Lucid Waking

Some days feel like they were specifically designed to kill your buzz.

Yesterday, for example. I was riding high on a wave of serendipity after making one of those connections that is both professionally relevant and personally significant to such a degree that divine intervention seems the only reasonable explanation. There we were, joyfully corresponding via email, drinking in all the juicy details of each others’ lives and discovering more and more uncanny connections, when something strange happened. One of my emails bounced. And then another.

“Address not found,” it claimed. Which made zero sense because we’d been sending emails back and forth for half a day by that time with no issues. Her email hadn’t changed, and I was still receiving emails from it. But suddenly it didn’t exist? Huh?

Then, even stranger, emails to other people started bouncing as well. The only addresses I could successfully send emails to were Google-based. G suite technical support was equally flummoxed by this bizarre behavior. Our set-up, they confirmed, was spotless, and those email addresses were indeed legit. And yet, they continued to bounce.

This wasn’t just bad timing, it was TERRIBLE timing. How is a community architect supposed to architect a community A WEEK BEFORE SOFT LAUNCH without the ability to send emails??

Meanwhile, my new best friend kept the introduction emails flowing, introducing me to well-connected, super-engaged community member after another. And all I could do was watch and wait.

Patience, as you may have gathered, is not exactly my strong suit. So let us just say that the entire experience was a special kind of torture. It genuinely felt as though the universe itself had stepped in and shut off the positive energy tap that had up until then been flowing freely.

After hours of banging my head against that immovable wall, I gave up and just hit the hay early, telling myself, “Sometimes reality is like a computer. You just have to turn it off and turn it on again to get it to work right.”

That night, I had a dream. I was in a huge, complicated building, trying to find the exit meetup spot I had apparently set with my husband (the top floor of an enormous parking garage). I kept trying to call him, but the phone wasn’t working properly. Every time I tried to search for his name I got a list of random words instead.

And it just got worse from there. Every hallway, every staircase, they all seemed to end at a cement wall, requiring me to backtrack and get increasingly lost and no closer to my end goal. As I ran into obstacle after obstacle, getting more and more frustrated and increasingly short with the people I ran into, it eventually occurred to me that this was a suspicious amount of obstacles to run into, one after another. And that’s when I realized:

“Wait a minute! When things are this ridiculously annoying, and there’s literally nothing I can do to fix it, that usually means I’m dreaming.”

It didn’t feel like I was dreaming, though. It felt very real, and really very frustrating.

I decided to test my theory. If I was dreaming, I should be able to do things I can’t do when I’m awake. Like, for example, fly. So I started flapping my arms, but soon realized that was just never going to work. Flying in dreams is more like gliding: you just take a running leap and soar.

But was I really willing to take that chance? I mean, what if I wasn’t dreaming after all? It seemed an unnecessary risk to take. So I shrugged off that idea and went back to fighting with my phone and trying to find the exit until…

I woke up. At which point I realized exactly what that dream was trying to tell me: that focus determines reality. What made the dream “real” was A. my belief that it was real, and B. my refusal to let go of the arbitrary task set out before me and focus on something, anything else.

In the dream, as in my waking life, I had the opportunity to become lucid and take control of the situation, to choose whether to accept the current situation as “reality,” or to shift my focus to something else. And both times, I made the wrong choice.

So this morning, even though my email is *still* not fixed, I am choosing not to bulldoze my way through another day of unnecessary frustration. Instead, I’ve shifted my focus to writing this here blog post, which will hopefully inspire all of you to stop sleepwalking through life and start lucid-waking instead.

So. What will you focus on today?

#actualization #belief #dreams #philosophy

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