By Lucy Gillis © 2014
“A woman’s slumber is after all a private and sacred thing.”
Seth (in a playful moment), in The Early Sessions, Book 1
My energy had been low, and I felt an almost constant queasiness. I was also a little feverish. This had been going on for weeks and I couldn‘t seem to shake it off. To add to my discomfort, most nights my sleep was broken – bouts of insomnia flared up, as had been happening for many months.
Besides working full time, I was also very involved in a personal research project. My near-obsessive interest in the material I was studying kept me rapt for long, intensely focused hours into the night. I was lucky if I could get 4 or 5 hours per night of total sleep time. If this was only occasionally, it wouldn‘t make a lot of difference, but over time, it was taking its toll, and needless to say, with a lack of sleep, there was a significant decrease in the number of lucid dreams I was having.
One morning, during a particularly low energy/ill feeling period, I had a strange (non-lucid) dream:
. . . During a long and busy dream, a young woman (presumably a doctor) out of the blue comes up to me on a street and jabs a needle into my thigh, and says sternly, “I think tonight you need more sleep.” I‘m startled and very angry with her; wondering just who does she think she is doing such a thing without my permission. Furious, but curious nonetheless, I ask her what she’s injected into me, and she replies, ‘Morphine.’ Still feeling outraged, I want to report her to some authority for doing this without my consent . . .
When I woke, I was perplexed by the dream. I don‘t usually have dreams like that, in which someone is that ‘aggressive‘ with me. I wondered why such an odd dream-event had not triggered lucidity. But then, as I was about to get up, I realized I was still not feeling well – I was weak and tired – and thought, maybe I do need more sleep. So instead of getting up at my usual time, I took the advice of my bossy dream doctor, snuggled deeper under the duvet, and fell back to sleep.
It wasn‘t until I was up and about a few hours later that it dawned on me that the word morphine is derived from Morpheus, and that Morpheus, the Greek god of dreams, is naturally associated with sleep.
Several weeks later I had still not shaken off the low energy, upset stomach, and poor sleeping. Luckily, I was scheduled for my first visit with a naturopathic doctor. I do not like the idea of taking medicine, of blinding swallowing chemicals that may only mask symptoms without getting to the real cause of a health issue, so I was looking forward to seeing what a naturopath would suggest. (Of course, if it was deemed necessary to investigate further, by also seeing a general practitioner, I would do so without hesitation. But I wanted to start from a more natural place.)
The doctor (I‘ll call him ‘Doc’) listened attentively, and gave me some good diet and other advice pertinent to my complaints. He also pointed out what I had already suspected; that the lack of sleep was likely a largely contributing factor to my concerns. I told him that I had come close to buying sleeping pills, but hadn‘t actually done so since I dislike taking strong medication, and will avoid it if I can. He understood and suggested instead a mild, naturopathic sleeping pill, nonaddictive, no side-effects, and with the added bonus that it even tastes like candy.
I agreed to try it, and even joked with him that maybe they‘d help me get back to having more lucid dreams. (NOT because I thought the pills would induce lucidity, but because of the logical reasoning that if you have more sleep, obviously you have more opportunity to become lucid.)
You gotta love the power of suggestion!
That night, I slept fairly well. I woke early, rolled over, and easily went back to sleep. I then had a lucid dream nested within a non-lucid dream in which lucidity was triggered by an image of ‘Doc’ on the back of a DVD case.
. . . A word written under Doc‘s image does not make sense. The strangeness of it causes me to know I have to be dreaming. Putting down the DVD case, I decide I want to go outside, by penetrating through the living room wall. I fly/float, less than a metre off the ground and push through the wall, closing my eyes as I do so. But when I open them again, I‘m back in the same room. With more determination, I fly through the wall again, this time keeping my eyes open.
