In a typical dream I am nervously, uneasily walking by myself. My legs are weak. I feel anxious, almost panicked, too. My ears hum and buzz and I really cannot hear anything clearly. My eyes rapidly seek everything, but find nothing.
I don’t know which way to go until I find myself wandering into my neighborhood. I lived there once, but don’t live there anymore. I recognize no one and no one looks at me. But at least now I know where I am and it frightens me not to belong.
As I walk deeper into my dream, I see many more people, happy and active people, like I was when I lived there. But I don’t have a place there anymore. Everything has changed. I look around as if I should walk right into where I had been and be home again, but I can’t. No place is mine. It is a sad dream.
I have thought about what these dreams mean and I have an idea. It is an idea best described by a torn relationship that I am sad to see go away. It is about a couple I knew for their easy, happy love for each other. And now it is all but entirely lost. There isn’t much to do. It isn’t my business. And like my sad dreams I see it unfold in a slow and confused way, distant and lost.
Stress has taken her away from the relationship. Some fairly heavy experience has hit her and she isn’t good with that. She feels the weight of the world coming down, pressure from all sides closing in upon her. Work and success overwhelm her. Even old lovers demand her time. She says she is no longer available.
What can he do, he asks? Too much stress, she tells him. She needs space to escape and get away, she says. So he offers the space and escape they once had together. It makes sense to him. But she says no. The more he tries to go back to where they started, the more she pushes it all away. He pursues her, tries to reassure her, but there is no space for him.
When I look at this relationship I see myself moving through my dream. My lonely dreams bring me to places of my past because I am unknown and unseen — I am unattached — in a place that was mine. I have lost something now and my dreams send me back to these distance places to experience that loss. What else could explain the feeling of loss and emptiness when one dreams of home? I experience my loss as a place that no longer has room for me. I dream these dreams precisely because I don’t feel that I belong. That makes sense, doesn’t it?
What is a broken relationship if it isn’t a feeling of not belonging? It is a connection that once existed and doesn’t anymore. It is lost.
So I think I understand my lonely dreams, the feeling of sadness they convey. These are dreams of lost love, one of having no place with another person or memory or feeling. Lost wandering is sad, it’s bad…it sucks. And in my sleep my dreams work it out for me, bringing me back to a home that is no longer mine, and let’s me walk it off.
If dreams stem from reality, you never really awaken from a dream. The truth behind a dream is always there. In this sense dreams are very real.
So I wonder if my friend’s partner might not feel the way I feel as I wander through my lonely dreams. Perhaps she feels like there is no place to go, no way to escape, and thus she has no place for him. But my friends are not dreaming. On the contrary, they are very much alive, although perhaps not entirely aware of the lonely mistakes they make.
My friends, losing a relationship they started and shared, can reclaim the truth. They can close the distance that has come to separate them and still live a happier dream. I believe that. They still touch and hold each other, still see deeply through living eyes a life with a soul that longed for the other. This at least isn’t a dream, but it will become one. One day each will awaken with a memory hanging to a dream. Whether it becomes a sad dream or a beautiful one is none of my business. But I believe we wander seeking happiness and I hope my friends seek happiness, too.