Monday, 30 March 2015

Lucid Dream Tutorials - Dream Journals, Dreamsigns & Reality Checks (LUCID DREAMING FOR BEGINNERS TUTORIAL SERIES)

Tutorial Aims
  • Experience Level: Beginner (Level 1)
  • Explain the importance of maintaining a daily dream journal and the benefits for lucid dreaming
  • Provide advice on how to keep a daily dream journal
  • Provide an explanation of dreamsigns and how to recognise and use them for lucid dreaming
  • Explain the importance of reality checking
  • Explore how reality checking relates to dreamsigns in DILDs (Dream Initiated/Induced Lucid Dreams) and how both can be used to effectively trigger lucidity within the non-lucid dream state

This tutorial provides a more in-depth guide to dream journals, dreamsigns and reality checks. These are all elements of DILD (Dream Initiated/Induced Lucid Dreams) which we are learning using Stephen LaBerge's MILD Technique (known as either Memory Induced Lucid Dreaming/Mnemonic Induction of Lucid Dreaming). 

The introduction to my 6-step MILD Technique Tutorial in the Tallulah La Ghash Lucid Dreaming for Beginners Tutorial Series can be found by clicking this link. It is strongly advised that you read that Blog post before this one, if you have not already done so.

Dream Journals
If you want to lucid dream, it is essential that you begin training yourself to recall as many dreams as you can. If you can't remember your dreams when you wake up, you will never know if you are being triggered to have a lucid dream. Some people say if you don't remember you dream, you might become lucid and not know about it. I tend to think that this misunderstands the nature and experience of lucid dreams. When we become lucid in a dream, we have access to our conscious mind - our waking brains - in the dream state. Therefore, it is likely that becoming lucid would be enough of a 'eureka!' moment to have a significant impact on our psyche (even when asleep) to process that memory so that we remember the lucid dream when we wake up. However, if we don't tend to recall our normal non-lucid dreams every night, we might miss value triggers which would allow us to experience a DILD. 

A dream journal helps us to recognise dreamsigns which the prompt us to reality check when we next notice one in a normal non-lucid dream. 

Some people like to use a Dream Anchor to help them set an intention to remember their dreams. This could be a picture on your bedroom wall which you look at last thing before you go to sleep and first thing when you wake up. While looking at the Dream Anchor, you perform your Dream Affirmations - which might be 'I will remember my dreams' or 'I will experience a lucid dream'. The affirmation creates a trigger which the subconscious brain can relate to, encouraging you to focus on your dreams and associate the Dream Anchor with the act of remembering your dream.

Here are my core techniques for successfully keeping a Dream Journal:

  • Keep your Dream Journal (a notebook or a piece of paper and a pen) right beside your bed, or even under your pillow. It needs to be within arm's length every time you go to sleep.
  • When you first wake up, remain in the same position that you awoke in and keep your eyes closed. Do not let any thoughts distract you - focus only on your dream and attempt to recall it in full. Get it clear in your head.
  • If possible, I sometimes speak my dream out loud to myself as I recall it, to properly affix it in my waking memory.
  • If I cannot recall my dream very well, I use a stream of conscious/free association technique. This means saying/writing everything and anything which comes into your mind, without censoring or editing your thought process. It is a completely free flow of thoughts, which should not be restricted in any way. This may allow your subconscious mind to 'recall' lost aspects of your dream. You can write your stream of conscious exercise in your Dream Journal - do not bother about spelling or grammar, as long as your entry can be read by yourself.
  • Us your Dream Journal to write down as much of your dream as you can remember - in as much detail as possible.
  • Even if you cannot recall all of your dream, note down anything that you do remember in your Dream Journal, such as colours, shapes, sounds, words, thoughts, emotions etc.
  • Try to write in the immediate first-person - i.e. from your own present-tense perspective. Record your dream like: 'I am walking on a beach' rather than 'I walked on a beach'. I admit that I do record my own dreams in third-person on my Dream Journal/Blog, but I recall them in my mind in first-person. 
  • If you can draw a sketch to illustrate any aspects of your dream in your Dream Journal, do so. I use the internet to find photographs which relate to the dream content - particularly if I dream about celebrities or objects from the waking world. This can help with later Dream Visualisation. 
  • Give your dream a catchy title and date it.
  • If you know specifically when your dream occurred - i.e. what approximate time it occurred within your general sleep pattern for that night, you can gain an understanding of your sleep cycle and when you are most likely to experience the longest, most vivid dreams. This should be quite easy if your dreams are occurring during a WBTB/WB2B (Wake-Back-To-Bed Method).
  • Identify key themes in your dream. You may find that this reveals certain Dream Signs, making them more obvious to you (see below). You should use keywords to highlight strong themes, such as 'Sex', 'Death', 'Nature', 'Education', 'Family', 'Zombies' etc, and use these keywords to annotate your Dream Journal. This makes it possible to recognise recurrent themes - another way of using Dreamsigns to trigger lucidity.
  • Read through your Dream Journal as much as possible - and particularly before bed or if performing the WBTB/WB2B (Wake-Back-To-Bed Method) or an afternoon nap.
  • You will use your dream journal to note Dreamsigns (see below).
  • If you experience a lucid dream - note this in your Dream Journal. Include any lucid dream triggers which caused you to have a DILD. 
  • Note down any Day Residue - Day Residue was Freud's term for the events or experiences of the previous day (i.e. the day before the dream) which seems to have influenced the content of the dream. For example, if you see a pink rose at some point during your waking day, you might dream of a pink rose when you go to sleep at night. Your Day Residue may be even more obscure or symbolised - for example, you may meet a female dream character named 'Rose' who is dressed in pink. Try and note any waking influences on your dream content as you read your latest entry in your Dream Journal after writing it. I try and analyse the past few days before any of my dreams to see if I can recognise any Day Residue. 
  • Use your Dream Journal to note down your immediate waking thoughts and emotions - as well as any lingering feelings created by the dream affect or influence your waking life. This is known as Dream Residue. Did your dream make you feel happy? depressed? exhilarated? anxious?
  • Note any major life issues in your Dream Journal - you can do this underneath each dream entry or just at regular periodic points throughout the journal, which should be organised in chronological order.
  • Think about interpreting or analysing your dream to enable you to understand your subconscious mind and dream ego. Interpreting your dreams can reveal a lot about the real you, as well as focusing your waking mind on the act of dreaming, which in turn will stimulate you to pay more attention to your dreams generally. Note down any interpretations in your Dream Journal - using either dream interpretation guides online; the stream of conscious/free associate technique favoured by psychoanalysts; or in any way you feel helps you unlock the secret meaning of your dream. There are no bad dream interpretation methods.