I land outside, where the atmosphere is dull, darker than overcast. It is a country setting; a lot of trees close around the building I‘ve just left. For a moment, I want to fly into the sky, but decide against it, as I have not been flying well lately in lucid dreams, and I don‘t want to be disappointed. But I still want to do something ‘extraordinary,‘ something that I can‘t do in waking life, like walk on water. It is then I happen to notice (or create?) a small pond in front of me, surrounded by tall green reeds.
The water is clear, not very deep. But as soon as I step out onto it, it gets muddy. Momentarily I wonder at that, but don‘t want any intrusive thoughts to interfere with, or possibly ‘undermine‘ my intent to walk on water, so I keep on, stepping further out onto the water, reveling in the small muddy splashes I kick up as I walk and skip about on the surface of the pond, delighted at finally being lucid again . . . then a few moments later, I‘m back in the frame dream, unaware that I‘m still dreaming . . .
On waking, I had to smile to myself. Yes, I did get lucid, but not so much so that I recognized the frame dream as a dream state too. But what the hell, any lucidity after a dry spell was very welcome, however brief or nested!
Then, a few nights later, I had another dream, in which Doc showed up and I was happily telling him, in great detail, all about my recent walking-on-water lucid dream, and my gradually improving sleep – all the while blissfully unaware that I was dreaming at that very moment. Then, it would seem my dream-self, or inner dream-creator, decided to have some fun with me:
At one point Doc and I are talking in the back seat of a car that is going down a city street. No one is driving, the single wide front seat is empty. I see red stop lights up ahead and see that Doc has noticed them too. I wonder if he will jump into the front seat and stop the car. He then leans forward, and somehow puts the brakes on. The car stops easily in time. I assume he was somehow able to reach his legs through the front seat. Briefly this seems odd; how could his legs stretch that far? (But I fail to notice that not only the ability to push legs through the solid seat, much less a car driving by itself, is odd. More opportunities for lucidity missed.)
At another point in the dream he has asked me where he can get some wood and I assume he is going to build or carve something. Momentarily I find this an odd question, but I don‘t give the oddity itself any more thought. Instead, I look out the car windows and ‘recognize‘ the town outside as one where I once lived in Nova Scotia. I list a few hardware/lumber stores, then realize that ‘coincidently,‘ there is a place very close by, that is called ‘Gillis Lumber,‘ or something like that. (There is, in waking reality, a building centre/lumber yard near where I once lived in NS with the name of Gillis in its title.) The scene abruptly changes and I am alone in the car, looking out at ‘Doc‘ standing on the curb, holding a 2×4. I wake.
On waking, I was chagrinned that I had not become lucid despite so many clues, particularly the obvious one of talking about a lucid dream, while in a dream!
Recalling ‘Doc‘ holding the 2×4, I had to mentally laugh at the clever way my inner dream-creator worked the imagery. It was as though my dream-self was saying, ‘Can’t you see you’re dreaming?! You’re as thick as this plank!”
And then, when writing out the details of the dream, I actually laughed out loud, as another big, fat, blatant clue stood out. All of these dreams were in direct response to my recent sleeping issues and ‘Gillis Lumber‘ was a lovely pun for ‘Gillis Slumber.‘
But there was more! Instantly, I was reminded of the ‘morphine dream‘ and of the conscious (waking) thought I‘d had that Morpheus, god of dreams, was ‘naturally associated with sleep.‘ And then it hit me! Naturally associated with sleep. From a certain point of view, I had in effect been telling myself that a ‘natural‘ (naturopathic) solution, or aid to these issues, was directly associated with my need for more sleep.
And indeed, it was. As the days passed, and my sleeping improved, (and I followed the change in diet and other advice Doc had given) I began to feel stronger, and the queasy, feverish feelings disappeared. And my lucidity was picking up!
So, with the aid of a bossy dream doctor, my waking life ‘Doc,’ and a dream-self with a sly sense of humour, I was very creatively reminded that sleeping, dreaming, and laughter, can sometimes provide the best medicine. Ha! 🙂