I had a dream recently that during its course was rather benign but became nightmarish when I awoke. Upon awakening the feeling of the dream morphed into near panic as I lay in bed trying to recall it so as to write it in my journal. It felt as though I had become possessed by something not of this world– something almost demonic.
As I pondered it a feeling of emotional overwhelm, loss of control, and alienation began to grow until I could stand it no more and forced myself from the bed. As I walked it felt as though I were falling down a hole– a rabbit hole. Then the main character image of the dream came to me and stood there in my memory with a big Cheshire Cat grin.
Ahh, the Cheshire Cat, an alien story arc that once read long ago left me with both confusion and understanding mixed together in an anxious soup. Somehow the dream was suggesting that I needed to move on from the arc of my life into another story. Somehow I was feeling alienated from the story I was in.
It reminded me of the story of Alice in the Wonderland books by Lewis Carroll where she fell down the rabbit hole, and that I was always falling down the hole but choosing not to notice.
And the Cheshire Cat grins as Alice asks, “Would you tell me please, which way I should go from here? “
“That depends a good deal on where you want to get to.”
“I don’t care where. “
“Then it doesn’t matter which way you go.”
“As long as I get somewhere,” Alice added as an explanation. “Oh, you’re sure to do that” said the cat, “If you only walk long enough.”
I too don’t know where I am going, nor do I even know where I’ve been, or where I am now; forever falling down the rabbit hole.
“Have I gone mad?” … “You would have to be mad to dream me up.”
And I realize that it is I that would have to be half mad to dream this world up.
Life to me is seeming more like a riddle with no answer as with the Mad Hatter asking Alice, “Why is a raven like a writing desk? Have you guessed the riddle yet?” the Hatter said, turning to Alice again.
“No, I give it up,” Alice replied. “What’s the answer?”
“I haven’t the slightest idea,” said the Hatter.
Since I awoke something seems to have changed once again.
“I wonder if I’ve been changed in the night. Let me think. Was I the same when I got up this morning? I almost think I can remember feeling a little different. But if I’m not the same, the next question is ‘who in the world am I?’ Ah that’s the great puzzle.”
Upon awakening from the dream and not knowing who I was– not knowing who I am– have I ever? Perhaps not, I think. Oh shit, do I have to throw all of the story I’ve created out the window?
Anxiety sets in, even panic and like Alice I feel as though I may drown in my own tears. I want to return to the old story but as Alice said, “It’s no use going back to yesterday, because I was a different person then.”
“Little Alice fell
The hole, bumped her head and bruised her soul.”
Haven’t we all?