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    task of the year

    task of the year dreams

    1. Dirty Dishes (wasted DILD)

      by , 08-09-2014 at 02:28 PM
      After some non-lucid sequences in my hotel room, I found myself in the kitchen of my house. I knew I was out of town on a trip, so I felt like I was just checking in. However things were a mess, even I knew the catsitter had been coming. There were lots of bowls of food out but they looked old and uncleaned, and the water was dirty. I went over to the sink to start washing them and I noticed that the sink was already full of dirty dishes. However, I distinctly remembered that I had done all the dishes before leaving on my trip. "Does this mean I'm lucid?" I thought to myself, and decided, "Of course, certainly," and felt that I had been aware that I had been dreaming all along even though I evidently had not been until I noticed the discontinuity. (In one of the earlier sequences I had been confusing about whether I was awake or dreaming to the point where I felt convinced that dream events were impinging in impossible ways on waking life.) I wondered if there were other discontinuities and looked around. I noticed that the catsitter had not taken the check I left for her, and that seemed odd. Wouldn't she have taken it on the first visit? However, I realized that this wasn't necessarily a discontinuity, because there might have been plausible reasons for her to have left it until later.

      I started washing a dirty bowl at the sink, one that the cats could use, but then I reflected, "If I'm lucid, maybe I should go do something else. I know! I'm in my kitchen, it would be a great opportunity to go outside and leave a trail of breadcrumbs to try to do the Hansel and Gretel task. But first I'll just wash this bowl and leave some fresh food and water for the kitties." So I stayed at the sink and continued washing the bowl, and also washed and refilled a water bowl.

      Even though the dream felt very stable to start, I was a bit paranoid that it wouldn't last long enough to let me get to my more interesting task, and I felt like this anxiety about waking was pushing me closer to actually doing so, and tried to put it out of mind. However, I soon felt my senses disengage and half-woke. But I didn't lose the mental image, and after a moment felt my senses re-engage and knew I was back in the dream. So I rushed to get a can of catfood and put it in the bowl I had now cleaned. A dream version of one cat came out and didn't seem interested in the food I had selected, though I figured, maybe this is a good thing, because if the catsitter feeds her food she likes better, the cat (who is very skittish) might feel more friendly to her. Just as I had finished this and was ready to start on my new task, I woke up again, and though I held very still, the dream state was too disrupted to re-enter.

      I was a bit annoyed with myself for wasting a lucid opportunity, but I understood my rationale. Even though I knew I was dreaming, I was not comfortable with the idea of leaving my dream-cats ill-tended, so that took priority over any other task. However, the error I made was in tending to them using the tedious methods of waking life: actually standing at the sink and washing bowls, actually going to another room to get the food and walking back with it, opening the can and using a spoon to empty the food into the bowl. I guess I did it this way out of habit, as it certainly felt like I was going through very familiar motions. I should have just manifested some clean food and water and then gotten to my task much more quickly.

      Updated 08-10-2014 at 03:31 PM by 34973

      lucid , dream fragment , task of the year
    2. Breadcrumbs / Sketchbook

      by , 07-30-2014 at 07:48 PM
      Ritual: Went to bed around 12:50am. Woke naturally at 3:32. Seemed a bit soon to WBTB but my motivation was good and I recalled traces of imagery so decided to go for it. Drank guayusa tea and read Brooks & Vogelsong. Before going to bed did hybrid of SSILD/counting/affirmation while sitting in chair. Technique: counted incrementally while breathing slowly and deeply, thinking the number on each in-breath, and on outbreath rotated between senses (thinking "look," "listen," or "feel") and then adding an affirmation, letting it fall randomly between "always lucid" or "always aware." Counted to fifty in this way, though I was impressed how easily it was to lose track of the number (this is good, it means the mind is losing its focus on waking life) even while sitting upright in a chair. Returned to bed at 4:52am and continued counting up to 70 while lying on my back, then ceased the practice and turned on my left side to sleep. I soon realized that I'd overdone the WBTB a bit and was excessively wakeful, but consoled myself that I should be able to return to sleep eventually given how few hours I had gotten so far, and my chances for WILDing should be improved by this touch of insomnia.

