Sunday, July 6, 2008

Exhaustion

This past week at FF, I felt extremely tired sitting through all the meetings. In fact, I found this year's FF far more tiring than any previous one I can remember. One reason may have been that the schedule has been reduced by one day the last three years, and that we crammed in lots of meetings with little free time.

On two consecutive nights this past week I remembered portions of dreams, which although not scary in the sense of nightmares, left me nevertheless feeling absolutely EXHAUSTED when I woke up. If I dreamed like this the other nights, that would partially explain the fatigue I felt during the daytime (which may not have been due after all just to the events of the daytime..)

Night one: I was surf-fishing on a beach, a beach not dissimilar to one which I occurred in at least one dream I had in the last few years (on the similar beach years ago, I recall landing a fish which had a head that looked sort of like a bald man and which talked!). This time, I and someone I have been experiencing personal conflict with the past year were out fishing and we each were landing trophy fish! (as if we were fishing for tuna on the open sea or something). But as we sought to land the fish two of them came floating out of the water and began trying to bite people. Feelings of detached horror...

The second night, I was on the bridge of a ship out on the open sea. It was pouring down rain, and the waves were rough (this has some basis in reality, as back in 1988 I was on an Argentine navy ship in seas like this for a few days, with the ship tossing in what seemed like 45 degree angles). I don't remember anyone else from this dream, and again it didn't feel like a nightmare (felt rather like one of those dreams you knew you were dreaming, or like a watching a movie or TV show), but again I woke up feeling absolutely EXHAUSTED.

Although I slept long each night, I know one other field member who went through the whole week only sleeping a few hours each night. I guess there's more emotional/interpersonal stuff blowing beneath the surface this year in the lives of some of us... If I had to guess, I'd hypothesize that both the stormy sea as well as the attacking trophy fish both represent exhausting emotions related to resolving interpersonal conflict, which we spent some time this past week discussing.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

College Dorm Room

I've had a number of dreams in recent days, but as usual, I've not been good about journaling them so mostly they've been forgotten.

One I had some days ago that has stuck with me because I reviewed the details immediately upon awaking follows:

I was in my dorm room my freshman year at NCSU back way back when. Without my permission, my roommate had rearranged the furniture. My bed had been pushed aside and his moved to a new location as well in order to accomodate a sofa and maybe some other stuff as well.

Nothing like this happened in real life with this particular roommate back in college. We only roomed together first semester. He did have a lot of drugs sent to him in the mail, etc. but was mellow and easy to get along with. I ran into him years later and he had become a Christian! I moved over to his room that first semester when in addition to the guy I was originally supposed to room with, another guy was put in making it a threesome. In the first two or three weeks of school, he would come back drunk in the middle of the night and crank the stereo, without considering the fact that others (ie. me) were sleeping.

Don't know why this stuck with me except that recently I've been concerned again about the respecting of others' rights, boundaries, etc. (see tent post in Prattler blog)

Saturday, May 31, 2008

Jethro!

I posted in my regular blog the other day about an unpleasant encounter with neighbors. That night a dream I was having morphed into it. I don't remember the nature of the early part of the dream, but before I knew it I was talking to one of my Taiwanese farmer neighbors' sons. Only the person I was talking to was not Taiwanese... it was Jethro from the old TV show the Beverly Hillbillies! Guess the connection my brain unconsciously made to that particular TV series character reveals a judgement call I made against my neighbors... Interesting dream observation anyway.

Friday, May 30, 2008

Above-Ground Moria

I awoke around 4 and made 4 quick mental notes of dream details which I repeated several times in an attempt to memorize for recollection in the morning. Unfortunately, since I didn't bother to write them down, they were mostly forgotten by mid-morning when I tried to recall them!

Reconstructed (and perhaps somewhat different) Scene 2:

I was with my brother and another high school classmate -- the only one I've been able to stay somewhat connected with off and on over the years (being an army brat living overseas in high school led to that kind of disconnect). Strangely, the high school buddy, though we've seen each other a few times over the years, was wearing the large frame glasses he wore in our high school yearbook, and his hair was also high school length-- that's the image of him my brain conjured up. It seems the image of my brother was also a younger version than today's.

