I had a friend who started seeing a therapist. The friend told me that one of the first things that the therapist asked my friend to do is to start writing down all the dreams he had the night before.
I understand that this is something that many therapists ask their patients to do. While I am not against this particular request, I do find it to be a request that is somewhat dishonest. The therapist is not asking the patient to write down dreams. The therapist is asking the patient to write down the nightmares.
Dreams are the stories in your head that you do not want to wake up from. If a therapist would ask me to only write down my dreams, I would respond that the dreams are not the problem. It is the waking up part from those dreams that is creating an issue. "That is why I am here to see you. It is about helping me when I am actually awake!"
The other problem I have with writing down all your nightmares is that there isn't anyone to tell you to write down all your daydreams. In fact, it is usually the exact opposite. Try spending a good part of your day dreaming and someone will tell you to stop your daydreaming. "Daydreaming" apparently is seen as a waste of time.
The daydream is in fact a very healthy expression of a CrankaTsuris. Imagine that you are sitting in a class listening to a lecture on how to watch paint dry. I guarantee that if you start to daydream during that lecture, it will not be about how to watch paint stay wet. The daydream will tap into your desires, your hopes, and most importantly, your creativity. The person who stayed alert, and now understands all the facets of how to watch paint dry, will likely be more prone to a greater CrankaTsuris than the person who tapped into their creative juices during a daydream. Albert Einstein may have been a poor student, but he also had the reputation of being a great daydreamer.
We learned about the power and value of daydreaming as children through the story of the Three Little Pigs. This is not the story that you may have heard as a child, but it is the story that should be told.
Once upon a time, there were three little pigs. Their names were Inky, Pinky, and Stinky. They were very excited because they were about to leave home and go to University. In their first year, they all stayed in the student dormitories that were made out of straw. However, as they approached their second year, they had to decide whether to move off campus into their own homes. Many pigs decided to move off campus because they heard of a big bad wolf who was heading to town, and could be a danger to the pigs. Some pigs said that the dormitories made out of straw may not be too safe if a wolf came to town, and they needed to live in a home that was a bit safer. Other pigs scoffed at the idea because the word was that the big bad wolf only preyed on old grandmother types, and would not be interested in a porky pig.
All the pig students went to the final lecture of the year. It was an important lecture for all the pigs. The title of the lecture was "Pigs get fat. Hogs get slaughtered."
Inky was very impressed with the lecture. Inky said to himself that he was a pig, and not a hog. Therefore, he did not have to worry about any silly big bad wolf.
Inky decided to stay in the straw dorm, and one night, the Big Bad Wolf came knocking on the door. When the Big Bad Wolf demanded to let him in, Inky replied that he would not. He would not open the door by the hair of his chinny chin chin. The Big Bad Wolf said that is okay. "Do not use your chinny chin chin. Open the door with one of your hands. Of course, I could, if you want, just blow the whole house down."
Inky thought to himself that this wolf is rather smart, and besides, why should I worry? I am a pig, and not a hog. The hogs are live in the other side of town. The Big Bad Wolf probably ate a few of those hogs and is not very hungry anyway. And, I certainly do not want the Big Bad Wolf to blow the house down!
Inky opened the door, and was immediately devoured by the Big Bad Wolf.
Pinky loved his brother Inky, and was very traumatized by what happened. He started to have bad nightmares, and because of these nightmares, he went to see a therapist. The therapist asked Pinky about these nightmares. Pinky told him the following:
"I have this dream that, because of what happened to Inky, I built a house made up of sticks. The sticks were thin, but they were strong. The Big Bad Wolf comes, and threatens to blow my house down, and just at that moment, I wake up in a cold pig sweat."
The therapist told Pinky:
"When you have this dream, write it down immediately. If you have this dream three times, this is a sign that this is a dream that is telling you what to do. You must then go out and find the best sticks, and build a house made out of those sticks. When the Big Bad Wolf comes, just let him try to blow the house down. Besides, the word out there is that he is a chain smoker, and his breath is not all that it is cracked up to be."
Pinky, in fact, had the same dream three times, and following the therapist's instructions, built the finest house made out of sticks in town. When he was finally done building his new home, the Big Bad Wolf paid a visit. When the Big Bad Wolf threatened to blow Pinky's house down, Pinky just laughed.
The therapist was right. The Big Bad Wolf could not blow the house down. However, he saw a loose stick in the bottom of one of the walls. The Big Bad Wolf pulled out the stick, and the house of sticks collapsed on top of Pinky. The Big Bad Wolf came in, and quickly devoured poor Pinky.
The next day, despite being very sad about Inky and Pinky, Stinky went to class. The title of the lecture was "Putting Lipstick on a Pig."
It seemed like the lecture went forever. Stinky thought to himself how silly it was to put lipstick on a pig. Stinky loved to spend the day playing in the mud, and had no interest in wearing any lipstick. Yuck.
Stinky began to daydream about his favorite activity, playing in the mud, and then realized that the mud was the perfect ingredient to use when making bricks. It just hit Stinky that he can make a house made out of bricks, and the Big Bad Wolf would not be able to get into his brick fortress.
Stinky went home, and built his house of bricks. Sure enough, the Big Bad Wolf came by, and saw the brick house. He did not even bother to knock, but quickly climbed up the chimney. Once he climbed down the chimney, he smelled the stink of Stinky, and tried to climb back up. But, the stink was too much for the Big Bad Wolf. He passed out, and fell right into a big pot of stew boiling in the fireplace below.
Everybody in town were very impressed with Stinky's house of bricks. Soon, everyone in town made their own house of bricks. After Stinky lived a long life, the town honored Stinky renaming the town "StinkyTown".
George Carlin, in one of his routines, once said that children should spend at least three hours a day "daydreaming." He wasn't that far off. Perhaps, instead of writing down out nightmares, we should begin to write our daydreams. While we may not get a town named after us, we certainly will experience much less CrankaTsuris.