      I had made sure to fix a very clear task in mind: I had read about the "fairy tale" challenges on DV and they seemed potentially interesting, but I realized I should make a clear plan. If I did successfully WILD I would find myself in my house, so how would I go about pursuing the task? My idea was this: grab a loaf of bread from the kitchen, exit the front door, turn right and walk up the hill, where in a previous WILD I had passed through a tunnel and found myself in a deep, dark forest. I could leave a trail of bread crumbs and see what happened from there.

      WILD #1: It took a long time to go back to sleep. Eventually I felt sensations I interpreted as the onset of SP: tingling and distortion of the physical body, then a sense of weight on my chest so localized and specific that I wondered if the cat had actually jumped on me, but the weight quickly increased beyond that of any cat. I was encouraged because it seemed like this transition was happening very cleanly and consciously, and turned my attention to beginning to "move" the non-physical "body." I was careful not to wiggle my fingers or adjust my limbs lest I break SP, so I concentrated on unnatural movements like full-body rotation. I could begin to feel my body swinging in a horizontal rotation but didn't yet have enough traction to "get up" out of bed. Suddenly I felt a vertical "lift" as though my body had floated up several feet, and the next moment I was standing on my feet next to the bed. "And I'm up!" I thought to myself, pleased.

      I noticed right away how dark it was, and despite the clarity of the transition, I did not feel well-integrated into the dream body. I deduced that this was probably a consequence of weak REM-state, given how little sleep I had gotten before the WBTB. I thought I'd better do some stabilization, so I touched some surfaces around me and then rubbed my hands together. This felt lifelike enough, so I became too easily complacent and didn't do anything further to integrate... a mistake, as it turned out. But I was pre-occupied with performing my task and didn't want to get distracted to the point where I never left the antechamber, as so often happens, so I rushed to get started.

      I moved swiftly toward the kitchen and picked up the bag of bread from the counter as I passed through. It felt quite full, and I recalled that I had bought a new bag just the other day in waking life. Although the environment was still very muddy and vague, I could easily find my way through the house out of habit, so I headed straight for the front door. As I was crossing the threshold, I noticed that the bag of bread suddenly felt very light, as though there were only a few slices left. I hesitated for a moment, wondering if I should return to the kitchen, but didn't want to be distracted from my task, so I figured, "That's alright, I can always manifest more."

      I walked out into the night, the outdoor environment no more distinct than the indoors had been, but I knew where I was going. I turned right and began to walk uphill, reaching into the bag to start dropping breadcrumbs. To encourage the right environment to appear, I started muttering under my breath: "Entering the world of Hansel & Gretel. Entering the world of Hansel & Gretel." But I only got off two recitations before I abruptly awoke. I realized my error at once: the dreamspace outside the antechamber is always less stable, and in my impatience to get started on the task, I hadn't integrated properly before exiting.

      I lay for a long time in the position I woke in. Often I can seamlessly re-enter a WILD if I half-wake and don't move. But this was no half-waking: my mind was fully awoken and I soon realized that holding my position would be of no use, sleep had well and truly gone. I used the bathroom so it wouldn't pre-occupy me later and returned to bed, lying on my other side now to make a fresh start. By now the sun was rising so I got out my sleep mask from the drawer. I hate wearing it, but I could tell the light would be disruptive today. I considered checking the time but was trying not to stimulate wakefulness any further, so deliberately decided not to. It was evidently around sunrise, anyway, which occurred at 6:01am today according to Google. That was well over an hour after I had finished my WBTB and the dream can only have lasted a few minutes, so it must have taken me a very long time to fall asleep beforehand.

      WILD #2: I lay on my right side and tried to keep a positive attitude: of course I can do it again! I re-WILD all the time! Not usually from such drastic awakening, admittedly, but I didn't let myself focus on the negatives. I wondered if I should rise and write a report, but reflected that there was little to report apart from the exact wording of the phrases I had thought or spoken, and these I had already scrawled in my notepad. The rest, what little there was, would be easy to remember. So I let go of those worries and focused attention on my breathing, remembering not to "try" to fall asleep but just let it happen. Eventually, it did.

      Whereas the previous transition had been so vivid, this time I was surprised to find myself simply standing at the foot of the bed. I hadn't noticed the separation. But at least I remembered where I had gone wrong in the last attempt, and reminded myself: don't rush it. Get traction. Find something to do in the antechamber to better immerse yourself.

