At four o’clock this morning I was meant to be alone, launching limbs wherever I might on my personal 60-inch spread of clean sheets, without encountering any obstacles in my pursuit: I wanted just eight (okay…six) consecutive hours of restful slumber. Instead I was awakened after only four, when, turning over to find my space restricted by several feet (and my body robbed of most of the blanket), I opened my eyes and realized I had company. It turns out I was wrong, four o’clock is not a time you are supposed to be asleep. It is the time when you get together to talk about what dreams you’ve had and how to make them go away.

It started some months ago when the dreamcatcher broke. Now all the worst nightmares have access to Katie’s bedroom window and last night’s dream featured ET the Extraterrestrial. I know: Spooky, right? But she is only ten, she’s never actually seen the movie, and this dream version of ET apparently grabbed her face. I don’t know about you, but that would make me somewhat uncomfortable.

The worst part about bad dreams is that once you wake up, they’re still there, hovering in some part of your brain that taunts you with a ghostly memory. If you would like to get back to sleep anytime soon you have to figure out how to get those nasty images to go away. Since I have some experience with finding solutions for negativity, I quickly made the connection between this problem and the search for useful positive affirmations.

Katie herself had the issue partly figured out: “When I think, ‘Don’t think about it, don’t think about it’ it doesn’t work!” she exclaimed in frustration. She’s right, of course, and when I told her it’s because she’s repeating “…think about it, …think about it,” she giggled, knowing it’s true.

So we set about coming up with a good affirmation to help her get rid of ET. “You need words that accentuate the positive, like ‘I only think good thoughts’ or ‘Good things make me feel good’ or something like that,” I told her.

“What about, ‘I feel better when I think good thoughts’ ?” she suggested, then added, rightfully, “…though, that’s kind of long….”

I tried it out. “I feel better when I think good thoughts, I feel better when I think good thoughts…. It sounds a bit like, ‘Follow the Yellow Brick Road, Follow the Yellow Brick Road’!” and we giggled some more.

In the end, we decided that reciting “Follow the Yellow Brick Road” will clear your head of negative thoughts just as well as anything else: it keeps your brain busy and keeps positive images flowing.

We dozed off then and slept right through the alarm. So, I was late this morning, but I was okay, because I hummed “Follow the Yellow Brick Road” all the way to work.


8 thoughts on “Lions and Tigers and Bears! Oh My!

  1. Great blog Marni. Gotta love the power of positive affirmations and great movie classics too.
    BTW, ET freaked me out 😉

    1. Thanks, Ross! We finally watched the movie and Katie was able to enjoy it. She also – independently – got out a bunch of craft materials and made her own dreamcatcher, complete with feathers. I should take a picture of it to put up here.

  2. As a child I had rip roaring dreams that carried over while awake sometimes, and often were pretty terrifying. I realized that there was a point after which i could not stop them or escape and would likely be tortured. But what I could do while remaining a prisoner in the nightmare was to transform myself into something or someone like Superman that could not be hurt, being the man of “steel”. Dinosaurs, monsters, ghosts with sharp things to poke me, beat me, were unable to make a dent and they did try in all the ways that used to frighten me. Eventually those dreams stopped, since the power of fear was gone. I also learned to take advantage of the attributes that my transformed dream self had, flight most of all. The idea is that a child is sometimes intimidated by their own imagination, but it can be used in a fanciful way that alters the often repeated patterns of bad dreams.

    1. Katie asked me about changing her dream in the middle – I guess I’d suggested that to her once – she said she thought she’d tried, but it didn’t work, nor did trying to wake herself up. I’ll tell her about your ideas and see if next time she can fly away! Thanks for sharing!!

  3. Dreams are only a Representation of subconscious thoughts and the easiest way to lighten them and the many factors that impact them, quite honestly, try a different laundry detergent, as silly as it sounds a different sent before sleeping can entirely alter the dreams outcome, and once inside that world , it is possible to alter them, as long as negative thoughts can be entirely suppressed, I suffered from depression as a child, and taught myself to meditate along the way, if you can focus on one thing, and stay focused on one thing, it will make an appearance . =] Wonderful Blog Post Sarah’s Mom, Keep it up

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