Sometimes, for no reason that I can pin down, I have these nightmares.
Maybe when it is too hot in the room. Not sure. If that is the case, then I will sleep with the windows open in the dead of Vancouver winter.
It is like I am just under the surface of consciousness but I can’t wake up. And that can’t waking up, comes terror. In early this morning’s case, it was that in the nightmare I was frantically trying to call 911 to get help but my arms wouldn’t move because I wouldn’t wake up. I’d try to go to people for help. I’d end up in the dark side of town where people stared at me and attacked other people violently.
This went on for a long time but in real time I have no idea how long.
One day I swear it will give me a heart attack because my body reacts, my nervous system, my heart flies around. I am in the terror.
I finally, finally, wake up and it takes quite a long time – sometimes the whole day – to overcome the surrealism of it all. Because my body, my mind, are so primed for fear, it can be like a day long panic attack.
I was thinking about this just now in the shower.
“Bring ’em all in,” wrote Mike Scott in his much covered song.
“Welcome and entertain them all,” wrote Rumi centuries ago, “Meet them at the door laughing and invite them in.”
The water poured down on my head and I cried a bit, thinking that I could greet the terror at the door, laughing, beaming.
Invite it all in, said the Sufi poet.
Bring the little fishes
Bring the sharks
Bring em from the brightness
Bring em from the dark, writes Mike Scott.
Bring the unredeemed
Bring the lost and nameless
Let ’em all be seen
who violently sweep your house
empty of its furniture,
still, treat each guest honorably.
He may be clearing you out
for some new delight, wrote Rumi.
Memory put her back to the other.
Still the damp draught seeped in
though Fear chinked all the cracks and
Blindness boarded up the window.
In the darkness that was left
Defeat crouched in his cold corner.
Then Jesus came
(all the doors being shut)
and stood among them.