Category Archives: Dreams

An answer, of sorts

In the comments to her last post, L. L. Barkat (over at Seedlings in Stone), asked me some questions about me as a writer. I tried to answer her in the comments, but my response kept getting long, beyond what I wanted to leave there. So now it’s here, in all it’s gargantuan glory ;).

The questions: What has that [writing] meant for you? What would you like it to mean? And how are you going about it?

I’ll answer the last one first, because it’s the easiest. Right now, I’m going about it by writing. I try to write everyday, but it doesn’t always work out, what with the full-time job, a few directees, and lots of people around (that includes you, bloggy friends!) who I care about and want to attend to.

I’m starting really slow. My goal is to write at least 30 minutes every day, with an overall goal of 200-250 hours this year (and I know, that doesn’t quite add up right). It’s so slow both because of my other commitments, but also because writing has been a sensitive spot in me for years. I know I at least mentioned it before, so I’ll be brief now. Basically, I’ve always wanted to be a writer but ended up wanting it so badly that it got all twisted up inside of me. I couldn’t write with any thought of publication or even some sort of audience, because I was afraid I’d fail and then I’d have lost one of the most important and solid dreams of my life. For years, it was easier to not succeed because I didn’t try than because I tried and wasn’t good enough.

I got to the point, though, where two things happened. First, I realized that I needed to try. Something in me needs to work at this, to pursue this. I know that I can write well, and I want to give God the chance to use that however he chooses. Secondly, I came to a point where not writing what was in my heart was more painful than writing and failing. Even if it only ends up being for me or for those close to me, I think the words are God’s, and they want out!

I’ve wanted to do more than just write. I thought about going to Mt. Hermon (my fingers just tried to write, Mt. Hermione…too much Harry Potter?). I thought about some conferences closer to home, and even some workshops, but I feel God holding me back. I feel like this is sacred time. I’m learning to be comfortable with God and the words and to become accustomed to my writer’s voice. I’m finding confidence and a foundation there, before I even expose myself and the words to criticism, or even just outside comment. There will be a time for that, I feel sure. But now is not it. And so I write.

What has writing meant for me? Well, I think that’s partially answered in what I just said as well as in that post I linked to before. It has held so much–the potential to have a voice and to have that voice validated by people outside my immediate circle, the art that I always wanted and never thought I had in me, a way to get all of the characters who wander around in my head out where others could know them, too. It’s held some ugly things, too, like the chance to be better than others, to rise above people who have hurt me, to show people that I do make sense after all. There’s been a sense of joy, too. I want to help people learn the way that I’ve always learned best, through stories (be they true or false). I want to give others a piece of myself and see that help them grow, or change, or learn, or love better. I want to help them feel seen and loved and learn to do the same for others.

What do I hope it will mean in the future? I feel like I need to talk about what it means now before I go there. Right now, writing is the hardest work I do all day. It’s harder for me to make myself sit down and write than it is to make me work on the budget which, trust me, is really saying something. But writing is like running right now–once I sit down and do it, it often contains some of the best moments of my day. When I write, I feel like I’m in tune with myself and with God. I’m finding myself more and more confident in my voice and my flow. When I sit down with Dave at the end of my day and think of my best moment and my worst, writing is often up there on the “best” list (usually just below some interaction with a person and just above the feeling I get right after I run).

In the future…wow, I’m scared to speak here. Part of it is that I honestly don’t know. The other part is that I don’t want to put limits on what I think God can do with this. So this is a list of all the things I’ve thought the writing could mean to me in the future. I’d like to make part of my living writing, but I don’t ever want to stop doing spiritual direction or some sort of work with people that’s face to face. I’m open to copywriting or something like that for a living while I do my writing on the side, but I’m don’t have a lot of peace about pursuing that right now. I’d love to write about some of the formation issues that are closest to my heart, but those aren’t the pieces that have been foremost in my work lately. Mostly, I’d love to write fiction and memoir and have that and spiritual direction produce something to contribute to our income.

Overall, I want my writing to somehow facilitate soul-work in the people who read it. I know that the books and other pieces that I’ve loved over the years have somehow done that and I want to offer it to others. I want to help people see more and clearer than they’ve seen before. I want to help them know love.

