The Power of Daydreaming

At times, life can be frustrating. My soul often gets weighed down by the constant repetition from week to week. Wake up, workout, go to the office, go home, make dinner, go to bed, repeat. It only makes it worse when I start to get aggravated at my own lack of motivation and ability to insert novel experiences into my day. It feels like I have all of these great ideas, but I’m just too mentally and/or physically exhausted to implement any of them into my life.

Most days I really struggle to think of anything worth writing about. It feels like a chore to decide on an idea and go with it. I spend most of my time second-guessing my choice as I’m writing anyway. I don’t know why I put so much pressure on myself. Hardly anyone reads my posts. I’m supposedly just doing this blog for fun. But am I having fun? I definitely am when I come across a topic I’m really passionate about. That happens less often than it used to. I feel like I’m starting to run out of steam after writing once a day for over a year. More and more frequently I find myself googling writing prompts in a desperate attempt to find inspiration. However, none of the prompt I find ever seem interesting in the slightest.

Today I started with a different approach. I was feeling unmotivated by any of the prompts I came across, so I asked myself: what type of things make me feel motivated? I tried to think back to a time I felt really excited about something, anything. It’s honestly rare for me to feel really inspired by anything anymore. The only thing that came to mind was being a teenager and daydreaming about random things in class. It was such an enjoyable thing to do. I don’t know why those reveries stopped.

Part of me thinks daydreaming disappears as a natural part of growing up. I also think the advancements we’ve had in technology play a part. Whether you’re a kid or an adult, no one really has the opportunity for daydreaming anymore. At any dull moment, we can grab our phones or a computer or whatever and mindlessly scroll through content until we’ve killed all of our down time. It’s sad to imagine the younger generation never getting to enjoy a good daydream.

There are actually a lot of benefits to daydreaming, despite how often we were told it’s a waste of time. Daydreams help us get clear on our hopes, dreams, goals, desires. They help us plan for the future. They give the mind a chance to rest and reorganize information. Daydreaming can even help you be a more creative person!

Somewhere along the line, I got bogged down by only placing value on “real” things. Daydreams seemed dangerous. I felt as though I was just getting my hopes up, deluding myself, wasting time and energy thinking about things that would never happen. I guess I was afraid that if I thought about something too much, like being with my partner, I’d only experience more pain if/when the relationship didn’t work out. If I daydreamed about living in a big house in the country and ended up renting a small apartment in the suburbs, I’d have set myself up for disappointment. By closing myself off to hopes and dreams, I felt I was protecting myself from pain.

I’ve since learned through many hard lessons that you can never protect yourself from pain. Pain, disappointment, and suffering are parts of life that cannot be avoided or planned for. So don’t worry about it! Don’t cut yourself off from the good parts of life in an attempt to avoid the bad. While it may seem like a good idea, it’s counterintuitive.

Daydreaming is just another lighthearted aspect of life that I’ve ruined for myself for being too serious. This strangle-hold of control I try to have over myself isn’t doing me any favors. Not everything has to have an ulterior purpose. It’s okay to do something just because it makes you happy. In fact, that’s the best reason for doing something in my opinion. I would never accuse someone else of wasting their time for finding enjoyment in something simple or silly. Yet I never allow myself that same freedom. It’s another question of what it means to “waste” time. It depends on what your goal is.

Even though my primary goal in life is to be happy and make others happy, it doesn’t seem to align with my actions. In fact I spend most of my time thinking and doing things that make me unhappy. The world already places so many restrictions on us. I’ve started to internalize that rigid structure. I forbid myself from having “unrealistic” thoughts. But imaginary objects, animals, landscapes, lifestyles, and scenarios are some of the most fun things to think about! The possibilities are limitless. What an absolute joy it is to let your mind off the leash sometimes and see what it is able to create and imagine.

