I don't use drugs,
my dreams are frightening enough.
We all dream, even if we don't remember dreaming. I've always remembered. Vividly. In color. In exacting detail. I loved going to bed each night because I never knew what adventures were in store. My earliest dream memory started when I was not quite two and recurred regularly for several years. It involved paper dolls dancing above my head; sometimes they were friendly but they often turned menacing and scary. I learned I could sometimes change the course of a dream by thinking about what I wanted to happen next, becoming the conscious author of my unconscious. As I got older I realized not everyone had dreams like mine. I entertained friends with the parade of dreams I had the night before, but I didn't talk about the other dreams, the different dreams, the dreams that scared me more than dancing paper dolls. The dreams I couldn't change or control. I eventually learned these dreams were called premonitions. They felt different when I was dreaming them and also once I awoke. Things I shouldn't know, things I couldn't possibly know appeared in my dreams and then in real life a day or two later, or the next week, or maybe a month or two in the future. It wasn't like I'd dream about something specific and then it occurred verbatim, although that has happened. The majority of these dreams were in a "code" of sorts, and I'd wake up and ask myself why in the world would I dream about that person in that situation at this time? Then the real life event would reveal itself and I would understand. Sort of. As much as you can understand something like that. My paternal grandmother had these dreams. So did my mother. So does my daughter. Are these dream visions hereditary or are some people just more receptive to the unseen? I don't have the answer, and let me just emphasize that I'm not talking about hanging a neon ESP sign in my living room window and reading tarot cards. I can't look at you or your palm or your tea leaves and magically know your future. Or mine, thank God. It's not something I can control. It just happens. Sometimes a word or a phrase flashes in my head. Sometimes it's a feeling that stops me in my tracks, or a dream that I know isn't a dream even while I'm dreaming it. Sometimes I just know. And sometimes I just know something but I'm not sure exactly what it is I know. This is the situation being dealt with by a young girl who's very near and dear to my heart. She's had these kind of dreams before. Last week she had a dream with no details other than seeing a child's coffin in church. Several days later a classmate's young sibling unexpectedly died, and she's now struggling with the feeling of somehow being responsible. I understand. I've been there. It's easy to see the meaning of a dream after the meaning reveals itself, and it's even easier to blame ourself for not doing something, anything. Logic says there's nothing that could have been done, but logic doesn't come into play when you're a distraught 12 year old who never asked to have "weird dreams." Again, I get it. So I will talk with her and support her but more importantly, I will listen to her. I will stand witness to her feelings as she tries to make sense of it all and hopefully, eventually, comes to a peaceful coexistence with her dreams. It took me awhile but I finally stopped asking "why" and began working to get comfortable with not knowing. It's another one of the mysteries of life. I can't control my "weird dreams" any more than she can control hers, but I've learned to look for the lesson within the dream. And when I can't find it or figure it out, I release it back to the universe, with love.