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    1. Tunnel to Gnome Village (EILD)

      by , 02-23-2016 at 11:43 PM
      Ritual: Went to bed around 2am. Woke at 5:45 and fed the cat. Returned to bed and set vibrating alarm, attached to wrist. Interval was 30 minutes, set at 5:55am. Last time I used this device I completely slept through several vibration cycles (it was at the lowest setting), so I turned the intensity up slightly. The first time it went off I remembered to lay still, but could feel that I had already lost dreamstate. The second time it went off, my mind felt fully awake but I felt like I might still be integrated with my dream body. I tested movement cautiously and sure enough, I could swing my arms freely, unconstrained by the covers that I knew lay over them in WL. There were still a few moments when I couldn't quite be sure if I was engaging dream muscles or real ones, so in order to avoid sending the wrong signals, I started spinning and sliding my whole body until I felt like I was lying the wrong way in the bed. I didn't feel like I could safely engage my legs yet, so remaining on my back (though in WL I was sleeping on my left side), I slid across the bed and off the other side until I dropped gently to the floor. The cat was lying on me in WL (confirmed when I woke up afterward) and the sensation of warmth and weight bled through into the dreamstate, so it felt very odd and amusing to have this remain constant even while my self-perception of where I was in relation to the room and the bed was changing. I took care to note this WL sensation cautiously and with a certain mental distance, lest it startle me awake. The sensation faded naturally as I now "stood up" and walked through the house.

      EILD: I walk straight into the living room, which was dark, and stop to figure out what I should do. Although I have been trying to remember a few personal tasks, somehow it is easier to recall the TOTYs, so I figure I'll attempt another of those to start with. Most of them seem better suited to the outdoors, so I exit the kitchen patio door.

      My initial thought is to look for a circle of fairy mushrooms. My cement back patio is unusually life-like this time, so I cross it until I reach the fence that borders the property. In WL this is a low wall of beige-painted cinderblocks; in the dream it is a chain-link fence several feet taller than I am. With the lightness and agility of my dream body, I easily climb over it and drop down. In WL the ground slopes steeply downward here; for some reason in dreams, it is typically a steep hill going up.

      I start looking for fairy mushrooms among the trees, but notice a large area where the soil looks loose and disturbed, as if recently planted with the flowers that cover the expanse at regular intervals. The blossoms are very simple in structure, a small disk encircled by six delicate purple petals. I realize that I am unlikely to find a fairy circle in ground so recently landscaped, so I decide to pursue the gnome task instead. There are trees all around, but most look young, their trunks only a few inches in diameter. I look around for the biggest tree I can find, and approach one that is over two feet in diameter, conjoined with two similarly-sized trunks to make a row of three. I can't tell if they are three trunks from the same tree, or multiple trees that grew up in close proximity.

      The earth is still bare and loose here, recently tilled, so it is easy to dig my arms in and start casting it aside. I alternately cast the soil I'm displacing to the left and right and back between my legs. It is much easier to dig than it would be in WL, but it is still too slow and tedious to form a hole of the depth and dimensions I need, so I decide that I need a new strategy. If there are tunnels down there, there shouldn't be any need to displace the soil outside the hole—I should be able to drill straight through. I leave my hands in the earth and focus on pushing the soil inward. As a hole begins to form, I step in and will it to widen, so that I won't feel claustrophobic. When it is a few inches wider than my shoulders on either side, I take the plunge, willing the earth beneath my feet to drop into the tunnels and carry me along with it.

      I find myself in a network of spacious square hallways, about seven feet tall and wide. They are dimly lit by what seems to be electric light, though I don't investigate the source. There is nothing natural or even rustic about these tunnels—they might easily be the basement corridors of some ordinary building. I look around for evidence that they are the gnome tunnels that I am seeking, and find that the most distinctive thing about the space is the graffiti scrawled here and there on the walls. It is not high-end arty spray-painted graffiti, just ordinary lettering written in what looks like thick black marker. I step closer to one example and find it at once legible and unexpectedly funny: "Hobbits are HUGE!" It does sound like the sort of thing a gnome might write, so it gives me confidence that I've landed in the right place after all.

      I continue down the corridor, looking for more memorable examples of graffiti. The next piece that catches my attention says "SpiritLA." Something about the way it is written makes me think that this is a Los Angeles-based sports team that the gnomes apparently favor. A few steps further on, and I finally encounter the gnomes themselves, about six of them congregating in a junction where several corridors meet. There is also a sort of wire gate that appears to lead into a larger open space, though it is too dark to discern any details. Despite what the graffiti said about hobbits, these figures are pretty huge themselves, coming up almost to my shoulder, so I peer closely at their faces for evidence that they are in fact the gnomes that I seek. I am reassured by their features, which have distinctively rounded, gnomish features.

      "Hello," I say, curious how they will respond to my intrusion. "Hello!" they reply cheerfully, completely at ease. I have been voicing my observations (like the examples of graffiti) aloud in order to assist my recall later, so as I take note of the appearance of the gnomes nearest me, I make a vocal shorthand description of their characteristics.

