Christina Westover's Blog - Posts Tagged "dreaming"

The moon's reflection on the water caught my eye. It was then that I noticed I was surrounded by water, water as dark as the night sky above. In fact, I was tied to the wooden chair I was sitting on, and separating me from the water was a diving board. I remember looking around, wondering what I was doing on this chair, at night, in the middle of what appeared to be a huge pool of water. It was at this moment that I saw it--that perfect blend of black and white, that fin protruding from the water's surface. An Orca!

The sound of astonished gasps surrounded me, causing me to look up. I was not alone. A stadium of onlookers similar to those found at Sea World were watching in great anticipation. It appeared to be feeding time for the killer whale, and I was to be its next meal.

The above was one in a series of dreams or nightmares I had about killer whales over a period of three years. Dream studies have shown that 70% of women and 65% of men have recurring dreams.

Did you know that the average person spends six whole years of his or her life dreaming while asleep? That does not include the 70-120 minutes each day we spend daydreaming, which is when our imaginations take us to that place between our subconscious and conscious--those moments when we are not fully asleep, but are not fully awake either.

Dreams are amazing. All of those sensory details our minds adhere to memory are accessed while we sleep. I have dreamed of loved ones no longer living, only to remember what it is to experience their presence once again. In dreams, every detail is present, and good memories become opulent gifts which we give to ourselves during these minutes. In dreams, I can make my grandmother laugh, have conversations with her--can even FEEL her close to me as I did while she was living.

Two thirds of dreams by men involve other men, and tend to be more aggressive involving physical action. Women tend to have a balance of female and male characters in their dreams, and many tend to dream of weddings. Children from ages 9-15 have fantastical dreams, which often involve animals and pretend creatures over adult human beings.

While all mammals and birds experience REM sleep, only humans are actually known to dream. I love dreaming. It is one of my favorite things, and sometimes I nap in hopes of experiencing a new dream.

We are dreamers. Awake or asleep, we have hearts which yearn for more, minds which blossom under positive experiences, and spirits which never give up hope for better things to come.

"To sleep, perchance to dream"~Shakespeare's "Hamlet"
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Published on April 05, 2011 15:51 • 123 views • Tags: christina-westover, dream, dreaming, experience, nightmares, psychology, rem-sleep, shakespeare, sleeping, writing
"You should have an idea by now of what your unique personal skills and gifts are. Perhaps, you have an amazing singing voice. Perhaps, you’re more mathematical by nature and can add up long columns of numbers off the top of your head. You may even be someone who dreams of doing something in complete contrast to the life you are currently living. Whatever your talents are, the only way you’ll benefit from them in the physical world is by creating a goal, making a plan to achieve the goal, and seeing it through to the end.

The first important rule in using your unique gifts to further your goals, is coming up with a goal which is specific to you, and feels attainable to you. Neil Armstrong dreamt of leaving the earth’s atmosphere and walking on the moon, making history as the first man to do so. Martha Stewart learned how to cook and sew from her mother, later expanding her culinary art by catering for parties. She is now a household name whose artistic insights and intuitive presentations have garnered her much praise. As you can see, setting your sights on a goal which is ideal to you depends solely on your passion for what it is you wish to accomplish. However, the more specific your goal is, the more likely you are to reach it.

After setting a goal for yourself, it is important to continue perfecting your skills and talents. The library is still an excellent source of information. I have spent countless hours in public libraries researching what it takes to not just attract a literary agent or publisher, but also, how to negotiate a publishing contract should I meet with success. The internet is also a useful tool for research, though this is also a bit risky at times. Almost anyone on the internet can publish information on any topic they wish without knowing much about it. If you’re serious about reaching your goal, you must be serious about the information you’re adhering to memory and relaying to others. If you’re disciplined about what you teach yourself, you will find your standards are raised to a higher level, and this will be evident in your work.

One important thing to remember about setting goals is: you’re more likely to reach your goals if they are firmly implanted in your mind. It is necessary to not simply admit your goals to yourself, but to write them down where they will not be forgotten. It also helps to share your goal or ideas with others. One thing I have learned as a writer is, people do wish to see other people achieve their dreams. If you publicly declare your desire to reach a certain goal, you’ll be amazed at the encouragement and support you’ll receive from others who are also pursuing their dreams. Nothing is more contagious than the enthusiasm shared by those who dream big dreams.

When pursuing your goal, it is important to not just stay positive, or to believe in your talent, but also in your ability to reach the intended finish line. It will be important to avoid negative individuals, especially those who speak of their goals but always have an excuse as to why they aren’t trying to reach them. People at times may become artistically stagnant—we’ve all heard of writer’s block. Unfortunately, some writers have been artistically blocked for years.

I once had a therapist who told me I was “delusional” when I told him I wanted to work toward being a published author. When speaking of the same goal to a neurologist, I was told to not set goals for myself which would leave me crushed by the disappointment of not being able to reach them. This neurologist was one of the first individuals to whom I gave a copy of my first published novel Precipice. One of the finest lessons I have ever learned regarding personal goals, is to never ever let others tell you what you are capable of.

Part of being able to see your specific goal as reachable is being able to break it down into smaller reachable goals. In this way, you’ll not only be able to measure your small successes, but you’ll continue to build the self-confidence and skills needed to reach larger more complex goals.

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Music Selection

*Listen to music with plenty of drums—tribal beats or sitar music with plenty of tabla music. Drums are invigorating. They inspire us into action, they add to self-confidence, and they are a driving force when going into battle. Drums will inspire you and help you to assert yourself in furthering your goals."

~Excerpt taken from 10 Gifts To Give Yourself For A Successful Life, Chapter 4 Paying Attention To Your Unique Gifts And Using Them To Further Your Goals
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Published on December 22, 2012 12:11 • 128 views • Tags: achievement, art, christina-westover, dreaming, inspirational, music, personal-drive, psychology