Saturday, May 30, 2015

Where My Wild Things Are

My imagination has always run wild. Still does. I've unleashed it again. There was time - a brief time - when I attempted to straight jacket it, but I finally figured out I must be true to myself.

And my true self is a bit of a mystic; a person who finds enchantment and divinity everywhere, in everything.

Every now and then I allow myself to journey back in time; back to a more innocent, relatively uncomplicated time in my life; back to when the world was as I found it, and not as authority figures told me it is or should be.

An important book from my childhood (and there were many, I might add, as I've always been an avid reader) was Maurice Sendak's Where The Wild Things Are. That award winning children's book came to my attention not long after it was written and found acclaim.

The subject of the book, a little boy named Max, was naughty and sent to bed without supper, where, according to book, "a forest grew and grew," until it resembled in my child's mind the scenery from the Tarzan movies my big brother and I loved. He made an ocean voyage, arriving at an island "where the wild things are" and promptly was crowned king.

As with most kids, attention spans are short and Max soon grew tired and wanted to travel back to his home. Which he did, arriving to find his supper waiting for him. It was still warm. Oh, and his room looked again like his room.

What a great story!

But it fueled my imagination. I took many mystic voyages in the privacy and security of my bedroom growing up.

I no longer do that ... exactly. What I do find happening more and more is that I dream of the old house where I was a child. These dreams or "voyages" are so realistic and detailed. I dream things I had long forgotten - at least in my active mind.

The monsters in Max's imaginative journey were a bit different from the monsters that haunted my childhood bedroom.

One, in particular, came out routinely after dark - any time a loud car or piercing siren went by the busy street a half block away. I would lie still, not moving a muscle and trying not to breath. Once it quieted down again the monster, a little black creature with a head shaped on the diagonal, just like Gumby's, would return to his home in the boxes of stuff my mother stored under my bed.

Obviously I was never made king of my beasts. I wasn't quite as rowdy and defiant as Max.

Later, my third grade teacher introduced me to Sendak's wonderful book. It meshed with my psyche right away. I got my mom to buy me my own copy. I read it often in my ninth and tenth years. Then slowly I forgot about it ... for a while. I was busy falling in love with other books and other stories.

In all these years I've never gone back to reread it, never saw any of the animated shorts or the movie based on it. But I never forget the experience of falling in love with it, either. I never forgot how I thought of myself as a toned-down version of Max.

I'm a dreamer, too. I believe there are monsters in life that need to be dealt with. I hid from them as a young child. Now I try to face my monsters head-on. Scary stuff, that.

I learn more about myself in my dreams. I have to work my way through the labyrinth of symbols, and a keep a very loose and open mind about it. Lots of blanks remain to be filled in. Perhaps there will always be those nagging blanks, but through careful, thoughtful analysis, I have filled in many of them.

How much my dreams spill over into reality is anybody's guess. But I think that is true for most of us, if we allow ourselves to look there. It takes a lot of work. I believe dream journals are good to keep, although my memory for dreams is such that the important things stick like glue.

My lady friend often marvels at how intricate and detailed my dreams are. She says she rarely dreams, or at least rarely recalls them. But I think the dream world is a place we have to truly desire to visit in order to get real results. However,only when I allow my filter to shut off am I able to experience the fullness of what is inside my true self.

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