PARTICIPATORY SPORT FOR CRAFT ARTISTS
I went to bed as normal last night; meaning midnight and reached for my daily crossword puzzles, Sudoko, and switched on Criminal Mind repeats on ION. So there's another hour of awake time. Finally, my eyes tire and I'm ready to turn off the light and try to sleep. As an
artist, sometimes this is difficult as I lay there and actually worry about
my art-making process. What do I have to do tomorrow? What are my
deadlines? What did I do to market my art today? How will I do
everything? See, for me, being an artist takes up most of my time. I
neglect lots of other aspects of my life. The mere act of actually
creating is my relaxation time in other words, my "free" time,
when nothing else comes to mind. It's hard to step away from that to
do day to day activities and chores. Hmm...
With all that being said, I finally go to sleep or maybe I should say to lucid dreaming land... I watched myself create a new series of paintings while asleep. As an artist, I know that these lucid dreams are some of the best experiences
for creating new art. While dreaming I saw myself problem-solve a
current artistic battle with space and process. I woke this morning
knowing that "I had to do this art series!" So, I began right
away, reenacting what I had dreamed. It's amazing how much detail
comes to mind. So, now I am re-creating what I created last night.
Today, I tweeted about this occurrance with delight. Next thing I know, I have a new follower on Twitter. William Elber, aka Twitter's "Dreamjester", is an author and explorer of lucid dreaming, astral projection and out of body states. He has a blog at http://www.ilovelucid.com if you're interested. Anyway, after reading from his blog, he reminded me of my time as a graduate student in an art therapy program. Throughout
the 2 year graduate program, I kept dream journals which often included
art images full of various interpretations of symbolism. It was during
this time that I learned of lucid dreaming.
[Wikipedia definition: A lucid dream is a dream in which the sleeper is aware that she or he is dreaming. When the dreamer is lucid, she or he can
actively participate in and often manipulate the imaginary experiences
in the dream environment. Lucid dreams can seem extremely real and
vivid depending on a person's level of self-awareness during the lucid
The term was coined by the Dutch Psychiatrist and writer Frederik van Eeden (1860-1932).
A lucid dream can begin in one of three ways. A dream-initiated lucid dream (DILD) starts as a normal dream, and the dreamer eventually
concludes that he or she is dreaming, while a wake-initiated lucid
dream (WILD) occurs when the dreamer goes from a normal waking state
directly into a dream state with no apparent lapse in consciousness. A
mnemonic-initiated lucid dream (MILD) can happen when the dreamer
intentionally affirms to himself or herself that he or she will become
lucid during the upcoming sleep. Reaching lucidity can sometimes occur
due to dream-signs or spontaneously upon remembrance.
Lucid dreaming has been researched scientifically, and its existence is well established.]
As a student of lucid dreaming, I was able to experience the MILD process (above). For example, I would have an upcoming important presentation to give during class so I would allow myself to prepare by lucid dreaming the
night before. In other words, I would visualize myself from the first
word to the last of the entire presentation. If I came to a "block"
which typically woke me up, I would tell myself to go back to sleep and
finish it. I would immediately go back to my "block point and start
right up again seeing and hearing every word spoken. Upon waking in
the morning, I was rested and knew that the presentation would be a breeze. The actual presentation was like a memorization verbatim of my polished dream experience.
Learning to lucid dream helped me, for years, to prepare for job interviews or speaking engagements. It allowed me to be confident and most importantly relaxed that I knew what I was doing and saying.
I have to admit that today my lucid dreams are rare. Last night's dream was of the WILD definition. My lucid dreams are a blessing no matter how they actualize. I can remember as a child having nightmares where at the most threatening
point, I would say to myself, "Okay Denise, that's enough! Wake up!"
and I would. I saved myself from lots of dragons per se. I
didn't fear bad dreams because I knew I could wake myself. I still
do this today when a dream isn't going to my advantage.
Maybe I should return to more focus on my dreams. I'm just grateful that I experienced this easily learned process naturally through my simple bedtime worrying about my art. I will be sharing my painting series "Lucid Dream Colors" in future blogs. Stay tuned in (in more ways than one)!