Only in my dreams

Hello, my lovelies! Lately, I’ve been having a lot of weird dreams, and I thought I’d share some thoughts about dreams with y’all. 

There are a lot of dream theories out there, including Freudian, Jungian, and activation-synthesis (a biological theory). Then there are the dreams that are considered to be prophetic. Finally, there are dreams that appear to be universal, at least in our culture (I haven’t researched whether they’re in other cultures). That is what I’d like to talk about today.

The naked dream

I haven’t met a person who hasn’t had some variant of this dream. Mine used to be a more-clothed version, where I went to school in my bra and underwear. The generally accepted interpretation (in you believe in hidden meanings in dreams) is that appearing naked in a dream uncovers your self-beliefs. If you’re embarrassed or uncomfortable being naked in the dream, you’ve got subconscious (or overt) insecurity with your body. If you’re boldly showing yourself off, you’ve got good self-esteem, self-worth, and overall security with your physical self.

The tight-spaces dream

Do you recall the part in Alice and Wonderland where she has to fit through a tiny door, but she is too big? Well, my dreams have never included a potion or cookie or anything to make me smaller. I often have a dream where my goal is to enter a room (sometimes my own bedroom), and the only way in is to crawl up a set of stairs or through a doorway that is impossibly small. Sometimes the dream morphs into another before I can get through, sometimes I “appear” in the room without a recollection of going through the space. Rarely do I dream of pushing through the space with no difficulty (though it has happened). Regardless of the outcome, the anxiety I feel, knowing I’ll have to get through the tight space is tangible upon waking.

This one is a little harder for me to interpret, because I haven’t had it in a while, and I can’t recall what was going on in my life. One could say it relates to a way of viewing situations – there IS a way to accomplish a goal, but it won’t be easy. Another interpretation of this dream is that it’s indicative of my problem-solving process: I analyze how best to approach a situation before diving in. Not sure that one fits me, at least not all the time, but it’s a possibility.

The flying dream

Oh, how I miss this one. My dreams tend to be vivid, and soaring high above the ground, over mountains and streams, was one of my favorites. It included a feeling of freedom, power, and exhilaration. Y’know, now that I think about it, I’m not surprised I don’t have this one anymore. The responsibilities of adulthood have sunk their talons into me and haven’t let go for over a decade. There are several ways to interpret the flying dream, such as symbolizing your control of a situation or getting a new perspective on something in your life, but sometimes I wonder if it’s just a matter of wish fulfillment. I mean, who doesn’t want to soar above the trees? I think I may have to try hang gliding as an option. 

The paralyzed dream

This one is closely related to the dream of being chased, only in this one, you’re not moving.   Now, before I get into this one, I want to stress that this is a dream, not paralysis upon waking, which is an entirely different occurrence, and one I’ll talk about in another post. It is, however, probably related to the fact that our bodies enter paralysis during rapid-eye movement (REM) sleep, so we don’t hurt ourselves by acting out our dreams (sleepwalking is another thing we’ll talk about in another post, but it’s usually not a result of a dream).

The interpretations of this one are pretty simple to guess. Feeling immobilized in your life, powerless, impotent, and all usually due to stress. For example, when I’m moderately stressed, I am more productive. It’s why external deadlines are more helpful to me in terms of getting work done. However, there is a point where, if stress increases, a switch flips and I become overwhelmed. At these times, I shut down and curl up in my bed, napping the day away. It hasn’t happened in a while, which is probably why this dream has been absent from my recurring nightmare repertoire. So far as I’m concerned, it can stay there. This one sucks.

The falling dream

I’ve heard people describe this one as falling off buildings and cliffs, and others swear that if you hit the ground, you die in real life. Um, yeah. If someone dies in their sleep, chances are it wasn’t because they fell off a building in a dream. Besides, how are you going to ask them? I digress.

