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Dreams and Nightmares

Dreams and Nightmares

Rereading the supportive and poetic messages you sent before my heart surgery, I suddenly realized how much I’ve missed you. I truly have. It’s astonishing how close I feel to you. Our connection via Red Room, gave me the courage to keep smiling as I envisioned light from the candles you lit illuminating my bed, doctors, and my faltering heart, and ascending high into the universe along with your prayers and good thoughts, my name attached. Your actions on my behalf, undoubtedly, contributed to my uncommonly fast recovery, and also restored my tattered faith in humankind.

When the medical team gathered around my bed prior to wheeling me into the operating theatre, I told them that I was lying in the hand of Buddha and that each one of them was Buddha to me during that time, whether they wanted to be or not. They seemed not to mind although I fell asleep so quickly I can only recall a fleeting glimpse of smiles.

During the whole ordeal I was calm but the day after I got home nightmare/dreams revealed how close I had felt to departing this life.

1. I was hanging on to the outside edge of San Francisco’s Bay Bridge moving hand-over-hand, struggling to get to the other side, the safe side. Beneath me the grayish water of the Bay beckoned. Mosquitoes swarmed. I was frightened.
2. The following night I dreamt I was in a small swimming pool located inside a shed. My long deceased niece, wearing a skimpy pink bathing suit, was in the water with me. We didn't talk but I wondered why she was there. 3. In the final nightmare/dream I was in a large public pool. The water was stagnant. Someone handed me a plastic bag containing a huge exotic dead bird/fish. Take it to the other side, they requested. Hanging on to the pool edge, not being able to swim, I held the creature in its plastic bag in one hand and edged along the cement of the pool, to the other side. Dripping, exhausted, the bird/fish, it’s head out of the bag, it’s sharp beak looking ominous, I headed down steep wooden steps where I saw the daughter of my recently deceased sister and her son. Help me, I yelled, please help me! They turned their backs. I awoke.

So there you have it. Some of the meanings are obvious others are curious but probably only to me. Years ago while going through the aftermath of divorce, I had so many nightmares that I began writing them down in a dream book. Some of my dreams were prophetic, prompting friends to say, “Please don’t dream about me.”
One such dream concerned Mother Theresa. We were having tea together when Mother suddenly clutched her chest and said "I’m having a coronary occlusion." The next part of the dream was a newspaper headline declaring, “Mother Teresa hospitalized, Coronary Occlusion." The dream seemed so real that I called a woman I knew who had traveled the world with Mother Teresa and did two documentaries about her. “Pat, Mother is fine,” she said. “You are probably picking up on her recent birthday.” But, to my friend's uncomfortable bewilderment, a few weeks later Mother Teresa suffered a coronary occlusion and was hospitalized, according to international news reports.”
So there you have it.
Sweet dreams, my friends, sweet dreams.

9 Comment count
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welcome patsy. Its a big gift of my birthday, today, you have come back to us. Hope you are fine. Don't worry about dreams. This is a post operation effects, can last for six months.

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Jitu, Happy BIrthday

Somehow, I knew you would be the first to respond to my blog. You are such a special person, Jitu, and as I said in my video, you allow yourself to be vulnurable which is a great gift to the rest of us. It is realy good to hear from you. I hope your birthday is exactly the way you want it to be and that you have manny, manny more.

Big Hugs


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It is good to have you back,

It is good to have you back, Pat, and don't worry about the nightmares.

I can only share this poem by Rumi...for you to work through your recovery, your nights and your future:

"if you pass your night
and merge it with dawn
for the sake of heart
what do you think will happen

if the entire world
is covered with the blossoms
you have labored to plant
what do you think will happen

if the elixir of life
that has been hidden in the dark
fills the desert and towns
what do you think will happen

if because of
your generosity and love
a few humans find their lives
what do you think will happen

if you pour an entire jar
filled with joyous wine
on the head of those already drunk
what do you think will happen

go my friend
bestow your love
even on your enemies
if you touch their hearts
what do you think will happen"

- Rumi, Fountain of Fire

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Thank you for the insightful words of Rumi. This one is especially meaningful to me.

I am part of the load
Not rightly balanced
I drop off in the grass,
like the old Cave-sleepers, to browse
wherever I fall.

For hundreds of thousands of years I have been dust-grains
floating and flying in the will of the air,
often forgetting ever being
in that state, but in sleep
I migrate back. I spring loose
from the four-branched, time -and-space cross,
this waiting room.

I walk into a huge pasture
I nurse the milk of millennia

Everyone does this in different ways.
Knowing that conscious decisions
and personal memory
are much too small a place to live,
every human being streams at night
into the loving nowhere, or during the day,
in some absorbing work.

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It's hard to top

It's hard to top Rumi.

Welcome back, Pat! Back from the brink, back to the RR.

I was just thinking about you today. Was reading The Financial Times, and in it there was a petition in support of a journalist being held by Iranian authorities. Sean was one of the signers. I hope that journalist makes it back, just like you did.

Re: the water theme in your dreams. . .I am a former lifeguard. I will fish you out if your hands tire of clinging to support. Dream #1 creeps me out the most, though. That bridge is looooong. No mere mortal could cross it as you describe. Would have to let go and fall into the cold, dangerous bay.

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Kep swimming!

Oh Ellen, you are such a fine writer and so responsive to me. I'm glad to know that you've had lifeguard training and will rescue me if I were to fall into the bay. Sean is a good person with a very tender heart, I'm happy to say. I'm not surprised that his name is on a petition in support of a journalist being held in Iran.

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Yes, Pat, the signers were

Yes, Pat, the signers were grouped into three or four categories.  Sean's signature appeared under PEN USA.  He was in good company.  Literary giants.  Media stars.  Nobel Laureates.  I am not a fan of these oppressive regimes.  Their human rights track records are awful, and snuffing someone out is no big deal to them.  I don't doubt that journalist is in real danger.

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Welcome back, Pat

I missed you. Have been looking forward to seeing your face again!

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Thanks you

It's good to hear from you, Kunzang. I hope all is well with you and your adorable dog.