mummy pyramid - April 18, 2014d

Have you dreamt of killing an ox lately?

If so, your enemies will soon be “removed”…

…according an ancient Egyptian book on dream interpretation.

The book also tells us: if you see a large cat in a dream, you will enjoy a bountiful harvest…

…but if you see a bare backside, you will be orphaned.

And if you climb a mast, you will be suspended aloft by your god.*

These rigid interpretations may seem silly to us now…

However, if the dreamer knew in advance what the symbol was supposed to represent, the interpretation could have some validity.

I’ll explain what I mean…

In a dream that came to me thirty-years ago…

I’m trying to show people how to sew, though I don’t really know how to sew that well myself.

The day before this dream, I’d been told that “sewing” represented mending your life.  My dream had clearly used this particular interpretation to tell me a hard fact.

The ancient Egyptians thought their dreams were messages from the gods…

I share that belief.  And after years of examining my dreams, I can say: my gods don’t sugar-coat the truth for me.

(* These interpretations were found in Ancient Egypt: Everyday Life in the Land of the Nile by Bob Brier and Hoyt Hobbs.)

conquistador conquest - April 7, 2014d

I know my dreams can take me into the future…

But that’s my own personal future.  What about our future? Can my dreams take me there?

I’m thinking of a dream from two years ago…

In the dream…

The Spanish Conquistadors have finally gained control over everything.

That’s it, that’s the entire dream.  I didn’t recall an image—it was an impression.

I thought about that dream for awhile, but couldn’t connect it to any situation in my life…

I don’t invade, plunder, conquer. I respect other cultures.

But perhaps these Conquistadors are shadow figures—aspects of myself that I’ve suppressed.

Even if that’s so, I doubt they’re going take control of my life, at some point in the future…

I think I have enough self-awareness not to become what I despise.

So then, what’s left? Since the dream doesn’t seem to relate to my own life, could it possibly refer to the world-at-large?

When I consider circumstances in my own country, I can see how the “Conquistadors” might eventually lock everything up…

…even though, like the Spanish explorers of old, they’re vastly outnumbered.

No, I’m not a visionary.  But why wouldn’t I or anyone else dream about the larger issues, from time to time?

After all, dreams reflect our personal concerns…

…and if our concerns for community, country, and planet are felt on a deep personal level, wouldn’t our dreams reflect those concerns, those feelings?

Every night, every individual dreams of his or her future…

…but my future isn’t separate from yours, nor yours from mine…

…so why wouldn’t we also dream of our collective future—our future together?

I guess I’ll see what happens.

© 2014, Michael R. Patton

try again boat - March 24, 2013d

On this, the 25th anniversary of the Exxon-Valdez oil spill, let’s not forget a key fact of that disaster…

At the time, we believed the ship ran aground because the captain was below decks, drunk.

However, the officer at the helm was quite capable of steering the ship…

…if not sleep-deprived.

That was the conclusion reached in the official investigation performed by the U.S. National Transportation Safety Board.

To the misfortune of all, the third mate had only gotten six hours of sleep in the last forty-eight.

He was supposed to have been relieved at 11:45 p.m.  Here’s the irony: he said he stayed on, because he wanted to let his relief get some sleep.

In his place, I probably would’ve done the same thing—we like to push on through, to go beyond our fatigue.  It’s a sign of strength—of mental toughness.  An accomplishment.  So we believe.

Here’s another irony: because sleep deprivation can severely impair our decision-making ability, we may think we’re capable of pushing on through, of performing the task at hand…

…just like the drunk who says he can still drive.

[NOTE: I found the boat in the above photo while walking along the spit of Homer, Alaska.  The Pratt Museum of Homer features an excellent exhibit on the Exxon Valdez oil spill.]

© 2014, Michael R. Patton
This novel is free through March 26

words are shadows - March 13, 2014d

Years ago, when I decided to become a writer, I was told: “write down your dreams”.

At the time, I didn’t ask why, but now, after recording thousands of dreams, I realize the value…

Yes, in those dreams, we may discover the seed of an idea…

…but more importantly, we’re confronted with the writer’s dilemma: how can you express that which goes beyond words?

By writing our dreams, we’re humbled by our inadequacy—our words are inadequate, our skills as a writer are inadequate.

The would-be poet quickly learns she can’t fully convey the mystery, the force of her dream…

Likewise, she’ll realize, in time, the impossibility of ever fully capturing her poetic vision.

