The Power

Prompt: Disturbing

woman flying

There were a couple of illuminating aspects of an exhausting dream I had last night. (No need to read on— other people’s dreams can be paralyzingly boring— but if you have any interest in dream significance or interpretation, it might be tolerable.)

I was lost in my dream New York City, which has elements of the actual city, but like many of my dream cities is more a travel brochure version (with obscure references thrown in for good measure). Tall buildings, crowds, millions of storefronts, subways, and trains, and a main street upon which I walk in search of…

This time I was in search of the building where my sister lives, a vintage mid-rise apartment block in a neighbourhood of vintage mid-rise apartment blocks. I knew where it was, but somehow was very lost, walking miles and miles out of my way, for hours and hours, through strange neighbourhoods (like “Jamaicatown”) and the docks, sometimes on busy, crowded sidewalks, sometimes in menacingly empty industrial areas. On and on, the frustration and anxiety growing unbearably.

At one point I bought and wore a green dinosaur suit and danced along the street uncaring— Revelation number one: Sometimes we are pushed to a point past caring, where alarming unorthodox behaviour is a release, and feels good. I will look at the square pegs, the sometimes scarily weird people, differently from now on.

At another point, after a gruelling attempt to reach my destination by taking a route off the main street, I found myself further away from my sister’s flat than I could ever imagine; across an inlet, on much higher ground, with the city seemingly inaccessible now, after the interminable unsuccessful efforts to navigate it. So I said to myself, “I’ll just have to fly” and started to lift myself off the ground.

Then, as a crossed the inlet high above the water, I said to myself with exasperation, “Why didn’t I do this earlier?”

Why indeed? Flying in dreams can be difficult; often concentration is needed to keep me aloft, but it is immensely liberating, especially when, as in this dream, I will it— a dream intervention.

Revelation number two: Sometimes we have to consciously free ourselves from the things that hold us back. We forget our own power, that we have resources that can seem magical when they actually lift us out the quicksand of confusion or indecision.

To recap: We are all vulnerable sometimes, and sometimes pushed to a place beyond our control or understanding, causing us to behave uncharacteristically, impulsively, loopily, and we should maybe learn to sympathize and forgive ourselves and others when this occurs. Oppressive feelings, whether of depression, loss, confusion, doubt, or fear, drag us down, but we need to remember that we have the power within us to help lift us up and out and away, where we can feel free and find some perspective.

…Perhaps I should say “I” instead of “we”— but I found the dream to have such valuable messages that I wanted to share it. My alarm awakened me from this dream and I truly was emotionally exhausted (in the dream I was also physically spent and very hungry). Don’t you think one of the most delicious things in life is to wake from a disturbing dream and find it was all an unpleasant brain fantasy?

Nona [Repost]

Prompt: NASA 

Catesby-Redheaded-Woodpecker

Well, it is confirmed. We overshot Mars. Someone miscalculated. Opposition was off and now we have a new destination. Oops.

First medical officer Rosa was crying about it. I felt little sympathy for her, because her tears demonstrated that all her chatter about Jonathan Livingston Seagull and her place in the universe and her oneness with the being that some call God, etc. was bullshit.

Since he was the first navigator, John had no time to ponder and went to work right away with course changes and trajectories. He didn’t like to ponder much, at the best of times.

First engineer Will was close to tears, because he probably knew better than anyone if this old bucket could make it to Beta Omega. Will had legendary eyelashes. As second engineer I had a good idea whether or not the craft could withstand the extra distance, too. Slim chance, I believed, but slim was better than none. I saw the cup half full, in other words, while Will saw it half empty.

As first communications officer, I had the charming task of telling the other four, whom I hadn’t seen in six weeks. Two of them, Chris and Haven, were scheduled to be rotated back to us, while Sara and Ed were going to welcome Rosa and Will. We did this rotation, ostensibly, to prevent the contempt of familiarity.

I went through the tunnel and rang the doorbell. We observed little courtesies like that on this journey. Chris opened the hatch, then reflexively checked his watch. “Hi,” I said. “Rotation is not until another three days.”

“Too bad,” said Chris. “I’m about to murder Ed.”

“I’m about to murder Rosa,” I told him.

Chris got everyone together in the dining room, and I explained the change in plans, relying on technical terms and euphemisms to mask the nuclear-strength emotional bombshell. I was met with a stunned silence. Ed spoke first.

“Beta Omega?” he said. “That’s B-O, not very auspicious.”

“Shut up, Ed,” said Chris. “What is the estimated time frame on this?”

“Two years til landing,” I said.

“Fuck,” said Sara.

“No return,” Haven, mistress of the obvious, said.

Ed, supply and distribution officer, told us fuel, food, water, and oxygen would get us there. We already knew that. We thought about it constantly and checked on it compulsively, no matter what the destination.

Sara, first science officer, looking up from her laptop, told us that Beta Omega was a friendly, and the only one. It would be possible. Just. Good old Sara. Glass half full.

