How Documenting Dreams Helps One Become Woke

If you know me well, then you know I track my dreams. And my oh my, what a a major pain it is! Before I fall asleep, I leave my phone cued up to the “notes” application so at some random hour in a sleepy, semi-conscious state, I can type out what I just witnessed. And every night, despite doing this for nearly a year now, there’s ALMOST ALWAYS an internal conversation with myself that goes like…

  • Lazy Me: “Do you really have to move and get your phone to write this down? You’re so comfortable right now.”
  • Knowing Me: “But if I don’t, I won’t remember.”
  • Lazy Me: “Remember, remember, remember. See, it’s done. Go back to sleep.”
  • Knowing Me: “You know full well that doesn’t work.”
  • Lazy Me: “Ok, fine. But if you move, you may not fall back asleep. So which is more important?”
  • Knowing Me: “You know you aren’t fully awake right now.”
  • Lazy Me: “Ok, fair. But I don’t like these interruptions so please let’s be quick about it.”

It’s a commitment I have to make to myself over and over again, night after night. And yet I do it. I do it despite at least partially not liking it. Despite that many nights, I do it 3-4 times a night because when you start to monitor your dreams, you realize you often have more than one. And I do it despite having dreams that are so random and non-sensical that my awake self wonders why I even bother. What’s this all even for?! If we move past the preposterous though, there are some interesting insights you may learn about yourself, or at least about dreaming itself.

My 4 Biggest Take-aways from Documenting Dreams:

  1. If you do it with regularity, you will see patterns that begin to make sense. It is the patterns, as opposed to the single dream, that provided the most insight. I can tell you honestly and openly, that I have a big fear of being rejected. And if it weren’t for documenting my dreams, I’m not sure I would have enough conscious self-awareness to acknowledge it.
  2. If you ask for a person to come to you in your dreams, they usually do. My dad died over 17 years ago, but when I ask to see him, he comes to me in my dreams. What’s interesting to me is that upon seeing him my reaction is the same – I’m in disbelief that he’s there because it’s so real, and yet my waking self knows he’s dead. So the first part of our interaction is my asking how he’s here with me. And his response is always the same – “I may have died but I never left.”
  3. With practice, you can return to a dream to change the outcome or even step back into the dream if you want it to continue. This has been helpful when I dream about something scary. One time in particular, something horribly bad happened to one of my children. I woke briefly, thought about it in some dreary, semi-conscious state, and immediately went back to sleep with a clear intention: step back into the dream and change the outcome, which I did. And it felt genuine and natural. I simply continued the plot until it came to a satisfactory conclusion. Could we do this all the time, perhaps, but part of dreaming is being open to what comes up.
  4. Online dream interpretation is all too easy to explore. It can be fun and/or alarming to read about what visions of snails, lions, and orcas (all in my recent dreams) mean. But while investigating, keep in mind that a single dream is far less meaningful and significant than a series of the same.

We all know that being asleep, and staying asleep for 7-9 hours is good for the brain, but who knew that dreaming actually helps with becoming “woke.”

With loving gratitudes,

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