Many lucid dreamers use Dreamsigns to help them become lucid. Dreamsigns are the odd, bizarre, weird or impossible events or objects which occur/appear in dreams which make us think: 'I must be dreaming!'

When we are asleep and dreaming, the pre-frontal cortex and the orbital frontal cortex of our brain (our 'conscious' which is located behind the eyes) is deactivated. This is the rational fact-checker part of our brain. When it is shut down, we do not tend to question the reality of our dreams and just accept the action/events without necessarily recognising that they could only happen in a dream. The amygdala - the part of the brain which controls our fear and emotions is very active while we are in the dream state. 

There are many levels of lucid dreaming.  I tend to use the following: 

  • Pre-lucid - The dreamer recognises the dream-like quality of the dream, although the dreamer doe not actually become lucid).
  • Semi-lucid - The lowest level of lucidity - the dreamer realises that they could be dreaming due to the impossibility of the dream content, but either wakes up or remains in a halfway state, still accepting the reality of the dream content. The dreamer has access to some of their waking mind, such as thoughts, memories and emotions, but does not have their full waking cognitive processes).
  • Fully-lucid - The dreamer is triggered to become lucid and is consciously aware that they are dreaming. They have access to their waking mind and may be able to control some aspects of the dream).
  • Super-lucid - The dreamer is consciously aware that they are dreaming and can exercise high levels of control over the dream, in the style of a 'Dream Architect').

Due to the de-activation of the fact-checking part of our brain which occurs when we are asleep and dreaming, it can be very difficult to spot Dreamsigns when we are in a dream. This is why writing them down in your Dream Journal will help you. You will be able to note any recurrent Dreamsigns/themes which will remind you to notice/question next time they appear in a normal non-lucid dream. When you are able to spot a Dreamsign in a normal non-lucid dream, and you start to wonder if you are dreaming, this is the optimal time to perform a Reality Check to make sure. We will discuss how Reality Checks relate to Dreamsigns below. 

So a Dreamsign is any clue/cue that you are in a dream and that the dream reality is not real. Dreamsigns can be very obvious (you can talk to animals) or it may be very personal and subjective (your dead father is still alive). 

Stephen LaBerge identifies 4 categories of Dreamsign:

  • Inner Awareness - There is something odd/bizarre about your own in-dream thoughts, memories, sensations, perceptions or feelings.
  • Action - A physical action or activity is impossible, or significantly different/wrong in the way it is experienced.
  • Form - The shape or appearance of a person. object or location is significantly different to how it appears in waking reality.
  • Context - The situation you are in is contrary to real life or so odd, bizarre, weird or impossible that it could only occur in a dream.

When you recognise a Dreamsign in your Dream Journal entries, mark it - for example, by highlighting it or underlining it. Categorise your Dreamsigns according to LaBerge's 4 categories (I, A, F or C) and make sure you identify recurrent Dreamsigns. The more attention you pay to Dreamsigns in your waking reality, the more chance you will have in spotting them when they next occur in your dream. The art of lucid dreaming is to stretch the limits of your conscious when you are asleep, but it helps if you exercise your conscious awareness while you are awake, and entrain your memory to help you trigger lucidity.

Here is an example of a previous Dream Journal entry of my own, which I have used to show you how to mark and categorise your Dreamsigns:

'An Alcoholic Ghost Child & the House of Rats'
Dream date: 29 May 2014
Myself (and others - maybe my family, or friends) were being given a new house. This house was being given to me/us by the game The Sims (C - Context: only possible in a video-game) - it looked like it was made of computer-generated graphics (pixelated) (F - Form: reality does not look like computer-generated graphics). All houses which were given by The Sims came with a bonus gift - a piece of furniture or something related to the house. There was a computer-game like flash of light and a sofa spawned from nowhere (A/C - Action: objects do not spawn from a flash of light; Context - this is an impossible scenario) - it was beige leather (three-seater) with wooden arm rests. Unfortunately the sofa also came with a ghost baby (C - Context: this is an impossible scenario). I then realised that my mum also lived in new computer house with me. The ghost baby was now a ghost child, although she seemed to age quickly, as it did not seem as if any amount of time had passed since we first moved into the new house (I/C - Inner Awareness: perception of time feels odd; Context: this is an impossible scenario). *The ghost child needed a lot of care because she was an alcoholic - she was white and translucent - like ghosts appear in The Sims3. She held two bottles of vodka, which were also white and transparent quality - she drank from them with straws. It was her first day of primary school and she was wearing a transparent school uniform and carrying a backpack. It was very bright - I think the lights in the house were on. When the alcoholic ghost child returned from school, she had aged into a teenager - she had short black hair (cut in a pudding-basin style) and huge, white-rimmed glasses on, which made her eyes look massive behind the lens. She was tall and big-built, almost masculine in appearance and body shape.* (All content about a ghost baby/child is a Dreamsign) She seemed to be very unintelligent, but now she was solid in form, like a normal human (F - Form: there has been a transformation within the dream which is impossible). I am not sure what she was wearing. In hindsight, she was very similar to the unknown female dream character (recurrent Dreamsign/theme?)  described in Dream 243 and Dream 242 (to a lesser extent, but there is something 'familiar' about these female dream characters who are all larger than me, with shorter dark hair and often wearing glasses). I felt annoyed that we had 'inherited' this tedious and needy alcoholic ghost child along with our sofa.

