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Lucid Living

Dreamed 2007/4/8 by Chris Wayan

This one's an example of how a perfectly mundane day can still provoke an extraordinary dream. Or is that whole theory wrong? Did my quiet day just give the dream elbow room? We all assume our dreams are a reaction to our day--but this dream seems to disagree!

THAT DAY: All Quiet on the Home Front

I've been ill. Thought I was better, but today I wake in a sweat with a mild fever. Headache--actually worse today, despite the rest. Discouraging.

While I'm writing my dreams, my sister Miriel calls. "I'm meeting Mom in Half Moon Bay, do you want to join us? She's been weakening slowly; I've been visiting more while she's still with us." I feel mild guilt I don't visit more, but not much. I'm struggling to survive and get well myself. I have nothing to spare, not now. Even if I were well, I couldn't go anyway. I lent my car to my friend Alder so she could go to a family reunion. An oval painting; central image of a deerlike woman bathing in a hotspring, with surrounding insets showing vignettes of penguins, painters, and cave-elves. Click to enlarge.

Listless all day. Eat small meals, don't exercise much. My friend Nic needs a corrected photo of her painting of Christ surrounded by the atrocities of the Inquisition and witch-burnings. I take the finished digital file up the street to her. Then walk to the store and buy milk and peanuts. But stay in most of the day. Not much of an Easter vacation!

Work on a dream-painting, Razi and the Holy Wino of Shasta--redo the reflections of Razi in the hotspring. Still not perfect but better. Water is difficult...

I finish Overlay, an experimental dream-comic with transparent overlays between pages where you see my dream/aura/energy sense.

Then I just look at and sort and contemplate dream art on my hard disk, and half-done comix on paper. Which ones cry out to be done next? I have no will. It's the art that decides. Or possibly the illness; I know I can't do anything big right now.

Practice the voice and piano parts for some original songs I plan to pitch to our band, the Krelkins.

Read "Fables: 1001 Nights of Snow" (backstories of various characters in FABLES, a comic-book series). Varied and interesting art-styles, though the stories are slight. Then I start Delia Sherman's THE PORCELAIN DOVE, about pre-revolutionary France...

Zonk out early. But it wasn't that awful a day, I guess. For a sick day it was fine. A lot of art did itself without my ego (or little inner critics) getting in the way... or worsening my headache. I'm tired, that's all. Sleep...

Dream 1: Shelley Guesses

I'm visiting Shelley, a hypnotherapist I saw weekly for years, though now I've tapered off. This time I gave her my dream notes beforehand--not typed up, just my rough, scrawled dream-notes on waking. I was so busy this last couple of weeks I didn't have time to write them up! An experiment to see what she could get out of those half-awake scrawls.

Quite a lot, really! Shelley says "I found two linked themes: health-risks as assertion-challenges. Each time you're exposed to something toxic, it's a spiritual opportunity. Will you assert your needs and protect yourself even if it means drawing attention, even making a scene? They're spiritual lessons.

"I didn't see any dreams suggesting there are simple cures once you've let yourself become sick, but assertion looks like a powerful PREVENTIVE medicine."

{ACTION: ouch! If a relapse has no cure, I BETTER protect my health scrupulously.}

Dream 2: Lucid Living Three large boys surround a much smaller boy holding a ball.

I'm biking along slowly, like the easy-going hippie I am. Polite, letting cars go by--the very antithesis of the San Francisco demon biker, the Critical Mass maniac all the drivers fear.

But suddenly I change my attitude. Declare "I'm male, I'm fast, I'm coordinated." In my teens and twenties I was ashamed of masculinity, due to some horrible role models. But before that, when I was little, I saw myself as a boy all right--but a small, slow, clumsy boy. Wrong too! I wasn't clumsy or small at all; I was skipped ahead, younger, unable to compete with older boys, but in fact I was tall and well-coordinated for my age.

Suddenly I realize this somatically, not just intellectually. Accept aggression, enjoy speed--kinetic guy-pleasures. And right away feel an instant burst of energy! ZOOM!


Pass the entrance to a school. A man out front leans on a sundial or dry fountain, tallying students. A voter registration campaign, I think. But I zoom on by. I did go here once, but not any more! Free! Dream sketch: biking on water toward a city on a crescent-bay. Halo over biker, labeled 'Only half holy'.

Now I bike on water! Nah, I can't walk on it--not Jesus. My energy epiphany wasn't THAT big! But I can bike on it. Maybe it's just the air in the tires. Bikes always get me high...

Head out across a deep lake. To the right the shore-hills are dim, on the horizon. Ahead, a crowded city lines the slopes above a half-moon bay.