I think I may have only tapped the tip of the iceberg here…there’s so much in my heart and my mind about writing and myself as a writer. But this is at least a good beginning. Thanks for asking!

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Filed under Becoming, Dreams

Why write right now?

Several weeks ago I had a dream. Dave and I were on a road trip. We stopped at a hotel and got a nice room for a good deal because we had a coupon and they didn’t have many guests that evening. We took ourselves and the stuff we were carrying at the time to the room and let ourselves in. We liked it and confirmed that we wanted that room, so we got one key. Dave promptly took with him to the car to get the rest of our luggage.

While I was waiting for him to come back, a lady walked into our room as if she were evaluating it as her room for the night. I told her that it was mine. I think the hotel owner was there and I told him, too. Neither of them said much to me. They sort-of vaguely nodded no matter how vehemently I gestured. After she gave the place a cursory once-over, she left. I thought everything was ok and kept waiting for Dave.

A few minutes later, the woman let herself in, along with three other people who were in her party. They brought all their luggage and started setting it down and talking about the room as if I wasn’t there. I said, and maybe even yelled, at the lady several times that it was my room, that we were here first. Finally, she acknowledged me, though coldly and as if I were some sort of pesky buzzing noise that just wouldn’t stop. She asked me if I had a key, because that would prove I belonged in the room. I told her that my husband had it, that he was getting our things from the car, and would that he would bring it up in a few minutes. She told me to go get it. I didn’t want to leave, because I knew inside that I would come back to all of our stuff outside the room and the door closed and locked.

I stood at the door. She was holding it open, telling me to leave, and I was desperate and angry. I did all I could think of to do without seriously hurting her–I kicked her as hard as I could in the shins. Over and over.

After several kicks, I woke up. (Doing anything related to karate in my sleep always wakes me up because I want to move but the whole “sleep” thing keeps me paralyzed and my body gets confused.) When I woke up, I was angry, more angry than I remember having ever been.  This anger was also different from what I usually experience.  I get angry as much as the next person, but it’s not usually pure. I can get upset at someone for something they’ve done to me, but there’s almost always a part of that turned inward. I secretly wonder if they were justified in the actions that hurt me, or if most of the situation was actually, somehow, my fault. This wasn’t like that. The lady in my dream had wronged me and I hadn’t done anything. I didn’t deserve that and hadn’t done anything to provoke it, and so I was furious.

I felt like this dream was important. I thought about it, but it didn’t tie to anything. The feelings were real, but there wasn’t a situation in my life that mirrored the one in the dream and there wasn’t anything going on that made me angry. I chalked it up to a strangely vivid dream (I have those sometimes) and didn’t think much more about it.

Almost a week later, I found out that there was a possibility of my job not panning out as planned. I changed jobs in September not only because the program I’m working for now is one I care about, but because they are restructuring and were planning to make me a salaried employee. This would give me all sorts of benefits like added flexibility so I can teach some classes and do more spiritual direction. In two sentences of conversation, I discovered that this all might not happen, that my job might remain exactly the same as it is now. I was stunned.

I spent most of that day (it was a Tuesday) feeling anxious about my job. It’s not that I don’t like it the way it is, but I changed departments for the opportunity to more closely align my work with my training in spiritual formation. The next morning, I talked to my boss to clarify where I stood: if things didn’t work out as we’d planned them, I would stay for the next semester because I committed that when I signed on, but then I would look for something else. She agreed that there wasn’t a future for me in the position if the changes didn’t happen and said she would do everything she could to make them happen.

After that, I went to a friend’s office to get some perspective. I needed to share with someone who wasn’t directly involved but who would understand. As we talked, I began to realize exactly how unjust the whole situation was. These decisions were being made about me based on factors that were out of my control and mistaken opinions about who I am and what I’m good at. I had sensed this before but hadn’t articulated it, and articulating it made me even more angry. In fact, it made me just about as angry as I had been at the lady in my dream.

I went back to my office but I couldn’t work. I surfed the net but didn’t read more than a couple of words on any page. As if I were coming upon myself like you come upon another person, I realized what I was looking up. I was looking for jobs. Writing jobs. Any writing jobs. Something in me had changed; in less time than it takes to say, “Booyah Baby!” I had decided to be a writer. I had realized that the worst day spent writing the most frustrating crap would be better than being in situations like I was in at that moment.

