Why We Dream the Same Thing Over & Over

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Last night, I went to bed late and I had gone to bed late the night before. It would seem that this would be a recipe for getting a long and uninterrupted night of sleep, but that was not the case. Over and over and over, I repeatedly dreamed the same thing, and after each dream, I was awakened. Finally, I simply got out of bed and made myself some coffee. But I wondered if my dream was trying to tell me something.

Of course, Google offered me some insight. In Psychology Today, the following was said about recurring dreams Here: 

“In general, recurring dreams indicate the presence of an unresolved and persistent conflict in an individual’s life, and the theme or Central Image of the dream provides a stage for this conflict to play out. The cessation of a recurrent dream may indicate that the conflict has been successfully resolved.” 

I am not aware of having dreamed what I dreamed last night before last night, and I’ll discuss that in a moment, but for several years, I did have a recurrent dream that I am no longer having. Allow me to talk about the last part of the above quote first:

The cessation of a recurrent dream may indicate that the conflict has been successfully resolved.

If you  have been following my blog, you have heard me say that I only began writing, as a form of expression, about ten months ago. In 1974, I earned a master’s degree in English, with an emphasis in writing, and then, I simply quit writing. Rather, I poured my creative energy into painting and into teaching art.

During the time that I was not writing, I repeatedly dreamed that I was invited to sing before huge audiences, and when I opened my mouth to sing, nothing came out. Standing before the audiences, I was mortified by my silence. Although I had dreamed that same thing several times before, since October 1, 2015, when I began to write, I have not had been plagued by that specter again. In beginning to write and to express myself daily, I have resolved a conflict. I have found my voice, and I have begun to sing before a larger audience than I had ever imagined that I would. Again, if you have been reading my blog, you know that on the anniversary of my having begun to write, I am hosting a Free Memoir Writing Event to help other people find their voices.


Recurring dreams indicate the presence of an unresolved conflict 

Now, allow me to tell you what I believe that last night’s dream was about. On Thursdays, I teach a Memoir Writing Class. I have been teaching this same group of women for several months now, and this past week, some people began to share some things that were personal and that they don’t want to be  repeated. They didn’t even want to acknowledge those things to themselves. As I watched these people struggle with some painful memories, I realized that I need to assure everyone that they are never obligated to share with others anything that is painful or that is embarrassing to themselves. I am convinced that we need to write through the things that silence and mute us but that does not mean that we have to share what we write with others. The writing through the pain is what heals us. The sharing is something else entirely.

What I repeatedly dreamed last night

Last night, the dream that stubornly revisited me was that I had invited throngs of people to a spend-the-night party but I had failed to tell them to bring their own pillows and their own blankets. The people were on their way, and I was afraid that they were going to have a cold and uncomfortable visit. I had even invited several marching bands to my event. I was expecting that a mass of people  would attend my party, and I had failed to prepare them for their visit. Numerous people were coming to visit me, and I had failed to tell them something that they needed to know.


I believe that this dream has to do with the fact that I was acutely aware that I needed to assure people that when they write their own memoirs, they are not obligated to lay their secrets out for everyone else to inspect. I am convinced that writing about our lives is a way to heal, but allow me to make it clear that it is not necessary for you to bare your heart to the world. Just write. If you want to share, I am all ears, but that is your personal choice.


Now, I have said what I needed to say. Tonight, I’ll sleep soundly.

©Jacki Kellum August 6, 2016



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