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    False Awakening

    1. Successful Sled Ride! (FA-WILD + FA)

      by , 05-22-2017 at 04:43 PM
      Ritual: The new Twin Peaks started last night, so I watched the usual Sunday shows in their second round and didn't get to bed until after 2am. I woke around 7 or 8 and looked at my iPad a bit, enough to wake up my mind, with the usual vague intention to make this into a WBTB, but the only other mental preparation I did was to remind myself that dreaming involves proprioreception, so I should pay attention to my whole body as I fell back asleep. It was 9am when I woke after the dream, which I felt had lasted only a few minutes.

      FA-WILD: During my WBTB, my husband mentioned that he was going to the grocery store this morning, so when I was half-woken by the sound of the garage door, I knew he must have left. This much was evidently a real perception, but right after that, still believing I was half awake, I heard voices. I knew my brother was in his room on the other side of the house, but I couldn't account for the other voices. [DL: My brother lives on the other side of the country, and the room I thought he was in does not exist.] Was he on the phone? But there were several voices, and the sounds of people moving around. Had he invited friends over? Then I recognized one of the voices as that of my maternal grandmother. [DL: She died over twenty years ago.]

      Despite the dreamlogic, these observations did actually make me wonder if I was dreaming the voices, not because of the incongruities that would have been obvious to a waking mind, but only because of my conviction that if my husband just left for the store, then no one else (besides my brother) should be in the house so early in the morning. I tested to see if I was getting any dream imagery, and sure enough, when I partially closed my eyes, the four flaps of a manually closed cardboard box appeared superimposed over the rumpled covers of the bed that I had thought I was seeing with my waking eyes. [DL: In retrospect, is it apparent that everything I observed after hearing the garage door was already in dream, so I was mistaken in believing that I had woken up. My mind was half awake, despite the dream logic, which is what led to the confusion about which perceptions were dreamed and which were real.]

      I realized that if I was already seeing dream imagery, then if I was careful I could probably "get up" out of bed and into the dream just like I do in WILDs. This was easily done. I crossed the room, an accurate likeness of my bedroom, and opened the window to look outside toward what I understood to be my brother's room, on the second floor above the attached shed. [DL: The shed has no second storey.] The ground was covered with snow, and I did recognize that this was incongruous with the current season. It gave me the idea to do the TOTY that I had attempted a couple times earlier, the sled ride.

      The last shot of the final show I watched last night was a woman diving backwards over the edge of a boat to go scuba diving. It made an impression on me because I had only ever dived into water face first, and at the time I had tried to imagine what it would feel like to enter the water that way. Now, as I was about to jump out the window, I decided to do it backwards like a scuba diver. For a moment I felt like I was falling and wondered if I would actually hit the ground, but then the nongravity of dream caught me pleasantly in an inverted arc, and I settled gently to my feet.

      I remembered the last few times I had attempted the sled task, and how I had overcomplicated it to the point where I kept waking up before I could finish. This time I decided I'd better just get it done, even if my solutions weren't elegant. So instead of going to the trouble of finding or manifesting the necessary sled and mountaintop, I just asserted these conditions into existence. I'm on a sled, riding down a mountain. As is typical when I "brute force" things in dream, initially it felt like a fiction, but soon I began to feel plausible sensations of sitting on a sled and sliding down the snowy slope. It was far from my best work, but it sufficed.

      I was sufficiently familiar with the task that before I had even intended it, my sled slipped through an irregular opening like the mouth of a cave, into a wide dark space. But then I wondered if this was good enough—I hadn't read the terms of the task in ages. Would a cave suffice, or did it have to be a proper hole through the surface of the earth? I couldn't remember, so I decided to play it safe and conjured a perfectly round hole, like the sort of thing you might see in a cartoon, just in front of me on the lower floor of the cave. My sled and I slipped right through, and at this point my interest perked up, because I didn't know what to expect, and had not planned or intended anything past this point.

      It was dark down here, and I had no sense of the borders of the space, yet I could see the details nearest me perfectly well in the nonlight of dream. The place felt public and even familiar—familiar as a type rather than a specific location—but I can't think of how to relate it to anything in WL. A "town square" might be the closest analogue, but of course in WL town squares don't tend to be in enormous caverns underground.

      I felt my mind shift over into observation mode and began to take deliberate note of the things I saw, but at the same time I felt really hungry and couldn't resist impulsively tasting everything. [WL: I hadn't eaten much for dinner and had even felt hungry again by the time I went to bed, so this was a genuine bleedthrough sensation.]

      My sled had disappeared in the transition through the hole, so now I was on foot. The first object that I passed, on my left, was a piece of fabric that had been fashioned into the form of an elephant, about about eighteen inches wide. It was attached to the top of a pole stuck in the ground, elevating it to just above waist height. I pulled the fabric elephant off the pole to give it a closer look as I continued to walk. White was the dominant color, but the details were stitched in brightly-hued threads, red and blue and green. The base fabric had a thick pile, almost fur-like, akin to what you might see on a stuffed animal, but the object overall was flat, lightly padded like a thin quilt. My hunger impelled me to take a big bite, and in my mouth it had the taste and texture of a sort of bland taffy. (Tastes are rarely very distinctive in my dreams.) I dropped it and moved on.

      The next object I encountered was also on a waist-high pole, and about the same size as the elephant. This one was made of paper and a bit more three-dimensional—it resembled a large origami fish folded from patterned paper. The taste and texture were even less remarkable, but I was so hungry it felt good to be chewing something.

      As I observed with mild amusement the way my hunger was driving me to try to eat things that didn't even resemble food, the rational part of my mind responded that this being a dream, there was no reason I shouldn't try to eat literally anything I could see. I put this to the test, breaking off random bits of any surface I came across and nibbling on them. One thing I remember distinctly was a table. It was a round table covered by a long, dark-hued tablecloth. I think there was a vase of flowers in the center but otherwise it was bare, so I grabbed a hank of the tablecloth and started noshing on that. I was cramming far more in my mouth than I ever would in WL, but I didn't worry since I knew that this stuff had no real substance.

      I was still in snacking mode when I came across a white-bearded gentleman in a navy blue blazer. The bronze buttons caught my eye, and without so much as saying hello, much less asking permission, I reached out and twisted off the top button, bringing it to my eyes for a closer look. Tiny convex letters around the top spelled out "Bartholomew," and a small human figure occupied the center of the button. "Saint Bartholomew?" I asked the gentleman from whom I had taken the button, while trying to remember if there was really such a saint or if I was just free associating. [WL: I still wasn't sure so I googled it. Apparently Saint Bartholomew was an apostle, and although I was not consciously aware of that, I suspect the influence of day residue, because in The Leftovers last night several disciples were mentioned, and I've never been able to keep disciples and apostles straight.] The man shook his head, and when I looked again at the button I saw the letters rearrange themselves into the name "Balthus," which seemed to make a bit more sense... in a way that I can't entirely explain. Still hungry, I licked the button. I thought it tasted a bit sour and metallic, a bit like licking a D battery but without the tingle. The bronze button had been darkly tarnished but now gleamed where I had licked it, so I licked it a few more times to polish the highlights. I looked at the letters again and now they read "Ubewiz," a name meant nothing to me, though I thought it sounded vaguely Polish. [DL: I just noticed the symmetry between the verb "polish" and the adjective "Polish," so I suspect dreamlogic lay behind this observation.]

      FA: I woke up (so I thought) and immediately fished my dream journal out of the bottom drawer of my bedside table. [WL: This was a realistic detail, because although usually I keep it right on the table next to the bed, for the past few days it has been in the drawer.] I flipped through it and couldn't find a single blank page, but I didn't want to waste any time so I started writing my notes in the margins. I was jotting down keywords: "Bartholomew, Balthus, Ubewiz," read the first line. Then I included brief notes about the fabric elephant and origami fish. I hadn't gotten very far when I woke up again and realized that I had been taking my initial notes in a false awakening and would have to start over, so once again I pulled my journal out of the drawer and wrote—grateful for the blank page this time—"Bartholomew, Balthus, Ubewiz."

      Updated 01-13-2019 at 07:42 AM by 34973

      Categories
      lucid , false awakening , side notes , task of the year
    2. Six Episodes (DILD + FA)

      by , 01-25-2017 at 06:26 PM
      Ritual: I went to bed at 1am last night, early enough that I hoped to get some dreaming in. I'd had good luck with the "Dream Leaf" supplement last time, so took the blue tablet before bed, together with two tabs of bacopa and a vitamin D supplement (the latter unrelated to any dreaming intentions). I slept deeply and I don't even think I woke up for a few hours. I still have no clock in the bedroom since I've been charging my phone downstairs, but I estimated it was around 4 or 5am when I first woke. At that point I took the red pill and went back to sleep. I woke a couple more times but was disappointed that I didn't recall any dreams. Finally it must have been around 8 or 8:30am and I felt almost awake enough to get up, but I thought I would give it one more shot. I mixed about half a teaspoon of Piracetam in some water and swallowed that before going back to bed. That's when the magic happened. It was about 9:30 when I woke up again after a linked series of lucid dreams.

      1. ???
      I feel certain there were one or more fully developed scenes initially, but so much else happened afterward that I lost all memory of these earlier episodes when I woke. One thing I like about tasks is that they act as a focus for memory as well as intention.

      2. Gifts under the Tree
      I was in my bedroom and already aware of dreaming, and it felt like some scene had just concluded. The thought occurred: Didn't I mean to finish the gift task properly? I'd better get that done before I wake up or I'll be annoyed. I remembered that my error last time had been forgetting to look under a tree for the gift. However, I looked around and saw that there was no tree in this room. Rather than waste time trying to find a tree elsewhere in the house, I decided to brute force it and manifest one right in the room. My ambivalence about this inelegant solution nearly destabilized the dream, but I was determined to finish the task so I managed to hold it together, even though I had to do this by getting down on all fours and crawling across the room toward the corner where I decided the tree would be.

      Everything had gone dark but I figured as long as I could still feel the floor, it was not too late to restabilize. The texture of the floor was distinct, hardwood, and I could feel the smooth boards with small grooves between them, so I focused on that until the visuals kicked in again. My sight slowly returned, and although the lighting remained dim, I could see an illuminated Christmas tree in the corner I was heading for. Is it lit with real candles? I thought, noting the especially warm quality of the illumination, and remembering the nineteenth-century images that had always captured my imagination. But then I remembered why we don't do this anymore: Isn't that a fire hazard? I felt a flicker, not of the candles, but of the dream nearly destabilizing again at my irrational concerns, so I forced my attention away from the lights and onto the area underneath the boughs. I was still on my hands and knees so it was easy to peek underneath.

      There were three objects. Two were wrapped, one rather messily, but the last caught my eye because it was unwrapped. It was a single glove, and from the position of the thumb I could see that it was for the left hand. No sooner had I observed this than two more manifested, in different colors, also for the left hand. As I wondered about the possible significance (nothing occurred to me) the pile got larger... maybe a dozen left-handed gloves were now strewn under the tree. This was getting out of hand (no pun intended) and anyway I preferred to choose a wrapped gift, so I withdrew my attention from the gloves and looked at the other objects. The first two hadn't appealed to me, but now I saw a flat, rectangular, neatly wrapped item that seemed perfect, so I picked it up for a closer look.

      As I tore through the several layers of wrapping and tissue paper, I came across small textual clues that made me think this must be a gift from my spouse. It turned out to be a book, a beautiful old volume bound in leather that looked like it couldn't have been published later than the nineteenth century. The title was printed in small stamped gilt letters on the front cover. It was something like Personalities of Note, and subtitled Pple of Our Time, where I understood "pple" to be an abbreviation for "people." The author was identified as Lord Lytton, a name that I knew I recognized from WL history but couldn't immediately place.

      Turning the book over in my hands and admiring the beautiful cover, I discovered a library sticker on the lower part of the spine. I wondered what library had held such a fine book and looked on the sides of the closed pages where the name is sometimes stamped. The top side of the pages had been coated with gleaming silver pigment, further attesting to the book's quality, but there were no stamps on the outside. I found it inside the back cover: "Library of _______" (I can't clearly remember the name but it was a one-syllable word ending with "nsk," similar to Svensk or Minsk, but something else I think). I continued to look for a "discard" stamp or some other clue that it had been deliberately divested from the library's holdings. I couldn't find one but reasoned that it must have been; surely it wouldn't have been given to me as a gift if it was still a part of a library's collection, and anyway, ex-library books are very common these days.

      I opened the book hoping to read some passages, but despite the English title and author, the text was unmistakably in Cyrillic. This was disappointing since I don't read Cyrillic, and I concluded that it must be a translation.

      3. Vampire Interlude
      I don't recall the transition, but found myself lying next to a blonde boy. I realized that I was a vampire and that also reminded me that I was dreaming. I fed on his blood and gave him advice on his sexual difficulties.

      4. False Awakening
      I found myself lying under my down comforter in a very plausible facsimile of my WL bed, and even though I was lying sideways across the foot of the bed, I didn't think it odd because sometimes I'll lie in odd positions when I want to relax a bit more but avoid falling back to sleep. I felt aroused and began touching myself, but then I noticed an odd feeling of displacement and realized that even though I could distinctly feel the pressure of my fingers when I flexed them, my hand was resting at my side and not actually in contact with any other part of my body. I correctly deduced that this was because I was not fully awake. Eventually I was able to persuade myself that if I was lucky enough to still be in the dream state, I should make better use of it, and forced myself back out of bed.

      5. Explaining Massage to the Snow Lizard

      I flew out the window and landed in heavy snow. Now that I was on my feet, I found that the snow was so deep I could barely push my way through it. I was actually enjoying this, because I've been disappointed with the quality of the snow in the WL winter so far. It was night, and I was walking around a vague dream version of my house, but the thick snow made me feel like I was in some deep kingdom of winter. Wondering what to do next, I tried to remember any of the other current tasks of the month or year, but I was having trouble coming up with them. I thought hard until one came to me: the massage TOTM. This wintry realm seemed like an odd place to look for a massage, but part of the fun of dream is improvising, right?

