December 8, 2011

Of bad dreams and the search for serenity

Day 342 of Vintage 365

Long before the sun had cracked like an egg in a sizzling hot frying pan above the horizon, I was awoken a few mornings ago by a bad dream. It wasn't (on my personal scale at least) a full-on nightmare, but it was the sort of nocturnal mental stage show that one is mightily relieved to open their eyes from.

My dreams are usually very realistic in the sense that I almost never have whimsical, off-the-wall visions that play out like a fantasy novel in the recesses of my mind. My dreams are stark, vivid and loaded with elements that could just as easily have been part of my waking universe.

In reviewing, the moment my eyes sprung open at 4:00am, my dream that day, I instantly saw a mishmash of elements that were either precise representations or easily decoded symbolism for many of the most pressing stresses, worries and niggling thoughts that are comprising my world right now.


{This darling vintage embroidery transfer of a sleeping child from the 1930s calls to mind the sort of peace we all yearn for when we hunker down for a night of slumber, yet which is sometimes rather tricky, especially when our minds are rapt with worry, to achieve. Image via Bustle & Sew on Flickr.}

A little shaken, but not entirely perturbed, I crawled out of bed and went to the living room couch, waiting (as I knew she automatically would) for my sweet cat, Stella, to come hop onto me for an early AM snuggle. I needed to stair at the off white walls before dawn broke, calm my mind a tad, and try and ready myself for another day that I knew would be filled with the very things that spawned the dream I was trying to recover from.

As I rhythmically stroked Stella's soft fur and pondered how to inject a little tranquility into the forthcoming day, I was reminded by the now famous Seinfeld episode, Serenity Now, in which George Cosstanza's father is advised to say the words "serenity now" any time he feels his stress levels rising.

Instead of calmly repeating this positive affirmation however, he usually ends up screaming it angrily. It's all to easy to relate to how Mr. Costanza sometimes, as the elusive force that is true serenity can be a rather tricky creature to track down, especially in the heat of a difficult, stressful or otherwise problematic situation.

I'm not the sort of person who's prone to losing their temper or yelling, and try not to do such things as much as possible, but I can fully relate to how sometimes the ability to find peace in the midst of strife, worrisome moments, and challenging experiences can only stand to aggravate your mood further.

Luckily, however, such was not the case that particular morning. The longer Stella and I shared a cuddle, the more the grip of my bad dream began to fad away. It won't be forgotten any time soon, but at least, after a few minutes, I was able to fill my mind with other thoughts and ready myself to tackle the very elements of life that given rise to it in the first place, once again.


  1. i can't stand nights like that!! funnily enough, i received this in my email this morning
    if you go to the site, you can't touch your keyboard or your mouse for 2 min. or you fail. you're supposed to just sit there and relax and listen to the ocean sounds.'s hoping tonight's dreams are all beaches and sunshine. :)

  2. I'm sorry you had a bad dream, sweetie. You should have woken me up. I'd have reassured you.