      I noticed that this time the bedroom was full of books, stacked in messy piles and filling bags all over the floor. I figured that these would provide a good opportunity to more fully engage my senses in the dreamspace. So I selected a few and carried them with me as I moved out of the room. The kitchen floor was also covered with books, so many piles and stacks that was actually hard to pick a path through them. I was picking up volumes more or less at random until I noticed what was clearly an artist's sketchbook, a spiral-bound 9"x12" Strathmore, on top of one pile. "Oh, I should look at that!" I thought, and grabbed it. Finally I made my way to the living room, where I found a small oriental rug on the floor (about 2'x3', black pattern on a white background) and sat down on it to begin to peruse my books.

      I chose the sketchbook first, because I was the most curious what I might find inside this one, and dream pictures tend to be easier to perceive and remember afterwards than dream text. The first picture I saw upon opening it was a portrait of what looked like a tribal chieftain, showing the upper half of his body and filling the whole page. He looked about middle-aged, with angular but weather-beaten features. The most distinctive element of the portrait, dominating most of the visual space, was the enormous headdress he was wearing. It wasn't made of feathers or any obvious RL material but seemed composed of abstract patterns with a Mayan styling to them. I took note of the colors. The headdress was all in shades of red, mostly an earthy brick shade. There were constrasting shades of muted green in the distinctive wide straps criss-crossing his body in various places. It didn't occur to me at the time, but the obvious deduction is that these straps were there to secure the enormous headdress.

      After looking carefully at the first drawing, I turned the page. The next image I saw was more cartoon-like. The page was divided into four rectangular panels, each one the width of the page, and stacked vertically. There was a caption, though I don't remember if it was above or below the panels: "Doyle Oss Toss." How clever, I thought... until I realized that it didn't rhyme as well as I had thought at first, because I was aware from the start that "Oss" meant "Owl" but soon realized that the RL word had been distorted unrecognizably to fit the rhyme. My dream texts often demonstrate this tendency to favor rhyme and alliteration over comprehensible meaning.

      The four panels showed the Doyle Owl being punted by a large shaggy grey wolf. The Owl was on the left, the wolf on the right, and the setting suggested the outdoors but was very plain, with little in the background to distract the eye. The sky behind them was dark. The first panel showed the Owl already in mid-air, with the wolf's head lowered, evidently having just head-butted it. The second panel showed the Owl about halfway down, in the act of falling, the wolf's head still lowered. The third panel showed the Owl having come to rest again on the ground, the wolf's position unchanged. The last panel showed the Owl lying on the ground where it had fallen, and now the wolf had lowered its haunches into a crouch and lifted its head toward the sky, howling in what I interpreted as triumph.

      I think I might have spied one more drawing but I don't remember it, because around this time I woke up. In a false awakening. Which I didn't recognize. Responsibly, I immediately began to record the dream on my notepad, first sketching out the four-panel cartoon I have just described. After completing that, I started blocking out the tribal chieftain, and made some notes about the colors. I think I wrote about the green straps first, and when I started trying to describe the particular shades of red in the headdress, the dream began to evolve, and I thought I remembered dreaming that I was a sultan who had a vizier who wore a turban constructed of red cloth in various textures and shades, including a dark red kerchief. It's possible that this image relates to a drawing from the original sketchbook that I've forgotten, because as I was jotting down notes about color of his headgear a new visual appeared, where I could see the vizier from above and behind, with a clear vantage on the dark red kerchief, and I was surprised because I knew that I had not previously seen him from that perspective.

      Before the FA could evolve any more, I woke up for real and recognized that I had just been writing my dream report in another dream, and I'd better get up and do it properly. In this case I didn't mind the delay because writing it down in the FA had helped cement the details in memory (this is not always the case). So I started jotting down my notes on the notepad next to my bed... only to realize soon after I'd started that even though I was more or less awake now, I still wasn't actually doing it, I was still just experiencing a kind of half-dreamed enactment of writing, and I should stop tricking myself and physically get out of bed so I could be sure I was doing it properly. So I got up and hastily sketched out the four-panel again—noticing with amusement how much crappier it looked in RL than in the more elegantly sketched version from my initial FA. I noted the time of rising as 6:56am, and recorded the rest of the dream on my laptop.

      Updated 08-02-2014 at 10:48 PM by 34973

      lucid , false awakening , task of the year
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