I’ve swung back to the intense dreaming portion of the cycle where I don’t really seem to get any rest and wake up exhausted, like I’ve been working hard all night at something ridiculous. Thursday night was different, perhaps it was all the New Years Eve junk food, but I remember the dream perfectly. Instead of a repetitious task I can’t quite do correctly or to my satisfaction, I was actually doing something I enjoyed. I don’t often dream about things I enjoy, and I’ve heard it suggested that it’s because you don’t dream for fun, you dream to work something out internally. I never dream of making pottery, or going to the beach, instead I’ve visited hell and been shot up a few times.
This week my dreams have been more narrative than it has of late. Maybe that means I’m past the hump of this seasons depression. The main event was a very vivid dream where I was in a heavily-used wilderness area with a lot of places to rock climb. None of the walls were very big, but there were a lot of them around, with people everywhere tied in and ascending. I found an interesting little pock-marked face with a lot of potential that was completely free of climbers. Despite not having any gear, and remembering I was out of shape I decided I’d only boulder a bit down low.
I took hold of a couple of the little pockets and pulled myself onto the wall and took a few steps up, intending to just fool around a little, but soon found myself much higher than was safe. I’d come to a slight overhang, but could reach back and up almost to the top. I was excited by the challenges I’d already faced and really wanted to get back to this place when I had my gear with me and someone to properly belay. I extended just enough to reach the top of the overhang and found a really good hold. I knew that if I let go with my other hand and just went for it I could easily get over this last part and stand on top of this cliff. But I wasn’t tied in, and didn’t have the right shoes on, so I downclimbed a bit and found a diagonal crack I could chimney down and made it back to the ground safely. I felt so good and I was excited to do it again, and make it all the way to the top that I knew I had to get in shape and come back next year.
It seems to me what this is saying is that my own self doubt about my preparedness and my unwillingness to let go of what I see as safe or secure is keeping me from accomplishing what I’d really like to do. What’s baffling me enough to sit down and try to write about it is why I was so happy in this dream. It was a profound, genuine joy that I haven’t feet in waking life in a long time. Appropriately, I have had bits of Hamlet’s speech to Rozencrantz and Guildenstern running through my mind quite often this last month:
I have of late—but wherefore I know not—lost all my mirth, forgone all custom of exercises, and indeed it goes so heavily with my disposition that this goodly frame, the earth, seems to me a sterile promontory
Except I know why, and the exasperation of dealing with it for 30 years is taking its toll.
I’m not one to take too much direction from my dreams, but I’m more than a little impacted by this one. I can remember being happy now, and what it was like to actually, genuinely enjoy things. And not only that, but to enjoy the processes of things as opposed to the perception that happiness would be obtained by achieving a goal. In the dream I was filled with happiness at just climbing and I knew I’d be happy completing the climb, but it didn’t matter that I hadn’t finished that day. But if I had just let go with my other hand and made the move around the overhang I could have been on top of the cliff. I knew I could do it, I had a good hold to move from, but I backed down because it wasn’t ‘safe’.
It’s given me a lot to think about over the last day, and I don’t have any sort of solution yet. In fact, I don’t even know the direction I should be looking, but I’m taking a look at everything. Maybe that’s a good point to start the new year.