When I was around the age of 4, I remember having a recurring dream of a steamroller smashing daisies on a freshly tarred road. The smell of tar wafted through my dream as these sweet, little white flowers with bright yellow smiley faces in the middle got crushed before my eyes. I was devastated.
After the dream came more than once, I remember wondering why something so dark, heavy and smelly was smashing such beauty, and I became curious about dreams at that point in my life. Each time I dreamed, I was aware that I was inside of a dream that I had experienced before, and that I could change the course of the steamroller and make it careen past the flowers, rather than crushing them, if I wanted to. So, I did.
For years, this dream filled my early waking hours as a child, and to this day, the smell of tar reminds me of being frightened by my dream as a child, yet also curious about how I could change the scene before my eyes. I’ve often wondered what the significance of that dream was, and I’ve also let go to the possibility that maybe it was just a dream.
I’ve kept a dream journal for years, and have spent many years jotting down and discussing my dreams. When I first started sharing my lucid dreams, I noticed that others around me responded with confusion about what a lucid dream was or jealous that they weren’t having them themselves.
Lucid dreaming – being aware of your dream while you’re dreaming – is almost a nightly occurrence for me. In many ways, it mimics the idea of being fully present in our waking hours, it’s just that we’re fully present in our dream. If we become more present when we’re awake, will we become more present during sleep?
Not that long ago I was doing an evening meditation on the anniversary of my Dad’s passing. I was doing what I could to connect with him – letting him know that I missed him dearly, and asking him to show himself to me in a dream. I missed him. What I received that evening was a surprise and a delight, and it actually took me a little while to decipher it. As I lay down to go to sleep, half expecting to see my Dad during the night and half expecting to see nothing, I surrendered to the idea that no matter what I received, it would be perfect just as it was.
During the middle of the night, I was delighted with visions of exploring the house I used to live in when I was a child, yet it was completely redesigned and redecorated in my dream. As I moved through the house, I remember a euphoric sensation in my heart as fond memories from living in that space as a child came flooding back. At one point in my dream, I ran my hand over a bare stud in the wall, and said, “My Dad built this!” which was true – he had. A week later, I was in the same dream, experiencing the same house, but this time I was sharing my dream with my sister. I remember being inside my dream and realizing how incredible it felt to share the dream I’d had a week earlier with my sister showing up in the dream.
What dreams have done for me over the years is provided some amazing connections. I have smelled my father in my dreams, worked through past traumas, visited with relatives and animals who have passed on and so much more. By paying attention to my dreams I feel like I’m paying attention to my life in a deeper way. There’s a fascination that comes for me from experiencing what the body, mind and spirit are capable of when we’re resting or sleeping.
I can’t wait to go to bed tonight!