      Movement in the air made me look up, and I saw thick-bodied, pale blue lizards flapping slowly through the air. Maybe I could convince them to do it! I beckoned them down, and two of the snow lizards landed and gazed at me curiously.

      "I'd like you to give me a massage." I instructed. They looked back blankly. Either they didn't understand the concept, or didn't understand why they should comply. I worked on the latter angle: "I need you to help me! It's for a Task." I tried to make the word "task" sound very important. "Please just rub my back a little." I sat down and turned my back to the nearest lizard.

      What the lizard replied was so peculiar that I repeated it to myself many times afterward, making sure I would remember the phrasing: "Mr. Cooper, could you please salute the Constitution? I mean, lift your shirt." I found it very amusing that "salute the Constitution" was apparently a local euphemism for "lift your shirt," though I had no idea why he addressed me as "Mr. Cooper," a name that inspires no particular resonance. I complied with his instruction and looked foward to the prospect of a massage, since my back muscles have actually been sore lately in WL and I've been needing one.

      I should note that by this point I had already been dreaming for so long that I was starting to worry how well I would be able to remember the details, so I was actually carrying around my dream journal and taking notes. I recognized sadly that they would be unlikely to persist into waking (though I always, irrationally, hope that somehow they will), but I figured that the concentration of writing down details might help me better fix them in memory. I jotted down what the lizard had just said while I was waiting for the massage to start. I think the second lizard was looking on quietly the whole time.

      The lizard wasn't doing anything, so I tried to instruct him in how to give a massage. "Stroke my back," I suggested. He limply touched it. We wrangled a bit but weren't getting anywhere, so I decided to try a different tack. I lay face-down on the ground and insisted, my exasperation rising, "Just walk on my back! Walk directly on it!" I remembered when I was little my dad would have me walk on his back this way, so it was a valid form of massge. I was afraid the lizard might be too heavy, but reminded myself that since it was a dream I couldn't come to permanent harm. But the lizard still balked.

      I sat up again, trying to come up with a solution. I remembered shiatsu, how it uses chopping motions. I thought that might be easier for the lizard to master, so I attempted to explain it. Finally I felt something vaguely massage-like as the lizard patted me several times on the shoulders with the flat part of its front feet. (For the first time I contemplated the anatomical differences that might make this challenging for the lizard.)

      "Great!" I exclaimed, pleased that we were finally getting somewhere. "Okay, now keep doing that."

      But the lizard sounded like someone awkwardly trying to escape an embarrassing social encounter as he replied: "Ummm... it was nice to know you..." and disappeared into the night.

      6. The Lonely Beauty of Dream
      Somehow after all this I still wasn't awake. I could hardly believe it myself. I knew I should force myself awake at this point, I was juggling so much in memory, and had so much to write down—and the dream notebook I was still carrying was not likely to be much help, though I continued to jot down details.

      But I didn't want to wake up. I was enjoying this too much, and wanted to see where else it would go. I was still next to the house, but the sense of winter was fading as I walked around the corner, feeling fully in my element and murmuring: "This is my domain." I walked into the house, which still felt like mine even though it had no resemblance to WL, noting how detailed it all was, even a bit cluttered, boxes of cereal on the counter. What should I do next? I didn't feel like attempting another task as I already had so much to remember. As I approached the front door, which was open on a beautiful bright day—it was no longer dark outside, and the trees were green now—I was inspired to try to see the dream world at its best.

      "Show me the beauty of dream," I commanded as I walked through the doorway back outside. I was addressing the dream state directly now. I repeated this a few times, and indeed, the natural landscape around me was incredibly lovely. I walked to the edge of the trees and pulled down a fir bough to admire it. The needles were an unusual shade of purple.

      I continued admiring the landscape until I was struck with sudden note of melancholy. Everything was so beautiful, but what good is all this beauty if you have no one to share it with? That was always the problem, wasn't it? Could this explain something about the kind of beings we are, why we choose to cohabit a shared dream despite all the inevitable conflict? I felt a hint of that distinctive sensation you get when you're stoned and think you've stumbled on some revelation of cosmic importance, but at the same time you realize that it will sound bland and foolish when you look back on it later. The sense of loneliness persisted, so I attempted to break through the solipsism, to summon something to me, to reach out and find some other cognition.

      A spacecraft flew low across the sky, seeking a place to land. It was not an alien ship but clearly of human make, chunkily built. I don't think it resembled anything in WL but was probably inspired by films or games: the first thing I thought to google was 'mass effect shuttle' and the image results are actually about right. I was surprised to see, as it came closer, that the word "AMERICAN" was written in block letters across the side.

      The shuttle settled to the ground and I walked toward the landing site. The hatch opened and a few people came out, walking in single file. The guy in the lead was wearing his suit, but no helmet. He was a dark-haired, middle aged man with a rugged face. I thought he resembled the character Group Captain Peter Townsend from The Crown, which made sense because we've been watching that show lately, and the character was a military pilot.

      I wanted to signal my benign intentions so I held my hands out and up. The captain also held his hands up, although I noted that he did not let go of the rifle in his right hand, he just wasn't pointing it at me. I guess he felt wary and uncertain of my intentions. "I come in peace," I announced to reassure him, though it occurred to me that he should be the one saying that—I lived here. As we came closer I slowly (so as not to startle him) brought forward my right hand, inviting a handshake. He slung his rifle over his shoulder and did the same. I brought down my left hand to clasp his in both of my own, feeling warm and benevolent. "Be well," I said sincerely.

      At that moment I felt the irresistable pull of waking draw me out of the dream. I hadn't intended it, but it was perfectly timed.

      Updated 01-25-2017 at 06:32 PM by 34973

      Categories
      lucid , false awakening , memorable , task of the month
    3. Minor Antics (DILD/FA/NLD)

      by , 10-15-2015 at 06:46 PM
      Ritual: Woke up around 5am after four hours of sleep and decided to make a proper LD attempt. To reinforce my intention I used supplements, my usual stack of Alpha-GPC, L-Theanine, and Bacopa. Did some SSILD cycles until I felt too wakeful, and then breathing/counting. After falling half-asleep and waking up again, I turned on my side.

      DILD: My recall is poor from the fact that I haven't been journaling diligently, and I also didn't write more than a few notes promptly after the dream, so I don't clearly recall the onset of lucidity. I just remember that I was in a small, empty, square room with white walls and beige carpet, and I knew I was dreaming. I had the idea that I should better integrate with the dream through physical activity, so I did some high-knee running for a few circles around the room, and followed it up with jumping jacks. This felt absurdly easy compared to the physical strain of exercising in WL, and the sense of incongruity almost collapsed the dream.

      I managed to hold the dream together, but now I was feeling dissatisfied, and I decided that I didn't like this room with its ugly beige carpet. I went through the door and found myself outside, which was a nice change. I found myself in a small yard bordered by beautiful vegetation, glossy green leaves and vividly colorful flowers.

      FA-NLD: At this point I had an FA during which I lost lucidity by believing I was actually awake. I recall telling someone about how beautiful the outdoors was in the dream I just had, compared to the bland indoor environment. The dream proceeded to take the form of a meeting with colleagues at work, though the details have faded.

      DILD: At some point after the meeting, I was driving in a car with two women and realized I was dreaming again. I had reviewed the TOTMs during my WBTB, and was very confident in my recollection that one of the basic tasks was to blow a car horn! That will be easy, I figured, since I'm already driving a car... in fact, I feel bad because it's almost too easy. Dream took care of that, so when I pressed the horn, no sound came out. I ended up putting a lot of concentration into trying to coax some sound out of the horn, and the best I could get was a kind of doorbell buzz.

      After giving up on my efforts to make the car horn sound louder or more realistic, I pulled over to the side of the road, and got out of the car with the two women. We were on a small rural road with a nice view over some fields. Now I wanted to try one of the advanced tasks, to pass into a DC's body. As I approached one of the women with this intention, I noticed her appearance had changed: previously she had been a fully-clothed middle-aged woman of non-descript appearance. Now I was walking toward the body of a nude young woman with no head! It wasn't that the head had been chopped off, her body just ended at the neck, a smooth stump.

      I didn't let this deter me and walked right into the body. I realized that the lack of a head was handy: since the only "headspace" I was occupying was my own, I didn't feel any confusion about my identity—although it made the task less interesting than it might have been. However, I began to suspect that since the body had been facing me as I merged with it, now my head might be attached backwards! This thought was so disconcerting that I woke up before I could look down and check.
    4. Reflections / Zznvogayi (WILD + FA)

      by , 06-08-2015 at 08:24 PM
      Ritual: I haven't let myself get bothered by my dry spell of the last few weeks, since it was easily attributable to lack of motivation and practice. My work life has been much more relaxed, so I think dreaming has been less psychologically necessary. I'm starting to observe a consistent pattern where I get lucid more frequently and intensely at times when I am under the most stress in waking life. I always think I'll have more time to work on dreaming when that stress disappears, but usually I find my motivation disappears along with it. I think this is because when I have more free time, I indulge in other kinds of experiences that satisfy my mind in a way similar to dreaming: films, books, and especially computer games.

      Recently I started getting irritated with the bad dream recall and lack of lucidity, and decided to put more work into it. I did a few WILD attempts where my inability to count much higher than ten revealed my lack of mental focus and clarity, and they went nowhere. Today I found myself wide awake after sleeping four hours, a perfect WBTB, so I decided to try again. I didn't want to take any active supplements (alpha-gpc, galantamine, or piracetam), but I also didn't want to miss out on the placebo effect and reifying of intentions that might be gained from swallowing something, so I took a few tablets of bacopa and one of NAC. For good measure I also strapped on my MotivAider, set to 45 minutes, then lay down to do some counting. My focus was still crap.

      I was not fully asleep yet when I felt the first pulse of the MotivAider, however it roused me enough that I noticed I was seeing some really amazing hypnagogic patterns. This is the first time I've experienced such distinctly geometric and symmetrical patterns in the hypnagogic state. I got up to use the bathroom and was amazed at the way the patterns persisted every time I closed my eyes, moving and transforming. I was tempted to wake up more fully to sketch them, but realized I could make better use of this state, so I preserved it and kept watching the imagery as I lay back down in bed.

      I decided to skip the counting this time and work directly on tactile sensations. I concentrated on trying to move the dream body without activating my real one, and there was that inevitable ambiguity at first, but then I reached up to touch my face and I was pretty sure it was my dream arm that did it. I felt around my mouth with my tongue and was sure of it: the taste in my mouth felt too flat, too muted, to even be the normal background mouth-taste that we typically overlook. When I was confident that I had integrated into the dream body, I got up into my bedroom.


      WILD, "Reflections / Zznvogayi": It is my first time getting lucid this month, so I decide to try a TOTM. The mirror task is convenient, since there are large mirrored sliding closet doors only steps away from my bed. I walk over and stand in front of one. At first I think the reflection bears a close resemblance to me, only with fuller cheeks and smaller eyes. But rapidly these features grow more exaggerated until they no longer look like me at all: the face is horribly bloated and the eyes have all but vanished beneath the puffy surrounding tissue. I recognize this as DR: I've been reading Gyo, a horror manga by Junji Ito, and it's full of faces like this. I force myself to keep watching as the image becomes more and more hideous, as though it is deliberately trying to unnerve me, but I remain calm and at last it vanishes.

      It seems like the show is over, but the TOTM instructions were to keep looking as long as you can, so I continue watching the mirror. For a while it shows no reflection at all, just an empty dark space. Then a new reflection appears. This woman is beautiful, elegantly dressed in an archaic ballgown. I note that the bottom of her dress expands into almost a full half-sphere, and recall that this style was characteristic of the 1850s. I look up toward her face, but even though the expansive bottom of her dress is brightly illuminated, her entire upper body is in deep shadow and I can make out nothing but the silhouette of an appealingly slender torso. I keep staring until finally a tinge of light illuminates the lower curve of a shapely breast. I never do see the rest of her. As I continue watching, she is replaced by a male figure. I have the impression of a hairy man in rough clothing or primitive furs, but already the dream is deconstructing itself around me and when it stabilizes I am in another place entirely.

      I find myself at the top of stairs leading down through water and rockery, landscaping that reminds me of a Chinese garden, though the buildings on all sides look contemporary. I wander down the stairs wondering what to do next. In late May I finally started playing Dragon Age: Inquisition, and was delighted to discover that one of the core characters is a lucid dreamer. This gives me the idea to try to summon him. Summoning people, historical or fictional (I rarely attempt it with WL people because I feel like it would be rude to deal with their doppelgangers), has always been my weakest area of dream control, but I'm determined to make it work. At first I hope to recognize the character among random DCs passing by, but don't see any likely candidates. Then I notice that at the bottom of the stairs is a large cafe, with a number of tables clustered in a semi-interior space with no front wall. This gives me an idea.

      The cafe is organized enough to have a hostess desk, so I approach the two women working there and tell them, "There's someone waiting for me." When they ask his name, I say "Solas." One of the women acknowledges that he is here, and tells me to follow her. Oh my, is my trick actually working? I worry that I might get too excited over the prospect of success and destabilize the dream, and of course even that thought comes dangerously close to doing so, but I quell it and force myself to keep going along with the events I've set in motion, despite my impatience. So I follow the hostess, who leads me among the small circular tables toward one where a man is sitting by himself. I squint at him, trying to figure out if he really looks like Solas. Not so much: his face is thin enough but the features aren't right, and his skin has an odd greenish cast. I do my best to will his appearance into a better fit with my expectations, but this doesn't work. Oh well, appearances aren't everything. Maybe at least he'll identify as the character?

      I sit down at the table and say, "Are you Solas?" He confirms that he is not. I don't remember our conversation clearly, but I recall being impressed with this DC's confidence and sense of his own identity. He seemed to find my questions foolish or nonsensical whenever I attempted to steer him toward my own ideas of how the scene should play out. For instance, when I asked something like "Are you from Thedas?" he replied emphatically, "I am from here." Still trying to keep up with the DA:I theme, I asked, "Is this the Fade?" I seem to recall he had an interesting answer to that, but I've unfortunately forgotten it.