I was then with my mum sitting outside a pub, which appeared in some respects to the The Crown in Sheringham, which is a popular seafront pub. We were sat at a table, drinking. I think at this point in the dream it seemed to be sunny. To my right there was an old, dilapidated house (I/F - Inner Awareness: I recognised this location well-known to me in real-life looked different; Form - a location is significantly different to real-life) - which seemed to be made from rotting wood. I went closer to the building. On the side (which was crumbling) there was some kind of ledge, tilted at a diagonal angle, attached to the exterior wall. I think this was on the front, to the right of the entrance, which was just off-centre to the left of the building - just an open door with rubbish or litter outside. There was one huge rat (about as big as a lion) (F - Form: impossible size for a rat) resting on this ledge, and smaller rats (the size of a cat) running backwards and forwards over its back. I watched this in amazement for awhile. As I turned to walk back towards the pub, I saw I was still on the seafront, but it looked completely different from Sheringham - more industrialised and city-like (I/F - Inner Awareness: I recognised the location which is well-known to me in real-life looked very different; Form - the location was significantly different to real-life). The wooden building was still run-down and abandoned, but now seemed to be made of grey brick, in a very Soviet-like architectural style (F - Form: there was a transformation in the appearance of the building within the dream). There was graffiti on the outside walls. The road in front of me was very grey in colour and wide, with the beach to my left as I faced the direction The Crown had been in. I saw one man doing some form of manual labour on the roadside, and a cloud of dust blew up from the concrete. I realised that it was actually quite sunny again, whereas just seconds before everything had looked dreary and grey.

I then found out that DL's friend 'Gracie' (a dream character) (I - Inner Awareness: DL does not have a friend called Gracie) was planning on moving into the dilapidated seafront house. She had applied to the local council and was going to be paid housing benefit to live there. I thought that this house must have been broken up into smaller flats on the inside for this to be possible. I visited the house once again to have a look at the renovation work. Now, the house was no longer on the seafront, but instead a short distance away at the top of Sheringham town, where the new Tesco building is situated, beside the railway line (C - Context: the location of a building cannot just change). This area looked as it had when I was a child growing up in the town - there was the old fire station and also the 'Teen & Twenty' which was a community centre/youth club with a skateboard ramp to the side (I/F - Inner Awareness: I knew this location was different now to in my childhood memory and that I was dreaming of how the area looked in the past; Form: the location looked different to how I know it looks in real-life) - a popular skate spot before asbestos was found and the ramp got removed because of changes in use of the building. The dilapidated, ruined house still looked terrible, but it was now positioned behind the back of the Teen & Twenty. There was some kind of flowery garden which was elevated (F - Form: there is no elevated flowery garden in this location and it appeared to be an unrealistic area, not physically possible). It was where the skateboard ramp used to be - I found myself seated in the flower garden looking down at the house. There were other people there - it seemed to be twilight hours and some sort of party was happening, but it was genteel and calm, with people sat around conversing and enjoying drinks. 

I then found myself standing outside the ruined building, on the path in front of it. I had a huge syringe in my hand - it was much bigger than me. I injected the house with rats, using the window as an entrance point into the building (A/C - Action: impossible; Context: impossible). What came out of the needle-end of the syringe looked like wet, slimy white icing sugar or something like that. The syringe appeared to be made of ornate white and red cake decorations (F - Form: an operative syringe will never be made out of cake decorations or be filled with icing sugar). As I walked away from the building the sun began shining brightly and I realised that the local council offices were now situated right beside the ruined, rat-infested building - where the old fire station once was. I looked through the battered entrance to the ruined building and saw that there was a rave happening inside - I could see the vague outlines of lots of people dancing inside, either unaware or not caring about the rats I had just injected into the building with my massive syringe, which I no longer had in my hands.

I then found myself in my downstairs lounge in my house in Norwich. I was sitting at the dining table, either reading something or looking at my laptop screen while DL and 'Gracie' were sat behind me on stools. The room appeared exactly as it does in real-life. 'Gracie' was a very petite girl (she only reached my shoulder in height and looked very skinny) who  had bright red dyed hair in a punky style. She was wearing big pink earrings and denim dungarees. She and DL were talking, while I was annoyed because they were disturbing me. Gracie suddenly started crying hysterically and uncontrollably. DL explained that Gracie was very upset because she had just found out that the singer Lily Allen had died (C - Context: Lily Allen has not died). We all looked at a picture of Lily Allen on my laptop, and Gracie continued to cry loudly.

The scene changed and I was in my nan's bathroom in her house in Sheringham. There was another female with me (C - Context: why is there a random, unknown female in my nan's bathroom?), changing clothes. This female was tall and very wide. She was wearing a black top and black leggings. She had shoulder length black hair and an unattractive, masculine face. She turned round and cupped her breasts, which were long and saggy, down to her waist, despite the fact she was a young woman. She said: 'I was born with these, genetically'. I took this to mean that the breasts were a family trait. She said: 'I can't do anything about them because they are stuck like this' - she attempted to lift her breasts, but they were stuck to her waist (F - Form: it is physically impossible for a woman's breasts to be stuck to her waist). I felt sorry for her, but also contempt. I wondered why she was in the bathroom and had the sense that she was an intruder in the house. I wanted to get rid of her, but she seemed somewhat depressed about her breasts. 

Using your Dream Journal to note your Dreamsigns entrains you to start recognising them when they occur in a dream - and help you to start activating that fact-checker part of the brain while in the dream state. 

Reality Checks
Reality checks are a very simple lucid dreaming technique which train you to be more aware of your waking consciousness during the day. Using Reality Checks makes you more self-aware and once you establish them as a habitual activity, should begin to penetrate your dreams and become second-nature. Once your Reality Checking habit is strong enough to start to occur in your dreams, you will perform it when you recognise a Dreamsign.

A Reality Check is therefore a mental habit. You should choose an activity which has different results when you perform it awake and when you perform it in a dream. The brain creates 'neural constructs' which are based on experiential learning (learning from experience). By employing critical thinking and self-awareness exercises in your waking life, soon this learning will transfer into your dreams and help you become lucid. Some common Reality Checks include:
  • Looking in a mirror - in the dream our appearance is often distorted - sometimes to a small extent, and sometimes significantly.
  • Trying to push the fingers of one hand through the palm of another - this is impossible to do when awake, but can often happen easily when attempted in a dream.
  • Looking at your hands - they often appear distorted or odd in a dream.
  • Reading text/numbers - in a dream this is often difficult, impossible or yields bizarre results.
  • Maths - performing simple arithmetic may give unusual or bizarre results in a dream.
  • Holding the nostrils closed and trying to breathe through the nose - impossible when awake, but possible in the dream.
  • Jumping - when awake, gravity brings you back down to the ground, but in a dream, you may float.
Some Dreamsigns and Reality Checks may involve the same action. For example, if you are in a normal non-lucid dream and you look at your reflection in a mirror and notice that it appears bizarre and different from your waking expectation, this would be an example of a Dreamsign. If you have recognised a different Dreamsign within your dream (you can hold a conversation with your cat) and then use your reflection in the mirror to check whether you are dreaming, this is a Reality Check. Reading text in a dream can be a Dreamsign (if it makes you question whether you are dreaming) or a Reality Check (if performed to ascertain that you are definitely dreaming). Dreamsigns and Reality Checks are therefore interwoven in lucid dreaming practice.