Today I want to focus on giving myself that mental freedom. So I’m giving myself a little assignment. Feel free to give it a go yourself, and if you’d like share it with me! I’d love to hear what you come up with. Here’s some daydreaming homework if you so choose to accept the challenge:

Ask Yourself:

  1. What is something I’d enjoy daydreaming about?
  2. Do I want it to be realistic, total fantasy, or somewhere in between?
  3. What barriers do I notice myself setting up to limit the possibilities?
  4. Can I give myself permission to play in my own mind without any rules?
  5. Can I give myself permission to spend time on something for no other reason than to have fun and make myself happy?

Allow yourself as much or as little time as you need. Try to write it down as you go to help you stay focused. Let’s work together to learn how to motivate and inspire ourselves. We have the ability to create a rich inner landscape of thought to keep us energized and uplift us when we need it most. Not giving ourselves this gift is the real waste.

Daydreaming Is Actually a Sign of Intelligence, According to Neuroscientists

High Hopes

I became cynical at a very young age. I can still remember deciding that if I didn’t allow myself to have any expectations or dreams for the future, then I couldn’t be disappointed. At the time it felt like a brilliant defense against a world that was inevitably only going to let me down. It almost felt like outsmarting reality. Oh my crush doesn’t like me back? Duh, I knew he wouldn’t. I’m going to have to work a dead end job until I die? Obviously, the world is a terrible place. As if expecting the world and everyone in it to screw me over would make it any less painful when it happened.

Although I’m no where near as jaded as I was when I was a teenager, I never really allow myself to have big aspirations. Subconsciously I still fear the pain of failure or rejection. It seems safer not to try or even hope. Rather than daydream about things I don’t have, I’ve preferred to do my best to enjoy and cherish the things I do have in my life. I have been writing a daily gratitude journal for around 4 or 5 years now. It has definitely helped me be more mindful of the little things that light me up throughout the day. It’s a reminder that I can choose to focus on the good in my life.

Practicing gratitude has been so helpful that now I think I’m finally ready to open myself back up to exploring what I might like to add to my life. Confident in the fact that I will be okay whether my plans come to fruition or not. I’ve become even more interested in the concept of manifesting. I used to shy away from this practice, fearful that it would cause me pain if I was unable to draw what I wanted into my life. Now I realize that even more important than the eventual outcome is the practice itself. Manifesting isn’t only about getting clear with yourself about your goals and desires, it’s about learning how to live and feel as if we have already acquired all we hope to. It’s a way for us to learn that we already have the ability to feel the positive emotions we hope to find in the future whether our lives work out the way we originally plan or not.

So for the first time in such an incredibly long time, I’d like to make a list of some of the things I hope to cultivate and move toward in my life:

One: Live with My Partner

My boyfriend, Nate, has finally committed to moving back to my area after several months of living over 6 hours away. He still has to complete the training that he started and unfortunately won’t be able to come back until the end of the year. Still, I am eagerly awaiting his return. We’ve talked about living together some day, and though I haven’t said anything explicitly yet, I am hoping that he will come stay with me once he moves back. The thought of living with the man I love fills me with joy and excitement. At the same time I am pretty nervous about it. I have only ever lived with a partner once and it was barely for a month. Other than that, since graduating from university, I have been living on my own. It is going to be a big adjustment to have someone to share my home with. Despite the challenges, I am ready. I’m ready to give up all the bad habits I’ve developed from living alone. I am ready to start building a life with someone. This is the biggest hope I’ve allowed myself to have in a long time.

Two: Wean Myself Off of Paxil

This Friday I finally have an appointment with my doctor to discuss lowering my dosage. Although I’m scared, I’m also excited. I can’t wait to find out who I really am underneath this fog of medication. It is probably going to be hard, but I am ready. I know I can do this.

Three: Advance My Career

This one I’m still a bit foggy on. I’ll have to give it some more thought. All I know right now is I’d really like to move forward professionally. Whether that’s to become a more essential part of my current organization or to go back to school or to become a teacher, I don’t know. All of these options sound equally enticing at the moment.

As you can tell, most of these hopes are pretty vague right now. I’m a little rusty when it comes to daydreaming about what I might like for myself to have in the future. It’s honestly surprising to realize just how difficult the question “what do I hope for” is to answer. For now, I’m going to try to explore that question more deeply. More importantly, I’m going to start regularly asking myself “how do I want to feel” then inviting that feeling into my body, practicing the feelings I’d like to experience more of. Above all, I hope to be happy and I know I have the tools and the inner resources to make that happen.