Haven said, “I would like to convene a meeting at 1900 hours to discuss how to handle this.” Haven liked porn. I knew this because I knew what everyone watched, and what everyone read, and what everyone wrote.

“What’s for dinner?” I asked.

“Spaghetti,” said Chris. “My Nona’s recipe.”

We all thought a moment about Nona, and how Chris would never set eyes on her again, nor his father or sisters. Nor Alice, his niece, or Chief, his chocolate lab.

We thought a moment about our families. I thought about the woodpecker, the stupid one that woke me early on weekends by hammering on the metal chimney spout.

Some of us thought about sex. I glanced at Chris. My choice for daddy of the millennia, for the first born on the first world, the inauspiciously named B-O. He had a soft spot for Sara. I might have to do something about that.


  • Original Prompt: Longing for Gravity, February 27, 2016
    You are on a mission to Mars. Because of the length of of the journey, you will never be able to return to Earth. What about our blue planet will you miss the most?

That Direction is Up

Prompt: Sunny


Good day, Sunshine,

Sunshine is always associated with happy times, isn’t it?

Walking on Sunshine

Sunshine on My Shoulders

You Are the Sunshine of My Life

Let the Sun Shine

You are My Sunshine
My only sunshine
You make me happy
When skies are grey
You’ll never know dear
How much I love you
Please don’t take my sunshine away

Though there was this.

Ah, but summer is here, and on the theme of sunny:

cartoon sun explodes


cartoon tall building


 

cartoon sun direction


Hope your week is fine and sunny!

~~Fluffy

Agony Ant: How to Mend a Broken Heart

Prompt: Heal

fiona apple album

Dear Agony Ant,

How can you mend
A broken heart?
How can you stop the rain from falling down?
How can you stop the sun from shining?
What makes the world go round?
How can you mend this broken man?
How can a loser ever win?
Please help me mend my broken heart and let me live again.

Brokenly,
Bee Gees fan


Dear Bee Gees fan,

Time heals a broken heart. Rain, like sunshine and broken hearts, is inevitable. Some kind of physics makes the world go round. Losers keep trying, that’s how they win. But let me help you.

First, mourn a bit about your lost love. Wallow if it makes you feel better. Cry, if you don’t get miserable headaches as I do when I cry. Be sad with songs like this one:

If roses are meant to be red
And violets to be blue,
Why isn’t my heart meant for you?

Go ahead, listen and weep here.

Second, you have to remember that you are loveable. You might feel, right at this moment, unloveable. But you have been loved, are loved, and are loveable. Don’t ever forget that.

If you do forget that, go pet your dog. There is no love like the love your dog has for you. If you don’t have a dog, why don’t you?

Third is, yes, time. If you awaken in the morning with an ache that seems to consume your physical body, immediately tell yourself: This pain will not last. I will feel better.

Give yourself time. Be patient. You will feel better.

If you don’t have a song
To sing you’re okay
You know how to get along
Humming
Hmmm

Finally, be courageous again. Go out into the world and love and be with your friends and family. Because you are loveable and the world needs you as much as you need the world.

Peace and love,
agony ant

How to Find Water When You are Lost

Prompt: Water

river water painting

Hello, campers, hikers, adventurers, or hapless travellers whose cars break down in the middle of nowhere…

Here’s hoping you have notified friends, family or authorities of your plans for communing with nature so that you won’t have to wait weeks to be found.

We each require about two litres or quarts of water per day, and if you are lost and stressed you will probably need more, even in cold conditions, so sourcing water is a priority.

Here are some basic tips for finding water in the woods. Stay calm and alert, and good luck!

  • Water flows downhill. Obviously. So low-lying areas are your best bet for finding rivers and streams.
  • Animals know where the water is. Look for wildlife and animal tracks. Bird flight paths early in the morning can direct you to a water source.
  • Swarming insects, bless them, can indicate that water is close by.
  • Lush green vegetation is a another sign that water is near.
  • Shhh. Woods can be quiet. Take a moment in your search to listen for rivers, because the sound will travel.
  • Rainwater: use any and all containers to collect rainwater. A poncho or plastic sheeting strung up by corners can be a syphon for the water to flow into another container, or act as a water bag.
  • Fruits and other vegetation can provide sources of water. Think coconuts or cacti; or collect water overnight from wide, sturdy leaves.
  • Snow can be melted to provide water— frozen water can actually cause dehydration so take the time to melt it.
  • If you find a muddy area, you can dig a hole about a foot deep and wide and wait for it to fill with water. You’ll need some cloth to filter the water, but it should do in a pinch.

Purify! Almost all the water you source in the wild will need to be purified. Boil the water for 10 minutes, use water purification tablets, or be prepared with something called the Lifestraw, which is an iodine-free, big fat straw that can safely filter about 700 litres of water, with sales helping to provide safe drinking water globally.

Lifestraw


  • Note: The author is not affiliated with Lifestraw; just thought it was a cool idea.
  • Top image by Chris Sampson.