We were about to traverse a large building with surreal miniature features (doors and windows and risen walkways and stairways much smaller than normal). The reason we were trying to make our way through the building is because by going in and down we could make our way down what would otherwise have been a difficult climb down a steep cliff/mountainside. In waking it sort of reminded me of sort of an above-ground Lord-of-the-Rings Moria shortcut attempt. But no fear involved... it seemed to be some sort of adventure.

Flashback to Scene 1 (also reconstructed and perhaps somewhat different):

With a number of fellow adventurers/ explorers/compatriot buddies in a room with risen walkways as we made our way out from one entrance before continuing on along through another door. Who they were is foggy now, but I seem to recall a few college Inter-Varsity buddies in the mix (of course, since I a haven't seen most of them in years they hadn't aged in the dream).

Common Denominator/Attempt at Interpretation (though I forgot the other details):

Been missing male companionship over the years for this kind of male bonding thing.... Plenty of women friends in churches here... had lunch with a pastor and lady deaconness in Taichung just today. But the men are missing, at least a lot of the ones with the willingness, time, or inclination to do stuff together. Hopefully this upcoming year will be a breath of fresh air with two guys in some form connected with our team who might enjoy doing some stuff occasionally together as time permits. And there's also my neighbor Mr. Wu who's always inviting me to eat strange things and go hiking with him!

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Eating

Last night I dreamed I was in the lobby of a school. The students were a combination of different people from different places. Some, as I recall now, may have been from the US, and some from here in Taiwan. Ages also varied.

One of the teachers I met in the lobby was actually a severely-mentally challenged 19 year-old student I taught several days in a special education school last year in Maryland. Though 19, he had the mental acuity of about a 6 year old. Here in the dream, however, Kevin was healed of his infirmity!

The only other scene I can recall from the dream was looking down a hallway at a cafeteria table where some students were eating lunch. The table and the students sitting there were also reminiscent of the highly-challenged class of 5 I taught and helped teach over one year ago now at the special ed school. Different people, but still somehow I know that was the allusion. I wonder why my brain pulled upon those particular images? Maybe we'll learn more tonight...

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Driving

I've been lax in recording dreams. Hard to get back into the habit of remembering and recording before they slip away in the middle of the night or first thing in the morning.

I only remember a very small part of a dream from last night: I was driving one of our organizations old-and-getting-older Nissan vans and delivering a group of people (coworkers-- Taiwanese or western I could not remember) to a destination somewhere. I have no clue where.

Anyway, though this dream nugget is basically completely worthless, I want to get back into the habit of journaling what I remember. By the grace of God I can begin to do better again.

Monday, May 5, 2008

Segments of 5 Dreams

After a few days of not taking time to pay attention or record (although I remember dreams from at least 2 nights), this morning I find I can recall portions of 4 or 5 different dreams, or 2 dreams with different acts, if you want to look at it that way. However, the level of detail now is sparse as I didn't write anything down immediately after having them.

Dream 1: A surrealistic seashore in which the sand/seashore was more like a mountain, but it was still made of sand. The water was more like an enclosed lagoon. While there were no large waves, there were currents.

There was some sort of waterboard/surfing contest about to begin-- I think the goal was more or less to scoot around the surface of the water in circles sort of like on a skateboard. I wasn't participating; just sitting up on the beach observing with some other folks. I was familiar with all the people there but can't remember who they were now. The first person who started off quickly got sucked under momentarily. Because the currents were bad in that way, they called off the rest of the contestants. Oh well; that's all about I can remember from this weird dream now.

Dream 2: Also a surrealistic seashore setting, but with a normal beach, but again no large waves. It must have been more like an ocean sound. The beach going by it was almost like a park. This time, it was the water that was different. First, I had a flashback recollection to what I believe was an earlier dream dating some time back: There was a wavepool with shallower water as you moved beyond it out. Inside the wave pool were not just your regular cute little fish and starfish, etc. There were a few huge fish in it, including sharks! The reason why people liked to walk by there was specifically to observe what was in it. I think in my earlier dream some time ago I even remember people down there swimming in it but I thought it would be too dangerous.

This time, they were doing some construction out beyond the wavepool area. It looked like and because of the construction, all the wildlife in the pool was gone. All there were at this point were iron poles sticking out of the water, but it looked like they were going to put in a large pavilion of some sort on the water.

