Healing In The Dreamtime

Yes, I know. I already wrote about Jeff Bridges' new album, The Sleeping Tapes, a few days ago but I am kind of obsessed with it, especially now that I listened to it while going to sleep last night. Of course I missed however much I missed because I was falling asleep, but it is very interesting. It's not just pretty music to go to sleep to, or ambient music with delta waves to entrain the brain for deep sleep- he is setting you up for your dreamtime. As he says, sleeping implies other things as well. It implies dreaming, and it implies waking up.

I don't have any trouble sleeping. I love sleeping and I love dreaming. I wish I had time to do a lot more of it! I never put on music when I am going to sleep. I used to, years ago, but these days I spend so much of my time immersed in sound that I really enjoy the spaces without sound and music. I wanted to hear this however, because I had listened to the first few tracks of it a couple of days ago and found it both funny and fascinating. I knew that there was talking through at least some of it and I wondered how that would play into the non-act of falling asleep. Would it enhance it or make it more difficult?

As I listened I was also observing, and to some extent analyzing, with one part of my mind what he was actually doing with his words. As I said, it is not just music- it is for the most part a monologue, an odd quiet narrative, inserting imagery to influence one's dreams, all the while reminding us that we are headed off to sleep. For example, there is a part where he starts creating an image sequence about walking up a hill with him and someone (I don't remember who because I was half asleep) starts pulling Spanish doubloons out of their pocket. And then he gently suggests forgetting about the Spanish doubloons because we're here to sleep, not to find doubloons. But there you are, with doubloons set into your subconscious as you are nodding off.

It is so interestingly random and a sort of stream of consciousness word flow, and the music behind the words is very effective for shutting down any internal chatter, allowing one to fall into a deep state of relaxation very quickly. It begins to affect the direction of thought and imagery before you actually start to fall asleep. I will say here that generally I remember at least a chunk of my dreams when I first wake up. This morning I was aware when I woke up that I had been dreaming and in my mind I had a sense of some of the imagery from the recording but I had no full recollection of my dreams- only the awareness that the album seemed to have influenced my dreams. I had a "sense of memory" if you will, that seemed directly tied in to the album but nothing conscious- and obviously I had also had a very deep sleep so i would say it was effective in it's purpose.

Aside from the Jeff Bridges factor, this is a very fascinating topic for me. Ever since I was a teenager I have loved working with my dreams. I have gone through long periods where I wrote down my dreams every morning and found that, over time, I was able to work through some very big issues. For example, many years ago I had a relationship with a man who was very abusive to me and my children. He kept us all in a state of fear. through threat of violence and intimidation. I was at a very low point at that time in my life- totally disempowered and full of self-loathing. After I had finally had enough and was able to end the relationship I started doing a lot of work on myself. Some months after ending the relationship, I had a series of dreams. In the dreams he would show up at my house, at my door- maybe I'd come downstairs and he'd be in the kitchen and I would tell him he had to leave; that he was not welcome and could not treat my children and me in this way. I was totally unafraid of him. Sometimes I would tell him that I would call the police if he didn't leave.

One day about a year after we split up, the phone rang. I picked it up and it was him. My body registered- fear. My heart started pounding and I felt heat on the back of my neck. He wanted to "make amends"- to absolve himself. In spite of the cellular response in my body, my mind was totally calm and I told him very clearly and unequivocally that I no longer had people like him in my life. I even told him how my body was reacting in the moment because it had its own memory but that I was no longer afraid of him. I told him how he had damaged my children and never to call me again. I didn't get angry. I didn't get upset. I simply said everything I needed to say and then said, "And now I am going to get off the phone and I don't ever want to talk to you again." It was unbelievable, even to me!

I believe that through my dreams I had been able to "practice"- that they actually prepared me for when I would have to face him and stand up for myself. Not only was I able to do that when called upon, it also gave me an opportunity to see my own growth and self-empowerment. They could have just been really cool dreams in which I felt empowered but in fact the change had actually taken place on an internal, and very real, level.
Artwork by Jorge Ramirez- distributed by Henry J. Steffes, Jr