nothing to brag about


Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump claims that he only sleeps between ninety minutes to four hours each night…

I wouldn’t brag, Mr. Trump.  In fact, if I was your advisor, I’d say: sleep, Donald, sleep—if you want to attract swing voters.

Consider some of the consequences of chronic sleep deprivation, as reported in the book Counting Sheep, by Paul Martin…

“Sleep-deprived people, like drunks, lose their social inhibitions and behave in inappropriate ways; they are prone to outbursts of childish humour, which others around them do not always find hilarious.”

I don’t know how much sleep his opponent logs.  But during this grueling campaign, Hillary Clinton is likely keeping late nights and early mornings.  That could have contributed to her bout of pneumonia.  Sleep deprivation, says Martin, “can also impair our physical health and make us more vulnerable to disease.”

Of course, each individual has different sleep requirements.  Perhaps Trump would function no better with a full eight hours rest each night.  But if he’s sleeping less so he can do more, I’d tell him to reconsider.  Martin writes…

“…sleep-deprived people are bad at making decisions and communicating those decisions to others.  Their judgment is impaired, they are easily distracted, they respond poorly to unexpected information, they lack flexibility, they persist with inappropriate solutions to problems and they are prone to making foolish risks.”

(Counting Sheep: the science and pleasures of sleep and dreams, by Paul Martin, was published by Thomas Dunne Books.  An entertaining and informative read.)

sky rope poetry: a blog

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listening to the politician within

question authority yourself 492 bb - August 23, 2016d

Though I’ve followed the campaign closely for the last year, none of the top presidential contenders have been in my dreams.

However, in the past, both George W. Bush and Barack Obama have put in appearances.  To be honest, I wasn’t so happy to see Bush.  Nonetheless, I was willing to listen to the dream and learn.

As I recall, he was simply standing at the bottom of a staircase as I descended.  He didn’t do or say anything, so maybe that means I’m not actually expressing this aspect in the world.  Nonetheless, I want to know my inner George W.  I believe every aspect has its positive side.  If I don’t know and express that side, I may be blindsided by its negative.

With that in mind, I’d say to any Trump supporter who dreams of Hillary: get to know your inner Clinton.  Likewise, to any Hillary supporter who dreams of Trump, I’d say: get to know your inner Donald…

And before either supporter could punch me, I’d add: remember, it’s just one inner aspect among many.  And by becoming aware of it, you can rule that aspect, instead of having it rule you.

If I hate a politician for being a two-faced sneak…

…though he may indeed be a two-faced sneak…

…I may be projecting my own two-faced sneakiness onto him.  So, I need to ask myself if what I hate about him is actually something I secretly hate about myself.  I can’t change the candidate’s sneakiness, but I can change my own.

If I don’t ask that question, he may very well visit me in a dream.

Of course, whenever a public figure appears in a dream, I need to do more than consider my personal opinion regarding him.  I need to look at his actions in the scene.  What’s happening in the dream and how do I feel about it?

For example…

…in the dream involving Barack Obama…

…our president is enjoying a slow dance with the First Lady, at a party celebrating the end of a successful campaign.  A lovely sight—that was my feeling in the dream.  I didn’t go farther into it, because I didn’t see a problem.  Nothing to be fixed.  So why worry?

© 2016, Michael R. Patton
the sky rope poetry blog

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not half empty

rabbit stew 594w - July 29, 2016d

I welcome the sight of a large pot of stew!

The image came to me, just before waking, two days after I’d actually cooked such a pot.*

The ingredients I’d used were quite ordinary: potatoes, carrots, ground beef, onions, diced tomatoes, a little Italian seasoning, and a few other items.

Common fare, but tasty.  Nutritious too.  And I have plenty left over for future meals.

With that in mind, perhaps the image symbolizes something I’ve cooked up…

…something concocted from the mundane stuff of this life.  A creative project, perhaps.  Or a number of projects.  I could serve up many bowls from that big mix.

Or maybe the pot of stew symbolizes life itself—the common stew of this life gives me much nourishment.  The pot is a little less than half-full.  So perhaps I’m just past the midpoint of my life.

I think both answers are valid, in part…

The image says: you’re both the cook and the one having the meal.  Nice to know that I’m feeding myself well.

(* Technically, it’s not a dream, but a hypnopompic image.  Nonetheless, it can be interpreted as if it’s dream.)

© 2016, Michael R. Patton
sky rope poetry

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meeting the flower

magnolia open 2 bb - July 1, 2016d

Today, while looking at my magnolia tree, I suddenly remembered a dream of a white flower…

In that recent dream…

I’m at a party in a pleasant upstairs apartment.

While thinking of someone I’m supposed to meet, I look out a window and see a flower on a tree.  It resembles a magnolia flower…

But unlike the typical magnolia blossom, it has thin pink veins running vertically up the white petals.  Though I can see directly into the cupped flower, its depths are slightly in shadow.