      At some point either I ask for his name or he volunteers it... and it is both odd and unfamiliar. I repeat what I think I've heard: "Vinyogi?" He shakes his head and says it again. This time I can make out that there are four syllables, with the emphasis on the second. "Zunvogayi?" I have to try several times before he's happy with my pronunciation, but it sounded something like that. I ask how to spell it, thinking this will help me remember it better, and he explains that the first syllable is spelled 'Zzn', but clarifies that the second 'z' functions as a 'u'. He gets up to leave and I follow, badgering him about how to spell the rest of it. He asks why I want to know, which I realize is a reasonable suspicion. I try to come up with an explanation that will sound bland and plausible without mentioning that I'm dreaming this, so I say something lame along the lines of, "I like to keep records of my activities."

      Outside the cafe we head left down a path and then turn to the right, where some DCs are gathered looking at a long thin object resembling a small oar that is attached to a wall with a number on the paddle end. From their conversation I gather that it is a house number, and possibly they are trying to figure out if they should proceed with some kind of heist. Zznvogayi pulls out some cards and lays down four of them as though doing a divination. There are words and pictures on the cards, but they don't make sense to me. From what I can tell, the cards suggest that "if you have guts you get ice cream." I tentatively interpret that to mean that bravery will yield rewards... a favorable oracle? The DCs discuss the matter among themselves. Meanwhile I'm still pestering Zznvogayi to tell me how to spell the rest of his name, which he finally does. Of course it was just as complicated as the first syllable, and all I remember now is him explaining: "The 'v' and the 'd' are the same." "That makes sense," I reply, thinking how easily the two letters could merge based on linguistic similarity, and the fact that in some languages, like Sanskrit, they commonly occur in the compound phoneme 'dv'.

      I want to make another attempt at summoning Solas, but this environment is too modern and urban to be suitable, so I decide to find somewhere better. Since there are a lot of DCs around I offer to make a show of it, announcing, "I'm going to make a portal!" Sure enough, this gets their attention and a small audience gathers behind me. I realize that with so many people watching I ought to give them a good visual spectacle. I begin by establishing, a few feet above the ground, a smudge of light colored deep cobalt blue. Then I wave my hand in a circle to rotate the light, spinning it into a flat vertical disk. I recall the beautiful hypnagogic patterns I was watching earlier as I fell asleep, and decorate the disk similarly. When I feel that the portal is well-established, I step through, trying to fix my thoughts on an environment appropriate to DA:I. However, at the spur of the moment I have trouble remembering any setting in particular, and for a while I find myself floating in unconstructed dream space. I focus on staying in the dream and finally a new environment forms around me. Across well-groomed lawns are large buildings whose style is unmistakably contemporary. There are no windows on the side wall of the building that I'm facing, just a four-digit number to identify it. This place looks like an expensive corporate campus: very far from what I was hoping for!

      FA: It was probably the disappointment that woke me, but I had so much to write that I immediately went into "preserve and recall" mode, grabbing the notebook next to my bed and jotting down as many notes as I could before the memories faded, starting with the name 'Zznvogayi'. At one point I noticed that the pen wasn't making any marks on the paper, and remembered that earlier I had covered part of that page with an oval of wax. I tried to remember why and thought it must have had something to do with portals. I flipped over to a new page and continued taking notes, until I woke up more fully and realized that I was not actually writing, it had been an FA, and I would need to pick up my notebook for real and do it properly.
    5. Drones + Smallpox + Bed Monsters (NLD + FA-DILD + DILD)

      by , 05-09-2015 at 09:55 PM
      Ritual: It was a great night for dreaming, probably because I went to bed so much earlier than usual, though I've also been especially attentive to my RCs for the last couple days. I went to bed a little before midnight, and I'm also currently on the East Coast, so the clock was three hours ahead of my usual time zone. My sleep was punctuated with the usual half-dozen wakings, though I didn't do any specific night practices other than try to pay attention to the transitions between sleeping and waking, and in this I was not persistant or prompt enough to pull off a WILD or a DEILD. But by around 6am I woke up from the first DILD, spent until 7:30am writing it down, then went back to bed and lucked into a second one.

      NLD, "Drones": I'm standing by a floor-to-ceiling, wall-length window in a big hotel suite, looking out over the curve of a bay. From the height we must be somewhere between the 20th and 30th floor, and to the right I can see another tall building, or perhaps an extension of the same hotel, following the curve of the beach. Ahead and to the left is the flat horizon of the sea. It would be a pleasant view if it weren't for all the drones hovering in our field of vision, each one carrying a sign with a single word on it, white block letters on a black background. The words seem to be completely random.

      "It's like some dystopian future," I comment to Peter Dinklage, who is standing to my left. I muse about what it would be like if the drones were weaponized, and turned on us like machines tend to do in science fiction. Though a chilling thought, they are awkwardly constructed without any armoring, and look like they would be easy to shoot down.

      Then I notice that although they are not armed with guns, each drone is fitted with a camera, which is just as bad in some ways. Are they conducting mass surveillance on us? The cameras are all pointed directly at us. As I watch, a see a few drones of a different type fly in very close. They are not carrying signs, and they are disk-shaped, topped with a transparent dome through which we can see tiny people inside operating them. The pilots can't be human: even though I am standing next to a dwarf, they are much smaller than him, the size of babies, but with adult features and pointed ears. One of them waves at us, and Peter Dinklage says something like, "This is really disturbing."

      FA-DILD, "Smallpox": Shortly after this I have the sense of waking up, though it is not a typical FA; I do not find myself in bed. I feel like I am standing in the same spot, in the same room, only awake now. Everyone else who was in the room a moment ago is gone, and there is no longer any impression of a view. The light has changed, becoming greyer and dimmer: it felt like late afternoon a moment ago, now it feels like early morning.

      At once I notice that something is wrong with my body: a dense network of small patchy blisters is completely covering my skin. I look at myself in third person, as though in a mirror, and see them everywhere: covering my face, my chest, my arms, every patch of visible skin is mottled with these raised lesions. I know exactly what they are, too, I've seen them before in historical pictures: these are smallpox pustules, apparently in an early stage, since they are slightly lighter than my natural skin color and haven't scabbed or opened yet.

      Immediately my rational mind rejects the scenario: didn't I get vaccinated for this? I realize I don't specifically remember getting a smallpox vaccine, but... isn't that because smallpox is extinct? I can't recall the details but I'm sure I remembered hearing that. Surely it's not making a comeback, like measles, because of all these anti-vaccers? But that can't be right—if smallpox were coming back then vaccinations for it would have become available, and I'd have been first in line.

      This can't be happening. I try to will away the pustules but nothing changes. I remain unconvinced. This can't be happening, it must be a dream. If I can levitate, I will know it is a dream: I put my mind to it and though I do not levitate properly, I can feel that gravity is definitely different from waking life. So it is a dream! Okay, that's what I thought. Thank goodness I don't really have smallpox. Now I just need to fix my appearance.

      I go into the bathroom and look in the mirror, trying to will my skin smooth again. The pustules are stubbornly persistant, but a lock of hair turns white and I decide to transform the rest of it for fun. It instantly turns stark white, but the texture remains smooth and silky. This gives me the idea to turn my skin jet black, like that of a drow elf. I concentrate and most of it transforms, but there are still pale patches on my forehead and upper cheeks, and when I look down at my legs, they are a streaky grey that is fading out toward the ankles, more like body paint than skin pigment.

      On the bright side, changing the color of my skin finally got rid of the pustules, leaving it smooth again. Now I just want to even out the color, but the pale patches resist my initial attempts to darken them through will alone. I try to use my hands, as though spreading pigment over the resistant areas, and this helps a bit, but it is not an easy fix. As I peer closer into the mirror during this process, I notice that my eyes are solid black. I can't remember if this was the correct color for drow eyes, but I really like the effect. By the time I complete the skin transformation, my hair has faded from snow white to a yellower bone white, and this looks better and more natural with the jet black eyes and skin.

      During this process my hair has been going through stylistic variations, always long and straight, but hanging down in different ways, and smeared with substances like blood or oil. I figure this makes sense for drow fashion, since living underground they probably don't bathe all that often, making hair treatments like oil very practical, whereas the bloody streaks look impressively gruesome. Although my skin won't stay pure black, it doesn't fully revert to its natural shade either, but retains traces of color, like streaky orange-browns on a muted blue base, while the hair stays yellowish-white.

      WBTB: I woke up and spent over an hour writing the report of the last dream, but afterwards it was still early enough to go back to bed. Although I was not sleepy, it was a pleasantly lazy morning, and I enjoyed drifting in hypnagogic imagery. There was a period of ambiguity where it became increasingly difficulty to tell if I was having waking or dreaming experiences, and then I slipped again into full dream.


      DILD, "Bed Monsters": I was wandering through the large house belonging to my in-laws where I am currently staying, and I had lost count of the number of bedrooms... there had to be more than twenty. Just how big was this place? At that moment I realized, no, of course it is not so big in waking life, it is because I am dreaming that the size has been exaggerated. Dreaming, eh? Wasn't there something I had meant to do, if I found myself dreaming in a bedroom? Suddenly I recalled this month's TOTM, to make friends with the monster under your bed. Oh! I should get back to the room where I'd been sleeping! I dashed back so quickly I was afraid I would destabilize the dream, but luckily it stayed intact.

      I peered under the bed but it was a pleasant open space. It looked like there were a few banal things stored under there, but nothing looked sinister or monstrous. I felt around for something to work with, and my hand closed around a small plush object, which I withdrew and examined closely. It was a small brown teddy bear, only five inches long, with a plump, pear-shaped body and tiny beady eyes. There was a lighter brown oval around the bit of stiching that served as a nose. I was impressed with the detail with which I could perceive it, but had no idea how was I supposed to "make friends" with it. It seemed totally inert, a harmless stuffed animal. I set it on the thick folds of the comforter piled on the bed. "Dance!" I commanded. It just sat there. "Dance!" I tried a few more times, but it remained inaminate.

      I walked around to the other side of the bed, setting down the teddy bear on a dresser. I turned away for a moment, and when I looked again it had changed: now it was a sort of bell-shaped plastic structure hanging from the ceiling by a string. I couldn't tell what its purpose was, but it still appeared to be an inert object.

      It occurred to me that I had been walking around and standing right next to the bed completely heedless of the space underneath. If there really were monsters under there, I'd have to watch out for my ankles! I wondered if this was the problem, that I didn't really have any lingering childhood fear of monsters under the bed. Perhaps I should try again with more intent.

      I bent down and looked under the bed from this side, trying to keep the idea of monsters in mind. I still didn't see much under there: it was a light and airy space, just like in waking life, completely different from the overstuffed space under my bed at home. But I did see a scrap of cloth within arm's reach, so pulled it out. It turned out to be a little crocheted cat, only about three inches long, white with some orange spots. I guessed it must have been made by a total amateur. The body seemed floppy like it was unstuffed, and as I turned it over in my hands, I discovered that it was actually crocheted in a single flat piece with the four little legs sticking out horizontally, so only when it was folded in half along the back did it look plausibly like a cat. The head was the only piece that appeared to have been crocheted with any semblance of three-dimensionality. As I studied it closely, I saw tiny points of bright green contrasting with the dominant the white and orange: there was a little green tuft on the trip of the tail, and projecting from the head was a narrow appendange like the antenna of a cartoon alien, also topped with a green point.

      However, this object also showed no sign of motion or life, so it would be hard to say I was "making friends" with it. But then my eye caught a glimpse of orange fur near my feet: my cat had appeared! I wasn't surprised that she had turned up: when thinking about the task in waking life, I had reasoned that she really was the monster under my bed. Though I adopted her when she was about five months old (the best guess of the shelter) she had been living in a feral state before that, and even after five years of comfortable indoor living she still has the edgy instincts of a street cat: she hisses at the slightest provocation, and holes up under the bed for hours whenever a stranger is in the house.

      I knelt down to ruffle her long, soft fur, which felt totally life-like, but I noticed the color was off. In the dream she was calico, with big orange patches, but I remembered that she was a tabby in waking life. I wondered if she could qualify as my dream bed monster—though right now she was acting very pleasant and relaxed, and I figured it probably wouldn't count because I had already made friends with her in WL.

      Yet again I peeked under the bed, and this time at last I found the perfect candidate for my experiment. I felt that it was connected somehow with the tame cat at my feet, as though all her feral qualities had separated into a different animal. This one had a tortoise-shell coat, all the same colors as a calico but in smaller, more mingled patches. Although the fur resembled that of a cat, the body suggested another animal entirely, with a narrower head and tapering snout. I was pretty sure it was a fox. Best of all, it was already hissing and snarling at me! This was the monster I had been looking for!

      Now all I had to do was make friends with it. I began calling to it in the cooing, overly affectionate voice I might use with my cat. "Come here... lovely sweetie... lovely sweetie. I have treats for you my love... treats for you my love." The animal reacted as any feral creature would, holding its ground and continuing to hiss and snarl. I could see the tension locked into its body, poised for fight or flight. I reasoned that since it was a dream monster, the best approach would be to hug it, but that wasn't obviously wasn't going to be possible while it was still under the bed. I needed to draw it out first.