The aim is to perform the Reality Check regularly throughout the waking day, to entrain your memory to remember to do this in your dreams. Set an alarm to remind your to Reality Check, or perform a Reality Check every time you do a regular, routine activity, such as passing through a doorway or walking up/down a flight of stairs. You should perform as many Reality Checks during your waking day as is possible - preferably upwards of 20. 

When you perform your Reality Check, you need to engage your self-awareness. This means critically analysing your current consciousness, perception, thoughts and feelings, to make sure whether you are actually awake or dreaming. Ask yourself: 'Am I awake, or am I dreaming?' during the Reality Check. Use your perceptions and senses to guide you in reaching a conclusion, and make sure you focus your mind. Reality Checking often fails because the dreamer does not apply themselves to the self-awareness tasks properly, and simply perform the physical element of the Reality Check without questioning their reality and consciousness. Also, make sure you really attempt the physical action of the Reality Check - of course you know what the outcome should be in waking reality, but do not become complacent and go through the motions - put effort in and treat each waking Reality Check as a fresh test of whether you are awake and experiencing reality or asleep and in the dream state. 

Pay attention to your surrounding environment and scrutinise the details - note the sights, sounds, smells, tastes and feeling of everything around you. When asking yourself if you are awake or dreaming, ensure you come to a reason-based conclusion each time (i.e. 'I know I am awake because I can see my reflection in the mirror and I know it to be what I expect to see when I am awake. I am in my bedroom and it looks as I expect it to look in my waking reality. I can feel the ground under my feet and smell the flowers in the vase. I know there are flowers in a vase in my bedroom in my waking reality').

A Reality Check is therefore a simple question about your reality and a simple, pre-determined and often physically impossible action.

Numerous and regular mindful Reality Checks are the key to learning how to lucid dream. Perform a Reality Check every time you wake up - this will allow you to realise if you are in a False Awakening, which is a dream state often mistaken for waking reality because the dreamer is tricked into thinking they have just awoken from a sleep, when in fact they are still asleep and dreaming.

In your dreams, when you spot a Dreamsign, you should be prompted to Reality Check. A failed Reality Check (the performance of the Reality Check gives different results to what you would expect in waking reality) proves to you that you are dreaming. Sometimes, Reality Checks behave 'normally' in a dream i.e. they give the same result as you would expect when awake (i.e. the fingers of one hand cannot pass through the palm of another, or your reflection in the mirror looks the same as in waking reality). This is normal, and you should continue with your practice even if you miss opportunities to become lucid. Lucid dreaming is a journey, not a destination and can take a lot of dedication and practice. Remembering to Reality Check and question your reality is a key foundational aspect of learning how to successfully lucid dream. 

Linked posts: 

Sunday, 29 March 2015

Dream 397

'Ariel the Little (Jamaican) Mermaid'
Dream date: 28 March 2015
I was in a living-room which was quite basic with typical (traditional) furniture, such as a red lamp on a table and a red armchair. Ariel the Little Mermaid, from Disney's The Little Mermaid (1989) was sitting on the armchair. I then saw her up close. She was talking in Jamaican Patois, although I cannot recall what she said. Her belly was filled with fish spawn, which looked like red caviar. You could see the caviar through her skin because her belly was semi-transparent. The caviar was moving in a slimy, writhing way. She was twitching her tail and seemed happy.

I was then in my family home, with was a massive mansion with an estate. My parents and I were holding a huge house party, which took place both in the mansion and in the garden, which had tables and marquees and strings of fairy lights strung up. It was dusk. The house was completely messy and chaotic, because of the party, which was being attended by many of my former high school friends. I went into the garden and spoke to ET1 (from my year in school). I asked him something. Soon I was approached by a blonde female dream character - very drunk - and  accompanied by two other female dream characters (all unknown to me in real-life and not exactly known to me in the dream either - they were random guests at the party). The blonde female accused me of speaking to her boyfriend. ET1. She was very upset and angry. Instead of just telling her I had asked him an innocent question, I lied and said I had not spoken to him, but instead, his younger brother, ET2. I managed to convince her of this. Later, as I was walking into the house, I passed ET1, who tried to strike up a conversation. I avoided him, quickly making some kind of excuse to leave, so as not to anger his girlfriend unnecessarily again.

In the house I ran upstairs to my room, which was my room in my home in Norwich. In the cupboard, I found a bag, in which was a large number of clothes. Amongst the clothes was a leather purse which contained £160 which I had secretly stashed there. I felt happy that no-one had found the money and stolen it.

Potential Day/Dream Residue:
  • I had been shown a Youtube video by DL which was being circulated on social media - it shows a white American female, smoking cannabis and talking in a strong Jamaican accent, with Patois English (about the virtues of cannabis). People had found the video funny because the girl was 'Ja-Faken' - she was not Jamaican or raised in Jamaica, she was putting on a pretend accent to look cool.
  • When I was a little girl I was obsessed with mermaids and The Little Mermaid was the only Disney movie I actually enjoyed. Shortly before this dream I had read an article about flaws and questionable morality in The Little Mermaid (many of which were from a feminist or racial perspective). Sebastian the Crab, Ariel's companion is Jamaican.
  • Shortly before this dream I had been watching a variety of cookery programmes, many of which had featured red or black cavier. 
  • The day before this dream I had gone to my drawer where I have a stash of money left over from Christmas presents, which I was saving until I knew what I wanted to buy. I had taken some of this money and deposited into my bank account so I could buy a festival ticket online. 

Waking Thoughts & Emotions:
None of any note - I felt quite normal after I woke up, and had to really struggle to remember this dream, as it was not prominent in my mind when I awoke, and remained hazy even when I focused my mind on it. It did happen during a very short period of sleep (less than 4 hours).

* If I remember anything else about this dream, I will record it below.