Thinking of that dream image, I recalled how I once picked three magnolia flowers for my mother when I was young…

To my surprise and disappointment, they wilted within the day.  Vibrant and strong on the tree, those flowers don’t last long once plucked.

The dream tells me: appreciate the flower—its beauty, its depth.  Drink from its cup, if you wish.  But be wise before you pick…

Otherwise, you may destroy that which you wish to possess.

© 2016, Michael R. Patton
finding Beauty: the book

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another road to the unconscious

gray leaves 323 gb - June 12, 2016d

Freud called dreams “the royal road to the unconscious”.  But there are other roads worth a drive…

I realized one of those roads again, while rewriting this stanza of a poem:

“then, in exhaustion
 I sank down
 to rest on a stump
 by a dry brook…”

The last line brought to mind a dream from earlier this year.  In the dream…

…I’m at a square plot of land, about an acre in size and filled with trees and dead Winter leaves.

A dry stream cuts diagonally through the plot.

I’m cutting the leaves into little bits with a lawnmower.

Though the scene felt bleak, I didn’t see the dream as negative…

New life comes from death.  The dead leaves will eventually break down to fertilize the ground.  By cutting the leaves into small pieces, I’m helping to speed the process.  I working with nature, not against.

The stream is dry due to the season.  Spring rains will come soon enough.

The poem also contains a dry stream.   However, I had my doubts about the “dry brook” line and nearly cut it.  It was saved when I remembered the dream.

Dreams don’t lie.  So the line must be true.

Both dreams and poems are roads to the unconscious.  But poems can become tainted by conscious thought, because we create them while awake.  Even so, it’s still a good road—as is any other art form…

Nonetheless, I believe dreams are the purest road.  The royal road.

Complete text of the poem, including audio.

© 2016, Michael R. Patton

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rich in symbolism

numbers question bb - May 20, 2016d

A recent Powerball winner seems to contradict what I’ve so often said about dreams…

According to Pearlie Mae Smith of New Jersey, the winning numbers for the May 7th Powerball jackpot came to her in a dream.

Nonetheless, I still say dreams should not be taken literally…

…99.9% of the time*.  I speak from experience.  Years ago, I based a decision on a literal interpretation and paid mightily for my mistake.

By looking at the dream incorrectly, I also lost its real message—a message that might have benefited me in significant ways.

That said, if I saw a sequence of six numbers in a dream, I’d probably go ahead and buy a ticket.  After all, it’s a cheap purchase.  It’s not as if I’m flying to Vegas.

But even if I did win, I’d still consider the symbolic significance of those numbers.

(* My figure of 99.9% is a rough guess.  The percent of literal-message dreams could be even less.)

© 2016, Michael R. Patton
sky rope poetry blog

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a rose not so sweet is still a rose

bee rose bbbb - April 24, 2016s

As sometimes happens, the message of one dream seems to contradict the message of another …

In a recent dream…

I’m looking for a special item in a large ultra-modern mall.  A place of few stores and few people.

The main room is spacious, with an extremely high ceiling.

I peek into a restaurant that’s open at two ends to a wide ocean bay.  Then I pass by a coffee store.

I know I can’t find what I want in this building, so I don’t care to linger.

In a dream from last month, I was also searching for a part for a creative project (see previous entry)…

But in that dream, I showed patience.  In this latest dream, I’m anxious to hurry on.

Having worked for years to develop my patience, I welcomed the positive message of the first dream.  Yes, I’d made progress!

Or had I?  After the second dream, I wasn’t so sure…

The messages seemed to be in opposition…until I realized that the two situations weren’t quite the same.

Yes, I’m being patience in the first dream—but with good reason.  Intuitively, I know I can find what I want where I am.

In the second dream, I know I can’t find what I want in that mall.  So why not keep going?

At this point, I’m reminded of what a wise man (or woman) once said: take time to stop and smell the roses.

Okay, but that vacant, ultra-modern mall doesn’t really intrigue me.  Yes, the building has the high-vaulted spaciousness of a cathedral.  But it lacks a strong sense of spirituality.

On the other hand, the emptiness does create a feeling of mystery.

And then there’s that restaurant.  I could sit down at the water’s edge, enjoy a cup of coffee, and reflect.

I guess stopping to smell the roses also means stopping when and where the roses aren’t so sweet.  They may not smell so sweet, but they’re still roses.

In the dream, I’m frustrated because I can’t find what I want.  But experience has taught me: if I don’t stop, if I keep going from place to place, searching, searching, I’ll only increase my frustration.

It was a hard lesson.  Trouble is, I still occasionally forget.  Fortunately, I have this dream to remind me.

© 2016, Michael R. Patton
sky rope poetry

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