After I calmed down, I began to fear that I was basing my entire future as a writer, whatever that looks like, on anger. But then I realized that writing was what I’ve always wanted and the anger just helped me there. It took the force of that anger to help me blast past the fears that have held me back from writing. I needed to get angry, and to have it directed at someone else, to have the internal energy to overcome these things that had held me back in the past. My dream had been important because my anger was important, and because it told me the future, though on an emotional level and not a physical one.

I took that decision that was made before I was even fully aware of it very seriously. When I found out the next day that it looked like things were going to work out with my job after all, I was actually a little disappointed.

In the end, though, things working out gave me some space to think. The job is good for me right now. It gives me structure and income, as well as the chance to develop some awesome skills and a strong resume. It gives us a good discount for Dave’s continuing education. My co-workers are people I value and who I know value me. It also gives me enough space so I can start writing and see what happens.

With things structured this way, I don’t get to do as much writing as I would if I didn’t work, but I get to do more than I’ve ever done before. I also get to focus on writing the things I care about instead of having to slog through articles and promotional materials that I don’t care about. In the end, I find that I can say Yes! to taking writing seriously, to the process and to the projects I have before me right now, and that’s enough for this moment.

So I’m writing, here and there. I have the two blogs (here and Wisebread), which I intend to keep at least for the time being, several article ideas, a non-fiction book in something like a one-and-a-half draft form, and a novel in pre-writing. Clearly, I can’t work on it all, but it’s all there, waiting for me.

I feel like a whole new world is waiting for me.

PS  Please pray–some things have to be discussed and questions raised and answered before things can truly work out with my job.  Since I’ve decided it would be good for me to be there, I’d like those things to work out…though Dave and I have decided we’ll just figure something else out if they don’t.

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Filed under Becoming, Dreams, Prayer Requests

The return of the DREAMS

I’m back in the place where I have really vivid dreams.  The thing is, until this morning, I kept forgetting them.  But this morning’s dream was a doozy.  I told it to Dave and he didn’t seem to think it was all that, but it felt like it was.

First, a little history.  I’ve known at least some karate for over 6 years now.  For a while, I would have dreams where someone would be hurting me or chasing me and I kept thinking, “I know karate; I should be able to beat this guy up.”  But I never could quite get the guts to turn around and wail on him.  Then came a while where I’d have similar dreams, think the same thing, try my karate, only to have it fail entirely.  I’d try to kick and not be able to, or I’d kick and not inflict any damage.  I figured it had to do with the fact that the memory of those things was in my muscles and I couldn’t use them (really kick) in bed, particularly after I woke up from a couple of those dreams feeling like I’d been trying to flail through my blankets to kick.

So last night, I dreamt (after a whole long series of stuff that I don’t remember and am not sure is related to this dream) that Dave and I were at home.  It was our apartment now, except that the door was somewhere else…somewhere we couldn’t see from the living room.  We were in the living room and someone came in the door.  We didn’t know who it was.  I was concerned, but Dave kept making jokes about, “Yeah, whoever it is is going to get a knife from the kitchen and threaten us.”  Soon enough, an older chinese man with an old-fashioned wooden crutch came around the corner brandishing our butcher knife.  He wanted all of our money, cell phones, etc.  He took Dave’s wallet and either his day timer or his server’s pad.  I was afraid he’d find Dave’s tip money, wherever we had it.  I kept thinking, “I know karate…I should use it.”  I almost didn’t, but then I did.  And it totally worked.  I mean, granted it was and old man with a crutch, but I knocked him down and held him while Dave got all of our stuff back, out of his pockets and such.  His knife disappeared, and I was oddly disappointed that I hadn’t overcome someone with a knife after all.  We ended up there for a while–Dave searching for stuff and me holding the guy.  And I just wanted to hurt him.  I wanted him to suffer for scaring us and trying to take our stuff.  Eventually, I think I woke up–I’m not sure if it was Dave’s alarm or the fact that the struggle in myself to hurt him or not was too great.

Anyway, it was weird for me not only because I was able to use the karate and it actually worked, but because of how badly I wanted to hurt the guy.