* Recalled Dream Scene (29 March 2015, 20:43 hours)
I was in a house which was a composite between my nan's house in Sheringham (living-room) and my own house in Norwich (bedroom). DL was there, as were some other (unrecalled family members). I went to get a space case grinder out of a drawer. DL said: 'I kept the middle bit, but the rest is yours'. I wondered how this would work, as all separable parts (4 in total, one grinder; one crystal collector, two 'lids') are required for the grinder to be function. I found the grinder in my drawer and it looked complete and totally workable - it did not appear that the middle bit was missing. 
Memory Trigger: I saw DL in my Norwich home, holding a grinder.

Friday, 27 March 2015

Dream 396

'She Came for the Stabbing at Night'
Dream date: 26 March 2015
I am very disappointed with my level of recall in this dream. I woke up remembering it in a series of fragments and now I can recall very little of it.

There was a scene involving Nic Haste (nee Chapman) of Pixiwoo. I can recall no more than the fact she appeared as a character in my dream.

One scene involved me thinking I was in Manchester, a place I used to live temporarily in my teenage years (because I started dating a boy from that area and wanted to live there for the skateboarding and alternative music scene). However, none of the locations I can recall seemed to be in Manchester, but rather I was just outside my house in Norwich. There was one scene where I was outside my house, by my front door and it was night. I was with a female dream character (unrecalled) who was standing on the pavement (which is on a slightly higher level than the entrance to my house), leaning on the concrete post, and we were discussing a stabbing which was going to happen. I think it was going to be filmed. At the last minute I decided that we couldn't stay in this area for some reason and I felt anxious. Then another female dream character (also unrecalled) started approaching us from the direction of the Terraces. It seemed she was expected, but because she had been delayed we assumed she was not actually coming. I was relieved to see her turn up, as this meant that whatever we were planning to do could now go ahead. I think we were going to prevent the stabbing - or be the persons filming it. My memory is very unclear.

Potential Day/Dream Residue:
  • On the day of this dream, I had watched a Youtube video featuring Nic Haste/Chapman.

Waking Thoughts/Emotions:
This dream was really hard to recall and the bits I did remember when I first awoke, were fragmented and hazy. However, I did recall much more when I first woke up, but the noise of workmen outside and me looking at my phone to check the time (I woke several hours before my alarm) meant I managed to forget a lot of it. I got the impression from what I did  recall when I first awoke that this dream was not particularly positive or enjoyable - but not necessarily negative or troubling. I just don't think this was an especially exciting dream.

* If I can recall any of the forgotten parts of this dream, I will record them below.

Thursday, 26 March 2015

Dream 395

'Baby Milk Bottles Made From Biggie's Nipples'
Dream date: 26 March 2015
I was in a dark bedroom, which was apparently my own, in a house in which I lived with my mum and my stepdad. The bedroom did not look anything like an actual bedroom in which I have ever slept, and for the entirety of this dream scene, the lights were off in this room. I have drawn a diagram of how this bedroom appeared in the dream, rather than having to explain it in text. 

My parents came into the room and indicated that they were now going to bed. I noticed that RR - the estranged wife of one of my friends, and not a friend of my own - was in the room with me, sitting on the double bed. I knew RR was married to my friend in the dream and I also knew that we were not actually friends, so wondered why we were socialising together in my bedroom. RR seemed to be quite pleasant, so the thought did not trouble me for long. We turned on a stereo, which was under a window. I wondered if the music would wake up my parents, but since they hadn't complained, decided it must be fine. I am not sure what kind of music was being played. I looked out of the window - there was a concrete yard just outside and it was crowded with young boys (teenagers), all being rowdy and playful, running around and making lots of loud noise. There was an older male dream character with them, who I thought might be their teacher or somehow in charge of them. There was a football which was being kicked about. One of the teenage boys came to the window and passed me a cannabis joint, unlit. I decided that RR and I should smoke the joint in my room, but to stop the smoke/smell leaving the room and being discovered by my parents, I placed a towelling bathroom at the foot of the closed door, like a draught-excluder. I noticed that there was a gap between the door and the wall, and thought that the smoke/smell might still leave the room. We started smoking the cannabis. I checked the door, and noticed that - without myself or RR touching it - the bathrobe had been moved away from the bottom of the door, leaving the gap between the door and the carpet exposed. I replaced it, worried that my parents might smell the cannabis smoke, but nothing happened. 

I was then at my university, on the walkway between the Dean of Students office (where I work part-time) and the bookshop (Waterstones). This space was now much narrower than it is in real-life, and the wall of the walkway was flush to the sides of both buildings. There were some benches against this. I have posted some photographs which show the general area, and also the fact that there did used to be a bench in the same location as my dream! However, there was a second bench adjacent to the one shown in the image (below). I was sitting on the bench shown in the image. Jay-Z and another rapper (I cannot recall who) were sitting next to me on the one adjacent. Standing in front of us, was LT (a girl from my high school who I have not seen since my teenage years). She handed Jay-Z a baby's milk bottle which had a large nipple on the end (the teat of the bottle where the baby suckles). The nipple belonged to Notorious BIG/Biggie (1972 - 1997). Jay-Z was then telling us about a party he attended, and we were all laughing and having fun together.

The scene changed and I was then on the set of a chat show, which was in the process of being filmed (with a live audience) for TV. There was a male dream character (30 - 40 years, white with short blonde hair) in the audience who was waving his hands about and shouting frantically - he looked as if he was having some kind of seizure, as his face was bright red and he seemed to be out of control of his actions. As if prompted by the seizure of the audience member, a special guest was invited to the stage - it was Eminem, but not the genuine Marshall Mathers III - just an impersonator who looked fairly similar to the real Eminem. He was wearing a baggy white outfit and had many thick gold chains around his neck. However, the entire audience believed this was actually Eminem and it was only me (who was standing to the side of the stage and got a good look at him) who could tell it was simply a look-a-like. 

