Healing Nightmares

All of my life I have had really intense dreams, many of which are so solid feeling that when I awake, I initially can’t tell if I was dreaming or actually had the experience. Historically my dreams increase intensity until I listen. In recent weeks, l have had some really heavy ones. I am certain that it is my soul trying to communicate to me some awarenesses that–to some degree–I am not fully facing in my waking life. What is below is one of my most recent dreams. I am writing it out for cathartic reasons and am open to comments.

At the time of this writing, it was last night that I had a really disturbing dream about my future. It was the morning of my 46th birthday. And, I woke up with a sense of desperation. It was as if I was within moments of missing the opportunity of a lifetime. And if I didn’t grab it now, I would never have a chance like this again. All I needed was one key piece of information and this dream that I never knew I wanted would be fulfilled. If you could imagine the feeling of playing Final Jeopardy and having bet it all for the win but then questioned your answer, you’d have an idea of how I felt when halfway between sleeping and awake, I scrambled for my phone to get the piece of information that was between me and a life I never thought was possible. It was the name of a rap/rockish fusion band that started with the letters L-I-something. And they had just hired me to be their lead rapper at 46 years old! Who would have imagined? Well, I guess the answer is I imagined it. Since I had the dream. But, it’s not something I ever thought of in my waking life.

How they came to hire me was completely outside of the norm. I didn’t enter a competition or anything. In fact, there were people competing for the chance of getting the role. But, I was completely unaware. I just so happened to be freestyle rapping to myself in public and a band mate heard me and asked that I repeat what said. I did and he asked me to come with him. I agreed and he took me to some place that had an industrial feel where the rest of the band was hanging out. He excitedly asked me to say my rhyme again. When the band heard it, they all looked at each other and said I was the guy they were looking for. I still didn’t know who I was talking to until one guy said, “So you’ll be replacing me and I’ll be replacing our lead singer who died.” Suddenly the name Chester Bennington popped into my head and I asked them if that’s the person who died. They confirmed and I basically tripped out asking why me and how soon did I have to decide. They told me I only had about an hour because they were launching their comeback tour in about two hours and wanted to let the attendees know who I was. I asked if it mattered that I was turning 46. They laughed and said that they were about the same age. With that concern out of the way, I asked if I could tell my wife about the offer first.

As I tried to explain to her as quickly as possible that I wouldn’t be coming home for dinner because I was about to be paid millions of dollars to be the lead rapper for this band, it hit me that I could not remember the band’s name. She was incredulous that I was making this decision on a whim and that I didn’t even know the band’s name. I kept saying, “You know the band. They’re famous. The name starts with L-I.” Then I said some of the lyrics.

Crawling in my skin
These wounds, they will not heal
Fear is how I fall
Confusing what is real

She didn’t know what I was talking about and asked me to bring the groceries home. But I said that I couldn’t say no to this and she would have to come to the venue to get the groceries. She wasn’t happy about it but agreed.

When I got to the venue, it was just in time for the set. They announced that I was the new rapper and the previous rapper was the new lead singer. Everyone cheered and they just started playing without us ever practicing. I knew some of the songs but not all of them. So I basically sucked. But they were forgiving and said that they knew that it was my first day and that they believed I’d soon catch up. And they also said they expected me to create new songs. I was psyched.

During the 10 minute intermission, I decided to go to the bathroom. But, my wife was there waiting. She asked, “Did you figure out their name yet?” I hadn’t but told her I would google it. That’s when I realized that I didn’t know where my phone and white water bottle were. So, I frantically started looking for them. I found them easy enough but almost had no time to go to the bathroom. I told my wife that I really wanted to talk to her but I needed to go to the bathroom and come back out for the next half of the show.

I ran to the bathroom. But when I came out, I couldn’t remember if I had to go left or right to get back to where the band was. I went the wrong way and ended up at a high school. When I saw someone, I asked them how to get back to the concert. They gave me some directions and I ended up at a high school musical where kids were dressed up in old timey clothes and singing some black and white movie kind of music. I said to the person who was guiding me, “Not this concert. It is a concert of a really famous band. And I am their new rapper.” They asked me the name and I still couldn’t remember and just said, “It starts with L-I.” The person excitedly said, “Limp Bizkit is back?!” I frustratingly responded, “No. Not Limp Bizkit. It’s the one where the singer almost screams the lyrics and then the mellow guy raps. I’m the new mellow guy. You know the band. They’re famous.” But the person just looked at me like I was silly since I didn’t know my own band’s name.

They told me to find the principal of the school who could help me out. I found the principal outside navigating traffic. He was a jolly Black dude working in an all white school. He congratulated me for getting the gig and told me that my number one assignment was to learn the name because if they found out that i didn’t know it, they might drop me. I promised that I would learn it. He then explained to me that we were in a multi-use building that the city created to save money. It was a school, residential apartments, and a concert stadium. He said I probably had two minutes. And he said that if I didn’t get there in time and got fired for not knowing their name, I could go back to school there and learn business skills. I thanked him and started running. But my feet were barely moving. I then started getting angry because of everything that threw me off. I was starting to go into regret when I realized that I was dreaming. Once I realized it, I started yelling to myself to wake up. After a few moments, I woke up and instantly started looking for my phone to look up the name of the Chester Bennington band that started with L-I.

When my wife asked me what I was doing at 5 am scrambling around, I started to tell her this dream when it suddenly hit me…

Linkin Park!!!

I would consider this dream a nightmare. Over the past few days, I have been asking myself what I am hiding from my conscious mind. Clearly there is something in me that is trying to break out. I’ve been working with a non-anxious presence coach recently and it is crazy how finding language for much of what I have been witnessing in relational dynamics for decades is initially disconcerting. Family systems theory, which is a foundational element of this NAP work, is really opening a can of worms. But hey, I asked for this. I know that, in many ways, dreams are feedback from the soul. And just like physical pain tells our bodies that we’ve hit our limits, nightmares reveal a similar awareness. So, now I am asking for more guidance from Creator to learn whatever it is my dreams and nightmares are trying to teach me.

And I guess I’ll start listening to Linkin Park.

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