I have always had trouble sleeping. In college, I even picked up a sleep-wake disorder diagnosis. I just couldn’t settle myself, I could only sleep when my body and mind was finally at the point of exhaustion or at the fringe of delirium. Looking back, I don’t know how I functioned. Even as a child, I didn’t sleep. I was terrified and had to have a living form with me, well, a mammal at least. I don’t think I expressed to anyone what I was experiencing. But my actions were loud enough, up until the 5th grade, you’d often find me, in the middle of the night, on the floor beside the bed of my parent. Resting finally, undetected, hiding, so I wouldn’t be told to go back to my own.
It was as if they couldn’t have a witness, other than me, they wanted me alone. Great witches were after me, threatening me with terrible screeching and waving knives at me, like serial killers they hunted me, preying on my weakness as I slept. I was exposed to too many horror films before my psyche was mature enough to deal with it. I personalized the horror story slasher narrative. Whatever was trying to communicate with me, got caught in those linear story lines where someone had to die. I feared for my life! My fantasy, when I was a child, assumed the horror story. Later, my imagination aligned with the “tragic” archetypes.
Today, as a spiritual woman in recovery, I don’t know if my dreams are dreams or some other life manifesting in my thoughts. My dreams are eery and vivid with very deep sensations. They are work. I never had a puffy happy sunny dream, at least that I am aware of. I learned to deal with my irregular sleep patterns, simply by sleeping a couple hours at a time. Regular enough for me. (Sleep medications are ineffective for me, the ones that work keep me too groggy to function when I am awake). Yet, my dreams still dictate and rule my sleep.
They line up in the hallway as I sleep. As if they are waiting for something. They can’t cross the triumphant arch my mother made for me. They can’t go through my doorways, windows or be in the same space as me, gated by thresholds expressed as through ways. I don’t know how I learned this, perhaps they really can and are respecting my boundaries, who knows? I only see or sense their presence in those moments I am waking, the dawns of my awakening. In this in between space, as I open my eyes, I see their forms. Shadows leaning against the wall of the hallway, as if waiting in a long social service line. Their focus attentive to me, what I am doing as I wake. I don’t know what they expect from me.
I used to be fearful, terrified due to my lack of understanding. Whether fragments of myself projected by my subconscious or energies accumulating for some unknown purpose, doesn’t matter. It is an experience my body internalizes, my body responds as if real. The forms disappear when I become fully awake. Every so often, a form moves toward me, appearing in my woke state. Usually, a very oversized face with contorted tormented expression, crossing the threshold, immediately dissipating into fuzz like struck by lightening.
In the last year, my dreams have intensified and evolved. I have levels of dreams, like floors in a house, with various levels of awareness and emotional response. Some are about my past relationships, some are a manifest of my fears, and others are straight otherworldly. Once in a while, I will see a form different from the others, totally unrelated to anything I am or could be.
I saw her long before I knew who she was.
Several months ago, I woke up suddenly. The hallway was dark many forms, gathering in their usual anticipating stance before disappearing. In the front of the line stood a very defined person, an Asian older woman wearing pants and shirt, a simple traditional Chinese Mao suit. It was a neutral beige, very plain, made of hand woven cotton. We made eye contact. I was fully awake observing every detail of her. She was very plain, but with an illuminated beauty that radiated kindness, stillness and compassion. She looked in my eyes, as if she knew me. I felt perplexed, as I wondered who she was, I have very few interaction with Asian women, and she was unlike anyone or thing I knew. Her face was youthful and smooth, but I could tell she was old and wise. Her dark black hair was cut just above the shoulder. She stood straight, erect and perpendicular to sky. Plain and stately.
She took one step forward, at the same time, she bowed her head towards me. She acknowledged me deeply and I felt a sense of connection, like she has always been a part of my life in some way. She moved towards me and as she crossed the doorway, the threshold, she morphed into a pale luminescent misty ball form. The ball continued to move towards me as it dissapated, disappearing. My mind kept asking my spirit, who was she?
The acknowledgement she gave me was a powerful gift. I held on to it. Whereas, forms would wait in the hallways of my soul, waiting for me to bare witness, to acknowledge them, she acknowledged me! I held on to that. With a soft intensity, she looked in my eyes and saw me. I was seen. I was seen deeply. With that acknowledgement, I have been accepted by something I don’t know yet.
(Let’s see what happens.)