Potential Day/Dream Residue:
  • I had been talking to LD - RR's estranged husband.
  • After writing up my last dream (Dream 394), I had tried to find Patrick - the boy from my old high school. I had found his band page on Facebook after suddenly remembering his last name and decided I would listen to their music - telling my friend that I would only do this when my housemate wasn't in bed asleep in case it disturbed her. 
  • I have had many recent dreams about possessing or smoking cannabis (Dream 390, Dream 391 and Dream 393). 
  • The day of this dream, I had also had a heated discussion on the Lucid Dreaming page on Facebook, informing other (adult) members that they should not promote the use of illegal/recreational drugs either in relation to requests for advice made by beginner lucid dreamers, or otherwise. I had mentioned that there are many young (i.e. teenage) impressionable members who use the site and take the more experienced (or seemingly so) lucid dreamers' suggestions as gospel and may be influenced to experiment with drugs. I was discussing this conversation and also my own use of cannabis in a private message with my friend, another lucid dreamer.
  • I posted a news article from the local newspaper on my Facebook the day of this dream. It was about an incident involving students calling an ambulance for their friend who had consumed too much alcohol. It referred to the Dean of Students Office and had a typo, which read: 'Dead of Students Office'.
  • On the day of this dream I was talking to my friend about a local person whose last name is 'Waters' - thus similar to 'Waterstones'.
  • The day of this dream I had read an article about the 'Free the Nipple Campaign'.
  • A few days before this dream, DL and I had played a drinking game where we tried to perform hip hop tracks - I had tried to do a Jay-Z track and a Biggie track as they are both favourites of mine.
  • The day of this dream I had seen a screenshot from the Eminem video, 'The Real Slim Shady' (2000) which takes place in a psychiatric hospital and depicts manufactured clones of Eminem.

Waking Thoughts/Emotions:
I didn't really have any clear waking thoughts and emotions after this dream that stand out in my mind.

* I have definitely forgotten quite a lot of this dream, so I will record any parts that I later remember below.

Wednesday, 25 March 2015

Dream 394

'Living the Grunge Life!'
Dream date: 24 March 2015
I was in a school - it may have been my former high school, but I do not know for sure, as I only walked down the corridors, which were very dark and crowded with students. However, the presence of some of my former school friends may be an indication. I saw a boy, whose name I know was 'Patrick' - he was in the year below me at school in real-life. Patrick looked a lot like Kurt Cobain and dressed similarly to him, and had talent in playing the guitar. At school he was quite quiet, nice and easy going. He was not a 'friend' as such, but we got on well - mainly because I liked his alternative style. I was walking behind Patrick and two other boys. I knew Patrick had just enrolled in this school - he was a new student in the dream. A teacher stopped me from following Patrick (I was planning to go and speak to him) and told me that a female student had dropped out of the school and that everyone was very disappointed in her. I was annoyed about being distracted by the teacher.

I then sat down - I am not sure where. A school friend, SW (with whom I sometimes chat) sat down next to me. He had a large bag of sweets, which he was eating with a fork. The sweets were some kind of knobbly biscuit or cereal, covered in white chocolate and there were large pieces of fresh strawberry. I took the packet (which was white and looked like a family-sized crisp packet) and tried one of these sweets. I thought it tasted disgusting and too sugary. SW said: 'Don't eat them all'. I handed the packet back to him, thinking that I wasn't planning to eat anymore of them - one was enough.

I was then at a festival site. It was daytime and sunny. There was a sizeable circular enclosure on the grass, with a fence which was only about 10 cm high. I am not sure what was in the enclosure, but my Facebook friend, JCC, came over with his 'girlfriend' (a dream character, not a real-life person) who was small and very thin with dyed red hair and many piercings. She was dressed in a grunge style, as was JCC. He bent over and used a fishing rod to hook a T-shirt out of the enclosure, It was printed with the face of a brown Staffordshire Bull Terrier puppy and I thought it was a really nice T-shirt. JCC put the T-shirt on.

We were then in an interior scene - a thrift store. JCC was sitting by the window with his girlfriend. My mum and nan were also in the store, a short distance away from me. I bent down to look at a display, which was a very low, long shelf - where there were shoes and clothing stacked. I wanted to see if there were any clothes I could buy for myself to make myself look 'cooler'. As I was looking at a pair of pink platform trainers (which were ugly), I accidentally knocked the items off the shelf, which collapsed to the floor. As well as the clothes, a porcelain lamp fell, but it didn't break. I tidied the items and placed the clothing and lamp back on the shelf. Someone from behind me - I think it was an employee of the store - said: 'You have to pay for breakages'. I said: 'Nothing is broken, but it's your job to tidy up!' I thought I had done her a favour by putting the items back on the shelf, since I did not work there.

I then noticed that I had lost one of my plastic barrettes - an oval shaped red one (a little similar to some I have in my large collection). I felt sad, because now I no longer had a pair, just one. 

Potential Day/Dream Residue:
  • The day of this dream I had uploaded a new picture to my Facebook with the caption 'grunge makeup look' - a 'friend' who is also a member of the Lucid Dreaming page I participate in starting talking about grunge fashion - specifically Courtney Love (who he said did not dress 'grunge') and Kurt Cobain. He seemed misinformed about a lot of what he said (he did not live through the grunge era as he is very much younger than me, whereas I was heavily influenced by it at during the growth and peak in it's popularity during the 1990s). He also had some very strange views on drugs/depression/sex which made me think he is an immature and ignorant individual who has little experience in a lot of what he is very vocal (and naive) about. I ended up explaining to him - at one stage in the conversation - that Courtney did epitomise a strand of grunge fashion for girls - the anti-mainstream, thrift-store kinderwhore look - and that despite being an icon of my own, Kurt Cobain did not change the world, only music and popular culture - he represented a huge part of the Zeitgeist of the 1990s, but did not make a material difference to the world at large (I am a huge Nirvana fan and specifically a Kurt fan, so I don't say this as a criticism of him at all). This conversation got me thinking about grunge fashion.
  • My cousin posted a picture of Kurt Cobain on Facebook a few days before I had this dream. I posted an image of Courtney Love the same day of this dream - I associate her with wearing plastic barrettes, like the ones I myself own and wear.
  • JCC had commented on the photo/status about my grunge fashion look - in a positive and complimentary way.
  • The day of this dream, I had been looking at photographs of brown staffy puppies online.
  • Patrick could have been a look-a-like for Kurt Cobain during the time I knew him.
  • I am planning to go to a festival in a couple of months and I had discussed this with my mum on the day I had this dream. It is a hip hop festival and JCC is a hip hop fan.

