Archive for the ‘Sweet Dreams’ Category

Waking the Dead

Sunday, July 1st, 2012

Dreaming about death can be a terrifying and cold song, so much so that when you wake up the raw emotions remain with you such as the case at 4am this morning.  You’re like a plane that wants to land, but the landing gear won’t drop.   And when you wake up you can’t get back to sleep again because you’re terrified and too afraid to analyze it.  The raw emotion is captivating, so much so that you possess the urge to distance yourself emotionally.

It’s your worst fear when you dream about a loved one that goes missing, then kidnapped and harmed.  Then the next day you try to assemble the pieces like a jigsaw puzzle, wondering what lead to that.  Was it something you ate? Could it have been a reaction to something that happened during the day?  In fact, you don’t have the guts to journalize about it because of the fear and the lack of getting a good night sleep.  You get a sigh of relief when reality sets in and your mind reconciles with your nervous system.

Despite the obvious fear, I think dreams about death have more to do with managing events in life.  Like death itself, it’s the dawn of a new life challenge and the eve of another.  It feels much like change which is difficult in itself.   When you look beyond the obvious, it’s a way to bring something that needs to be dealt with to your immediate attention.  Bookmark that!  No Watson, “the game is afoot.”

If change is like a difficult ship that is hard to maneuver in the night, then dreams are like light houses that pave a clear path.  When they moved the Intrepid from the Hudson River for a remake, it was no easy task.  The dang boat was really stuck in the mud for decades of being sedimentary.  It took lots of tugging and basic engineering to get her to move, but she did budge eventually.  And that’s what change feels like sometimes, especially as you grow older.

Dreams can be a gymnasium for working out life’s problems.  Dreams can also be a trip, a dimension for communicating with those who are no longer living.  When I dream for instance, I am not always conscious whether or not the people I’m interacting with are actually still living.  In fact, I have no recollection that they have passed on.  I dream of my parents, relatives, friends and even former baby (secondary mothers) sitters.  I’ve even written about my experiences with them during the dreams.

I’ve had dreams of doing things with my dad, such as cooking or driving.  I’ve had dreams of having silly tiffs with my mom or other mundane things and conversations.  In fact, I have had more fun with my dad in my dreams then when he was actually living.  I once dreamt of a cousin who came to see me.  He was wearing a white suit, looking very sharp and mature.  I hadn’t seen him since we were kids and that was 1974, but he died in the 80s.  The virus took him away and it was a family secret.

I had wished I had gotten to know him better.   My mom used to shake her head about how swishy he was.  She said he could snap you into next week.  I got the feeling we would have had a blast together and a lot in common.  In many ways, I think that’s what may have drawn him to my dream world.

I don’t think connecting with the dead is anything unique.  I think anyone can do it and remember the positive experiences.  It’s just that I tend to recall the details very easily and for years.  When I dream of familiar people who are now deceased, it’s always usually a very pleasant and peaceful experience.  We’re having a good old time in the present the way we would have in the real world.

Last night I dreamt of reuniting with some former Lavender Light Gospel Choir friends.  Three of us were posing for a group photo.  There was David M, a third person who I can’t recall since I let the time lapse before actually writing this down and myself.  I recall that we were about to meet up with other former Lav Light members and we were chatting it up and laughing.  The only problem is that David M was long deceased and yet during the dream I had no sense of that at all.  I recall now that when he was alive, he was a gentle soul and always a wonder to be around.

It’s important to write down dreams when you first wake up and I admit, I don’t do it often enough.  I keep a dream diary by my bed but lately it’s been collecting dust because if I start, my pen will burn or I will burn up the keyboard one way or another.  The end result will leave me feeling exhausted the next day.  I usually end of tossing and turning anyway which is the net difference.

Dreams about death and trying to make sense of it all  reminds me of the British TV mystery, Waking the Dead.  It was a crime series about a team of personalities who put together the puzzles of solving crimes forensically.  What I really liked about the show was that it delved deeply into the lives of the main characters and their flaws.  It exposed their strengths and vulnerabilities.  I think just about every episode they were put to the test and it was ultimately the balance of their training versus their humanity that kept them on the mission as a team.

As a team, they each fulfilled a pivotal role to maintaining the unit.  I think dreams are like that in that we dream with a purpose even though we may not be conscious of it.  All the characters in a dream fulfill a role in the whole narrative, much like a play or opera.  In the opera, the narrative can be symbolic much like Einstein on the Beach.  It very much felt a like a dream to me. By the way, I’ve seen every episode of Waking the Dead through series 6.  I discovered the show after it went off the air and thank God for Netflix streaming video.

I think my sub consciousness wants to schedule an appointment with kind spirits but the superego prohibits it.  When I sleep, all bets are off as I am uninhibited.  I noticed that when I dream of spirits, they appear as I remember them best. My mother and father are always in their 50s or early 60s the every latest.  My cousin is dapper and both babysitters (Mrs. Brown and Mrs. Bradley) are quite youthful.

