I have always been obsessed with dreams; having dreams, studying dreams, their interpretations, all of it. The fact that we can close our eyes and have alternative experiences outside of this reality blows my mind. These seemingly fake experiences can feel real to the touch, breath and emotion. Have you ever woken up from a dream and taken a moment to recall if it was real? Have you ever felt such palpable emotion from a dream that it altered the way you felt about something or someone in your waking life? That is the power dreams have. They can make you question how you are living your life. Anything that makes you do that is invaluable.
I’ve always been a creative soul, and dreams eventually became one more tool for me to harness this gift. I took refuge in my dreams when I was younger because they were so vivid and adventurous. I could do grown up things like drive cars, jump out of planes and kiss men. As I grew older, I used them as a compass. They were my guide when I was hurting. All my inner emotions would come out when my head hit the pillow. Eventually, I used them as a creative tool to experience a world I couldn’t possibly access in this life. I dreamt of natural disasters, being a different person, even a different kind of love than I had known at the time. My consciousness became inspiration for art and a vast world where I could experience things beyond the limitations of my reality.
At one point I was so immersed in my novel, whose main character I had to embody in order to be able to write her voice from an authentic place. It was dark and gritty, but my waking life was pretty far from that. I still felt compelled to explore, and my dreams became that bridge between my experience and this raw, dark emotion I needed to touch. I felt like I lived a double life. I got to work with bags under my eyes and my family became worried I wasn’t sleeping enough. I slept plenty, but I always woke up in the pinnacle of each dream, so I remembered the entire night as if I had been awake. Just somewhere else, sometimes as someone else.
Eventually, my past crept into this consciousness and put everything to a halt. I started to have dreams that were storylines with a person who used to mean very much to me. I would wake up sweating in a haze of nostalgia and fury. I was angry at myself for dreaming about him. Why would I do that? After weeks of feeling ashamed, I decided to let it all go. The judgement, the attachment to my thoughts, all of it. I decided to entertain the notion that I am not my thoughts. I fire a million thoughts every day. Some are quite wonderful and others are mental garbage. The equivalent of infomercials during a great movie. Well, fuck the infomercials and fuck feeling bad about them.
That night I decided to try experimenting with my dreams. I saw him, of course, but this time I walked right up to him and hugged him, something I would never do in waking life. I told him that I forgave him because I realized people do things based on their life, their hurts, their perceptions, their situations, never, ever because of someone else. I told him it was this realization that helped me not take things as personally, that I myself act in the same way. We forgave.
That morning I didn’t wake up frustrated or confused, but relieved. It was as if we had actually made up. I felt this peace come over me that I never realized was missing. I was liberated from looking at that part of my life with disappointment. And this was when I realized the impact of my dreams. In this alternate state, I always felt uninhibited. I was free to wander and explore dangerous situations, raw emotion, love even. In this world there existed no consequences. On some level, whether I realized I was dreaming or not, I knew no fear. No matter what happened I did not feel scared of the outcome. I would not suffer. I felt the warmth and certainty that the universe cared for me and I’d open my eyes tomorrow and be just fine.
What if I began to live my life like my dreams? What if I was not afraid of consequence because it is an illusion? That night in my dreams I spoke from such a deep, authentic place and it was in part because I didn’t think there would be a consequence. Fear is a self-made perception that becomes a barrier holding us back from living a life on purpose and without apology for who we are.
A crucial part of living an unapologetic life is to stop persecuting yourself for your thoughts. Your mind is the only thing you have control over in this life. However, and there is a life sized asterisk to insert here, the mind wanders and we will always have unwelcome thoughts. This is what it is. Our minds are sponges and we are all connected, so there’s bound to be all kinds of thoughts that will slip into the pristine chapels of our consciousness. Accepting that this will happen from time to time and understanding where these thoughts come from is how you will begin to let them go as quickly as they came... and eventually master them. Shedding light, in the literal and metaphysical sense of the word, on these dark little crevices of your consciousness and soul is how you begin to heal yourself, feel empowered and quite frankly not give a damn about what anyone else has to say.
I still make decisions from fear because I’m human, but a big part of it died that morning. I also never thought about that person again, nor do I feel the slightest twinge of negativity towards the situation. My own dreams healed a wound that was so deep in my waking life, I didn't even realize it was a shadow I carried with me. This is the power of your alternative consciousness, it can take you to higher places, give you experiences that you would otherwise not live and change your perception directly affecting the way you live your life. If dreams are not a part of this reality, than they are so intricately woven that the lines are blurry. And if that is the case, consequence and fear are just as real as dreaming of knitting with your boss in London.