Waking Thoughts & Emotions:
I awoke from this dream feeling that my memories of it were not as vivid as they seemed like they might be while I was experiencing the dream. I can't explain what I mean, because dream vividness is intrinsically linked to dream recall. I think I recalled the dream perfectly when I awoke, but within seconds the memories faded because my hair was caught and I had to untangle it and therefore got distracted. I have been trying to remember Patrick's last name - he is not on Facebook or tagged into his online class photograph (which is so small I cannot specifically pick him out) - I have asked some of his former classmates to help, but the ones who responded said they cannot remember him! I think this is because he was quite shy and introverted at school.

* If I recall any of the forgotten parts of this dream, I will record them below.

* Just after I posted this dream and was telling a friend how I was hoping to find out Patrick's last name, but had no luck so far - it came back to me in a flash: 'Moody'. He is not on Facebook or I would add him so I could tell him about this dream!

Tuesday, 24 March 2015

Dream 393

'Two Banana-Shaped Moons'
Dream date: 23 March 2015
I was in a class-room - I think it was supposed to be a university class (this was confirmed later). I was with some friends from high school - I think VW and SF were there and some boys, but I cannot really recall who. We were all sitting in a line, and I was on the end of the table, closest to one of the doors. I have drawn a diagram of the classroom lay-out so it is easier to understand. The teacher was a young female - white, with dark brown hair. She indicated that one of my classmates go to a filing cabinet and get our exam papers. When I received my own exam script - which was typed on several sides of A4 paper, stapled together at the top left corner - I realised this was an English Literature class. I only caught a glimpse of what I had written, and I had mentioned Johnny Depp - it was a piece of creative writing. I turned the exam script over. On the back of the last page were some grades. The teacher asked me to read out what my grade was. She was crouched down by the end of the table, next to me. I found that I could not read my grade, which was - I thought - a percentage. I could not see if it was a 28% or 82% or something completely different. I said to the teacher: 'I can't read it because I am number dyslexic' (I do have dyscalculia in real-life, but I feel the main difficulty in reading my grade came from the fact I was trying to read numbers in a dream, which can yield bizarre results). 

The teacher told me that I had got a 2.1 grade (this confirmed I was at university). She said I needed to sign next to the grade to confirm that I had understood. I went to sign my signature, but then saw a list of other grades above, all with signatures next to them. They were mainly all 95% and the teacher said: 'Those were your previous grades'. This made me feel annoyed, because on this basis, I had done poorly on this particular exam (a 2.1 grade at university is usually between 60 - 69%). I said: 'It's wrong how the English Literature class is always creative writing!' I thought that the class should be more focused on literary analysis and essay-writing. I then realised that I liked creative writing (I do!) and said: 'Even though I want to be a novelist' (I do!) The teacher said: 'You're not ready for that yet'. 

The teacher split the class into two groups and got them to crouch on the floor (where indicated by the grey circle on the diagram) and wait for her. She left the room. There was a male teacher standing in the corner, who I had not noticed before. He was wearing a smart grey suit and was also quite young. He did not do or say anything. While the other classmates - approximately 8 others - were crouched in two groups of 4 people - all looking downwards at the floor), I was left standing by the side of the desk at which I had been sitting. I realised I was the ninth person and my role was different from my classmates. I didn't know what I should be doing - I was bored and felt left out. From behind me, MO - my former high school form tutor, who I disliked entered the classroom (in real-life, she had told me I would 'never make anything of myself' when I was only 12/13 years old - and was a little shocked when my mum told her I had two degrees, a Masters degree, was a qualified lawyer and studying for a PhD in more recent times!) She asked me to come and join her to help her with a task. I did not want to go with her. I tried to protest saying I had to wait for the teacher to return as I was involved in a class activity. I then noticed that MO's son was one of my classmates, crouched on the floor (he was in my year at school in real-life). MO said it was fine for me to leave and I would be better off helping her. I felt pressurised and I decided to go with her.

We were then on a beach and it was a hot, sunny day. I was helping MO build a shed/beach hut on the sand. It was really difficult lifting the heavy wood and placing it in the right places. The wood with both natural brown and painted blue. The beach looked exactly like the one at Great Yarmouth, where the donkey rides are located - beside the Brittania Pier, which we were standing under. There was a grassy bank nearby - the grass was brown and wilting in the sun. As I was listing the wooden parts of the beach hut, N the Dog was present, trying to play. He was making it difficult as he kept biting the planks of wood, but I thought it was funny and cute. Someone, standing just off to one side, told MO that the beach hut would be a great location for afternoon cocktails. I was slightly annoyed, because I thought the beach hut was being constructed for some educational purpose. We carried on building it.

I was then in a room (I think it was a shop), the details of which I cannot recall. Someone - a male dream character who was familiar to me, but I cannot recall who - gave me a catalogue with pictures of puppies in it. I was asked to choose which one was my favourite. I initially chose a brown one on the top of the left page. The male dream character said: 'But that's not a staffy!' and I noticed that it was probably a Jack Russell Terrier. I chose again - a white and brown one - but then realised that this was a breed I was unfamiliar with. I scanned all of the images until I found the one which was the Staffordshire Bull Terrier (my favourite breed) and said: 'This is the one'. 

I was then in my nan's living-room in Sheringham, sitting on the sofa with my mum. On the TV was a scene with three young black women, sitting around a circular table in a cafe. I realised that this was The Cosby Show (1984 - 1992). I disagreed with this being aired on TV, because I was aware (in the dream) that these actresses had been the victims of sexual assault by Bill Cosby (against whom many allegations of rape and sexual abuse have been made in recent times). There was a close-up of one of the actress's faces. She looked very much like Christina Milian (I thought this while in the dream) - she was drinking a milkshake through a straw and her face looked very sad. I thought that this was because of Cosby's sexual abuse of her. 

I was then somewhere (not sure if indoors or outside) and it was night. I was looking up at the sky and could see that there were two moons - one of them normal colour, and the other very yellow. There was also a planet visible - bright red - making me assume that it was Mars. These cosmic bodies were very large and easily viewed. I called over DL and pointed out the two moons. I was not surprised by the presence of the planet at all - that seemed normal. I knew we were witnessing something very special in seeing the two moons and I wondered where the second, yellow moon had come from. I set my mind on investigating this. I seemed to be looking at the moons and planet for quite some time. 

