Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Finding Your Happy Place

There’s a dream that I have often. I’m running on a trail in the woods. Meandering along the left side of the trail like an old companion is a fast running brook. On the other side of the trail is a steep climb but it never affects the trail. The trail runs relatively flat and smooth. The temperature is perfect. It is summer and the days are long. I’m running at dusk, but dusk lasts forever as does the trail. Never do I pass over a road or through civilization. I’m breathing hard but am not out of breath. I’m as swift as the wind, but I’m at an easy stride. It’s just an endless run through the woods, beside the brook.

This is one of my happy places. Many times in the movies, you hear the psychiatrist telling his/her patient to find his/her happy place. Many times, I was in a stressful situation and looked for my happy place but was unable to find it. I started to think about this more often and not just during a stressful situation. I started to realize that I have several re-occurring dreams that have been with me for a long, long time. Some have been with me since I was a kid. In these dreams I found not just my happy place but my happy places.

There’s also the spring fed pond back in the woods that is crystal clear and teeming with fish. This dream stems from my love for fishing when I was young. Although I no longer wish to catch or eat fish, I love to see them as they are one of the earth’s most diverse and beautiful creatures.

In fact, most of my happy places involve trails, crystal clear water and Mother Nature’s isolation. The only exception that I can think of is being in New York City in the summer time. But there is a similarity. When I visit Manhattan, even though I am surrounded by millions of people, I feel safer than being in any other city that I’ve ever visited. I also feel a strange and comforting isolation. I believe it’s in knowing that not one of those millions of people even knows I’m there. It’s as though I’m invisible. However, there is still the comforting feeling that I would immediately become visible if in distress and would be helped by many of the incredibly compassionate people of that great city.

Okay, so New York isn’t actually one of my re-occurring dreams but it is one of my happy places. We are always trying to find the meaning in re-occurring dreams. Sure, some aren’t very pleasant for some people but if you’re like me, most of them are. I now believe the meaning of giving us these dreams over and over is to imprint in our minds a happy place to easily get away to when the mental going get’s a little too tough to handle.

Keep an eye out for these locations while you sleep. It might not be a full dream. It might only be a smidge of an image. Remember them and how happy they make you feel inside. Recall them the next time you’re in the dentist’s chair, or taking off in an airplane or making a speech at your best friend’s wedding. Take a little vacation at your happy place then get on with what you have to do with a refreshed mind.

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