Wednesday, October 26, 2011

...Last Night I Dreamt I Saw the End of the World...

Or maybe it was just the end of my world, I don’t know.

But I saw it very clearly and it was very scary.

Strangely, it was the third dream I’ve had in the last month that involved me being on fire or in a fire. One friend of mine happened to be in two of the dreams. The building in the third dream is a building I dream of often. I’ve never physically been to this building in my life and if I ever happen walk into it, I will turn around, walk right back out and keep walking until my legs give out. Then I will drag myself.

In the first dream, I was accidentally (I hope) set on fire by something I thought was dead.

In the second dream, I looked for a fire extinguisher to put out a fire in my mom’s basement only to be told that the only extinguisher in the house was, you guessed it, in the basement.

In the third dream, the one where I saw the end of the world, I was in a party I couldn’t get out of. Somehow I ended up in the lower level of the aforementioned building. There is an explosion. Then dinosaurs. Then Russell Brand. And finally the realization that I am trapped in burning building in a courtyard adjacent to multiple other burning buildings.

I know that some dreams are compilations of random thoughts, sometimes passing images, and vivid memories, but I believe that dreams can also have a real meaning or contain messages or clues.
So I pulled out all of the old dream books and revisited a few online favorites to figure out what all these fire dreams mean. Most sources divide the symbolism into three categories: negative, positive, and “the third one”

  • Fire in the Negative: repressed rage, or fear of raging
  • Fire in the Positive: purification; renewal or regeneration (which is interesting because Scorpios are often associated with the rise of the Phoenix and I am a Scorpio.)
  • Fire in the “Third One”: sex. There is always some source that suggest pretty much anything you dream about is related to sex. I don’t think that’s the case here, but I detail the dreams all the way down below the earworms, so you’re welcome to read and judge for yourself.

I thought about these alleged symbols- the first two, anyway- and I can see room for both of them to be correct.

In the negative, I think I do feel there’s some rage still left inside me and I find myself struggling to control some of my angrier emotions. And I feel rage and anger at the thought of having to control the emotions. On the other hand, I feel better now than I have in a long time. I discovered something of a cure for depression and having used it for nearly two months now, it seems to really be working well for me. I’ll take a minute to share that in case you’re interested or know someone in need. It’s easy.

I read somewhere that mental illness is just the inability to understand or accept the natural course of negative emotions. This method I use does the exact opposite.

  1. Identify the feeling.
  2. Identify the source/name the reasons why.
  3. Identify what you can do about it, then do it.
So for example, I might say (1) I feel sad, angry and frustrated because (2) I’m having serious time management issues and don’t feel like I have enough time to do all the things I want to do. I feel further upset because I feel like people are disrespectful of my time. People treat me like I sit around twiddling my thumbs all day waiting for them to ask me to do something. And I don’t make matters any better by always doing what they want. (3) From now on, I will make sure I set aside some time for myself every day. That’s going to be hard and maybe not very realistic, so I’ll pick some magic days. I will keep my distance from people that I know are demanding of my time on the magic days. Anyone that can’t be avoided will get an automatic “no” response on the magic days. I will change them weekly so people don’t figure out when to ask me something. This week, the magic days are Tuesday, Thursday and Friday.

I know that sounds like the simplest, dumbest, most ridiculous technique you’ve ever heard but I swear to you it’s been working and I dare to say that not only have I not been depressed since I started doing it, but I would almost label the feeling as happiness.

Yeah I said it.

Happiness.

And if it’s something that you can’t take positive action steps on then your third step needs to be resolve to move forward. So in step 3 you would say to yourself, “there’s not much I can do about that right now. So I will come back and revisit it next Sunday evening and worry about it at that time.” If the thought tries to come back then you say, “no, I’ll worry about that on next Sunday evening.”

Something about putting a date on it makes it easier to not worry about it right at that moment. Maybe knowing that you aren’t ignoring the problem and will address it properly relieves some anxiety. Or your step 3 might be, “that’s in the past and I can’t go back and change what happened but I will remember it and make sure it never happens again and handle it differently next time if there is a next time.”

Some of you are rolling your eyes at me right now, but I’m telling you this thing is working.