      I reached under the bed and the animal snapped at the air and threatened to bite me. I considered drawing my hand back for a different approach but decided to let it go ahead and bite, inspired by that wonderful scene in Miyazaki's Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind where Nausicaa tames the fox-squirrel by remaining calm and patient when it bites her finger. Plus, since it was a dream I didn't have to worry about physical harm. So I kept reaching toward the animal until it bit down on the middle of my left index finger. The pain was surprisingly clear and sharp, but easily manageable. I kept thinking of that scene from Nausicaa and projecting similar expectations on this situation. I felt the animal relax enough to take a few steps closer to me, but it had not yet emerged from under the bed when the dream abruptly faded. Intriguingly, even after I had fully transitioned to wakefulness, I could still feel a distinct itch in the second joint of my left index finger where the animal had bitten me.

      uncontrollable things in lucid state-nausicaalarge1.jpg

      Updated 05-10-2015 at 04:09 AM by 34973

      Categories
      false awakening , memorable , lucid , non-lucid , task of the month
      Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails uncontrollable things in lucid state-tetonausicaa01.jpg  
    6. Balloon and Mantra (WILD + FAs)

      by , 04-22-2015 at 07:21 PM
      Ritual: WTB 2:30am, woke up to work from 5:30 to 6:30am, realized I'd drunk too much coffee before bedtime and have trouble going back to sleep. I figure as long as I'm insomniac, might as well try for LD and take some L-theanine and alpha-GPC. I try counting but have trouble focusing, realize I need more motivation so resolve on a task. I had been thinking earlier about the use of mantras for getting lucid, and I've had trouble deciding on one so I thought I should ask a DC.

      WILD, "Balloon and Mantra": Since it seemed to initiate directly from the waking state, I guess this was a WILD though there was no distinct experience of transition, at least in the way I usually experience it (shifting into dream while continuing to perceive that I am lying in bed). At the beginning it felt more like hypnagogic imagery that I was playing around with, but gradually acquired more solidity and focus. (Or maybe that's the "normal" way people do it, haha.)

      I'm on top of a building, playing catch with two other girls. We're throwing a ball around between us counter-clockwise. The girl to my left spikes the ball to make it hard for me to catch, so I retaliate by throwing it right back at her when she's not expecting it, instead of continuing to pass to the other girl. She says it's not fair because she wasn't paying attention. I retort that I did it because of the way she was playing.

      The game becomes more leisurely and the ball becomes a balloon. I sit down and I'm practicing moving it telekinetically. The balloon is making the kind of strange echoing sounds that you hear when handling real balloons, only strongly magnified. I'm impressed with the way my mind can conjure that unusual but distinctive sound which I probably haven't heard in years. Although the sound component of the dream is impressively vivid, the visuals are terrible. The whole scene is in grainy black and white, and the balloon is white too, which makes it very hard to see against the sky when I bounce it up into the air. At one point I launch it away from me and lose sight of it altogether. When I go to summon it back, instead of the balloon returning to my hand, my right hand is contorted with a strange sensation, like it's being squeezed.

      Around this time, everything switches over to bright color, brilliant blues and pinks. It happens as suddenly as turning on a light, and makes everything look much more vivid and cheerful. I figure this is REM switching on more fully, and comment to one of the DCs, "Hey, color just kicked in!" I notice that instead of the two girls, there are now at least a dozen of them, and they seem to be having a dance party. I hear a bouncy pop song playing in the background.

      I get up and wander through the group, then suddenly I remember the task I had designated as I went to sleep. I approach a girl at random. She's dressed very unusually and elaborately, probably day residue from a Chinese painting I was looking at in WBTB, and I'm doubtful about whether she will be able to help, but figure it can't hurt to ask.

      Exploding match?-tangyin_poem-red-leaf_sm.jpg

      "I'm looking for a lucid dream mantra," I begin, then think I should explain more clearly what I mean. "Something that—"

      "Who is your mantra?" she interrupts. It's such an odd question that I stop and look more closely at her. Her face is pretty but blank.

      "That was my question," I reply, then wait to see if she'll have anything more helpful to offer.

      "Who is your mantra?" she repeats, in exactly the same tone and words, like a broken record.

      "That's what I'm trying to figure out," I insist. This is going nowhere. Reaching back with two hands I grasp the edges of a cloth, as though it were a scarf I were wearing around my neck, and draw it over both our heads. Now the two of us are alone in the dark, face to face, with just a bit of the background peeping through under the edges of the cloth behind her. Although I had performed the gesture instinctively, my intention was to blot out the distractions so I could try to communicate with the girl more effectively. A more rational course would have been to find someone else to ask, or ask the dream directly, but I got too caught up in my determination to try to make her understand. My approach was not helpful, however, as this deconstruction of most of the dream environment makes me lose traction and wake up.

      FAs: I had gotten up and was nearly ready for work. I went to use the bathroom before leaving and stood there dumbfounded: everything else looked normal, but the toilet was gone! I recognized immediately what this must mean. "You've got to be freakin' kidding me," I said aloud. Usually I would be delighted to realize I was still dreaming, but this time I already felt like I'd invested a lot of time in getting ready for my day, and now I would have to do it all over again, so I was actually annoyed.

      My lucid awareness must have been pathetically low, because instead of doing something cool with the dream or thinking of one of my many fallback tasks, I stood there until I had successfully conjured the toilet back into place, because I still wanted to use it! Then I noticed that the clarity of the dream was waning and in an attempt to restore focus, told myself: "Open your eyes." But I accidentally opened my real eyes, waking up! It was a fail on so many levels.

      I wanted to get back to the dream state so again I tried to play along with hypnagogic visuals. I had an image of a three medieval-looking riders in a wooded hillside. There was a male, a female, and one other. I was loping after them in the form of a wolf. The scene felt stronger and more stable than the usual hypnagogic imagery, but less tangible than a fully manifested dream. I realized that I instinctively knew the names of the man and the woman. (I suspect the indistinct third was their servant or page.)

      After I had nearly caught up with the riders, I worried that if they noticed me in wolf form they might shoot me with an arrow, so I transformed into a woman (nude, I noticed) and caught their attention. They turned around one exclaimed, "A forest sprite!"

      I "woke up" (I might have even had a vague sense at the time that it was not a real waking, since it still felt too "thin" for a proper dream) and tried to write down their names on my computer. The man's came so easily that it left no trace in memory, but the woman's name took me a lot of effort to type correctly, and I kept making mistakes and having to fix them. On the bright side, this meant that I still remembered it clearly when I woke up for real later. Her name was "Gwynrse," which I took to be Welsh.
      Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Exploding match?-tangyin_poem-red-leaf_sm.jpg  
    7. False Impressions (brief DILD + FA)

      by , 04-18-2015 at 07:54 PM
      Ritual: I don't know if it was the jackfruit seeds or a bad scallop, but something I ate last night was brutal to my stomach. It got so unpleasant I that for a few hours I couldn't do anything but pace in discomfort, hoping something would come out in any direction. Finally I threw up, which usually leaves me feeling 100% better, but this was only a minor improvement. I managed to read for a bit, drinking herbal tea and self-medicating with tinctures of myrrh and wormwood. Around midnight I threw up again and finally felt stable enough to sleep. Although my stomach still hurt for a few hours and I couldn't drink much water at first, by the time I woke up at 8am, I was feeling basically fine again. My dream recall was terrible, though: I knew I had dreamed but couldn't pin down a single detail. At 9am I decided to go back to bed for a bit, performed half-assed WILD technique but started dreaming non-lucidly. On waking up my recall was 1/10 at first, but once I managed to recover the location of the dream I was able to follow the thread and reconstruct much of the narrative, resulting in 4/10 recall overall.

      I was in my grandmother's house, a common setting for many of my dreams. The events going on were all very mundane... too dull to go into much detail. Briefly, I was looking for some powder that you could mix with milk to make a shake, similar to the Carnation Instant Breakfast packets my grandmother always used to have on hand, but couldn't find any.

      I went into the bathroom and finally realized that my location was a dream sign, so I started to look around and wonder if this was a dream. Everything seemed so concrete and convincing that I had my doubts, but then something bizarre happened: I suddenly felt like I was being grabbed from behind by someone putting their arm around my right shoulder, but there was no one in the room with me! I whirled around to make sure and was staring at empty air. A moment later I felt it again even more strongly: the pressure of the arm squeezing my shoulder and chest, and the pressure of a warm body very close behind me.

      Ohhh, I thought. I think I know what's going on. I really am dreaming, and my husband has come back to bed and put his arms around me. Upon that realization, I felt the dream fading, and sure enough, woke up in bed next to my husband.

      "Are you going to get up? It's 1:50 in the afternoon," he said. I pointed out that I had returned to bed to for extra rest because I hadn't been feeling well last night. I was telling him about the strange thing that had just happened, how I had felt his presence while I was dreaming. I went on to explain how I should have recognized that it was a dream earlier, because my cousins were all much younger than they should be, and my grandmother's house was in the possession of an aunt (long-since divorced) rather than the uncle who currently lives there. My husband apologized for disrupting my dream, but I said it was okay, it hadn't been that interesting.

      As we talked, I was looking out the screen door onto our patio. Where I should have seen the pool and cement deck, instead I was mildly surprised to observe a grassy hillside. I attributed this to some lingering after-effects of the dream state, instead of correctly realizing that I had never stopped dreaming all along. In retrospect this is more obvious, because the way I felt my husband put his arm around my right shoulder was impossible given that I sleep on the right side of the bed, so if I'm on my left side there is no room for someone to lay down behind me. I was also relieved when I woke up for real and discovered that it was only a little after 10:30am!
    8. Wine and Cheese + Navriela (DILD + DEILD + FA)

      by , 04-17-2015 at 08:29 PM
      Ritual: WTB 2:30am, woke 7:15. I was stressed over something and felt too awake to go back to sleep right away, so I got up and put some time into a project for work. Returned to bed at 8:45am, no techniques, though I wondered if the WBTB would make lucidity more likely (happily it did) and woke again at 10am. Recall: 6/10.

      DILD, "Wine and Cheese": I'm walking down a footpath outdoors, carrying a cat in the hem of my dress. That is, I've folded up my hem to make a kind of pocket with the cat in it. She is an orange tabby short-hair that doesn't resemble any cat I've known in WL. I think she'll probably want to look around, so I try to arrange the "pocket" in such a way that she can rest her paws on the edge of the hem that I am holding and peek her head out. This works for a while, but then I notice that my black inner dress feels too tight around my legs, hampering my movements, and I think I must have accidentally caught it up together with the hem of the outer dress (which is a sheer light brown fabric). In trying to rearrange it so I can walk unimpeded, the cat falls back down into the "pocket," but I figure this isn't so bad, since the outer dress is translucent, maybe she can still enjoy the view.

      However, the cat is getting restless, and I remember something I read the other day on the forums: that if you just keep walking or wandering in a particular direction, the dream will destabilize. Well, such a thing has never happened to me before, despite numerous opportunities, but now I've caught a touch of schema infection from reading about it. [I agree with FryingMan that as a community we should try to be more conscientious about making claims that might infect other people's schemas!] So of course now that I'm anxious about it I start to feel destabilization coming on—I need to do something, quick! I notice that I am walking past a little wine-and-cheese shop, so I decide to duck in for a snack.

      Almost immediately I start to wonder if this was a bad idea... sitting down for a whole meal seems like a very drab and tedious way to spend my precious dream time. I decide to keep it short and just taste a few things; there's no need to finish after all. So I order some white wine and a cheese plate. The lady running the shop insists that we also try a certain specialty of theirs, which turns out to be a kind of spread that you put over toast. I see that all of these menu options are also listed on a small chalkboard hung over the doorway to the kitchen, though she prepares everything from behind a counter that is in the dining room. She serves us two types of their specialty spread, together with wedges of three kinds of cheese. It looks like very high-quality cheese, and I'm surprised (and a bit dismayed) to see how big the pieces are.

      The only seating in the place, which is very small, is a long communal table. I sit down and don't find it odd that I have a dining companion who sits to my right, though I didn't notice her before and my impressions are so vague that all I can really specify (uncertainly) is her gender. The orange cat I was carrying before is on the floor at my feet, and I hope the proprietor won't mind if she sees me feeding the cat little pieces of cheese. I take a sip of wine and a bite of some cheese and I am pleasantly surprised. Normally in dreams my sense of taste is dull and muted, but the taste and texture of this cheese is identical to the real thing. It is a sharp, tangy cheese with a firm, slightly crumbly texture like certain Spanish or French cheeses made from ewe's milk. I feel more enthusiastic about being here now, since I can enjoy a delightful snack without worrying about any extra calories! But on my second bite of cheese, as I concentrate on enjoying it, my perceptions accidentally shift to my real mouth—which of course is completely empty and tastes like night saliva. The dream fades and I very nearly wake up.

      DEILD, "Navriela": Luckily I realize that I am not fully awake but just below the threshold, so I think I can probably DEILD. Initially I try to DEILD back into the dream I just left, but it has fragmented beyond retrieval. So I just focus on getting the dreamstate back. Visuals kick in first: I see what looks like the vantage of a movie camera tracking steadily from left to right over something that resembles a grim, minimalist palace interior, perhaps an empty throne room. Everything is smooth and metallic grey and vertical. Probably because I start to wonder what was supporting the camera for this shot, which is too smooth and gravity-defying for a human cameraman, I now hear a male voice off-screen saying, "It is difficult to make a movie like this." I listen and continue to hear voices conversing about the film, so with both sight and sound back in play, I know that dream is kicking in.

      The camera has moved right through a doorway into the upper landing of a stairwell, and now I see a slender woman dressed all in silver begin to descend the stairs. To stabilize my senses I study her outfit, and I'm impressed how clearly I can perceive its details. She is wearing a kind of short jacket over a lower garment that reaches to her mid-thigh. It is not shorts or a skirt, however, and as I study it closely I observe a series of folds that suggest the garment consists of a single piece of cloth that was tucked between and through her legs to form something resembling short pants. I recognize this style of clothing—it looks like jongkraben, a kind of lower garment worn by both men and women in nineteenth-century Siam—but I'm surprised to see it in such an unusual context as this medieval/futuristic palace, worn by a pale, lithe, elf-like woman with white-blonde hair. I think I see some tassles dangling from the front, so I circle my perspective (still disembodied) around the woman to confirm what her outfit looks like from the front, and then continue to follow her down two flights of stairs.

