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Thursday, November 21, 2013


Easter Grey Squirrel from www.wikipedia.com

     Every once in a while, I coin a word that seems worthy of inclusion by the Oxford-English Dictionary.  The most recent is dreamification
Dreamification (n) -  the act of seamlessly converting sounds and events of daily living into dreams for the express purpose of preserving sleep.

     I was dreaming that first one squirrel, then two, then an entire dray of squirrels had assembled to make a meal of me. I was paralyzed with fear as these small rodents with treacherously sharp teeth gnawed at my bones.  They went for my joints, pausing to stand on their back paws to chew the meat they had torn from my knees, my hips, my elbows. As much as I tried, my screams died in my throat. With superhuman will, I broke through the paralysis and sat up. The squirrels, thoroughly gorged on my flesh, ran away.
     I opened my eyes. My heart was pounding, I was drenched with perspiration and found myself in my own bed.  It wasn’t until I turned on a light to reassure myself that there were not any teeth marks, broken skin or blood that I was convinced that my dream was not real.  
     It was hard to go back to sleep after that. I started considering other dreams I have had that successfully incorporated an outside event into the landscape of my dream. For instance, my alarm may be ringing, but in my dream, it is the bell between high school   My phone might ding to indicate a text, but I rework it into a ship’s bell.  The lawn mower becomes an ultralight that I am flying to an unrevealed destination.  This particular ability to convert everyday noises into part of a dream so that I do not have to wake up is not unique to me.  Friends and family members all report their own experience of, well, let’s turn it into a noun.......dreamification. The verb?  Dreamify.
In my case, I was dreamifying the pain in my joints by ascribing it to a gathering of hungry squirrels.  Initially, it was better than waking up. However, as it turned out, I dreamified too vividly and it caused me to wake up.

     The downside of being able to dreamify is that it leaves traces of dreams that impinge upon the dreamer upon waking. There is an inexplicable carry over of dream into day. In effect, the line between sleep and waking has been blurred, leaving the dreamer with part of his or her consciousness back in dreamland even after getting up for the day. The other issue that gets little recognition is that whatever was threatening to cause sleep disruption may still persist upon waking.  For instance, my “squirrels” were my brain’s attempt to make sense of the terrible, incessant pain in my joints. Once I woke up, the squirrels were gone, and I was left with just the pain. I did the only reasonable thing I could do under the circumstances; I gave up on sleep. Instead, I ran a hot bath laced with Epsom Salts and took three Ibuprofen.

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