      "Blonde, bangs, white dojo," I comment about the first gnome to approach me. She is a female wearing a gi (the garment used in karate practice), and though I know perfectly well what a gi is called in waking life, dream logic substitutes "dojo" instead. Her hair is long and straight, of a golden blonde color. Her gi is bound with a plain white belt. She smiles amiably.

      Another female gnome is standing to my right, so I note her appearance in turn, remembering that the task specifies interacting with two of them. "Pink padded blouse and white skirt, knee-length" I say, but even at the time I realize "padded" might not be the right word. "Quilted" would probably be more accurate, since it looks like there is only a very thin layer of batting under the decorative overstitching, done with curving and intersecting lines spaced about half an inch apart. I note that the skirt has the same kind of decorative stitching over thicker cloth, with no apparent batting inside, as the stitches lay flat. "Light hair, long—no, shoulder-length," I continue, noting that her hair is exceptionally pale, almost white, and delicately textured. The way it falls reminds me of how hair was "feathered" in late '70s/early '80s hairstyles. The faces of both females look ageless, neither young nor old. Neither seems disconcerted by my weird mutterings, they both just look at me with calm curiosity.

      Although I was able to make very detailed observations on the appearance of both, at this point I felt myself begin waking up and could not reverse the process. The EILD allowed me to time the dream precisely: it went off at 6:55 and I awoke at 7:04, so it only lasted nine minutes in all. Subjectively, it also felt very brief.

      Updated 02-26-2016 at 07:25 AM by 34973

      Categories
      lucid , task of the year
    2. Old Woman Running (NLD)

      by , 04-07-2015 at 07:49 AM
      Recall: 3/10. I'm in the town where I grew up but I'm an old woman. I'm jogging and despite my age I feel like it is effortless, so I decide to run the five miles to my house outside of town. I am crossing an intersection as I decide this, and suddenly something sails through the air and nearly hits me. It clatters to the pavement and I see it is an empty half-sized soda can. I look around for where it came from, and see a black man, evidently a vagrant, who is shouting and throwing them at me. He seems angry but I can't make out his words. He throws a second and then a third can.

      I try to go another way to avoid him but find myself in a cul-de-sac that leads through a narrow alley into an even darker square surrounded by tall buildings. It looks creepy and dangerous, and from the lack of light I assume that the alley is the only way out or in. There is a dumpster in the alley and a guy going through it. I have no reason to go this way and fear for my safety if I do, so I return to my original route. The ground of this cul-de-sac street is covered with bananas, layers of them flattened and smashed against the ground, filling the air with a fruity, overripe smell. I don't remember my town being so heavily involved in the banana industry, and it doesn't make sense given that bananas don't even grow around here, but I can't discount the evidence all around me. As I leave the cul-de-sac and return to the main street, I am running over such a thick layer of smashed bananas on the ground that I have to take extra care not to slip and fall.

      Some clothes in a shop catch my eye, and I pause to look them over. There are two outfits that seem ideal for an elderly woman like me, or at least, they look like the sort of thing you often see old ladies wearing. Both consist of a zip-up top and half-length pants in matching polyester. I try on the pants of one set, but don't like the texture of the cloth, and although it looks like I'd still be able to run in them, I wonder if they would end up chafing my legs. I decide to stick with my knee-length black lycra running tights and put them back on.

      I start running home again. Then I remember how some people use the mental image of a repetitive motion, like running, as an anchor during their WILD attempts. I think it might be fun to give this a try and see if I can run right into the dream state. Even though conditions are ideal (given that I'm already dreaming at the time!) my attempts amount to little and I don't get lucid. I have the impression I started thinking this while I was actually in the process of waking up.
    3. Lost Music (DILD + FA)

      by , 01-20-2015 at 09:41 PM
      WTB 3am, woke just before 7:30am. Although I had set no alarm, it must have been intention that woke me, since I needed to take my car to the mechanic this morning, and 7:30 is when they open. So I drove in, did some grocery shopping across the street, and then walked back home since it's not too far. Returned to bed around 9am and focused intention to get lucid since I'd had such a good WBTB.

      I was at a party in some guy's house. (The "party" theme must be WLR because last night I did the party scene in ME3, though none of the details were similar.) I was younger, maybe even a teenager—I think so, since the guy hosting the party was living with his parents—and wasn't really "me" in terms of identity. I was lounging on the floor with some other kids. A guy next to me joked with someone else about me taking my clothes off, and I reprimanded him sharply.

      Vague scene change; it was the next day, and everyone else was gone, but I was still in the house—only now I didn't have my clothes. Obviously I needed to get them before I could leave, but this was complicated by the fact that the host's mother had come home, together with her young baby. I was sneaking around, hoping not to get caught, because I was afraid of how she would react if she found a nude girl in the house. I didn't recall doing anything inappropriate but she would naturally assume the worst.

      I managed to sneak into the bathroom and thought that from there I could maybe call her from the door and make up some story about how I had taken a shower and now needed my clothes—though I worried that it might be hard to explain how my clothes had ended up in another room, and it didn't help that I wasn't exactly sure where they were. But my anxieties about this were resolved when I looked down and noticed that I was fully dressed after all. (Thanks, dream!)