      At the bottom of the stairs she encounters an elderly but vigorous old man with a long white beard who resembles Gandalf. He starts talking to her and at one point asks, "What is your name?" I'm pleased that he has asked the question I was wondering. There is something so youthful yet elvishly ancient about the woman that she strongly reminds me of Galadriel in LOTR, even resembling Cate Blanchett a little bit, and I half-expect her to say that "Galadriel" is her name, especially now that I'm thinking it. But the dream surprises me, and she answers with something that sounds equally elvish, but a name I don't think I've ever heard before: "Navriela."

      I start to think I should embody myself in this dream and work on some task. Had I been a little more on the ball I might have thought to accompany Navriela to a nearby forest to make another attempt my lucid dare, but I am too distracted by my growing attraction to her. I reflect that if I was one of the guys I would surely go "caveman" on her, and this gives me an idea for an experiment: what if I try to become a man? I sometimes identify as male characters in NLDs, but I hadn't attempted this before in an LD.

      I imagined myself as a guy and approached Navriela with romantic intentions. She was compliant as I took her into my arms, and we fell together on a bed that was conveniently placed in an adjoining room. I started trying to make love to her as a man, although it was all rather vague and hasty (I don't even think we took our clothes off) and I didn't notice any differences in my anatomy. Nevertheless, there was something very arousing about it and I quickly orgasmed. "It's always so much easier for men," I thought wryly—overlooking the fact that it is always easier in dreams anyway.

      FA: I woke up and immediately went to my computer to start writing my report, but I was having trouble accessing my word file. First I tried under "Open Recent," in Word since it's usually somewhere in that list, and when I didn't see it I tried typing the name of the file in the search box, but that didn't work either. I resorted to my back-up plan, dropping to desktop and clicking to the alias of my dream journal that I'd placed there, but even that failed for some reason. Since I actually do often have trouble accessing the file when I'm half-awake and hastening not to lose precious seconds of dream recall, it never occurred to me that my technical difficulties this time were evidence of an FA—even after discovering that my computer was in the middle of doing a full scan of some kind, and that my files were all locked until the scan was complete. Instead, I rationalized this by "remembering" that I had updated the OS just before I went to bed, and that concluded a mass file update was part of the process. Fortunately the progress bar was already at 56% and resolving quickly, so I waited it out. The OS shifted over to the new version, and now a new icon appeared on the top of all my window frames. It was a cartoon-like graphic of a noble male face haloed in a bright burst of sunlight, resembling a demigod or superhero. I figured this was the logo of the new OS, the name of which I knew at the time, but I wasn't paying much attention because finally I was able to open my dream journal file and start taking notes. Initially I started jotting down a lot of keywords and short phrases so I wouldn't lose any key events: "Navriela," and "four kittens" and "wine and cheese shop," and then started filling in the details.

      Eventually I woke up again and realized the last sequence had been an FA. Unfortunately my overall recall was now somewhat eroded the delay in waking up properly, especially of earlier sequences before I became aware that I was dreaming. I don't think there was ever a clear boundary or "aha" moment when I got lucid; it just seemed to naturally dawn upon me while I was walking down the path carrying the cat.

      NLD: I can partly recall an even earlier scene, non-lucid, where I was in a store, looking through horse halters. I was surprised to find horse supplies for sale at a mainstream store like this—it resembled a budget department store like a Target. I compared several halters but didn't like their quality or appearance. One that I rejected was covered with pale pink fake fur; another incorporated a fly mask but I wasn't sure if the eye holes would fit properly. I ended up rejecting them all and walking away. As I left, I noticed that the halters were on display in the children's section of the store, which annoyed me: why is horseback riding so often pigeonholed as an activity for young children? Certainly it helps to start young, but it takes years of practice to get any good at it. I think it was after walking out of the store that I was carrying the cat in my dress, where my dream report started, but the transition is unclear. I also now have no idea what the keywords "four kittens" was referring to, among all the notes I had recorded in my dreamed dream journal—so there is probably at least one lost scene.

      Updated 04-17-2015 at 08:50 PM by 34973

      Categories
      lucid , false awakening
    9. Jogging / Portable Hole / Space (DILD)

      by , 04-14-2015 at 07:06 AM
      Ritual: WTB 2am, woke 9am with dream. Recall: 9/10. April had so far been a dryspell, but after my hot streak in early March I hadn't worried too much about it. I've noticed that my streaks and dryspells often seem to operate cyclically. I was distressed in early April when even my dream recall was inexplicably poor, but for the past week that had been improving. I had been continuing daytime RCs but to no discernible effect, and hadn't made any serious LD attempts all month.

      Last night was no exception, but since I was stressed and annoyed over work obligations, I let myself drink rather heavily with dinner. The consequence of this was that I slept poorly, having to cycle lots of water and wake up even more frequently than usual. This didn't bother me either, as I'd slept plenty in the last few days and didn't feel especially tired. I also enjoyed that I was dreaming heavily all night, with decent recall, though the dreams themselves were not interesting enough to sacrifice more sleep to record them. As morning approached, the line between sleeping and waking started to blur, to the point where I found myself in a long dream where I seemed to be lying half-awake in my bed, but talking and interacting with DCs who were in the room with me. Even before the dream ended it occurred to me that it had involved some semi-lucid intervals, so I realized I should get up and take some notes. I was in the process of doing so when I began to suspect I was still dreaming. My first instinct was to wake myself up so I could record the dream properly, but then I realized that I shouldn't squander this unexpected opportunity!


      DILD: In my living room. Don't think I'm awake yet. Could wake myself up, of course. Hang on—that would be a waste. Must be at least an hour before I have to get up. What were those tasks again?

      Jogging will be easy enough. I start running even before I leave the house. Suddenly my feet feel heavy and I notice I am wearing my old black leather combat boots. Grin—if there was any doubt I was dreaming it has cleared up now. [For the record, I was never in the military, I just had a distinctive fashion sense in my youth.] Go outside the door and jog away. Immediately nothing like my backyard, though it does still resemble the region I live in. Look around: in the distance see a woman pushing a stroller. "Woman pushing a stroller," I say to myself, to fix the details. I'm running across a parking lot, and where it ends I pass an unusual tree whose thick branches are armed with long thorns. "Thorn tree," I state for the record. Find myself at the edge of a steep hill and run straight down. Gravity isn't a problem, I stay perpendicular to the ground I am covering, which means I am pitched forward at a 45 degree angle and would fall flat onto my stomach if gravity were operative, but it isn't. I can feel my body being gently buoyed up into this position, and my speed doesn't become too great. Say, "Steep hill." As I'm running down the hill, looking around, I see something stranger. The earth is almost barren, with dry scrubby vegetation in patches, but looking to my left, I see razors sticking up out of the ground as if someone has planted them there, dozens of them, several inches apart, covering a large patch of ground. "Razors planted in the ground," I say, adding, "Disposable razors." And they're not just any brand, but I recognize them: distinctive yellow handles, white heads... "Bic razors," I think.

      At the bottom of the hill the ground levels out. I notice that the act of jogging doesn't feel at all realistic, which is interesting because I actually do jog in WL on a semi-regular basis, so it is not that my dreaming mind lacks sensations to draw upon. In what respect is it unrealistic? Well, there's no need for real effort, no sense of real weight. And now, unbidden, my arms are dangling and dragging through the dry dirt of the ground, I can feel it sifting through my fingers. My arms do not feel any longer than normal, and my legs do not feel any shorter than normal, yet my fingers are trailing the ground alongside me as I run. I notice a small mushroom lying on the dirt and pick it up, saying "Mushroom." It is a fleshy beige tube-shaped stem without a distinct cap, and I recognize the type from the grocery store—it is a small eryngii mushroom.

      Previously I had passed highways at the base of the hill, but now I'm approaching a smaller local street, buildings tightly packed together on the side of the street across from me. I decide to move on to another task. When the April TOTMs were posted I had worked out a plan whereby I would use the portable hole to portal myself into space and do the bonus task. I note an ideal location in the street—there's a manhole cover there or some other kind of circular mark that seems the ideal place to set down the hole. I notice three guys on this side of the road are getting into a parked car and feel instinctive momentary caution about running in front of it, but remind myself that this is a dream, there's no way to be harmed if the car hits me, and anyway I should use it as motivation to succeed quickly in the hole task. In retrospect, I note that the direction they're about to drive suggests either that this must be a one-way street, or else that the traffic flow is the opposite of what it normally is in the US.

      I had planned my strategy as I was jogging up, so once I got to the spot I had designated, I promptly used my right hand to reach into my "pocket" (to avoid overcomplicating things I deliberately didn't bother to take notice of what I was wearing or make sure it had a pocket, I just let assumption carry the day), pulled out my portable hole and dropped it. Nothing happened, but the problem was easily diagnosed: my hand had come up empty from my pocket, so I had only been pretending to drop the hole. Apparently, in dreams, there can somehow still be a distinction (however nuanced) between "pretending" to do something and "actually" doing it.

      "You actually have to pull something out," I murmured to myself reprovingly, and reached into my pocket again. This time my hand closed around a folded piece of very thin black cloth. I recall the texture of the cloth made it feel like a synthetic fiber, smooth and slightly shiny. I unfolded it and dropped it on the pavement. It was circular, perfectly sized to fit over the manhole-cover spot in the street, but I had thrown it so casually that it had fallen in a bunched up and wrinkled way, so I kneeled down to gently smooth it flat. Then I stood back up and stepped on the cloth, intending to sink through it and find myself in space. Of course the first time, it felt no different than stepping onto a layer of cloth that had been set onto the pavement, and I didn't go anywhere. This didn't surprise me, since I knew my expectations might have been conditioned by some of the early TOTM reports I had read in this month's thread. So I patiently tried again, knowing I could make this work. I hopped in place and focused on the sensation of sinking. The second try was still a dud. I hopped again, maintaining my focus and emphasizing the idea of falling through the hole. It worked, though instead of falling suddenly, as one might through a real hole, I was sinking slowly and gently downward. I used this extra time to build my image of where I wanted to end up: space.

      After I sank beneath the surface of the pavement, I was floating in a pitch black, unconstructed space. This was more promising than disorienting—after all, outer space has very similar qualities. However, I knew I should be seeing stars, so I firmed my resolve to be in space, specifically "outer space," not just unconstructed space. The dream complied, and filling my field of view to the front and right was a sudden glimpse of a great starry disk, fully round as if I was looking at it head on. "Galaxy," I murmured, impressed by how beautiful it was, how awe-inspiring, even if it had been generated entirely by my own mind. But the task required me to observe a sunrise over Earth, so I focused my intention using keywords: "Space. Sunrise."

      The beautiful galaxy disappeared, replaced with a vision much less inspiring. From photographs I have the impression that seeing the actual Earth from space is visually stunning, but despite the loveliness of my galaxy, my model of Earth was rather dull and unconvincing. What made it so underwhelming was that I didn't feel like the distances were right: even though I was still floating in "space," I felt like I was only a few feet away from the planet, which resembled a large globe about six feet in diameter. It was dark, because I was looking at the night side, and as I willed the "sunrise" to occur, the light creeping around the edge of the planet illuminated something unexpected: the whole planet seemed fenced in by structures built over and around it, and they were covered with corporate logos! Actually it seemed very appropriate metaphor for the current state of affairs. The structures definitely didn't look like the sorts of things that could exist in space, though, since they consisted of large interlocking beams that crowded and dwarfed the planet itself. As I examined this structure, the "space" in which I was floating stabilized into the interior of a large, dimly lit room, the earth and the structures around it becoming mere models. It resembled the lobby of a planetarium or space museum.

      "Space. Sunrise." I said again firmly, trying to restore the scene to the one I had intended. I temporarily succeeded in making the room fade away so that I was again floating in darkness in front of the Earth, but when I tried to re-do the sunrise, the growing light illuminated the walls of the same room that I had just banished, and now the light was almost aggressively bright. This, I figured, was actual light from WL—during my earlier wakings I had noticed that it was a very bright morning, and my curtains can only do so much to keep light out of the bedroom. I managed to ignore the light and hold onto the dream a little bit longer, but I was still wrestling to turn the room's interior back into outer space when I woke up.

      Updated 04-14-2015 at 07:50 AM by 34973

      Categories
      lucid , false awakening , task of the month
    10. Sparked + Victorian Gentleman + Let the Right One In (NLD + DILD + FA)

      by , 03-12-2015 at 07:36 PM
      Ritual: WTB 1am, WBTB 6-7am recording NLDs, woke 7:45am with DILD + FA.

      NLD, "Sparked": Walking home at night. Someone drives past in a dark vehicle and I say, "Turn on your lights!" Then I feel embarrassed when I notice she is actually walking. She enters the apartment two doors ahead of mine. The door next to her place is open, and there are people just inside it who give the impression that they are workers, not residents. My bed is the first thing I see when I open the door of my apartment, and I'm pleased to see a large box on it. Oh good, that thing I ordered has arrived.

      After looking through the first box and strewing its contents, plastic wrap and styrofoam all over my bed, I open a smaller box that has also arrived. It contains a speaker that I ordered. When I first pull it out of the packaging I am disappointed: the surface is surprisingly dirty. Is it just shelfworn, or did I get a refurbished one by mistake? I'll be annoyed in the latter case, since I thought I was ordering a new one. There is some molded styrofoam that seems like the original packaging, if that's any clue.

      The speaker weighs almost nothing, and I remember that this is a special lightweight system. It's portability is limited by its size, however, at about 8x10 inches. The back of it consists of flaps are supposed to fold together in a clever way. As I go to remove the last of the styrofoam supports, something unusual happens inside my head, like an electrical disruption.

      I remain calm and think I'd better tell my roommates about this in case it incapacitates me and I end up needing medical attention, so I say aloud: "Hey guys, something weird just happened to me. I felt a "pop," saw a flash of white light, and now in the back of my head I hear a tone that is steadily increasing in frequency."

      "You need more sleep," someone suggested. He could be right, but I didn't see the relevance. I do want to go back to bed but I'll have to clear all the box mess off it first.

      What was happening to me? I had a contextual clue, at least: "It happened when I touched the speaker for the first time." Perhaps the device had built up some kind of strange electrical charge that I had triggered?