How useful is hope? - Quora

The Pleasure Paradox

Profound pleasure
is hard to find
it hides beneath thick, sticky layers
of pain, shame, and fear

Piercing pleasure
ignites a small terror
Will this last?
Do I deserve this?

Simple pleasures
are overlooked all together
discarded and forgotten
alongside childhood trinkets

Pure pleasure
is something to be hoped for
to be dreamed of
never to be obtained
Self Pleasure & Self Sex - How To Pleasure Yourself | Goop | Goop

More Dreams

Image result for fuzzy moth

Last night I had some more very poignant and interesting (to me at least) dreams. I don’t know if it works this way for other people, but for me I generally have multiple, completely separate dreams each night. They usual seem to be unrelated to one another. For some reason there are some nights when I am just more struck by them than others.

I guess it’s foolish not to acknowledge that part of the reason I am often so interested is when my dreams have something to do with my old boyfriend. I have had prophetic dreams about him in the past and I guess I’m still hoping that dreaming of him is a signal that he will reappear again. We didn’t end things on the best of terms the last time we spoke. But ultimately it was I who was angry with him. A few weeks ago I decided to reach out again, but got no reply. This wasn’t as devastating as I imagined it would be, but I still think about it often. He just doesn’t seem like the type to completely ignore me. Even if he didn’t want anymore contact, I figured he would say so. Maybe I’m wrong. Who knows. I suppose I don’t really know him anymore.

Anyway, back to the dreams. In the first dream, I was at a client’s house. (I am a social worker.) For some reason they wanted me to get a broom and clean the spider webs off of their porch. The house was my grandmother’s, but that didn’t seem significant in the dream. I went out with the broom and lifted it up to clean out all the webs in the corners. In the webs there were several large, fuzzy moths. They weren’t caught in the web, more just hanging out in it. I collected them up and was very pleased. (I love those fuzzy headed moths.) I brought them back in to the house and put them in a cage with the children’s guinea pigs, thinking that would be okay for some reason. The guinea pigs ate them. I was very upset.

I looked up what moths and webs could signify. (Not that I really believe anyone knows what symbols in dreams truly mean.) The web could be representing my desire to control everything, or it could mean I feel trapped and unsure of where to go. This fits in nicely with the moth explanation, apparently moths could represent my weakness, character flaws, or fragileness.

So this dream that potentially had something to do with uncertainty and feeling flawed and fragile bled into a dream about my ex-boyfriend. I texted him again and told him that I had just dyed my hair. He responded right away that he was excited to see it and sent me a strange tictok type video of he and his current girlfriend. He apparently hadn’t been ignoring me before. He just never got my last text.

This short, pretty insignificant dream made me so happy. I always feel a sense of energy and excitement when he appears in my dreams. It has been a long time. I had already considered trying to send him a message on Facebook in case he truly didn’t ever get my text, but I haven’t. Now I’m wondering again if I should. I realize that this entire post is just the nonsense ramblings of a creep who can’t get over their ex. I am painfully aware of that. But I still can’t help feeling the way that I do. At least I’ll always have my dreams…

Heavy Dreams

Last night for the second time in only a few days I had a dream about carrying an extremely heavy purse or bag. I found the first one rather amusing. I was still in high school. I was about to drive myself to the school and I was running late. But I stopped to organize my bag because it was ridiculously heavy. I just kept taking out more and more nondescript, random items until I had nearly filled my entire living room.

Last night’s was slightly different. This time I can’t recall exactly where I was. It may have had something to do with school again. The strange part about this one was that when I looked into my bag to try to lighten my load, there was hardly anything in it. I could not understand what was making it so heavy. It seems like once I looked a few times the bag felt lighter though.

I know most people probably view dreams as just random nonsense. But I genuinely believe that my dreams are a glimpse at my inner landscape, my subconscious fears, worries, obsessions. I think it’s worthwhile to at least attempt to decipher them. Even if it’s only the interpretation I come up with that has any significance.