I don’t have any conclusions to make, except that I am still on the journey.  I will hold on for the ride, fasten my seat belt and go!  It really does feel like a roller coaster ride and I never liked roller coasters when I was kid.  I remember refusing to ride them in Palisade Park when I was a kid and I don’t fancy airplanes, but I always catch that flight.

During dreams, all bets are off.  I am like a superhero without the cape and blindfold.  No joke!  And there are times when I most vulnerable.  I don’t know what to expect next, but I leap forward.  I am like Jacque Cousteau charting the next island of dreams and I kind of like the journey forward, even more so that the interpretation.  Besides, I am pre-occupied with dreaming or rather remembering than trying to figure them all out.  I suppose that’s truly the next growth step.




Sunday, January 23rd, 2011

Last night, I entered into a deep coma of a sleep and ended up on the corner of Christopher Street and the Westside Highway. Some street merchant was manually towing a stack of cans from the marketplace. The wagon had one wheel on one end and two handles on the top end. Someone bumped into him and everything came crashing down.

I ran ahead trying to avoid the impending disaster. Then, it occurred to me I’d be safe if I dived into the Hudson and so I gathered a few breaths and in I went. I started swimming and was able to manage quite well. Ironically, I could see quite well under water despite what people say about the Hudson. It was dark in these waters. I came up for air and imagined that I had oxygen on my back and a motor for paddling.

Then, someone gave me permission to fly and I preferred that. It was at that moment that I emerged from the river and flew high in the night sky. It was a clear night and I could see all the stars about. I think I flew about 2000 feet above the ground, when I felt myself sinking into another level of consciousness.

I emerged through a narrow tunnel and found myself in a mansion. I was in the drawing room with its high ceilings; total darkness kept at bay by a small gas lamp. I sat in a big chair and like a Disney park ride; the chair started moving fast like a roller coaster. The house somehow managed to stretch itself along the way so the distance seemed an impossible trek.

Drifting deeper and deeper into sub-consciousness, I emerged in a modern village. There was a chapel up ahead, lots of people of all colors walking about peacefully and in harmony. They were going to a concert and I could hear the mass choir sing from a distance through the doors. There was a glimmer of light reflecting outside, a cue that something magical was happening inside.

The music was heavenly, nothing like I’ve ever heard before. It was a performance given by two choirs that had merged to form a mass choir. Although I had never heard the piece before, it seemed somehow familiar to me because I had written it. Even though I wasn’t performing this night, I could not help but take over, conducting from my seat, like a secondary driver taking control of the wheel.

The music was straight out of the Renaissance. Can you imagine if the Three Musketeers had boom boxes, and what they’d be listening to? There were oboes, cellos, flutes and lutes. There were bells, bells and more bells. It was something straight out of a fairy tale. It reminded me of courtly music you’d hear if you were in some European castle.

And when I woke up this morning, I managed to retain a fragment of the music from the dream. I whipped out my digital recorder and started singing all the parts that I had remembered. I call them seeds. These seeds are inspirational and motivate me just enough to create something new. However, I want so bad to cheat, to undergo hypnosis so I can remember every note, ever measure of music, every nuance. That wouldn’t be work I suppose. Inspiration is the impetus; it’s the byte size chunks of information that tease you to labor the rest during consciousness. After the dream, the rest is up to you.

Dream Weaver

Thursday, June 24th, 2010

I’ve had a steady flow of dreams lately and dream inspiration. Dreams inspire me to be totally free, creatively like no other. For me, it’s the answer to unblocking those creative arteries. It unlocks all the gems that I withhold during my conscious state. It requires that I get to bed at a decent time and don’t unload daily stresses into the dream state. Stress inhibits creativity for me.

This week I’m residing in the City of Fake, otherwise known as Las Vegas at the fabulous Wynn Encore Hotel. The Strip is everything you imagine: glitz, glam and flim-flam. It’s very magical and Las Vegans (pardon the pun) take pride in it, as they should. There’s no place on earth that can marvel the magic of Vegas. Ironically, I’ve managed to find a space to step away from the glitz and go deep inside to connect with my inner magic.

This week alone, I’ve planted the seeds for three unique songs: some with words and other with just the music. Musically, each seed stands alone onto itself, so I’m never exhausted of originality. Even with all of this, I sense that there was even more music and words that I just can’t recall at the moment.

Thanks to recorders, I file the seeds away on my hard drive until I’m ready to develop them into full fledged songs or even connect the dots. And I’ve got tons of them. Tapping into dreams is like tapping into a hidden well of creativity. My goal is to be able to tap into it even more freely and willingly for those hidden gems.

Timing is critical to capturing these seeds before they slip away from memory. I’m usually able to capture seeds within 30 minutes of being awake. And I usually have a tape recorder nearby and lock myself in the bathroom for the added acoustics. I’ve even captured story ideas this way as well.

And it was during one of these post dream rituals that I came up with a song called Slide, a song about taking better care for Earth before we destroy it. I hope you enjoy it.

