Small As an Antidote to Bad Dreams

I often wake up in the morning depressed from bad dreams.  In one recurring nightmare, I leave my purse in a restaurant, on a park bench, or a bus, and when I realize what I’ve done, a sense of dread courses through my body like molten lava.  These dreams always end as I’m dashing back to wherever I’m hoping to find my purse—but before I’m reunited with it.

Another dream finds me about to take a trip, only to discover that I’ve forgotten to pack–and my plane is about to leave.  I scramble madly about, yanking items from drawers and closets and throwing them into a suitcase, as the minutes tick loudly by. This dream, too, ends unresolved, with me scrambling faster and faster while time is running out.

Tired of my morning dark cloud, I decided to think small right before I fall asleep, to see if this might shift the tenor of my  dreams. I would think back over my day, isolate one small moment of pleasure or beauty, and contemplate that as soon as I close my eyes.

Last night, I thought about the light-infused wild grasses near our house in the Anderson Valley. The night before, I held in mind a kind email sent by a friend, of whom I had asked a favor.  Tonight, I already know I’ll think about one of the smiling faces that passed me this morning as I walked my little dog, Frankie, on the Cal Berkeley campus.

Once again, thinking small has proved a powerful practice.  I have been springing awake these past mornings under a much bluer sky than before.  Instead of having to recover from dark and oppressive dreams, I’m ready to jump out of bed and begin my day!


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