I saw something recently about dreaming and was shocked to learn that serotonin plays a part in remembering your dreams. Considering I’m someone with intense anxiety, which usually means a lack of serotonin, I’m surprised I am so good at remembering my dreams every night. Perhaps it is solely because they matter to me. However, it only strengthens my belief that these nightly lives I lead are important somehow. Especially when they are recurring.

After some brief research, it seems that dreaming about something being heavy is, as could easily be expected, a signal that you are carrying heavy burdens with you. Although I found it interesting that a purse or bag specifically can imply secrets. Given that I have been thinking a lot about secrets and shame recently, it makes sense. My best guess is that these dreams were a metaphor for my anxiety and the heavy weight it puts on my heart and mind.

The first dream was showing me that when I take the time to examine my heavy load, I realize that I have no need to carry most of the things that I have been carrying. It is okay to set them down. The second dream is a little more interesting. There wasn’t anything heavy in my bag. I think this was referring back to a real life scenario I often go through. I often feel so overwhelmed, thinking I have umpteen tasks to complete. But when I actually sit down to list them out, I realize that it’s not as bad as I was imagining. And my heart feels lighter. This is exactly what seemed to be happening in my dream. I felt like my bag was so ridiculously heavy. But when I looked inside I realized there was hardly anything inside. Then the bag felt lighter.

I think both of these dreams were a gentle reminder from my subconscious. All I need to do is be present and really look within to see that there is no reason for my heart to be heavy. There are a few things I burden myself with carrying. But it is time to set those things down. I don’t need to weigh myself down with them anymore. Remaining mindful of what is truly inside each moment, I will see that all is well.

Photo by Stanislav Kondratiev on Pexels.com

Dreamland

I’ve heard comedians and people makes jokes about how boring it is to listen to other people talk about their dreams. That has always surprised me and made me wonder if people really feel that way. Dreams have always been absolutely fascinating to me. I love hearing about other people’s dreams. It think it provides such an interesting peek into someone’s subconscious mind.

I’ve also always loved metaphors, and I think of dreams as complex metaphors themselves. I know neither science nor psychology has really been able to definitively tell us what dreams are, what they mean, or why we even have them to begin with, but I wholeheartedly believe that they matter. And in my experience whatever you believe matters does matter.

I sometimes am able to use my dreams to guide me toward important insights about myself. They can often lead me to different perspectives on certain situations that have been troubling me. I believe the common reoccurring characters in my dreams are important people in my life or perhaps represent something important to me. I’ve certainly always found mulling over these nightly self-told stories to be worthwhile.

I have been writing down my dreams every morning for around a year now. It can be really helpful in order to remember them more easily and notice patterns or themes within them. For instance, I noticed I dream a lot about my middle school boyfriend whom I only dated for probably three weeks and haven’t spoken to since we graduated. This continues to puzzle me, but I’m sure I’ll discover the reason eventually. I’ve even had prophetic dreams and been able to prove as much by showing where I had written down a similar event occurring in a dream a week before it happened in real life. I have no idea how that happens or what it could possibly mean, if anything.

For all of these reasons and many more I’m sure I’ve forgotten to mention, I adore dreams. I feel very connected to my personal dreamscape. Dreaming is like being able to live a whole other life every night. A life where anything is possible. Not to mention that time itself is distorted. In the span of only a few hours we can live an entire lifetime potentially.

Dreams are one of the reasons I decided to study psychology. I don’t understand how anyone is able to disregard them or say they are meaningless nonsense. If our brains are manifesting them, there must be a good reason. At least that’s what I think. So even if it’s true that other people are bored by even the thought of hearing about someone else’s dream, I’m going to keep talking about mine. Because if nothing else, they are at least amusing.

I may even begin posting my dreams on this blog or perhaps another I would create solely for the purpose of sharing them. I would love to have dream discussions and get feedback about what other people think they could mean. Not to mention I would love to read about everyone else’s dreams! Let me know if a dream blog is something you would be interested in or if you have any neat dreams to share with me.