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Home / Articles / Arts & Entertainment / Celebrities /  Dreams & Nightmares
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Tuesday, August 16,2022

Dreams & Nightmares

By Jonna Shutowick. M.S. Ed.  

Really no different than all of the polarities in our lives: bright side/dark side, halffull/half-empty, and the fundamental good/evil. The cool thing about dreams and nightmares is that they, for real, cannot hurt us, so it may be easier to view them with a curious mind.

At the literal level, they are mere manifestations created by our subconscious, presumed to help us work out the stuff in our lives we cannot quite comprehend consciously. And sometimes they are just an outlet for our brain’s overactivity that just works itself out in our sleep, and no one really knows why. They can be super fun, confusing, scary, or even just forgotten.

If you are a person who experiences frequent nightmares, or worse, night terrors, this is not meant to minimize your suffering, but it might be helpful to view them as something coming at you from a past lifetime. I’m no expert, so I’ll leave it at that.

I periodically experience what experts refer to as sleep paralysis, although I disagree with this diagnosis. For example, when I am in an old house, or someone close to me dies, I feel them sitting on the bed. Sometimes I feel a presence climb on top of me, and I feel real pressure on my chest, and hear a whooshing sound so close to my ear, I can feel a breeze.

Usually, a simple internet search can provide you with whatever answer you want (much to society’s detriment, but that is a conversation for a different day). But no matter how hard I try, all I can find is what experts call sleep paralysis. They provide a very scientific explanation about being between sleep states, and anecdotal evidence from subjects whose stories match mine exactly. I don’t care. My theory is that real spirits are trying to get my attention (and succeeding). That is what is real to me, so it is real.

Our reality is created by our choices. Nowhere in our lives is this more important than in our actual waking life. Our reality can be a dream or a nightmare depending on how we approach each and every day.

I’m at that age where I tend to see my best friends at funerals. (It used to be weddings… the reality of aging!) This particular year has been so rife with tragedy and death that it felt like a nightmare. At the last gathering, we were discussing this sad reality. And while it cannot be avoided, there is no reason we cannot also manifest a more dreamy reality.

Fast forward to today – as I write this column, I’m on a cruise with four of my best friends to celebrate a birthday. We concluded at the last funeral that there really is no other way to go around the sun each year. None of us know what tomorrow brings.

Let your living life be a dream, and save your nightmares for when you are asleep. Who knows, maybe if your life is a dream, there won’t be any nightmares.

Jonna Shutowick, M.S. Ed. is a high school history teacher for the Palm Beach County school district. She has created a character named Rosey Shades TM, whose philosophy teaches students about the importance of choosing optimism over pessimism by asking, “What color are the clouds in your world?”


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