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lyrics & music by Martina Downey

Martina Downey: lead & backing vocals, keyboards
Robert Urban: guitar, bass, synths & drums
Steven Sullivan: bass

produced, arranged, recorded & mixed by Robert Urban

mama: the umbilical cord is unbroken

Saturday, April 17th, 2010

last night i learned the meaning of when my lover said “and we are spiritual beings too.” themes and dreams of mama kept floating in my head. some of them good and some of them so deep inside of my inner, emotional self. i was crying in my dream. i was crying in my wake state as well. intimate conversations with the ancestors. intimate conversations with mama. mama, a woman whose name i have not spoken about or written about in 15 years. she was my other mama. she raised me from the time i was 3 until the time i was 13.

as i think of her, it is as though i am driven to baldness with fear, driven to an infantile, “primitive” state of mind. i feel it. i feel mixed emotions. sadness and joy. i spoke to her last night or it was more like i listened and she spoke. i did not see her but i heard her talking to me, looking out over me, advising me; it was more or less like a station-to-station call. i just heard her voice talking to me without the aid any mechanical devices. move over ma bell. i could not remember what she said but i remember the softness of her voice, the softness of her voice, the gentleness of her hands. the message, whatever it was, was calming.

i remember. i remember mama. she loved me for who i was, regardless of what i did. it was 319 hamilton avenue, paterson, new jersey where she lived. she owned the grey painted, two family house across the street from us. whenever i picture the house, a place where I spent much of my youth, i always picture it in the dawn of sun light. i remember mama loving me when i was a child. i remember how i was an example of what a good disciplined child was supposed to be. the truth of it all is that I never got caught. besides, why should I, the perfectionist that I was. I think she knew when I got away with stuff, but she was softer on me because of Id face the tyranny of my insane mother. most of all, i remember how she loved me for who i was not what i was and i was something special, something different. she knew it. she saw the signs. she saw the signs. mama to me was the calm that even my maternal mother did not seem to have. she was safety. her home was sanctuary. she loved many children. she adopted many foster children and was caretaker of many others on the block. we were all brothers and sisters. it was there too, that i learned to eat. before then, i was a scrawny looking thing that detested food at all cost. i guess being around all the children made it okay to eat. it was there too, that i learned how to play with other children, responsibility and love. i loved and still love mama saffey.

she died of cancer in 1975. the same year josephine baker died. josephine baker reminds me is some ways of mama, the way she loved so many children, so many bleeding hearts. mama was much older than my maternal mother, delsey. she knew my own mother was strict and would tear up my behind if i went out of line. she knew not to tell my mother of certain things about me, the naughty things. mama also knew of my gentleness, my softness, my femininity. she was a witness. she used to tell the other children how i kept my nails so clean; how neat and mannerly i was. i was an example of how a good kid was supposed to be.

i woke up this morning afraid and shaking. afraid that she was physically in the house waiting to talk me. and you know something, i am still afraid but lesser so that i am writing this dream.

i dreamt too of my maternal mother, delsey. this time it wasn’t so pleasant. delsey was scaring me. how you might ask? she was hitting and abusing me. i was running away from her. i was running away from her. i was very afraid. i was crying. i love her but i was or i am still afraid of her simultaneously. this love/hate thang. this mixed double-blind emotions that signifies the instability of what mother meant to her. i am less scared of her physically today than i am emotionally afraid of her. i was afraid to trust her with my emotions for fear that she will abuse them as she has done so as recently as mother’s day during a telephone conversation. she was steadily manipulating, controling, and scheming ways to cause more schisms in the family. it was the only way she knew how to express her love, so it has been said.

i remember ultimately getting delsey to talk to her sister, whom she has been jealous of for the past 60 or more years, on the telephone. finally, it seems, they were able to partially reconcile. and i was glad about that. delsey always had a bug about aunt eloise, as long as i can remember. i think it had to do with her jealousy over aunt eloise being raised in a very loving family; the type of family delsey couldnt begin to fathom.

delsey was stingy. she always felt that if she gave you a bone 20 years ago, then you owed her your soul for life. in fact, when she gave you a bone, she expected you to bark to the beat of her tunes, but her tunes weren’t always so melodious. besides, us tung-drooped, tail-waggers get tired of salivating for stale bones any way. you see, i figure if you’re going to give a bone, then give it. give it with all your heart and expect nothing in return. delsey always expected gratitude but rather she confused gratitude with her need to control.

i dreamt of you too fuega. i, your agua was outside in a crowd, surrounded by a bunch of strangers in a semi-circle. something was going down. i can’t remember what it was though. i remember feeling all alone in the crowd of those folks. and fuega, i just wanted to tell you that last night before i went to sleep, you told me on the telephone that you’d meet me in my dreams. well, guess what girlfriend, you were there with all of your fiery self. you showed up out of nowhere, unexpectedly as you usually do. i remember you greeting me. i remember seeing you. i felt again, very safe. i again felt your love, a special kind of love that will never go away.

as i sailed through these dream worlds, my destination was mama and i found it at all cost. mama is holistic, sustaining, everlasting sense of the word. mama is me, deep inside of me. mama is you. mama,her love. mama, her milk. all i have to do is call her up and she is always there. mama, i return to you. mama, the umbilical cord is unbroken.

martina downey