      All this time the tone was whining to higher and higher pitches, and I waited with curiosity and slight anxiety to see what would happen next. When it seemed like it had become so shrill that it would soon pass beyond my auditory range, all that happened was that I woke up.

      Note: The other day I read about "exploding head syndrome." This might have been a minor instance of it! The "popping" sound and flash of light are apparently classic symptoms. This is only the second time I've experienced something like this.

      DILD, "Victorian Gentleman": I'm at a computer trying to order something online. I don't recall what it was, but the cost was over $200. There were some complicated webforms to navigate, and then after some difficulty finding my wallet, my credit card was missing. Meanwhile my stepmother-in-law comes over and offers to let me run her card instead. "No, no, no, no," I say quickly, trying to deter her, having just spotted mine on the table. Too late, she has already run her card and made the purchase. Well, that was nice of her, even if it wasn't what I would have asked for. I should show appreciation. I hug her and say, "Thank you."

      Walking outside afterward, I have second thoughts. Was I rude to simply thank her? Maybe she hadn't intended the action as a gift. But even if she had, perhaps it would have been more polite of me to ask when she wanted me to pay her back, and that would give her the option to be magnanimous and say it wasn't necessary. But if she had assumed I would pay her back, wouldn't it be rude of her to create an extra hassle for me that I hadn't asked for? I had told her "no" and she did it anyway. I conclude that under the circumstances, my response was adequate and I should let it go.

      As I walk back in the house, behind me I hear a man's voice, distinctively low and gravelly. It is really familiar. Who is that guy? I think he must live next door; I'm always hearing that voice. I sneak a look back before going in and spot him: he is older, gaunt, with straggly grey hair. I think he looks like an aging biker or a math professor (they can look more similar than you might think!)

      I continue in the house and decide to repack my suitcase, which is in disarray, when it occurs to me... wait. I have the impression that I hear that man's voice all the time, but I suddenly suspect that I only hear it in dreams. Could this be a dream, then? I realize that it is. This gives me the confidence to go back outside and approach the guy, intending to find out who he is. I would not want to so brazenly walk up to a stranger in WL, but this is my dream so there is no reason to hesitate. As I step back through the door I find myself with handful of silver rings in my right hand that I am putting on the fingers of the left. Why did I grab so many? I'm going to have to put multiple rings on each finger to make them all fit.

      Only one person is in sight now, a dapper gentleman in Victorian dress walking by from left to right. He has a neatly trimmed beard, a black frock coat, and a top hat. I've always been fascinated by that era, but in dreams I've never been successful in my attempts to meet historical figures. I wonder if he'll really acknowledge being from that time period. Maybe he's just dressing up?

      I get his attention and ask, "Are you from the Victorian era?" He confirms it. I'm interested now so I start walking alongside him, suggesting, "Tell me about yourself." As he begins to reply, I look more closely at his face and realize that he is strikingly good-looking. On a whim I seize his arm and pull him off the road, then push him against the door of a nearby house and start kissing him, thinking meanwhile that in waking life I would never do this with a stranger. Though taken by surprise he responds willingly. The only thing marring the pleasure of the kiss is a little piece of fingernail in my mouth—I must have been biting them—and I try to move it with my tongue so it won't come into contact with his mouth, which would be awkward. During a break in the kissing I manage to swallow the bit of nail, and the gentleman never seems to notice.

      After that interlude we continue together down the street. It's odd that I so quickly lost interest in my more intellectual inquiries and succumbed to mere erotic instinct... and annoying, in that I never did get to hear the DC's account of himself. My lucidity apparently faded quite a bit in the process (it was never very keen in this dream), because it doesn't occur to me to ask again, and instead I just walk along with little further thought.

      We stop at a shop whose front opens right onto the street, and the gentleman wants to buy an unusual kind of candy that I've never seen before. It is some highly-processed, artificially flavored substance that comes in brightly colored plastic packages. The package can be activated in such a way that its contents will burst out like a foam snake. This is marketed to kids as a toy as well as a snack: they can have mock battles trying to hit one another with the candy snakes, then eat them afterwad. The girl minding the shop explains this to me while showing her a green stain spot on her T-shirt from where one of the candies had landed on her. So they stain clothes, too? I look down and am glad to see that I'm wearing something casual.

      FA, "Let the Right One In": I wake up and get out of bed to record the dream. I don't notice anything unusual as I'm walking across the house, but pause in confusion as I go to sit down at my computer. Where's my chair? Why would my chair be gone? Surely I'm not dreaming? At first it feels improbable but gradually I realize that I am. Interesting... well, I want to explore this, but I don't want to lose my memory of the previous dream. It is still clear in mind, so I review the events and even recite a list of key words aloud to help fix my impressions. Then I look around to see what this new dream has to offer.

      In contrast to the relative normality of the house, correct in layout but more sparsely furnished than normal, the view outside is catastrophic and extraordinary. A wide frozen river of swelling ice is flowing motionlessly where my patio should be, and cascading down toward the city in the distance. Just beyond it looms a mountain of pure white ice, with a matte, knobbly texture like that reminds me of spray-on styrofoam. Craning my head up, I can just see the narrow peak glittering in the sun. Everything looks incredibly clear and vivid, beautiful and frozen but apocalyptic.

      The landscape is packed with people, whose clothes provide little patches of bright color. Bodies are frozen into the river and wander in groups along its banks. The only place free of people is the slopes of the ice mountain, steep and white and pristine. As I turn my gaze from the east, where I saw the river and mountain, to the south, the view becomes more grim. A whole crowd of people outside presses right up against the glass wall of my house, looking longingly inside, their bodies almost grey with cold and frost. I feel compassion for their plight, but I'm not sure what to do about it. My house is not big enough to accommodate even a fraction of the throngs who want to get in.

      The people on the left, closer to the river, were all standing very still, but as I continue along the wall to the right, the people on this side are becoming more restless, with a few actively trying to break in. Some are attempting to cut holes in the glass. I wonder how long before they'll get through, and realize that I might need to start warding the walls against them. Then I see a segment of glass fall in, and realize that one woman has just succeeded in making a hole. It is about three feet high and a foot or so wide, in the shape of a narrow heart or mitten. Before she can slip through, I aim my flat palms toward the gap and begin to refreeze the glass (I don't seem to be distinguishing between ice and glass here). After a thin layer of glass or ice manifests over the hole, I pick up the piece that was removed and put it back in place, willing the gaps to fill in.

      As I continue along the wall, the situation is getting even worse. There are already more holes. In fact, one woman has just crawled inside. I pick her up like a manniquin to remove her. The crowd is too think to restore her to ground level, so I toss her on top of the others... she can crowd-surf.

      I come face to face with another woman who has made a hole in the glass. "You're not real, you're not real," I protest against her attempted incursion. It occurs to me that I should respond to her vaguely threatening presence with kindness. I embrace her and kiss her on the mouth, but she is oddly inert. It's like kissing a doll. I have nothing but a faint impression of staring blue eyes... blank eyes. "You're not real. Do you understand that? The reality of you is that you're not real."

      She remains stiff and unresponsive, but doesn't back down, so I try an alternate tack. If she wants to get in the house so badly, then I will welcome her. I grab her arm and start tugging her inside. At this she actually resists, telling a woman standing near her outside, "Don't let go of my arm."

      This is an interesting development. "Don't you want to come in?" I taunt. "A minute ago you were clamoring to come in." The dream ends.

      Updated 03-13-2015 at 08:55 AM by 34973

      Categories
      lucid , non-lucid , false awakening , memorable
    11. Mirror Lake + Coitus Interruptus (DILDs + FAs)

      by , 03-12-2015 at 07:52 AM
      Ritual: Too tired to work late so WTB 12am, woke 4am to finish work. WBTB at 6:15, woke 7:15am with first DILD.

      DILD, "Mirror Lake": Woke up with fragile recall... as I was getting down notes from the end of the dream, ended up forgetting much of what came before. Thought about it and some scenes came back, but there might be gaps.

      I recall an NLD at my grandma's house involving lots of cats and kittens of all sizes and personalities. I was trying to negotiate conflicts between them and protect the kittens from dogs who seemed on the verge of trying to eat them. I woke at one point (though I now suspect this was an FA) and reflected, oh, those were such obvious dream signs (grandma's house & cats), I should be more attentive.

      Not sure exactly when I became lucid; it might have happened around this point. I recall lying in bed, thinking it was just like my real bed but instinctively aware that I was dreaming. (In retrospect, typically, room and bed were nothing like WL.) I lay on my back staring at the complex patterns that were playing across the ceiling in black and white, complex and shifting geometric abstractions.

      From there the scene changed. I recall the transition clearly, because I found it interesting how I went from lying flat on my back to sitting in a partially reclining chair in a movie theater without ever feeling as though my body had changed position. Corresponding with my new angle of vision, the patterns on the ceiling have now reoriented to become the images on the movie screen, and transformed from abstract to representational. When I was lying in bed I had the impression that my husband was sleeping to my right (odd because in WL he sleeps on my left); now he is sitting on my right in the movie theatre. The rest of the room was empty in the earlier scene, even lacking furniture apart from the bed: the movie theatre, by contrast, is packed with people.

      Having experienced all this so distinctively, especially the odd ambivalence of change/no change in my position, I become curious about my dream body and feel it with my hands. How lifelike is it? I'm impressed with its solidity and the distinct way I can feel the muscles moving under my skin as I twist in my seat. (In retrospect, the muscular movement may have been exaggerated.)

      Even though I'm only touching my side and hip, the attention to my body makes me feel slightly aroused, and I am reminded of the recent forum thread where the OP asked if it was possible to maintain lucidity through orgasm. Certainly, I had replied. Though I've done it before, some years ago, eventually I decided not to get distracted by dream sex so it's been a while. It now occurred to me to see if I could still do it, if only as an exercise in maintaining stability. I hesitated momentarily since I was in such a public place, but shrugged off those concerns—this is my dream, how much more private can you get?—and indeed no one around me notices or reacts as I move my hand discreetly downward.

      All it takes is a few minutes of pressure with my fingers to get myself off. I watch the images on the movie screen to make sure I don't lose focus on the dream. The intensity passes and the dream remains stable. I once again marvel at how easy it is to orgasm in dream compared to the cumbersome efforts required of the physical body. After the movie ends—I don't recall the story at all—I leave the theater. I remember being impressed at how long the dream lasts and how continuous the spaces feel, though in retrospect I don't clearly remember all the ground I covered.

      The next thing I remember is a scene inspired by day residue from work. I talk briefly with colleagues, mostly people that I observe have no correspondence to WL. When I get bored with this and turn to leave, a woman asks, "You're leaving already?" I go out the door carrying a large textbook in one hand. I briefly consider discarding it, but decide to keep it with me for now.

      Beyond the doorway I find myself in the hallway of a university building. It's hard to say if it is dorms or classrooms, but there are lots of flyers and decorations all over the walls. I note the peculiarities of my vision: the environment is really stable, with lots of detail, but everything is a bit dim and out of focus. I'm deciding what to do next and recall the mirror TOTM. There are always public restrooms in hallways like this, and there will undoubtedly be a mirror in the restroom, so I walk down the hallway and look for a likely door.

      I reach a corner where the corridor takes a right turn to the left, so I continue in that direction. After turning the corner, I encounter something unexpected: the hall is much darker here, as if the lights have gone out, and the way forward is block with big stacks of boxes. Interesting... why is the dream trying to stop me from going down this hall? Curious, I levitate and cross the barrier easily—the boxes were only stacked high enough to be an obstacle to someone on foot.

      A voice calls out from the darkness behind the boxes, apparently a guy stationed at a desk there to make sure no one gets past. "You can't go back there," he warns me.

      "Why?" I ask, genuinely wanting to know the answer. The barriers the dream is throwing in my way are becoming more and more intriguing!

      His excuse is really lame and boring: "There are books being deposited."

      "Okay," I respond indifferently. I ignore him and continue to levitate down the hallway. Halfway down I encounter a door on my right. Will the guard pursue me? I have the the impression that he starts to get up from his desk, but I've moved so quickly that I have a big lead already. To further distract and delay him, I throw the big textbook I've been carrying in his direction. Helpfully, this frees up my hands so that I can open the door.

      I have the impression that the door was supposed to be locked, but I bypass it effortlessly. As I twist the knob and push the door open, I can feel the distinct tickle of thick cobwebs brushing my right hand. This gives me a creepy thrill... is there actually some peril here? Why would the dream try to keep me out of this room? Just past the door is a pair of light switches on the wall to my right. I flip them but nothing happens. Typical.

      Although the room is darker than the hall outside, I can still vaguely see. It is unremarkable: just a storeroom with a few boxes stacked here and there. However, one detail draws my attention: it is very thing I was looking for, a mirror! The mirror is large, at least 3x8 feet, and lying flat on the floor in an arbitrary position as though it is merely being stored here. This is great, I can try the TOTM! I've used mirrors as portals before, but they were always vertically aligned. The fact that this mirror is flat on the floor suggests a new way of using it: instead of pushing or walking through, as is natural with vertical mirrors, I should just run over and jump in as though it were a pool of water. I figure it will work as long as I can avoid any doubts or second thoughts.

      I take a running jump and fall into the mirror's surface. My alignment isn't perfect—I end up on my back sinking half into the mirror, half into the floor, but I don't let this bother me. There is a momentary disorientation of unconstructed dream space, then I watch curiously as a new environment begins to coalesce, wondering where I'll find myself.

      It was predictable, really: after thinking about the mirror-portal as a pool of water, that is exactly where I end up. I am floating on my back on the surface of a very calm body of water, like a pond, and I can hear a stream bubbling somewhere nearby. This is actually quite peaceful and relaxing, and I think how nice it would be to float here for a while... but I'm already waking up.

      FA: There is a brief FA where I hear my husband's breathing on my right—still the inverse of our actual positions in WL—and then I wake up for real.