It was the next day and DL and I were standing in my nan's living-room, beside the dining table. There was a quantity of cannabis on the table and DL was placing it in two large plastic baggies. He asked me if I thought he had distributed it equally between them and I said he had. He then handed me one of the baggies, as we went to depart the room - to go and speak to someone (an expert) about the moons. When I looked down, I realised the baggy was actually a mobile phone. As my hand went to the door, I noticed that the screen of the phone had a strange uneven ridge in it, which caught on my fingers as I ran them over the surface. At first I thought it had been caused by the door - perhaps hitting the phone screen, and then I realised that it was just a cracked screen which had always been there. I said to DL: 'You gave me the wrong phone' (DL's phone screen has a crack in it from where he dropped it on my bathroom floor, in real-life). He looked, realised he had, and swapped the phones, giving me my undamaged one. 

We were then walking along - we were in a different town from Sheringham, although I am not sure where it was. It did not look familiar. We went into one shop - to talk to the shopkeeper about the moons - but realised that the shop was just a newsagents. We then went into another shop and I became aware that DL was now my best friend from high school, SF. The shop had a long counter with some books on it and a stand with some information written on it. Behind the desk was an old man with a long grey/white beard. I thought this man must be an expert on moons. I said: 'Why are there two moons?' I then had a sudden thought - that one of the many moons of Venus (Venus does not have any natural satellites in real-life) had accidentally left its orbit and travelled towards Earth. I wondered how it would return to it's orbit around Venus and was slightly worried about this idea. I saw a view from space (as if I was floating in space), of Venus and a moon leaving it's orbit and heading towards Earth.

The man behind the counter said: 'You came to ask about the two banana-shaped moons?' and pointed at the stand on his desk (which was a small, hinged chalkboard), on which was written some information about the moon phenomenon. I thought it was odd that he referred to them as 'banana-shaped' because they had looked like normal spherical moons. He said: 'The yellow-flame moon is Baron's Moon - it floated past all the planets to come to Earth.' This really shocked me, as in the dream 'Baron' was the name of Pluto. I wondered how the moon had managed to leave Pluto's orbit and come all the way to Earth - it seemed impossible that it could float all that way through space without anyone noticing this. He also said the red planet was Venus, which I thought was odd, because Mars is the red planet. I was still thinking about the moon phenomenon, when SF held out her arms and said: 'My brother likes to beat me!' She was smiling and seemed unconcerned about this revelation of violence. She handed a pink cheque to the old man behind the desk and said: 'Can you cash this cheque for me?' and then left. I was aware that there was a post office at the back of the shop. I decided I should leave my post there as well. I sat on the floor and I rolled a cigarette with loose tobacco, then burned the end of it (not smoking it). I then attached a postage stamp to it (wrapping it around the cigarette), and asked the man if he could 'send' if for me. He said he hoped the glue on the Rizla was sticking properly - I looked and noticed it wasn't, but hoped the stamp would hold it all together. I handed it to the man.

I then had to return home by myself. I said (to no-one, because I was alone, but I seemed to be mentally communicating with someone) that I would walk from Norwich (where I apparently was) via Great Yarmouth to Sheringham (this would be an impossible walk for me to do - it is physically possible, but it a route of nearly 45 miles. The person with whom I was telepathically communicating (I think it may have been my mum) protested mu ability to walk this distance and suggested I take the bus home, but I was adamant I wanted to walk this strange convoluted route. I was still thinking about 'Baron's Moon' and how strange it was.

* Note that Pluto's actual moon is called 'Charon'! This didn't even register in my mind until I wrote this Blog post and searched for an image of the dwarf planets (the Kuiper Belt objects) in the outer solar system to illustrate it - I saw an annotated image on the internet which showed Charon orbiting Pluto. The recognition of this fact made me feel really shocked and overwhelmed!

Potential Day/Dream Residue:
  • The night before this dream I had a discussion with my friend about our creative writing aspirations. My friend was telling me about his Editor who was impossible to work with and suggested that if his college tutors had treated him in the same way as the Editor, then his exams would have been manipulated to ensure he got completely different grades (his Editor always changed every aspect of his writing and made him feel completely inadequate).
  • It was on my mind that I needed to print off hardcopies of my case studies (for my PhD) and then staple them together, before I could do my data analysis.
  • I had a conversation with someone about Dyscalculia two days before this dream.
  • The day before this dream I had seen a picture of MO's son on the internet (Facebook) - he had been holding a puppy in the photograph.
  • I had seen some pictures on the internet - and also, specifically on a friend's Facebook - of some beach huts.
  • The day of this dream, someone mentioned that it must be calming and peaceful to live by the sea. They had initially asked if I was raised in Norwich, and I had said that I had been raised in Sheringham and that I moved to Norwich (the closest city) as an adult.
  • The day that this dream took place (23 March 2015) was National Puppy Day - raising awareness of puppy adoption.
  • The day of this dream I had seen a picture of Christina Milian in a newspaper - she was drinking a Margarita cocktail, using a straw.
  • The day of this dream I had a conversation with someone about the recent eclipse. That person had referred to the moon as the 'Blood Moon' and said it's presence had brought him positivity. 
  • Shortly before I went to bed and had this dream I had eaten two bananas.
  • On the day of this dream, a member on the Lucid Dreaming page on Facebook had uploaded a 'photo manipulation' which showed a beach at night, with a galaxy effect and a large planet.moon visible. It was captioned: 'wouldn't you love to go here in a lucid dream?' or words to that general effect. Next to this photograph on Facebook, there was a 'suggestion' for a page I might like - it was a page dedicated to the dwarf planet 'Eris'.
  • Before I went to bed I was discussing the infinity of the universe with a friend and he had said 'imagine if you could travel to the edge of the universe and then end up coming back to Earth from the other direction' (like when you go to the edge of a video game screen and then pop out on the other side.
  • DL is also 'Baron'.
  • DL and I had a recent conversation about the crack in his phone screen and how he was awaiting an upgrade.
  • I have had recent dreams - Dream 390 and Dream 391 about cannabis. DL and I also discussed cannabis the day before this dream. 

Waking Thoughts & Emotions:
When I first awoke, this dream seemed very significant - specifically the scenes involving the moons. I also had some difficulty in remembering the name 'Pluto' when thinking of the last identified (dwarf) planet in our solar system. This dream did feel quite positive and I was happy to have experienced it.

* I have forgotten some of this dream (I think perhaps the final scenes, because I was awoken while in the dream, by a sudden noise in my house). If I recall any more of this dream later, I will record it below.