Last night I was awoken by crippling fear. I had a nightmare of course, something I can’t quite remember; one of my reoccurring dreams, of places far away – not the furthest, but the gateway places that lay at the border of terrifically far and manageable. Our friend Lindsay lives there, and we visit her there. But that is not at all what made the dream a nightmare, that is what made it reoccurring, just the place, being on the edge of very far away, and visiting Lindsay.

What I do remember is waking up with this fear, physically seeing red, turning on all the lights in the room, making my way to the bathroom, being sure not to look in any mirrors, being sure not to move suddenly in one direction or another, or to look out the corner of my eye, making my way back to the bed, reluctantly turning out light and lying down in bed in the same exact position I had woken up in, realizing I was about to return to the same nightmare I had just left. I could stay awake and have the horrible things come, I could already sense them taking form, they’d manifest as a man or woman standing by my open window; or I could fall back asleep into the clutches of the terrible dream.

I then asked myself “why?” It has been so long since I have felt this horror. I almost returned to the aged routine of pleading with the dark haunting spirits that I am not ready to be plagued by them, or to ask the intermittent God I speak with to lift this curse from my room so that I might return to peaceful sleep. But that routine is tired, and it does not answer “why?” The details are blurred, but I had a notion that the terrors haunting me came from the busy run round that has defined my existence for the past year plus. A symptom of my hurried pace and the sickness that has stricken the neglected “artist” (that reflective, intentional, inspired, quietly listening, noticing the subtle and slow) within. A waking symptom, perhaps more obvious, is that I had set 3 day time alarms for myself, to take 10 minutes, to sit quietly and do nothing, and think of nothing. But I had simply turned off the alarm each time, intending to honor those moments of quiet, but had inadvertently, but almost unapologetically, continued to work at my maddening pace.

Now (in this moment of waking horror) I decided it was this neglect for self-care that brought my ghosts, and the only cure was to treat the cause, and so amidst the flurry of whirling nearly corporeal beasts I closed my eyes, took deep breathes and let the images go. I thought of nothing, but saw so much. Of course the spirits moving from my right brain through my left, the tall black boots and creeping hand of the man outside my window, the would be heroes that would protect me, let those go as well, ideas of how well I was doing or how poorly this would go, pride of my self-awareness and how this might be a good exercise for Quen to use for her night terrors. From useful to junk, the ideas entered and I let them go again, from right to left. At times I’d focus on breathing, and that was a nice distraction to focus on. But sometime I didn’t need that either, and could really focus on nothing, and that brought me closer to my peace. My power animal came for a short visit, and for a duration, the thoughts entering and exiting were no longer dictated by my conscious mind. A sort of waking vision played out. And I let that go as well. Soon enough I was asleep again. Waking this morning with words to write, and three new alarms to set on my phone.

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  • QB

    My night terrors do not wake me, they invite me in…and I go. Can I meditate in my dreams? You are so much better at dreaming; I envy you.