Monday, March 01, 2010

Saying Goodbye to D.

My experiments with WILD are continuing. On the Dreamviews website, there is a lot of obsessing about sleep paralysis. We are generally paralyzed when we are asleep, to prevent us from acting out our dreams. If you’ve ever woken up and not been able to move, it’s because things have gotten out of sync and while your mind has awakened, your body didn’t get the message and is still paralyzed (muscle atonia—lack of tone—if you’d rather think of it that way).

That happened to me once years ago, and it was frightening. If it happens to you, you can try wiggling your fingers or toes. Those little muscles at the outer extremities may not be paralyzed.

So the idea with WILD is that, when you are somewhat close to a REM cycle, meaning probably during the middle of the night, not right when you go to sleep, you engage your mind in such a way that it stays awake while your body falls asleep. You might focus on visual imagery, on sounds, or on your body. You can count: “One, I’m dreaming, two I’m dreaming.” You can count to a million or just count to ten and start over at one. I do that because I don’t want to know when I’m at breath number seven hundred.

If all goes well, your body will fall asleep under your watchful eye and you may consciously experience sleep paralysis. Hence there is much discussion about what SP actually is, how you tell when you’re in it, how you get it to stop if you think better of the whole thing, exactly how frightening it really is, just how to get from SP into a lucid dream, and on and on.

Having not enjoyed my SP experience years ago, I had trepidation about encountering it again, but decided to forge ahead and not to worry about it. Stephen LaBerge doesn’t make a big deal about SP in his books, if I recall correctly. When it comes to WILD, it seems to me that he basically says to count your breaths and think “I’m dreaming” until it becomes a true statement.

I haven’t had a lucid dream using the WILD technique yet, but I’ve had some interesting physical experiences, one of which was profoundly pleasant and left me feeling somewhat exhilarated the whole following day.

In addition, since starting to focus on WILD, I have had two dreams about practicing WILD, which has to be a good sign, plus a dream where a fellow asked me if I’d had a chance to think about what the dream he’d recounted to me might mean. I told him (in the dream) that dream interpretation is highly subjective, but perhaps he’d like to hear about MY dream about Gwen Stefani. So I’d say things are going well.

This past Saturday, D.’s memorial service was held in a grey and rainy East Bay regional park.

I drove there in a City CarShare car and was glad later that I had gone. I got to see a lot of photos of D. from earlier eras, and to hear a lot of stories about her. She was pretty special. The first day I visited her, New Year’s Day, I met a friend of hers I was rather taken with, and I got to see him again at the service, too. I listened to the new Corinne Bailey Rae CD for the first time on the way there and back. It’s good music for a gloomy day.

Then I drove back to San Francisco and went to see P., whom I haven’t seen in quite a while. There was a lady I’d never met working at his facility who seemed to know a lot about me, which made me feel bad about not going there more often, though let the record reflect that I took him out every week for many months a couple of years ago. He looks dreadful now. I guess he has had many, many little strokes, and he appears to be barely alive. He’s missing a number of teeth, too. We sat together outside for a bit and I gave him a card and a gold-plated AA token for his 35 years of sobriety.

In the evening I watched The Hurt Locker on DVD, which was excellent, the lead actor perfectly cast.