  • You just say it calmly, plainly and in as much detail as you want.
  • You can’t mince words or hold anything back or it won’t work.
  • You should be alone when you say it so there’s no outside influence or feedback. Plus, there won’t be any pressure to say it “nicely” and with regard to someone else’s feelings. This is about you and your needs.
I feel like I can almost promise you that if you try it, you’ll feel at least a little better.

And that brings me to the positive spin on the fire dreams.

Since starting this new technique, I must say that I do feel like a new me. I feel like I’m coming back from one of the worst times in my life, and I feel good about moving forward and dealing better with certain people and situations and, maybe, too things in general. If fire dreams are truly a symbol of renewal and regeneration, I think I know why I keep having them.

A third dream interpretation could be that it’s nothing at all. My night brain might just be blending and whirring random images together in an odd fashion that sort of makes a story, but the story doesn’t make complete sense. The problem with that theory is that I haven’t watched any strange movies, don’t watch much TV, and have mostly been reading biographies (plus a very cute children’s book titled, “Bark George”- please read it for a laugh), so I don’t know what I could have seen or experienced that would be feeding these weird dreams.

And then the final horrible possibility is that I really saw the end of the world. It wouldn’t be the first time I saw something in a dream, or even as a daytime slideshow in my mind that turned into something real.
It’s usually something small like a visit from someone or a piece of a conversation or the sight of an unfamiliar location. Days, weeks, or even months later, it will happen in real life as part of some greater experience. I always think, “oh, now it makes sense.”

Some have been really strange and nearly full on psychic premonitions.

I once dreamt that I was driving, heard a “pop!” sound, then drove into a sudden blinding snow storm, then I heard some loud clanging. Less than a week later I was in a very bad car accident. When the airbag deployed (pop!) all I saw was a huge white puff of smoke (blinding snow storm) and that was when my car jumped the curb and mowed down a street light (loud clanging.) It was gnarly.

that's the front bumper sitting on top of what was left of my car

Another time I dreamt that I was somewhere sunny, and a cute guy smiled at me. I looked down and noticed I was wearing this really beautiful red and gold dress that I would probably never wear in real life. I loved it so much when I woke up I couldn’t stop thinking about it. That weekend, I was shopping with my sister when we passed the exact dress in a Nordstrom’s window. I don’t usually shop there but I couldn’t help myself. The tag even had my name in it! Sold!  I still have the dress, but I never found the cute guy.

Let’s assume the scary fire dreams were only dreams that mean nothing and are in no danger of becoming true.

As for the cute guy in the sunny place, feel free to show up at any time.

I just read that Pharrell was writing a book tentatively titled, “Places and Spaces I’ve Been” which of course put the Donald Byrd song in my head. It’s an awesome song, so I don’t mind.


Faith No More – Epic



Rod Stewart – Infatuation




Dream details …If you’re interested…



Dream #1

I was in a car with my ex-boyfriend, another friend of ours, that guy’s girlfriend and a fourth person that kept switching genders.

We arrive at some old Munsters looking house. The four of us go in, but the fifth person (Gender Switcher) stays in the car for a minute before taking off. I ask where they are going and am told they’ll be back. I mention I don’t think it’s a good idea for us to be at this place without transportation away but I’m ignored. We get in and the floor is all ice. We slide to another part of the house and it looks like an old library. It’s freezing cold and someone decides to burn books to keep us warm. I protest again and am ignored again. I start to realize there are other people in the room. Some of them dead, some of them barely moving.

I walk past one lady I think is dead and she sits up and appears to flip a coin to the middle of the table she’s sitting at. It ignites and I’m so surprised I jump and back away. It feels like I’ve been stabbed in the back and I realize I’m on fire. I scream for help and stop, drop and roll. I don’t think anyone came over to help me, but I woke up after I rolled around on the floor for a minute. My back was stinging for days after that dream.

Dream #2

I’m at my mom’s house and someone rings the doorbell. When I get up to answer it there is smoke coming from the basement. I wake up my mom and ask her where the fire extinguisher is and she says, really plainly as if nothing is wrong, “in the basement.”

