Friday, September 28, 2012

Of Cockroaches, Childhood Education, and Crazy Dreams

via Wikimedia Commons
No matter how crazy, I always pay attention to my dreams, and the past couple of days, while I was down with the flu - or maybe it was food poisoning - or perhaps a tinge of toxic shock - anyway, I was a sick puppy, and had some wild dreams.

For example, in one dream, I was working in a fast food restaurant, assembling hamburgers. My job was the last step before wrapping, to lift the lettuce leaf at the bottom and slide in the giant cockroach.  Mmmm, crunchy!

And then I dreamed I was sitting at a long oval table, pitching to a group of people that included President Barack Obama, about not just maintaining but increasing funding for early childhood education. I told them, "We know for a fact that 85% of brain development occurs before the age of five years old, yet in the US, we only spend 14% of public education dollars on that age group." (This is a true statistic, btw, not simply a fever dream.)

I remember noticing how gray the President's hair has gotten, and then I turned and specifically pitched Words On Wheels to some of the other people seated at the table, like Michelle - WOW being a new organization I'm involved in.

The third crazy dream was going into what I consider my adopted home town, to the boutique toy store there, and staging something of an intervention on the owner. The toy store had long had a reputation for staying open 24/7, and the owner was melting down, trying to cope with all the demands of the business and staff the store himself every night, just in case somebody wanted to come in and buy a Barbie doll or a toy train or an Elmo at 3:00 a.m. (In this case, not a true story. The toy store exists, but it's not open 24/7, and never has been.)

toy store trains
toy store trains
(Photo credit: horizontal.integration)
I believe in dream interpretation, although I know that sometimes dreams are just noise, the brain sorting through loose papers, so to speak. Even though Clarissa Pinkola Estes says we are all the significant parts of our dreams, I'm pretty sure I am not a hamburger, nor a cockroach, in some symbolic way. I will confess to being a somewhat dubious cook at the best of times, but I don't ever add bugs to my dishes, gross!

I probably dreamed about Words on Wheels because our organization is reaching the "ready for prime-time" stage, with the website and PayPal links going live this month, and our training videos for our volunteers also almost ready to launch. (Words on Wheels will match screened, trained volunteers with traditionally under-served facilities like homeless shelters, battered women's shelters, and low income child care centers; the volunteers will bring books, music, bubbles, and other literacy-promoting experiences to the children, targeted at kids 0-5, and leave the kids with the books, maracas, etc.)

My brain prolly threw in Obama and company because a) all the political stuff going on right now, and b) WOW is initially launching in the Waukegan, North Chicago, and Zion areas of Illinois. It's not altogether inconceivable that someday we will be pitching to the Obamas and their friends for contributions and/or publicity, though I doubt I will be the one doing the pitching.

Toy Store
Toy Store (Photo credit: damozeljane ☼)
But the toy store... oh, do I "get" that one! Because the toy store owner was melting down by trying to do too much, because he felt that he had to have someone on site 24/7, that it would be some kind of betrayal to periodically close down. And I have been internally melting down because I haven't been blogging, visiting back, or even keeping up with my writing this past month. In my dream, my team was trying to educate the toy store owner that all the pressure he felt was purely self-inflicted, that even if it had been tradition, he didn't have to keep the store running 24/7. How many Barbies did he actually sell at 3:00 a.m., anyway?

Sometimes it's okay to take a break. Sometimes when life - and the flu - and family, and other commitments - crash down on me, it's okay not to push push push to keep up with a whole bunch of goals that I set for myself. The toy store was still there - my ideas are still here. Even if I close up shop for a little while, unannounced.

I love writing, and blogging, and my blogfriends, and my ToastWriter friends, and my musician friends, and yet sometimes it's okay to just say, time for the beach.

photo by author. Yes, perfect beach day.

Time to read, to sleep, to dream.

Have you ever had any crazy dreams that helped get you back on track?

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