But if the she feels driven to try, her words may sometimes take us to a place beyond words—if we’re willing to match her effort.


I hesitate to express any dream

because I know my clumsy speech
can break a rose filigree elegance

as well as dull an angry spike of lightning…

ah, but such exquisite dreams
bring up a counter-impulse:

the desire to relive–to share
the inexpressible experience
by creating a block of text–

yes, the copy will be pale…

but maybe you’ll still recognize
the place of which I speak.

© 2014, Michael R. Patton
poems of our dream life

head waves gray - February 27, 2014s

In a recent dream, I travel to a South Sea island…

…and though it isn’t any paradise…

…it’s still a special place.

In the dream…

I’ve arrived at a tiny island in the South Pacific.

The ground is all pebbly gray soil.  Only a few people live here, or visit.

To “check in”, I must travel in a small boat to nearby island—barren like the first.

The waves are a peculiar iron-gray color.  The chop is high, yet the ride is smooth.

I’m wondering if it’s worthwhile to spend much time on these islands.  I need to decide soon, in case I want to book a flight out.

A rather ordinary dream, right?  No!  This scenario felt hyper-real.  I was overwhelmed by the sense of isolation.  The rest of the world seemed so faraway.

Though plain in appearance, those islands are a place of mystery.

We’re always traveling, even when standing still.  So maybe the dream tells me that I’ve come to a new place in my life…

Maybe.  But the dream also tells me that I have an option.  That I’m just visiting.  So I don’t think it indicates a major shift within.

Though I’m still confused about the dream’s meaning, I can relate it to my life’s experience in this way:

As I’ve traveled through life, I’ve often felt the need to hurry…

Sometimes, I didn’t have time to stop—I didn’t really have an option.

But other times, I was simply impatient to move on—to get to the next place, which I hoped would offer something better.

In the dream, I realize the islands aren’t my home.  So then, why linger here, on these desolate isles?  After all, life is short, and getting shorter all the time.

On the other hand, this gray place brings up such powerful feelings.  Almost more than I can bear.  It’s tempting to run away just to escape this intense experience.

So perhaps I should stay awhile.

Whether this dream speaks to my present, or my future, it also speaks to conflicts running through my entire life.

© 2014, Michael R. Patton
another SOULTIME promo

amoeba heart - February 15, 2014d

At the beginning of a recent dream, I’m waiting for a new friend…

…but at the end, I’m waiting for an old friend.

Am I focusing too much on the past?  On what I’ve lost?

In the dream…

I arrive at the house of “J”.  The posts on the front porch are covered by big flakes of cracked white paint.

J’s son arrives and we go inside.  While he plays with his three dogs, we talk a bit.  I sit down to wait—but now I’m waiting for “G”.

G died a few years ago.  As with all true friends, she’s irreplaceable in my life.

But I can’t really say that I dwell on the loss.

J is a new friend.  Quite different from G…

However, as I thought about this dream, I realized how my relationship with J mirrors my relationship with G.

Though I still have no idea what the flakes of paint represent, or the three dogs…

…I do have some extra insight into this budding friendship.

© 2014, Michael R. Patton
OPEN this book ALL NIGHT

listening to night - February 6, 2014d

“Some dreams whisper, some dreams shout.”

When I made this observation to an e-pal, I was thinking of three recent dreams…

In the first dream…

I open my email, see a message from this e-pal, and open it up.

It’s short and I understand the message immediately (though it’s now forgotten).

In the second dream…

I receive three new emails. The first is from the e-pal, the other two are from unknown sources. I don’t read any of the messages.

When I told these dreams to my friend, she thought that they might mean that I wasn’t understanding her messages.

I reminded her that I DID understand the first message.

To her credit, she also admitted that she couldn’t really interpret the dreams—they were my dreams, not hers, and only the dreamer can determine what his dream is saying…

However, her interpretation does have validity—in regards to how she feels about our correspondence.

So, ironically, seeking an outside interpretation can be helpful—even though it may be invalid, as far as the dream is concerned.

How did I interpret those two dreams?

Well, I haven’t yet gone into them, and I probably won’t.

Because those two dreams were whispers.  And between them, I experienced a dream that shouted…

So the shouting dream received most of my attention.

That’s not to say I think the “whispering dreams” are unimportant…

They could actually represent a serious problem…

If so, I know they’ll return…

…and perhaps with a shout.

© 2014, Michael R. Patton


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 98 other followers