Friday, April 20, 2012

Prednisone dreams

I've been on prednisone for almost two weeks. My worst allergy attack in a decade hit me hard and shut down my small airways with a thin, lime green fluid. (Disgusting I know, but just setting the stage.) I never had a asthma attack since my large airways were clear. So I could breathe. I hardly even wheezed. But I would put on my socks and have to rest for 10 minutes. I'd walk up a flight of stairs and have to sit down for a while. Stuff like that.

I've been through this enough that I knew only steroids would work. My doctor prescribed them and I took 60 mg a day for 6 days and started tapering off 10 mg a day since. This morning it finally kicked in. My small airways opened up and I was, for all intents and purposes, normal, except for the steroid buzz and my dreams.

I was in Jungian therapy for almost 10 years back in the 80's and 90's, so I have a whole-hearted respect for dreams. They mean something. I try to acknowledge them and incorporate their messages into my life.

But there are no dreams like prednisone dreams.

The woman who teaches a class after mine in the same room at UConn every Friday deals with dream work. Today I told her I'd been on steroids and had had these amazing dreams.

She didn't even blink--"steroids are like sacred mushrooms," she told me, "only they only work in sleep."

OK, the last two dream I had.

Night before last I was one of a dozen or so 'beings' who inhabited a round, Delphic looking temple somewhere. We were no corporeal--we did not have bodies--but we took up space. We were intently individualistic, different in ways people or different, but there was the sense that we were a 'body', a 'community', that we had a communal 'identity' as well as individual identities. We existed as space that was streaming with information. We were absorbing steams of data and it trailed out behind us like the data streams in some TV ads for 'smart' know what I mean? Pictures and video and information and downloads and stuff trailing out behind what could be called our 'being'.

We did not communicate by speech, but we were in constant communication. We were not deities--we were clearly mortal and had no control over the information we continually streamed. We were receptacles for what passed through us, what we knew, what we were exposed too. We had no control. We had no bodies. We were a collective, yet distinct. We floated around the Temple like thing, receiving, receiving, collating, organizing and transferring vast stores of information.

(This is crazy, I know, but it was my dream.)

It all felt right and natural. I was 'at one' and yet distinct from the others. Once in a while one of us would say, however we 'said' things, "Being...." and we would scatter to the winds and re-assemble.

Two things came up we had to deal with. Beans that grew on a different planet that the people of earth wanted to grow here. A consensus was reached--we didn't decide it, merely accumulated the data--and the beans began to grow on earth. Secondly, one group had insulted another group about what shade of green was 'green' and the debate ranged between the two groups until a compromise was met and we (the 'beings') allowed that to happen.

OK, crazy, I know. But pretty amazing. Dreams to die for...or live out of....

Then last night I was celebrating the Eucharist with Rowan Williams, the Archbishop of Canterbury in what I believe was the Cathedral of the Incarnation in Baltimore--where Josh and Cathy were married and I've been with them. But the thing was, a much younger version of my friend David Pritchard was introducing the Archbishop and it was going on and on and on--lots of video and long quotes and power point stuff. I didn't think it would ever end.

And I was assigned to do something about the many, many children. Disassembling them in some way and putting them back together in a better way. Improving the product, is the only way I can describe it. And I was working with others and we were waiting for David to finish with his introduction and for the service to move forward. The work was tedious, yet it seemed important and vital and 'good', really 'good'.

And I was in full Eucharistic vestments and knew I need to pee, so I started searching the buildings of the 'cathedral', many of them, for a bathroom. I encountered many people I know and some strangers and some famous people as I searched and searched. All of that was informative and enlightening and involved deep conversations about things mundane and sacred but there seemed not to be a single bathroom in all of the myriad of buildings I passed through, fully vested, talking with people and learning things.

Then I woke up. It was 4:58 a.m. and I went to the bathroom to pees.

I told the dream woman today how much I enjoyed these steroid enhanced dreams.

She smiled. "I'm glad for you," she said, "that's really wonderful."

I honestly think she meant it.

In a day or two, with the steroids, those dreams will be gone, I imagine, and I'll be back to dreaming about working on some project I neither understand or feel competent about, but doing 'busy work', through the night--which is what most of my non-steroid dreams are like. Not unpleasant, just mildly ironic.

Being a Jungian through and through, I know that mundane dreams like I normally have are just saying, "keep on doing what you're doing and don't worry". I'm just not sure what Jung would make of my prednisone dreams.....

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some ponderings by an aging white man who is an Episcopal priest in Connecticut. Now retired but still working and still wondering what it all means...all of it.