      Now my only challenge was sneaking out of the house. But the dream was even more obliging in that regard. The mother caught sight of me as soon as I entered the next room, and I was afraid that she would respond with horror and alarm at discovering a stranger in the house. Instead, she just called me over in a friendly way as though we were already well-acquainted and she expected me to be there. We went into her large walk-in closet, where she wanted my opinion on some clothes as she changed. She put on a lower garment that was made of two separately patterned pieces of cloth, one for each leg, that fit very loosely like Thai fisherman pants. Attached to the upper part was a horizontal band of cloth, at least six inches wide and several feet long, in a third contrasting color and pattern, that she could wrap around her waist to secure the garment. The cloth and patterns were lovely and I complemented it; she said that she had made it herself. Next, while she was putting on a top, I noticed how beautifully flat her stomach was in profile and complimented her on that as well. She laughed and said modestly that it had just looked that way because she had been holding her arms over her head.

      After that she and her husband went out to an indoor mall and I tagged along. As I glanced around at the various shops, I reminded myself that since we were dreaming I should make sure to attempt one of the tasks, since it had apparently slipped my mind until that point. This made me wonder when I had first realized I was dreaming. I thought back and couldn't figure it out. In retrospect, I don't think I really was cognizant of the dream until that point, but at the time it felt much more ambiguous, like it had been a latent awareness all along. (I get this a lot—I think there is often a latent awareness of dreaming on some level, in which case lucidity requires becoming aware of the awareness!) That might explain why earlier the dream had soothed my anxieties rather than exploiting them, even though I hadn't been aware of directly controlling it.

      I figured that since it was the New Year's holiday in the dream, it would be a great time to try the fireworks TOTM again, since there were bound to be fireworks tonight anyway. Again, it's hard to say if I had really "known" all along that it was the holiday, or if I had only just "realized" this when it was convenient to my goals. I was lucid enough to know that in WL it was much later in the month, but remembered it was still January at least... so close enough.

      I walked back to the front doors of the mall, which were transparent glass, and looked out over the landscape. I didn't see any fireworks yet—it was dark out but it seemed like it was too early in the evening—and I hoped my intention could make some appear. I scanned the horizon but nothing manifested. I decided maybe it would be easier to spark them directly from my hand, so I turned around and started walking through the mall again, willing some kind of visual display to manifest from my palm. This should be easy, since in the past I've practiced summoning all the basic elements, and fireworks just seemed like a variation of this. But again, nothing happened.

      I tried to figure out what the problem was, and wondered if maybe I was too distracted with the music. Here's another case where I can't say for sure when I started singing. Often I deliberately use music in dreams as a way to channel focus into particular tasks, a method that has worked very well in the past, but right now I felt like I was singing for sheer pleasure, and the music was of unearthly beauty. Now that I noticed it, I put aside my other goals for the moment to pay attention to what I was singing. I was using my voice, but there were no real words, just abstract vocalizations emerging spontaneously in a lovely, lilting melody. The most distinctive thing about it was that I was singing in harmony with myself, as though I had several different interweaving voices, at least three, maybe more. I've sung like this before in dreams and once again had to wonder: what does it mean? When the music manifests like this, so complex and ethereal, it feels like it has some primordial significance.

      Most of my attention was now focused on the song, and nothing else seemed so important. I wanted to be in the open air, so I returned to the front doors of the mall and walked through them. I sang for a while longer, until the world around me faded in color and substance and I knew I was waking up. My first impulse was to grab my phone and try to record some of the melody as best I could before I lost it entirely. However, my phone seemed to be stuck on camera mode, and although I was insistently pressing the button and even trying to close the window manually by clicking in the upper right corner (a PC reflex, obviously this doesn't work on phones!), I couldn't get back to the main screen. Problems with tech like this are a dreamsign so I even wondered if this was an FA. However, my main concern right was to preserve any shred of the music intact, so I didn't want to distract myself with an RC, but tried to keep as much attention as possible on preserving the song.

      Even though I now only had a single voice, I was surprised how easily and spontaneously the music was still flowing, and figured it was because I had just woken up and retained lingering traces of the dreamstate. More than traces, I realized, when I woke up again and knew that it been an FA after all. I once again reached for my phone and was gratified that I could now access the main screen. But I was still having difficulties: I looked through all my apps for the voice recorder and couldn't find it! I went back and forth from screen to screen, cycling through them all three or four times, and it was nowhere! I was forced to question if this was yet another FA, even though I was now sure that I recognized everything around me from waking life, and the dream memories and music were fading rapidly. In the past I've sometimes had trouble recognizing the voice app icon because it has such a bland appearance, but I had made a point of remembering that it resembled a microphone.

      After taking more time and deliberately examining every icon on every screen, completely baffled by my inability to find it, the mystery was finally solved. I found it at the very end of all my apps, where I had placed it deliberately with the notion of making it easy to find, only I had misremembered its appearance: the last OS upgrade had completely changed the graphic to some wavy lines. It was too late to salvage the music. I tried to record the one line of melody that I could still vaguely recall, but it sounded completely wrong. I couldn't get my real voice to match the way the song sounded in my head, either in terms of the general register or even the specific notes.