Dream 3: With some friends from years ago (I only remember one of them now, a nice guy named Neequaye-- but the Neeq from 13 years ago!) He had a few dogs, one of whom was unique because it was missing 2 legs (either front or back, I can't remember now). It was an extremely happy and joyful in spite of its loss and inability to move around on its own. When I asked about it, I was told its previous owners were cruel to it. The dog was not the central element to this dream, and I've forgotten the setting (except that were were insight, perhaps in a cafeteria of some sort sitting around) as well as the plot to the story.

Dream 4: Same characters as 3. Neequaye and some others were outside now playing frisbee with another dog playing as well. Toward the end I walked over to the side and saw the other lame dog lying on its side. Again, forgotten most of the detail.

And in the few minutes since I got up, got the coffee made, birds out, these dreams written, etc. I've forgotten the other dream!

Nothing much to interpret here and not much in details. But hopefully the exercise in trying to recall them will aid in recalling more next time.

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Second Dream of First Night

I didn't recall this one until I was well into my first cup of coffee for the new day:

I was a participant in some kind of casual cross-country bicycle race/competition somewhere (here in Taiwan, or a morphing of several geographical locales).

For whatever reason (good starting position and the casual nature of the event?), I started out in front. We were free to stop for rests, etc. and I guess that is what other participants were doing. In my dream, I clearly remember a group of cyclists stopping off at a temple to worship the local gods while I continued alone, passing them on. There were certain stations one had/could stop at to do different things along the way, numbered like golf course holes.

Problem was, for the life of me, beyond the #3 or #4 stop, I could not find any signs directing the route. So I dropped back and retraced the route. Then I just sort of dropped out, checked out some of the other sights, and went back to the organizer’s booth (in the dream, simply following the other participants was not an option I guess because that is not how the dream logically progressed-- the other bikers sort of mysteriously passed out of sight without me ever seeing any of them again). I did hear a few others complain of not being able to spot the signs, although the organizer was adamant he had set them up.

During this latter stage, there was some other minor apparent flaw due to the organizers that came to my attention. This hick-up was not in the bicycle route part of the event, but in what may have been one of the optional stop-off events. It's all too foggy now.

So what might this one mean? Time to slow down and retrace some steps? (that's what dream interpretation is all about, really). Consistent with the earlier dream, a mild sense of injustice? Don't take the speck out of your neighbors' eye until you take the log out of your own? Guys who start out first up front finish last? Don't eat cheesecake at 10:00 pm before going to bed? I remember reading some years ago that the mind tends to operate with the same points in mind when it comes to serial dreams in the same evening. Help! I need an interpreter (or maybe a psychologist?).

Dream in the Night

I awoke a little while ago here in the middle of the night from a mildly disquieting nightmare. In the dream, I was making some sort of financial transaction in an unidentified public setting when in filed a group of people I immediately identified as part of the local underworld (I don't know how I knew-- this realization was simply part of the dream). Near the end of the line of the people who walked into the room was a young ruffian gangster, maybe in his 20's, dressed very informally. He confronted me by bullying me in a haughty manner. He would not dissuade from staring me down and heckling me, but although I think I could have taken him, because of the wider implications of my role here, as well as my awareness of the other people present (and his wider well-connected network!) I chose simply to walk away from the conflict.

As I believe dreams are often related to unresolved issues we face during our waking hours that our mind seeks to process when the body is "offline", so to speak, I feel I can take a stab as to how this dream is connected to my daytime context (the connection may not be so obvious, but hey, I'm journaling in the middle of the night!):

This night I feel myself grieving... Grieving that certain directions in my/our work here can no longer/never be pursued. Grieving also that some certain relational lines can never be pursued. Being bullied by the environment? Maybe just will have to figuratively walk away from this battle, while sticking around for the longer war... The bottom line is that it feels somewhat unfair. God though never says that life is fair.

All this leaves me rejoicing in the word of the Lord:

For my thoughts are not your thoughts,
  neither are your ways my ways, declares the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth,
  so are my ways higher than your ways
  and my thoughts than your thoughts. Isaiah 55:8-10

耶和華說:“我的意念不是你們的意念,你們的道路也不是我的道路。 天怎樣高過地,我的道路也怎樣高過你們的道路,我的意念也怎樣高過你們的意念。