I was back in college, at the start of a new school year. Coming out of an afternoon class, I suddenly could not remember what dorm I lived in, or how to get there. So I started mentally listing the names of the dorms on campus, hoping that would trigger my memory.

There was Lincoln Hall, where I lived during my freshman year. Lincoln and Douglas Halls were two older and identical dorms right next to each other until a newer dorm, Stevenson Hall, was built between them. The three were connected and shared a lounge and cafeteria, and were now collectively known as the LSD Complex.

Then there was Weller Hall, one of three two-story dorms – I couldn’t remember the names of the other two – known as “The Triad.” And Carmen Hall, which was the newest and nicest dorm, but at the very far edge of the university campus. A long hike – or bike ride – was necessary to get from Carmen Hall to anywhere else.

I saw an information booth, and went to talk to the students who were working there.

“This is going to sound weird,” I told them, “but I can’t remember which dorm I live in. Can you give me a list of all the dorms on campus?”

One of them handed me a brochure that described the school and how some of the buildings had gotten their names.

“No, this won’t help me,” I said. “I just need a list of the dorm names.”

She then handed me a poster with an aerial view of the campus. No matter how many times I explained what I wanted, I couldn’t get a simple list of the dorm names from her. I was growing more and more frustrated, and that’s when I woke up.

I’ve been having a lot of very vivid dreams lately, and many have included that recurring theme of getting lost, and not being able to find my way back home. Even at the retreat I was on recently, I woke up with a start in the middle of the night from a dream in which I had overslept – at the retreat – and then couldn’t find my way either to the shower room or back to my bed and belongings.

I know that dreams like this are common, and often have to do with situations or experiences in real life that are uncomfortable or unfamiliar to us. They can be about the uncertainty of starting something new, or the anxiety of letting go of the past.

I decided to make a list of projects I’m working on and areas of my life that fit the description, and it turned into a pretty extensive list. So it made sense that they were influencing my dreams. But being aware of them helps me to override the anxiety, and to focus on the steps I need to take in order to accomplish my goals and dreams – my real-life ones. Not only is this comforting, it’s very empowering, and it’s giving me renewed focus, energy, and determination.

I anticipate smooth sailing and sweet dreams from now on.

The column “Find Your Buried Treasure” appears weekly in the Chanhassen (MN) Villager. This column was published on August 6, 2015.
©Betty Liedtke, 2015

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