      Interlude: From 7:15 to 8am I wake and write the notes from the last dream, then return to bed. It is hard to fall asleep, taking about half an hour. Everytime I get close to sleep, some unexpected noise wakes me: my husband's alarm clock; a text message; and finally an unrelenting sequence of pounding and clattering at the house next door, as though someone is alternately assembling and destroying a pile of scrap metal.

      Spoiler for Sexual content:

      Updated 03-12-2015 at 07:58 AM by 34973

      Categories
      lucid , false awakening , memorable , task of the month
    12. Hong Kong Apartment + Trail of Smoke (DILDs + FAs)

      by , 03-08-2015 at 08:03 PM
      Ritual: WTB 12:30am, woke 7:30 with first DILD. No techniques, hadn't really intended to get lucid, but I was wearing a Jawbone fitness tracker on my wrist to bed for the first time. It's a bit tight and I think the unfamiliar sensation served as an anchor for consciousness.

      DILD (eventually), "Hong Kong Apartment": I am in Hong Kong with my husband, staying in the apartment of someone unknown to me. I'm curious who this guy is and why we're at his place, so I'm attentive to my surroundings. It is a one-bedroom apartment and the layout feels familiar; I figure it must be a common floorplan here. The first thing I remember is being in a small room of unclear function, a study maybe, and looking at a plaque on the wall. It depicts a Chinese character, the archaic version of that character, and the pinyin transliteration: sōng, corresponding to the English word "page"—not the leaf of a book but the job title. From this I suppose that the young man who lives here must be serving as a page in the Hong Kong government, in the same way that there are pages in the US Congress.

      My husband is talking to me, and I'm vaguely following his words but not entirely sure what he's going on about. I'm still trying to figure out why we're here: does my husband know the guy who owns this place, or is this some kind of Airbnb arrangement? Meanwhile I'm trying to wrap an enormous porkchop—the size of a prime rib steak—that I have for some reason. It is fully grilled but no one has eaten it yet, and I'm not hungry now so I want to put it away. It had been wrapped in butcher's paper but I'm having trouble re-wrapping it, and this distracts my attention for some time as I end up having to use a piece of foil to supplement the paper where it is torn. As I finally wrap the porkchop successfully and go to put it in the fridge, I see that there is fresh lettuce in the fridge, and I've also noticed dirty plates on the counter. I had assumed the apartment's owner was letting us stay because he was away somewhere, but these details make me think he must be currently living here and could walk in at any moment.

      I know my husband needs to leave for some meeting or event, and our conversation is delaying his departure, so finally I say in exasperation, "Get out of here already!" Right after he goes out the door, I worry that he might have misunderstood my tone of voice and thought I was angry, so I opened the door and called after his retreating form, "I didn't mean to speak harshly." Meanwhile a girl with short, curly blonde hair is walking from right to left in front of the apartment, and I think she might be someone he had just been referring to—at the time I even recalled her name, something with the initials "J.S."—so I gaze at her curiously. She looks back at me with the self-conscious but indifferent air of someone wondering why a stranger is staring at them. It seems like it would be awkward to start a conversation so I go back inside.

      Alone in the apartment, I look around at the decor. There are a lot of hand-carved wooden animal figures, and they remind me of a set that I bought in a museum shortly before Christmas, but couldn't figure out who to give them to. They seem to match this guy's tastes... maybe I should give them to him, in thanks for the loan of his apartment. It seems like a nice gesture so I plan on it. In the center of the main room, which has an open floor plan connected with the kitchenette, is a wide square column that is hollow inside to serve as storage space. I note with interest that there are a number of oversized books here. One of them is at least four feet tall, and the title on the spine reads Disney as Orientalism, accompanied by some Disney-style graphics. I make a mental note that later I'll want to pull that one out and flip through it. It's so big it won't fit on a table—I'll have to do this on the floor! It is the largest of the books in this closet, but none of them are small. Several others are about three feet tall with matching red covers, and I see that one of them is about Shanghai. Books of this size must have cost a fortune... this guy must be doing well here. I wonder if it would be rude to read his books without asking permission first, but figure there's no harm in it.

      I wonder how I'll explain my presence if this guy shows up while I'm here by myself, since I'm still not clear on who he exactly is or why I'm at his apartment. In fact, this question starts to bother me, because it seems like I should have a better explanation. Of course, it's always possible that I'm dreaming, but... I want to discount this at first, since it seems to contradict what I'm experiencing from this environment. It is so detailed, lifelike, and stable, it really doesn't feel like a dream. But I make myself take the time to think this over more carefully: if I am actually dreaming, that would explain a lot, like why I had a porkchop, something I almost never eat, and the difficulty I had wrapping it. It would explain why I am in Hong Kong with no idea why I am here, and why I find myself in the apartment of a guy I don't even know. I don't use any techniques to RC, I just think it over and gradually recognize the illusory nature of my surroundings: indeed I am dreaming!

      So now what? Normally I would apply myself to some task or other, but I had specifically made a point not to do so this time, if I got lucid, because I'm facing too much work today to spend hours writing up my report. So my plan was not to do anything specific, but simply to contemplate and enjoy the dream environment. (For some reason I had the idea that this would save me time writing things up later, although that is proving not to be the case!) I walk toward the back wall of the apartment, which is completely transparent, and look outside. It is still night, but there is a well-lit open-air bar just below, with a stream running behind it. There are a surprising number of people down there, and all seem to be relaxed and enjoying themselves, like guests at a resort. I sit down to watch the scene, while thinking back over what I've just experienced. I'm still impressed by how detailed and stable this dream was. For instance, that Chinese character on the wall—it was so clearly articulated, even though I don't think it was one I've ever seen before, and I strongly doubt it's even a real one. I wished I had looked at it more carefully, and focus on reviving the mental image. I think can remember the top elements of the modern version of the character, but I'm vague about what composed the bottom, which was complex, and I had not studied it closely at the time. The archaic version was simpler, and I can remember it much more distinctly. Concentrating on this inadvertently wakes me up.

      Interlude: After writing the above account and going back to bed at 8:45am, I certainly didn't intend to get lucid again, given that I've already spent a lot of time writing when I should be working, but I never want to rule it out. I ended up having several FAs, the later ones bringing on a very long bout of lucidity, in which I just wandered around exploring rather than working on specific tasks. There would still be a lot to write up but given time constraints I'll have to keep it brief. Woke for the day at 10:15.

      FA: I was in the bathroom thinking that I should make a more consistent effort to recognize those little discrepancies that might make me notice I'm dreaming, like I did in the last dream, without realizing that I was actually dreaming at that very moment.

      FA/DILD, "Trail of Smoke": I hovered for a long time on the border between sleep and waking and enjoyed observing its ambiguities. For instance, there was a point where I was convinced I was immersed in dream visuals but hearing everything perfectly accurately from waking life (I was probably wrong about this). I caught at least one FA and was pleased after my failure to catch the last one. Then a long dream followed where I was basically lucid the whole time, but also knew I wouldn't have time to write it up in much detail, so only certain episodes that were especially interesting stand out clearly in my memory. I really can't take the time to include them all here, but the last scene was worth mentioning:

      I am wandering through a dream environment typical for me, a labyrinthine enclosed public space, and having just seen someone smoking on a magazine cover, I now find myself smoking a cigarette. The smoke doesn't dissipate completely but lingers faintly in the air along the path I have walked, like that memorable scene from Donnie Darko (2001). It looks like I could potentially trace back the smoke and rediscover all the places I have visited in the course of this long dream. This makes me wonder: how big is the dream world? And the answer seems obvious: there are no boundaries, it is as big as mind itself. Standing in that world even as I recognize its boundlessness, I feel a sense of awe.

      I gaze at the glimmering smoke trails and murmur, "All the places I've been are like a trail of smoke that follows me."

      Updated 03-12-2015 at 07:59 AM by 34973

      Categories
      memorable , lucid , non-lucid , false awakening
    13. Freeze! (EILD-FA/DILD)

      by , 03-04-2015 at 02:57 AM
      Ritual: WTB 12:30am, woke ~6am and set vibrating alarm for 40 minutes. I don't have a clear memory of it going off the first time (~6:40). The second time it went off (~7:20) I seem to have experienced it entirely within the dream state. My lucidity lapsed shortly thereafter but came back when I noticed that the circumstances were suitable for one of the TOTMs. I must have dreamed for about ten minutes after the alarm went off the second time, waking at ~7:30 with 29 minutes left on the alarm going into its third 40 minute cycle.

      NLD: I was on a bus traveling through a desert. Looking out the window, I saw an enormous lizard resembling an early-model godzilla. [DR: an image of a similar godzilla was shown briefly John Oliver's show on Sunday night.] It didn't look real, because on closer inspection its "skin" was wrinkled and rippling like that of inflatable parade float rather than a living creature. I concluded that it must be a world boss and looked away. Even though it was so much larger than me and very far off, I was afraid that my scrutiny might draw its attention, and I was not equipped to battle it without a raid.

      Our destination was a cave, which was pleasantly cool and dark after the burning light and heat of the desert outside. I passed through the large front cavern through a door labeled "Imagemakers" that led into a back room. These "imagemakers" were literally cave painters, a studio full of artists each doing individual murals on the walls, but in a modern, Asian-inspired style. [DR: One painting seemed reminiscent of Toshio Aoki's Thunder Kami (1900), which I was looking at yesterday.]

      I comment to one of the artists how pleasantly cool it is here in the back room. She replies, "It's only 25, if you're not careful you might freeze." [DR? I had reviewed the TOTMs before bed and my notes used the word "freeze," which also ended up being the task I attempted later in the same dream.] I assume she means Celsius because it's not that cold in here, and try to remember what that would be in Fahrenheit—72 or so? I point out to her that when I start to feel cold I can just put on more clothes. Outside in the heat, there was nothing I could do, so this is preferable.

      EILD-FA: I feel the vibrating alarm and "wake up," or so I believe, though it retrospect it was obviously an FA because I was in a room with no resemblance to WL. I am sitting in bed reading a book, and after I feel the vibration I remember not to move at first, lest I break REMA. As I start to feel more confident in my dream senses, I venture to turn the page of the book. Slowly I expand my range of motion until I'm sure that I'm not going to disrupt the dream. The plot of the previous dream continues (insofar as it has any continuity, which isn't much) and I soon lose what little lucidity the alarm had prompted.

      NLD: Now everyone's talking about a bride who is coming, also on a bus, and someone instructs me to go to a counter to buy a present for her, "a small dog." I had envisioned a tiny dog that was only a few inches long, but the two available at the counter aren't small by any reckoning; they must weigh 40 or 50 pounds. The clerk asks me what I want the dog to be able to do. I think this over, rationalizing that it is a gift to someone who might not be expecting it, so it would be best if it isn't too high maintenance. "Ummm.... sleep a lot?" is my first suggestion. I try to think of other possibilities. "Stand up? Lick? Can they do that?" The clerk looks at me and answers in a tone that suggests he thinks I am an idiot, "Yeah, they can all do that."

      While I'm deliberating someone has come up and bought one of the two dogs, so I'm stuck with the one that is left. I think it's really ugly, with shaggy beige fur, and I hope the bride likes it or I'll be stuck with it. At least the dog has a good personality, friendly and responsive, nuzzling up to me like it wants to be liked. I go to another room and start talking with two girls. Suddenly the dog starts humping the floor, which embarrasses me. "I hope he doesn't do that around her," I say, meaning the bride. One of the girls laughts comments that the way she's been carrying on with her new husband, she probably won't be offended.

      DILD: As the conversation continues, I suddenly notice: hey, I'm in a room with DCs, this would be a perfect opportunity to try the "freeze" TOTM. I mean, okay, there's only two of them, but we are in a room, so that should qualify as a "roomful."

      "Freeze!" I say suddenly, interrupting whatever else we were talking about. The girls stare at me with looks that say "WTF." They're still moving normally, so I issue the command again, attempting to focus my will by tensing my body. That doesn't work either, and I realize that I have the wrong approach. I need to be focusing my mind, not my body. "Freeeeeze," I say cajolingly, drawing out the word. At this point they do stop moving, but I have the impression that they're just playing along. I decide to try the narration technique. "Your body feels so heavy, you can't move. You're paralyzed, like when you sleep." That reminds me, of course we're not completely paralyzed when we sleep, and I'd better not kill them by overdoing it. I hastily add, "You can breathe, of course, just like when you're sleeping."

      The girls seem to be complying now, so I study them closely to be sure. I also remember that I should take conscious note of their names, which I had instinctively known earlier in the dream but had almost forgotten on going lucid. The smaller one on the left, with the dark hair... I think back and all I can come up with is "Calm." It sounds odd, but that's the only name that I remember for her. The plumper girl on the right, a blonde, I know for sure is called "Amy."

      The smaller girl seems completely comatose now. I lift her arm and drop it, and it falls with satisfying limpness. The larger girl is also lying still, but I get the impression she's just pretending: one of her arms is in a position that could only be maintained by exerting muscle control. I lift it and it is stiff in my grasp.

      Then I realize I'm going about this all wrong. I try to remember the specifics of the TOTM. Was I just supposed to freeze them in place, or was there something about actually stopping time? I can't clearly remember the wording. I decide I'd better try the latter in any case, it might work better—and I won't have to worry about the girls accidentally suffocating if time itself has stopped.

      "Freeze!" I shout, now indicating not only the two of them but the whole environment, with only myself as an exception. I find that the logical impossibility of this trouble me: if I continue moving normally, then in what sense can time itself be said to have stopped? It doesn't make any sense. I remind myself that this is a dream, and I'm not obliged to work out the physics of it. I look at Amy to see if my new strategy has resulted in any improvement. No, although she is lying quite still, and her arm looks properly limp now, she's actually tapping the fingers of one hand.

      "Freeze!" I shout again, looking directly at her hand. Still tapping. "Freeze!" I yell, glaring at the hand. Tap... tap... tap. "Freeze!" I insist, mustering all my intent. The hand finally goes limp. It occurs to me that at some point I'm going to need to write all this up, and the thought wakes me.