I go down there and it seems like it takes me forever to get to the bottom of the stairs. I find the extinguisher but can’t tell exactly where the source of the fire is because there is too much smoke. Then I realize the extinguisher doesn’t work. I make my way all the way back upstairs to the top floor and my mother has apparently gone back to bed. I cover her face with a wet towel and push her out a window but I’m afraid to jump. I think I died in that one.

Side Note: I know people say you can’t die in your dreams but I do it all the time. They also say that if you’re falling in a dream you’ll wake up before you hit the ground. Not true either. I hit the ground all the time.

Dream #3

It started in some weird party where the rooms seemed like individual apartments. You could open any door and you would either still be in the party or in someone’s home. Everyone was weird. I think I had been drinking. And there were a lot of people laying on the floor wearing towels over their heads like they were trying to cool themselves.

I felt sick and kept running into some strange people so I wanted to leave and couldn’t open the right door to get out. I just kept opening doors and walking through hoping to figure out this maze of apartments.

I ended up on the lower level of some building with long, dark, steely looking corridors. The floors seemed to dip for no reason other than aesthetic and the windows were floor to ceiling. When you looked out you could see other tall and wide brick buildings and I assume the building I’m in looks the same but I’ve never seen the outside of it in any dream.

I was walking deeper into the building when a few people ran past me in a panic going the other way, so I stopped and ran back, too. As I headed outside I saw a huge explosion in one of the buildings further away. The whole thing just went up in a giant fireball. Some people kept running out but I stopped in my tracks. Then I noticed dinosaurs eating the nearby greenery: trees, shrubs, whatever was convenient. They didn’t seem to notice or mind the explosion.

I ran to what appeared to be a lobby and waited for further instructions. There were emergency personnel everywhere but no one I could talk to. I saw a few kids sitting in chairs reading but they didn’t look worried.

Next thing I know I’m in some room that reminds me of my old dorm room with the suites sharing a bathroom. For some reason I go through the bathroom and leave through the front door of that room. I get lost trying to find the elevator. (Every time I dream of this building I get lost in the hallway. No matter how far down and around you walk, it’s seems you never get to it. I suspect the elevator door looks like a regular apartment/room door but I can never remember this in the dream, only when I’m awake and trying to interpret the dream.)

I give up and then get lost trying to find the stairs. I finally find them but they don’t go straight down, or spiral down or have any recognizable order for a staircase. Each floor has some odd door to get on to that floor. The door might be a strange size or shape, or not have obvious handles, or be made of something weird (one door was made of musical instruments). I usually have to jump or stretch out my legs, or hang off a railing to get to the door from the stairway but I can never walk straight to it. In one instance I had to walk on moving rocks in water to get from the stairs to the door. In another instance, I had to go down a small ladder from the staircase, cross over to another ladder and then climb back up to the door, and open it from a handle at the bottom.

Each time I’m sure I’ve found the right door to escape to a safe floor, it always has the most impossible method to get to it from the staircase. At one point, I’m stuck on a staircase and look up and see what appears to be Russell Brand holding a baby doll. He’s talking to it like it’s a real baby. And since he’s tall and leggy, he leaps right over my head to another landing and yells for a firefighter. He gets saved and I’m still stuck.

I finally find a door I can get to. It didn’t look like a door. I just had a strange feeling and pushed it and it opened. I realize I’m back on the same floor I started on. I go back to my room, get into bed and listen to the overhead announcer tell everyone to stay put and help is on the way. The phone rings and it’s one my ex-boyfriends. (The same one from dream #1)

He says to me, “So, I guess you’re okay then. I watching it on TV. I wasn’t sure which building was yours, but that whole square is f—ked up.”

I go to the window and see that every building in the vicinity is engulfed in flames. The sky is nothing but black smoke and orange flames and I realize there are flames coming up past my window from some floor below me. I start to cry and tell him I’m scared. I didn’t know it was that bad and I’m going to try again to leave and I’ll call him back when I’m safe. He says something strange but I either couldn’t understand it or don’t remember it. I remember the sound of the words, not the words themselves. I go to open the door and it’s obvious I’m too late to leave.

So whaddaya think?

I’m really interested in your interpretations.

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