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The Recurring Dream That Changed

Updated: May 13, 2018

Hi there! Welcome to the Presence in Connection blog. Here we'll be sharing our writing, videos, music, recommendations & more.

This is my very first blog post, and I'm happy to share with you something that feels quite significant for me. It begins with a recurring dream.

I've had a recurring dream for years. It's always some version of this: I'm back at school (sometimes high school, sometimes university, often a combination of both), and I've messed up. Badly.

I'm just finding out that I didn't attend a class for an entire semester or year. Sometimes it's several classes. Often I don't even know what my schedule is or where I'm supposed to go, and I'm not even sure where to find that information.

Quite often as well, there's a teacher I've seriously let down (sometimes it's Mr. Hager, who was the music teacher at my high school and whom I really liked). Sometimes there's an impending final exam that I am completely unprepared for, or a final project I'm supposed to turn in, which I haven't even begun and have no idea how to do.

I also often find out, as a kind of icing on the cake, that I owe several books to the library, and they're overdue by months or years (and I have no idea if I still have them). And there's always some awareness of how I'm not going to be able to graduate with my class, or I'm going to have to repeat a year, or my father's going to be so disappointed, or I'll have to go to summer school—some terrible consequence is always looming.

This has been my recurring dream. Nearly every night. For years and years. Of course, there's a whole lot we could analyze there. I have a deep-seated internalized pressure to 'be excellent,' 'do a good job', etc.

Even now, writing this post, I feel that mechanism at work in me, worrying about whether my writing is adequate. But I won't go into that more right now, because a few nights ago, something unheard of happened: the dream changed.

For the first time, I didn't really care. Usually in this dream, I feel terrible. I'm worried, stressed, scared, confused, judging myself and just generally disconcerted that I—I who am such a good student, so diligent and conscientious—could have screwed up so badly.

But this time, I felt different. I remember looking down at the final project I was going to turn in, which was a couple of stapled, handwritten pages with corrections in whiteout, and thinking "Wow, this is really shoddy work. Oh well..."

In the dream, I was fully aware that what I had done (missed a class for a whole year) and what I was about to do (turn in a substandard final project) would have terrible consequences for me. And I was OK with that. I was OK! Even typing this now, I'm still in awe of that shift.

I also remember that in the dream, the teacher I was 'disappointing' was someone who I really looked up to, but who I also didn't like much as a person. He was kind of a jerk. So I felt kind of bad about letting him down, but also pretty good about him possibly being annoyed or disappointed in me.

This feels like a new chapter, and one that I mostly attribute to the constant self-awareness, feedback & self-reflection that I live in because I practice Circling every day, leading sessions on CircleAnywhere, or doing private sessions, in addition to other practices I do regularly like voice dialogue & traditional meditation.

It's a life of practice that has me continuously pushing my own edge and seeing myself through the eyes of others. This has me in a constant transformation that can even touch something as deeply rooted in my psyche as a recurring dream.

I find that quite remarkable. Or, in the immortal words of The Dude: "Far out."

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