This dream was a class favorite when we talked about dreams, and it seemed like every student I’ve ever taught has had it. To be fair, I’ve had it, too, but in a little different way. The only dream of falling I’ve ever recalled is where I’m running (possibly being chased, but I can’t remember those details), I’m in a jungle, and I fall into a giant hole/trap in the ground. That’s enough to jerk me awake, and it almost always happens in the beginning of the night, for me. In fact, 

Falling dreams typically occur during the first stage of sleep. Dreams in this stage are often accompanied by muscle spasms of the arms, legs, and the whole body. These sudden contractions are also known as myclonic jerks. When you sometimes have these falling dreams, you may feel your whole body jerk or twitch and actually awaken from this jerk. (DreamMoods.com)

Possible interpretations? Insecurities, anxiety, loss of control over a situation. Or in my case, probably not being aware of my surroundings as I should. Nothing like falling into a giant hole to remind me to take a second look at the people and things in my life.  

 

Other universal dreams (without interpretation) are discussed at Patricia Garfield’s website (former President of the Association for the Study of Dreams).

So, have you had any of these dreams? What do you think they meant? And do any of you want to go hang gliding? I think I’ll need someone to hold my hand. *grin*

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8 Responses to Only in my dreams

  1. T.L Tyson says:

    My dreams have been nuts. I’ve had a few of these. But a common one I always get is breaking teeth dreams. They irk me too.

    • Noelle says:

      Breaking teeth, teeth falling out, and any variation is another common one, apparently. I haven’t had any, that I recall, but I’m guessing they’re related to some sort of feeling of inadequacy, possibly in the physical domain. I can’t imagine the emotions you’d have upon waking, though. It would irk me, too, I think. :)

  2. Kendall Grey says:

    I don’t often remember my dreams, but I think I’ve had the paralysis ones a bunch of times. I also dream of big snakes a lot. I know, I know. Don’t go there! I don’t think those are sexual at all – they tend to scare the crap out of me because I HATE snakes.

    Interesting you should post about dreams. The heroine in my trilogy is a lucid dreamer. I wish I could do that. Imagine the fun you’d have!

    • Noelle says:

      My husband can sometimes control his dreams (so partially lucid, but not always), and can’t seem to understand why I don’t *realize* I’m dreaming when it’s bizarre. If I did, I’d have a lot fewer nightmares! :D

      And large snakes, you say? Suuuuuuuuure they’re not about *that*. Have a lie down on my couch over here and we’ll see what’s what. Haha

  3. when I was about 6 I had a dream that it was Halloween and we went to McDonald’s where a witch chased me out. I somehow found a bike and was peddling away quickly in the dark. Then a s giant chasm appeared in the road and I kept going and going and going. I knew I couldn’t make the jump, but the witch was still coming. I looked behind me and it turned into Donkey Kong with his hammer thing. I we were going over the chasm, Donkey Kong was behind me, the witch swooped down and I dropped into the chasm.

    what does *that* mean? o_O

    • Noelle says:

      If you want my honest, honest opinion, it probably means nothing. Or, you went to McDonalds (or saw a commercial, or thought about going, etc.) that day, and/or incorporated things from your day into your dream. I still read about dream interpretation, but my really bizarre dreams tend to have triggers during the day before I have them, so I side more with the biological theory on this one. The Activation-synthesis model is a controversial and debated one (see http://www2.ucsc.edu/dreams/Library/domhoff_2005b.html for more information), and there’s also the idea that dreams mean nothing at all (see http://www2.ucsc.edu/dreams/Library/purpose.html).

  4. Quantum says:

    I haven’t had any of these types of dream recently. I do have a recurring dream where I am lost in a big city. I check into a hotel and go to seek out a restaurant, then can’t find my way back and forget the name and address of the hotel.

    I did actually get lost like this at a conference in Warsaw many years ago. I guess this is some basic insecurity expressing itself?

    Thanks for the references. :)

    • Noelle says:

      Could be. :D Or you could just be reliving a moment from your past in a dream state. That’s the beauty of dreams and dream interpretation: whatever makes sense to you. Even Freud and Jung didn’t interpret willy-nilly without taking into account the individual’s view on the dream. If an interpretation resonates with you (collective, not you personally, Q), then take a closer look at why and you’re more likely to have an answer. If it doesn’t (and you’re positive you’re not being defensive), then discard it. You may also be interested in the link I gave Priscilla (http://www2.ucsc.edu/dreams/Library/purpose.html).