So…who knows what this means?  Any takers?

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Dreams

I dreamed a lot for a while. Then, they seemed to go away. Now, I think they’re back.

Last night:

1) Dave and I were so tired after our wedding that we decided not to go to our reception. After all, it’s for others to see us, not for us to see them. I didn’t realize until later that people would be upset about that. And that I would like to have been there.

2) I dreamed about almost falling off something high for at least 15 minutes. Long story, but I finally woke up because I was sick of almost falling.

Night before last:

1) A Charlie’s Angels dream. The old Charlie’s Angels. I was sort-of Sabrina. They were in some sort of bad spot. I woke up before they could get out of it, but I wasn’t too worried about them. Had a good sort of feeling to it.

Night before that:

1) Too awful to recount.

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Filed under Dreams, Lists

I don’t usually have nightmares.

Part of that is probably because I’m generally a fairly happy person who doesn’t have much experience with the horrifying. The other part of it is that, while I am not a fully lucid dreamer, I almost always know when I’m dreaming. Thus, when I start to have a bad dream, I literally think, “Oh…I can’t figure out a way to end this that’s not unpleasant,” and I wake up. Sometimes, I wander around for a while while I’m waking up, but the dream just generally fades, maybe into frustration but not into fear, terror, or pain.

Last night was really different. I had this awful dream. The dream itself was…well…strange, in retrospect. I have no idea what it means. But the thing that was almost more strange was that I didn’t know I was dreaming, and I didn’t wake myself up. I was surprised by the terror, and the shock, and the grief, but it didn’t wake me up. I sobbed and sobbed and sobbed at one point, but I still didn’t wake up.

I don’t remember how the dream ended. I just know that I woke up and felt relief at being awake, if being asleep was going to be like that.

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Wow

I keep thinking of pithy, witty things to blog about, only to have them disappear when I get here to actually write them down. I think I just might have more on my mind than my blog, lately. Fancy that.

I can tell that I’m out of school and becoming adjusted to that because I am currently actively reading 3 books (that does not include the 2 that I read when I’m between books I’m actively reading), studying at least 2 languages (ok, well, one of them is Spanish, which I already speak but wanted to review, and the others are programming “languages”–HTML, CSS, maybe PHP since it turns out that’s what my blog template is written in), planning to build my turtle a sunning ledge, and attempting to understand my “How to Draw Celtic Knots” books, which aren’t in the list above because they’re so confusing I put them back on the shelf the other day.

You see, that’s what I do when I’m not in school (and am doing pretty well internally)–I study things at breakneck speed.

Oh, and if anyone knows why in the world I’m having recurring dreams about airplanes (that my psyche deems important enough to wake me up in the middle of the night so I’ll remember), please, Please, PLEASE let me know. Because, as far as I know, airplanes carry no special significance. And all the cheesy web sites about dream interpretation? Have entirely different explanations for the imagery. Right. I knew they were all quacks. But seriously, if God enlightens you, please enlighten me in turn.

That’s all for now, folks.

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Filed under Dreams, Sundries

This morning I woke up and thought Stephanie was dead.

Before I proceed, I’ll let you in on the end of the tale–she wasn’t. But it also wasn’t a dream. I was wide awake, I knew I was wide awake, and I thought my friend was dead.

It all started when my alarm went off a couple of minutes before 7. It thinks it goes off at 7, but the clock was fast and so it’s always a little early. On Mondays, Steph and I set our alarms for the same time, which is nice for both of us because neither of us have to deal with the other making tons of noise while we’re trying to sleep. So, a few minutes later, when it was actually 7, Steph’s alarm went off. And kept going off.

Finally, I said her name. Nice and quiet-like, so as not to scare her. But her alarm kept going off. So I rolled over and said her name again, a little louder. She didn’t move. I said her name even louder, with a little bit of panic edging my voice. She still didn’t move. I looked at her face. It looked so peaceful, so relaxed, so ALIVE. And yet, she wasn’t responding. Finally, in that edging-on-shock feeling of stupidly utter disbelief and yet total comprehension, I pulled her blanket back and said her name even louder.

She opened her eyes, pulled her earplugs out of her ears, and said, “I’m so sorry.”

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