manage to hold onto one they appear so abstract that we almost want to tip them out of the bucket or throw them back.
It is said that during the various stages of whatʼs known as R.E.M we are most likely to remember a dream if we are awakened within one. There are times I have woken up aggravated, laughing, even on the verge of tears. The lingering emotion opaque and thick like secondhand smoke; the threads of the dream on the other hand ambiguous and illusory.
On occasion too, within dreams I find myself the comical victim of my own adolescent fears. Schoolyard bullies, rough seas, feral cats (I have a slight feline phobia), all seem to make frightful forays into my realm of shuteye. One particular recurring theme I can recall is never being able to properly lock the windows or doors in the home I grew up in.
Of course there are also those dreams that cruelly remind us of the virulent monotony of our daily lives. Dreaming of being rudely awakened by your morning alarm, punching keys at the workplace, or simply going through the motions of the day ahead can be stark signals that we need to rectify the habits of our waking lives.
So too, the power of dreams is such that it can trick the senses into hearing, seeing, smelling, touching or tasting anything remotely imaginable. I can recall the scent of cheap deodorant on a high school crush, the taste of salt on a sea breeze, the goosebumps from music heard on a phonograph. All conjured up in that land of forty winks.
The great French filmmaker Jean Cocteau once said that:
ʻOne of the characteristics of the dream is that nothing surprises us in it. With no regret, we agree to live in it with strangers, completely cut off from our habits and friends.ʼ
More often than not I have lay awake wondering why it is so; that I can commonly identify my difficulty in running through dreams, but I am unable to use that to trigger lucid dreaming and therefore make myself run through my dormancy. Perhaps the answer lies in my willingness to accept the unfamiliarity of that which resides over the precipice.
(Creative writing piece, written for Le Bonbon, UK, 22/2/2016)