The streets are jammed. Everyone's out--an election? And I'm a citizen of this city-state. Must find my precinct! I'm late; a few other stragglers walking on water check in at the shore-gates, and then I'm the very last. My district is across the inlet from here. I set out for it, but have a failure of nerve with this huge crowd all watching me, all waiting. I should zoom straight across but I hug the shore nervously, fearing my satori will suddenly fail and I'll drown. Lengthens my trip only by 100 yards or so, but the bike is slowing too... Guess my lack of faith is depressing my bicycle as well as me. Sloshing awash, it takes forever...

But still, I don't sink, and eventually I do arrive.

Here on the far side of this Half Moon Bay, I'm in the future! Well, no wonder it was hard going! That wasn't water, that was time.

Up a boatramp onto a stone terrace. There's a great podium or pulpit. On the stand, a huge open book. I climb up and look. My dream diary! Well, a record of nocturnal events should be called a noctary, shouldn't it?
I peek in the Book of the Future. Dream sketch by Wayan.

The dates on the pages are yet to come. The book of my future, all printed out for me! It feels like cheating to peek. Could cause trouble--what if reading the future collapses a sort of quantum uncertainty, firming up problems that might have stayed potential? But I already HAVE concrete problems. I want advice on this recalcitrant illness! So I snoop, cautiously--skim my future dreams to see if I'm better, and if so, what cured me.

I find neatly typed dreams, weeks ahead, months ahead. Their general flavor: complex but sober--practical, good advice. But still struggling with illness. Don't sound worse, but not much better. A daily discipline to build health. And nightly? The dreams lack fun, magic, love/sex, strange creatures. Dull, earnest dreams keeping me on the path.

But interspersed with the dreams are detailed pencil sketches of possible paintings and sculptures. They look lovely, strange, magical... sexy. Hmm! I don't HAVE to wait passively for dreams to give me magic--my conscious mind can take initiative too! Not lucid dreaming: lucid living.

The two sculpture-studies I recall:

1: Sketches of a krelkin, one of the beings I meet in dreams. She's reared up on her hindpaws, leaning on the hooked staff of a shepherdess. In some, she's nude; in others, draped round her slight shoulders is a thin shawl or gauze robe that doesn't reach to her hips--doesn't hide a thing. The sketches are stained with watercolor washes of sepia, or are on paper so old it's yellowed.

Sketch seen in a dream, of a tailed, shaggy shepherdess leaning on her staff. Her species is called krelkins. Click to enlarge. Sketch seen in a dream, of a tailed, shaggy shepherdess leaning on her staff. Her species is called krelkins. Click to enlarge. Sketch seen in a dream, of a tailed, shaggy shepherdess leaning on her staff. Her species is called krelkins. Click to enlarge.
They're clearly an erotic furry parody of European pastoral painting (and sex fantasies) that go back all the way to Greco-Roman times. She's part sexy shepherdess, part sheepdog! Very shaggy, but she sure ain't no sheep.

And I won't be, either. Not any more.
Dream sketch: five mares acting out the Five Healthy Appetites: eat/drink, rest/sleep, dance/exercise, love/sex, and create/stretch spiritually.

2: My spirit-wife Silky is drawn five times in one big sketch--pencil and sepia again. She's in the form of a big-eyed mare--five of her, in different symbolic poses. These represent the Five Appetites I need to indulge for health and happiness: food, rest/sleep, love/sex, exercise/dance, and... creativity? When I woke I wasn't sure exactly what--painting? Something focused and demanding... Maybe it doesn't matter what! Anything that's a nonphysical workout--a mental or spiritual stretch.

Like asking someone out on a date. Showing my art to a gallery. Or walking out of a required class in a toxic computer lab.



  1. To get my energy back, quit trying to be nice and sociable. I ZOOM when I'm alone and doing exactly what I want. And forget a dayjob! My future doesn't include one any time soon. If ever.
  2. Be bold and direct. Cowardice slows me, tires me more than directness. Strike out directly toward goals, over deep water. Never mind God, trust your tires!
  3. Walk out of classes and jobs and relationships if I have to--protect my health at all costs! Once I provoke a relapse, I'm stuck.
  4. If I want to share art and stories, draw my recent dreams, not old ones! Work on live issues!
  5. Paint the Five Healthy Appetites. And show it.
Painting of a dream image by Chris Wayan: five mares acting out the Five Healthy Appetites--food/drink, rest/sleep, dance/exercise, love/sex, and creativity/risktaking. Click to enlarge.

LISTS AND LINKS: my sister Miriel - therapy - dreamwork - advice dreams - gender - butch and femme - body image - dating advice - bikes - magic - walking on water - Politics - sculpture - the future - A dream on collapsing possibilities into certainties: The Ethics of Lucidity - dreams about dreams - dream beings - animal people - sexy creatures - krelkins - horses - Silky - appetites and urges - health advice - creative process - transcendent dreams

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