Monday, October 4, 2010

On Crocodiles, Carp, and Cowardice

I'm going to blog about a topic that is usually the death of conversation and writing everywhere: a dream. No, it's not a cool aspiration for the future or hope for humanity. It's about what little movie my brain ran when I was asleep last night.

Stay with me! I promise there are profound realizations ahead. OK, well, probably, there won't be much of that. But there will be crocodiles!

They say that dreams are a way of processing. We process a monotonous day's events (I dream of grading papers. Seriously). Sometimes, they're epic. We use them to relieve stress and make sense of the world. Sometimes, we use 'em to force ourselves to face the yucky stuff buried in the backs of our minds.

Last night, after a pretty rough day, I had one of those dreams I will take to the grave. Especially now that I blogged about it :-)

I dreamed I was in the middle of a gorgeous lake. There were hilly, lush mountains around, and I was paddling in the middle of it with a friend. Instead of a boat, we had a shack. The shack, crumbling, mossy, and falling apart, began to sink as we paddled to shore. My friend and I looked around and saw hideous carp and crocodiles swimming about.

Really cool shack

But instead of being scared of being eaten alive or drowning, we just laughed. I tell you, I haven't had such a lovely dream in months. I found beauty in the scales of the crocodiles and carp. The trees dotting the shorelines and the closeness I felt with my friend overshadowed the fear of drowning. And that shack was just freakin' cool.

Isn't this just like life? Isn't this just like yoga? We're paddling as hard as we can to a shore that's impossibly far away. And we're surrounded by horrible things in a vessel we didn't predict we'd use. That's what our experiences are always like, right? We didn't choose our bodies, our towns, or our families. Heck, even the things we "choose"--jobs, friends, and soulmates--can seem oddly imposed upon us by forces beyond our control.

But life isn't lived in the absence of fear. We don't have to react cowardly. The opportunity to obsess on the scary stuff--the crocodiles, the standing backward bends, whatever pose puts the fear of God in you--will always be there. Maybe the point is to just paddle on, knowing full well we could drown on our way to the shore. So long as we can enjoy that moment with a friend and appreciate the funky moss growing on our little shack, what's the difference?

There are always going to be rough, scary days. And there's always the option of staring that scary stuff right down and loving it to its scaly bones.


feral chick said...

Awesome. You may not believe this, but after you e'd about that dream this morning, I cut, pasted, and printed it out. A definite keeper, and I like your interpretation! :-)

SylviaG. said...

Wow! People´s dreams - or dreams in general - always get me going, for I find them fascinating, which is why I studied them and have been doing so for very long (a actually keep a dream diary - writing and trying to interpret my own dream for almost a decade now...)
Interesting interpretation, I like it. :) Just a few clues/tips: sometimes in dreams the plot, or the story, is not as important as the colors, intensity, the whole "structure" or framing of the dream, which is why it´s extremely difficult to interpret and learn from it, because we tend to remember the "what happened" and not the details. Do you hear voices? Do you see people as whole "bodies"? Or only their faces?...etc (e.g. I never see people´s faces, only their legs, but I always know who they are, weird isn´t it?) Besides, every living thing - even animals - represent somthing in you, a quality, trait, they are all a part of you, something either you still have, or something you used to have but projected into the outside (and maybe should integrate...)
I wonder what the crocodile is in your case...:)
I think I read it somewhere, on someone´s blog (Juliana?) that Bikram used, besides the typical Bengali Tiger stregth and British Bulldog determination, crocodile concentration....hmmm :)

huh...sorry for being so long, like I said, dreams always get me going...

hannahjustbreathe said...

I just watched "Gone Baby Gone" the other night (freaking LOVE that movie), and this post---this idea of not choosing our bodies, our towns, our families, but trying like hell to make the most of it all anyway---reminded me so very much of the opening sequence in that film. I had to look up the lines:

"I always believed it was the things you don't choose that makes you who you are. Your city, your neighborhood, your family. People here take pride in these things, like it was something they'd accomplished. The bodies around their souls, the cities wrapped around those. I lived on this block my whole life; most of these people have. When your job is to find people who are missing, it helps to know where they started. I find the people who started in the cracks and then fell through. This city can be hard. When I was young, I asked my priest how you could get to heaven and still protect yourself from all the evil in the world. He told me what God said to His children. "You are sheep among wolves. Be wise as serpents, yet innocent as doves."

Martina said...

Your blogs HELLA make me smile!

You totally nailed it. One thing I love about the dream world is that it connects us all. There are no rules, no physics, no order at all and somehow we all understand that.

This reminds me of a time I was paddling in my inner tube trying to reach this little island in the middle of a lake and the whole time I was fighting the current thinking “just get there and you can ride the current easy to get back.” When I finally got there, I swear the wind changed and picked up so I was fighting it even harder on the way back. So goes life. But it’s times like that that make you appreciate the easy rides.

ellelove7 said...

E, this really just hit home with me. The whole idea of choosing to not be afraid, its geek'in me out a bit. I've honestly been afraid that I'll never have kids lately (I'm only 26, wtf?!) and it came out of nowhere. I don't want to live in fear so this really was an amazing insight!

Anonymous said...

I can safely say I've NEVER EVER reacted like that to a scary thing in my dream. However, now that you've put that idea in my head, I wonder if I can start to - it might help a lot in my life!

Thanks for sharing! :-)

Yolk E said...

Wow! I'm humbled by your replies. SylviaG, I love that you geek out on dreams and will look into the color interpretations.

Torri, I usually react out of fear to my scary dreams, too! This was way abnormal.

Elle, remember that you ARE so young. And being afraid never helps us react to things better!

Marti, I never thought of the dream world as something that connects us all, but that is beautiful. Love as always to you and Feral!

Hannah, I've gotta rent Gone Baby Gone. That opening scene is pure poetry.

bikramyogachick said...

ooooh, dreams are so much fun when you can remmeber them in such vivid detail! I love Hannahs reference to gone baby gone. Great stuff! I think I will stare the scary stuff down and love it right down to it's scary bones. Great advice!