I’ve been journaling my dreams lately. I haven’t attempted this in a routine sort of way since high school. In high school, my creative writing teacher gave my class an assignment centered around recalling dreams and using them for inspiration to write poetry. I remember the anxiety that came with the assignment. I felt limited. For a week, I tried to recall my dreams each morning. Nothing came. I was so worried about remembering my dreams that I was blocking myself from recognizing my own night journeys.
There are dreams that, from time to time, have slapped me in the face with their poignancy or have even woken me from my sleep in screaming horror. My dreams over the past few months have centered around a recurring theme—escaping from a place where I am being held captive. All the dreams have cinematic potential with their prison camps, secret societies, places of torture and so on. I always find my way out of the place where I am captive with Indiana Jones-like gusto.
A newer subject in my dreams is decapitation. Maybe it is my fascination with Tudor England that inspires my brain to create these gruesome night experiences. I have spent some time meditating on the circumstances surrounding two particular beheading dreams. In one dream, I am vacationing with close family at a resort-style spa that is really a secret place of torture and captivity. The owners cut off your head and display it on a shelf beside your body. You live. You spend the rest of your life with your head on a shelf and your body on a massage-table-style couch just beside it. You are detached from yourself and you are there to witness it for eternity. I realize the operation of the “spa”, and I devise a great plan for us all to escape before it is too late.
In another dream, I am beheaded on a scaffold, just like in the time of Henry VIII. My head is cut off, and I can feel the blood draining from my body. I don’t die, but I cannot speak. I hear the executioner telling a guard that “this sometimes happens” but I cannot communicate about what is happening to me. Later, I have the opportunity to compete in a serious of obstacle courses against other people who are fully alive. If I win, my head will be returned and ultimately, my life will be spared.
My spiritual mentor and I have spent some time discussing the matter, and ultimately, from our talks, I have come to the conclusion that the beheadings have to do with a fear of losing my own voice. An inability to be heard. I realize that these dreams center around my passion to tell the story in my memoir and to let my voice be heard. It can be daunting to spill your life to the public, but I know it is important to share my story in the hope that it may resonate with others. It takes courage.
I welcome the dreams of beheadings now. I always fight for the return of my head in them, never giving up, and never with a moment of doubt that I will solve the puzzle for the survival of the voice of truth. And I remember that, when my head comes off, it is easier see to see what lies deeper inside of me.