Dreaming figures prominently in my memoir The Lullaby Illusion. This aspect of the book has aroused considerable interest in many readers, especially those who have not paid any particular attention to their dreams.

It’s a subject I’ll revisit here from time to time.

In traditional cultures, people tend to believe dreams reveal hidden truths about themselves and the world around them: when the body sleeps, the soul is free to wander the universe and collect information. I like that idea.

Scientists, searching for ways to explain and define dreams report that dreaming is just another way of thinking, on a different level. Thinking in the sleep state. Something I’ve known since childhood because my dreams always seem so real and full of meaning. Hours after dreaming, I can recall detailed images, voices, and symbols. Typically, I don’t recognize the meaning of the dream immediately, but I sense if it contains something significant. It often seems like a secret message sent to me in code from another dimension. A code only I can decipher through careful observation, and a willingness to welcome and embrace the hidden truth of the dream. As a child, I sometimes felt like Cinderella waking up in the middle of a dream and finding myself in an exciting, glamorous, improbable life. And then I would wonder, does one use a dream to rehearse life, or live to rehearse a dream? Or, am I perhaps awakening to a life I dreamed of having that actually came true?

Susan Joyce in 1990 with a cutout photo of her inspirational Aunt Gladys riding a camel
In 1990 at a booksellers’ convention, with a cutout photo of my inspirational Aunt Gladys riding a camel

As a kid, one of my greatest role models was my great-aunt Gladys. A retired school teacher, she married a banker and they traveled the world. Once a teacher, always a teacher—she sent picture postcards to her family and friends. For me, it was so exciting to receive a postcard from destinations far away—places I dreamed of visiting one day. I used to sleep with those postcards on my heart and imagine they were magic carpets that could fly me to the exotic place shown on the postcard photo.

Guess what? Years later, I have visited most of the places Aunt Gladys traveled to and even wrote a children’s book to honor her, and her positive influence in my life. Her postcards encouraged me to explore the great big wonderful world. I believe that my far fetched dreams over the years are the reason I live a most extraordinary and exciting life.

I’ve even ridden a camel, though I wasn’t decked out quite as elegantly as Aunt Gladys

Do you pay attention to your dreams? Do you keep a dream journal?

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