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On the Other Side of Nightmares

I never cease to be amazed at how much good a little rest does to my body, mind, and spirit.

This week I was tired to my bones. Nightmares returned a few weeks ago, the worst nightmares I’ve had yet, filling me with fear and anxiety before my head even hit the pillow. Instead of waking up rested, I woke screaming and crying with Robbie shaking me telling me I’m safe, he’s here, the dreams aren’t real. The rapes, the torture, the beatings of my nightmares weren’t real.

I’ve learned that when nightmares return, it’s my body’s way of telling me, “OK, luv, it’s time to heal more. It’s time to go deeper.”

I dread it every time, but I’ve learned that the only way out is through, and on the other side is light.

In the past I’ve tried all sorts of things to make the nightmares stop. Nothing works. They stay until they’re ready to leave.

Instead I’ve learned to prepare myself to handle them better.

This time I’ve sat quietly with myself before bed and ask if there’s any unresolved issue that needs to be addressed, memories I’ve blocked out that need to be looked at, feelings I’ve been stuffing down that need to be aired and validated. There’s always something, sometimes big, sometimes small. And when I take the time to sit with that issue – no judgment, no shaming, no suppressing – just sitting and looking and being with that issue, the pressure is released, like letting air out of a too-full tire.

I don’t stay in that place long, just long enough for the pressure to ease, for the truth to be spoken, for my feelings and thoughts to be heard, seen, and validated.

Then I look at books of beautiful gardens or artwork or illustrations, things that calm and soothe, comfort and inspire, and remind me of the good things I treasure.

And before I go to sleep, I remind myself that no matter what I dream about, the truth is I am safe, I am loved, and light will come in the morning. The light will always, always return.

The nightmares left two nights ago, and this time their departure was amicable rather than abrupt. In a strange way it feels like we’re partners now, not enemies. They’re messengers and guides who help me face things I wouldn’t otherwise face. In their own way, albeit brutal, they help me heal and reveal my strength. With their darkness, they reveal the tremendous light in my life, and help me treasure the people and experiences that make my life so precious and rich.

This morning, as I wait for the sun to come up and listen to Bear pottering in the kitchen making cuppas, I feel thankful that this time the nightmares didn’t cripple me. They’re awful, yes, but they don’t last. They don’t stay forever. And in their wake they leave deeper healing, greater strength, and much more courage.

xo

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Tania| My Kitchen Stories - Wow. Thank goodness they have gone. the mind is an incredible thing. Krista those photos are beautiful

Kim | a little lunch - Hello! My friend, Maureen (Orgasmic Chef) recommended your blog and I was immediately captivated by your thoughts, calm philosophical outlook, and photos. Yes ma’am!

Nightmares have been part o’my life after some unexpected departures in our family (Dad and my only Sis died w/in a year of each other two years ago; my only brother died from cancer a decade ago); Mom’s decline into Parkinson’s and dementia, which meant my being away from my home (hubby/life) as a result to clean/sell her house after I moved her to Assisted Living — following the discovery of her undetected penchant for “hoarding” — not to mention me having a stroke a month before the house my hubby & I rented (for 7 years) burned to the ground. We lost everything, but it is what it is.

Waking up with clenched teeth and fists is nothing new to me — your post was a wonderful reminder to BREATHE through it and live LIFE! Never mind the bad dreams. Make it your own.

Emma Raphael - I think it’s fabulous that you can look on the nightmares almost as partners now, that’s such a positive thing. Big hugs. x

Anna @ shenANNAgans - My scary dreams have returned this past month, I never considered it my souls way of letting me know I need to stop, recoup, restore. Thank you for the reminder friend. Sending you love, strength and bad dream catching vibes. xo

Maureen | Orgasmic Chef - Every year, you get better able to handle the past. I really like how you asked if there was a memory you have suppressed or a lesson to be learned. I need to do that more often. More often than almost never. Hugs.

budget jan - I can imagine how you feel when the nightmares leave. Whenever I’m really sick and wake up the next day feeling OK it is the best feeling ever. Just to be well is enough.

mlleparadis - Walking in the light. Thanks for being brave and honest and showing us how it’s done! xoxo

Cathy - A very touching post Krista. You are so very brave. xx

Jackie Smith - Such beautiful photos to illustrate how wonderful morning sunlight – after a session of nightmares – can be.

Lorraine - Love you, love your post, you are an amazingly strong and brace woman and I am so very proud of you 😘❤️

Lyndsy - This sounds like wonderful progress!

Sallie montgomery - You are one of the bravest people I know. You are an inspiration and a beautiful person inside and out.

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