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Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Dreaming of Sleep


I’ve been having a difficult time sleeping.

For the last two weeks, I have struggled to stay in sleepy town for a whole eight hours. I wake up at 4:30 or so, go get some water, drain the lizard, and get back in bed. I fall asleep for another 90 minutes or so, wake up, take a sip from my Wrigley Field Souvenir cup, check to see if someone in an Eastern Time Zone has e-mailed me, and crawl back into bed. I then begin what I call my Virtual Reality Hour. For an hour, I spin through a revolving door… entering a dream, and then exiting into reality.

These Virtual Reality Hours have had a theme. Bear with me as I explain the last six nights of dreams:

- For three consecutive nights my family and I were on vacation. Each night was a different location (one of the trips was to hybrid between Rome and Miami). The common thread? I was in charge of everything for each trip. I was booking hotels, renting cars, directing us as we drove, and checking our flight status.

- Then I had two nights of a familiar scene. Familiar in reality but also in my dreams. For over three years now I have had frequent basketball dreams. Many of my team members are familiar faces and ex-teammates. Some of the dreams are games, but the majority of them are practices or scrimmages. The coach, who is often none other than my high school basketball coach and mentor Al Merino, challenges me to practice harder. He often repeats the phrase, “the last shot will be yours.”

- Finally, last night’s dream was odd. Perhaps it was the influence of Mario Party XIII and the difficult haunted mansion level, but in my dream Taryn and I were very lost. As we made our way through the forest with the eerie ground level fog, she begged me to find our way back to the cabin. I had a map (of course it looked like a treasure map) but I was struggling to decipher north from south. My dream ended as we saw the cabin and Taryn groaned with relief, “Thank God, I thought those wolves were going to eat us.” (SIDENOTE: Remind me to blog about the time that Taryn approached the Coyote.)

Now, I am no dream expert and I am not suggesting that I have cracked the code to understanding my unconscious. However, I have sniffed out a theme. In all six dreams there has been a great deal of performance anxiety.

Whether it is the pressure to create a life giving vacation, the pressure of leading a team and hitting the buzzer beating fade-away, or finding a way to return my wife to the cabin safely…there is pressure. There is an overwhelming sense that I must perform…and perform well.

This innate ability and desire to “perform” has been a part of my psychy since I can remember. I do not say this to brag or boast, but to simply share a piece of my story. I have been on a stage consistently since the age of four. Whether it was a church performance (the first coming at Blackhawk Church in Fort Wayne as I played the R ’n’ R version of the B-I-B-L-E), choir, band, or speaking I have lived life roughly five feet off the ground.

This last year, I have taken a much-needed break from this realm of “performance”. By no means have I stopped “performing”, yet the formal, on stage, week to week performance pressure is gone. In addition, I rarely got nervous in these formal performance settings. Rarely did I lose sleep, get anxious, or sweat over a basketball game, a message, or a formal performance.

So today, I find myself, without the pressures of on stage performance...having unconscious performance anxiety. Thus, I am struggling to make a connection between my unconscious anxiety and my conscious circumstance.

Perhaps this unconscious anxiety is speaking to my core. My core desire to perform well and my fear of what will happen if I do not.

But why now? Silly brain.

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Taryn S said...

Ok, so, we were driving home one time in Phoenix down a semi-busy street. As we were putzing down the road, I looked out the window and saw the most pitiful dog I've ever seen in my life. It was a mid-sized dog, and looked like it was just starving. Immediately, my bleeding liberal heart - which actually usually doesn't give a crap about animals - was overwhelmed and I begged Jarrod, "let's pick up that poor dog!"

After one look of disbelief in my direction, I convinced him to pull over so I could at least see if the poor mangy mutt had tags. We pulled over, I stepped out of the car, and started making my way towards the poor pup.

About ten steps in, I realized that it was a coyote. Holy sh*t.

And then I ran away.

Are you sleeping better now??

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