      Notes: I never did remember the second part of the TOTM, not just in the dream but even after waking up, recording my notes, and going about my day... but I had the feeling that there might have been more to it, that I left something out, and on coming home from work and checking the forum, I see that there was a whole second part of the task that I skipped!

      Updated 03-04-2015 at 03:02 AM by 34973

      Categories
      lucid , non-lucid , false awakening , task of the month
    14. Two Nagas (FA-DILD-DEILD)

      by , 02-28-2015 at 01:31 AM
      Ritual: WTB 2:30am, after a little over four hours of sleep I strap the vibrating alarm to my wrist, set for 35 minutes. When it goes off it wakes me very definitely. I lay still and try to DEILD but can feel that REMA is broken. Turn down vibration strength to minimum, note time at 7:20am, and try again... same result. Remove alarm and go to sleep normally. Next time I wake up, try again with better success... at the time thought it was DEILD but realize now it must have actually been a DILD because I was not in my WL bed, so it must have been FA rather than real waking.

      DILD-DEILD: I wake up and remember not to move. I am lying on my right side, but I am in a bed in my grandmother's house. Momentarily I wonder why I am there, but "remember" that I am visiting her. Oddly, in retrospect it feels like my lengthwise orientation—the directions my head and feet were respectively pointing—was also the opposite from how I sleep WL, and that the bed was on the opposite wall, sort of like the whole room was a mirror image of my WL bedroom. But since everything was in the same relative position to everything else, I'm not sure where that feeling came from.

      I try to DEILD and at first I'm convinced I'm physically moving but REMA seems intact so I relax and explore my sensory awareness. Finally I just start to rock back and forth, until I feel confident enough in my dream body to get out of bed. The door to the hall is open, and on the other side I can see the living room, lit up by a Christmas tree with beautiful golden lights. I know it is my grandmother's house in Texas and don't realize that she hasn't lived there for years.

      My awareness is fairly low all around and I don't recall my tasks either. Aimlessly I go outside and spontaneously a magnificent chestnut horse canters up to me, already saddled. I used to ride a lot in Texas so it is probably the result of mental association. I caress the shoulder of the horse and put my left foot in the stirrup, barely able to reach that high as the animal is quite tall. I start to pull myself up and into the saddle but I lose my balance and get "stuck" with my right leg halfway over. I waver there with my left leg in the stirrup and my right in mid-air, somehow unable to complete the movement. Finally I force it with an act of will and get astride the horse, but it doesn't feel right, the proportions are all wrong. The mental dissonance wakes me (although I am now convinced this too was an FA).

      FA(?): On waking, I review the dream and recognize my mental error in thinking that I had been visiting my grandmother's old house and that it was Christmas-time, but I thought I was at least correct in the position of the tree, and remembered seeing in that spot one year. Now that I am fully awake, I have my doubts even about this: my "remembered" layout of the house was all wrong, and I don't think I ever even visited at Christmas time.

      DILD-DEILD: I didn't think REMA had broken yet so I tried to DEILD again, and there were some ambiguous successes that I don't recall well (I still suspect the whole thing was a DILD, and that even most of the "transitions" occurred entirely within the dream state).

      At some point I am back in my WL house, and I open the front door to go outside. After the stunt on the horse I wonder if the door will impede my progress and, probably in response to my thought, I discover that after I open the first door panel there is still a second one to go through, but I try not to cause unnecessary obstacles for myself and go through the second door easily.

      It is very foggy in the front yard, and it is also a wide grassy area with scattered trees rather than a busy suburban street. The fog is making everything vague so I go for the tried and true, "Clarity now!" I shout it a few times and the dream responds, a bit sarcastically overdoing it. Now everything is too sharp, almost pixellated. I can see white and black birds with incredible definition in their pattern and plumage, but the focus is too sharp to look comfortably real. This is preferable to the earlier fogginess, however, so I go along with it.

      As so often, I start instinctively singing as I explore the landscape. My voice is somewhat annoying this time, high-pitched and overly sweet, and there's nothing especially beautiful or memorable about the melodies I'm coming up with. It sounds like the sort of singing you'd hear in a mediocre mid-century musical. But I stick with it, hoping I can use it to influence the dream.

      The landscape is pleasantly pastoral in all directions now. I am walking in an open meadow, and there are scattered trees here and there. I can't see any other figures, and I decide things would be more interesting if I could interact with a DC, so I decide to request one. I sing something about the "view," and then in the next line ask the dream to "send someone to talk to..." — and hesitate, having botched the lyrics. If I could end the with line "to you," it would have proper meter and rhyme, but obviously I wanted the DC to come talk "to me," so I tack the word "me" awkwardly onto the end of the line. It sounds so stupid that I break character and laugh at myself.

      I give up on the singing and make my request again with a simple act of will. This works much better, and at once I can see a woman—of a sort—approaching me. She has a human torso but the lower part of her body is that of a large serpent, like a naga, and she resembles Medusa in having snake-like strands instead of hair. While I contemplate her unusual appearance, a second such creature shows up at her side. The face of the second one is thinner, with high cheekbones, attractive even, and her snake-hair is asymmetrically coiffed like elaborate dreadlocks. I find her appearance so striking that I want to complement her.

      "I like your... arrangement." It comes out awkwardly because I realized mid-sentence that "hair" wasn't the right word and had to choose another one, but I'm not sure if she'll understand. "I mean your snakes," I explain hurriedly, hoping I'm not inadvertently being offensive by naming them as such. The naga I'm addressing studies me with a twisted expression, like she's not sure whether to be flattered or irritated.

      I converse with them for a few minutes but unfortunately I can't recall what we discussed. Then they ask me for a favor: will I go up that hill nearby and tell their father that they're working on the project? It sounds like an innocent request, but I sense that there is something sinister behind it. I suspect that this is a ploy to lure me into their encampment, where I will be taken captive. As I hesitate, pondering their motivations, I can actually feel the pressure of their minds against mine, like they are attempting to work a subtle enchantment to compel me to go. I lash back mentally, and they both recoil.

      Now the veneer of friendliness drops, and the two nagas become openly hostile. I don't feel like getting dragged into a fight, so I instinctively put an end to the situation. At the top of my voice I shout wordless syllables that sound like a whiplash or thunderclap—"Kuk-KAH!"—and clap my hands together at the same instant. The two nagas vanish into thin air. I am satisfied with how well that worked, but feel a faint pang of concern... I hope I didn't destroy them; I only meant to remove them from my presence!

      The dream ends at this point. I wake up and start report around 8:45am.
    15. Character Narration (EILD)

      by , 02-20-2015 at 06:41 AM
      Ritual: wtb 3am, around 9am set vibrating alarm for 36 minutes. The first time it went off, I felt like I was already awake, that I had been lying awake for several minutes before I felt the vibration. In retrospect I was quickly suspicious that this was a false memory, but the consequence was that I woke up for real. I reset the alarm to go off in 28 minutes, and went back to sleep.

      EILD: I felt the vibration again, and at first I thought it was another failed attempt, that I was wide awake again. But this time I convince myself not to give up so easily, to lay still and explore it. I wiggle my fingers. Actually... that feels right, like dream movement. I wiggle the fingers of the other hand and gradually start to engage my whole body, but soon, no, I can still sense the dream body but I'm convinced that I'm accidentally moving my real body too. (In retrospect, it seems likely that my impressions of moving the physical body were false, as this surely would have broken aphasia.) It feels like the two kinds of sensory awareness are layered together. My dream sense is not broken but I need to find some way to desynch from the physical, to move unnaturally in a way the real body can't follow. I try to bend my arm the wrong way at the elbow, down into the mattress. I find this a bit difficult for some reason, but something else happens: I start to understand that I am creating all this difficulty in my own mind, that it really doesn't have to be this complicated. Upon this realization I simply find myself standing next to the bed, fully in dream. That certainly makes things easier!

      My WL awareness was somewhat confused throughout this whole process, since during the whole time I was lying in bed I had the impression that I could overhear a colleague from work talking to her daughter (who I have never met). They were discussing a humanitarian volunteer program that the colleague was doing in another country, maybe Africa. I listened with interest since I had not been aware that she was involved with anything like this (there is no RL basis), but it made sense since she is a very kind and generous person. She was talking about some kind of environmental crisis and said that the local people trusted the "agents," that is, the field workers of this organization, like her, but not the administration or the experts that were sent in to instruct them. The challenge was teaching the locals new ways of environmental management so they were no longer unsustainably exploiting their natural resources. I think it was targeting water usage.

      After I was fully transitioned into the dream, I remembered that I had reset my vibrating alarm to an interval of only seven minutes, so I would have to work quickly before it went off again, waking me up. Curiously, now I'm not sure if I really did reset it, and suspect I dreamed that part too. The nice thing about a device like this is that it actually provides hard evidence against which to check my unreliable memories. Nope! It's still set to 28 minutes. So there was one point this morning where I definitely did reset it from 36 to 28, but the later memory of resetting it to 7 minutes—for some reason convinced that I would be able to fall asleep within that time frame—turns out to have been an FFA (false falling asleep), evidence that I was already asleep.

      With (so I mistakenly thought) only seven minutes to work in, minus whatever time I had already spent transitioning, I walk quickly through the house and toward the front door, ready to plunge into deeper dreamspace. As I pass through the living room, something bumps into my leg from the pile of wood stacked near the fireplace. At first I plan to ignore it but then I wonder if the dream is trying to get my attention, so I glance down and see a pair of scissors. I'm not sure what to make of this but I grab them and take them with me. I go outside, where the sky is cloudy and half-lit as though it were dawn or dusk. I realize that this is wrong, and recall that it must already be after 9am in WL.

      What was my task? I have difficulty remembering, so while I'm thinking about it, I decide to do something spontaneous. I'm still holding the scissors... I know! I'll cut off my hair. As I walk I reach awkwardly behind my head and randomly lift locks of hair with my left hand, cutting them near the scalp with the scissors held in my right. This all feels surprisingly lifelike, which makes me think momentarily: I had better be right that I am dreaming! But then I figure, what's the worst thing that could happen if I accidentally cut off my real hair? I'd have to shave my head? Not a big deal, I even did that once in college.

      All this time I'm still trying to think of the tasks I had planned—why is it sometimes so hard to remember? Finally it comes to me. Right! I was going to try to roleplay a familiar character. I decide on Shriven, my WoW character, since I've played her the longest and also the most recently. My tabletop characters are much more psychologically complex, but I think I should probably start with something simpler. Okay, how do to this? I remember that I was going to try the narration technique. I start with something really basic: "Shriven is running," I murmur. My stride changes as I think I remember what her run looks like, becoming more mechanical. That part makes sense, given that she's digitally rendered. I don't have the impression that I look or feel any different, though. I keep trying, and although I don't recall my narrations in detail, I have the impression that they were extremely bland.

      I'm running through city streets now. At one point I notice that the buildings all seem older, eighteenth-century maybe, though this still just looks like one of my typical dream cities rather than a more appropriate setting for what I'm trying to accomplish. I'm still cutting my hair as I go—having started, I feel like I should finish the job. When I finally slice through the last tress, I stop and gaze at my reflection in a store window. Not bad! Although short hair never really suits my features, the haircut itself turned out alright, kind of punk/pixieish. In fact, it even reminds me of Shriven's hair, which is short and spiky and irregular. However, there is no real resemblance, and in all other respects my reflection looks unusually like my WL appearance: same eyes, same face, same hair color. Usually in dreams I see a lot more distortion.

      I use the scissors to make a few finishing touches to the haircut before realizing that it is pointless to be so finicky in a dream. In fact, I'm done with the scissors now... I'm just going to drop them on the ground! This always feels so liberating, since I would never do that in WL. I continue running effortlessly down the street and when I come to the end there is a ten foot gap to cross to reach a platform or walkway. Jump—you can do this! I clear the gap, just barely, and feel proud of myself as I land.

      Still, I don't feel like I'm making much progress on my task so I try to figure out how to improve my approach. What does Shriven do? Well, she often summons her mount, an undead warhorse. I narrate this to myself, but nothing happens. Every time I do this in game the horse makes a distinctive shrill whinny, so I try to use the sound as a focal point. I find it becomes ambiguous whether I can hear the sound in the dream or if I'm just remembering it.

      As I pass through a T-intersection, a blinding light directly ahead causes me to swerve. It is so bright that I assume it must be bleedthrough from RL. I remember the conversation between my colleague and her daughter that I overheard during my transition; with true dream logic I never questioned the impossibility of that taking place in my bedroom, and so now I assume that one of them must still be there, taking flash pictures. Instead of going straight into the light, my initial direction, I turn and take the street on the left, even turning my face away so to diminish the brightness. I can hear a voice from the direction of the light saying, "Don't shoot! Don't shoot!" So I was right about the camera, I conclude. At no point do I recognize the absurdity and error in my thought processes, but I do reflect that it is interesting that the environment made me change the direction I was going—is the dream trying to control my movement?

      After this interruption, I go back to trying to summon the undead warhorse. It's still not working, but then I notice that the shop just ahead of me seems to have horse skulls hanging on the back wall. That's an improvement! I go into the shop, which is now a tiny space almost completely filled by a large bunkbed. A bearded man is lounging on the lower bunk, eating a meal and watching TV, while the upper bunk is shacked with sheepskins. I ask the man about the horse skulls.

      "That's not a horse skull," he responds.

      I realize he must be referring to the giant animal skull on the floor at my feet. It must be about three feet long. "What is it?"

      "That's an academic-size magic detector," he answers, hardly taking his eyes off his TV program. Not sure what to make of his words, I look at the skull again. I realize it must have come from some kind of giant lizard, like a crocodile, but it has a small horn at the snout like a rhinocerous. As I study it, I see that it is now green and sparkling, the color offset with pale stripes. I am tempted to compare it to an Elvis suit, but fear that the proprietor might be offended.

      FA: I wake up and start taking notes right away, starting from the last scene and moving backward. Fortunately I don't get very far before I realize I am writing on dream paper. I wake up for real and record my notes on my laptop.
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