I have had frequent dreams of tsunamis/tidal waves for the past couple of years. They make their way in my dreams every few months. During these months tsunamis appear in my dreams anywhere from a couple of times a month to multiple times in a week. I’ve grown rather immune to these heart-racing dreams. Little have I thought deeply of what they mean. I thought to myself that maybe it has to do with me actually experiencing a tsunami sometime in the future. Costal cities are some of my favorite places to visit. I love looking out onto the endless sea imagining that there’s someone on the other side of that big body of water that is doing the same. I love feeling the misty breeze on my face and wiggling the sand between my toes. Maybe these dreams of tsunamis are a warning sign for me to stay away from the sea because of me potentially getting caught in a tsunami… I thought another possibility for these dreams had something to do with my brother being in Japan in 2011 when a major tsunami struck during his exchange year. Being on the northern most island, he was not affected. And I can recall having tsunami dreams before 2011 so I ruled that option out. I continued to ask myself about these dreams each morning when I awoke from them, but these periods of questioning were always brief. I grew tired of pondering their meaning and continued to accept them as they came.
Over the past couple of months, and especially these last few weeks, the frequency of my tsunami dreams has been like never before. There have been times when a tsunami visited my dreams up to five days in a given week. They don’t scare me, these dreams of tsunami, but they follow me everywhere in my sleep. I don’t have to be near any body of water in my dreams to look up and find a mounds of water rushing towards me. I’ve had dreams of staying at fancy hotels and sitting on a balcony with friends only to look out onto the city skyline and see a massive wave towering the buildings and hear the water forcing it’s way towards us crushing everything in it’s path. I’ve had dreams of being at my grandparents house in a small country town walking down the block and again see gigantic waves rolling through the surrounding corn fields uprooting everything in their course and have the wave fold over right in front of me. I’ve had dreams of trekking through a jungle and then a tsunami comes out of no where. I’ve even had dreams of tsunamis finding me as I’m looking out a nearby window at work.
The process of recognizing an approaching tsunami in my dream is always the same. It’s starts with the the sound of moving water water. It’s the faintest of sounds, suspicious enough to make me stop whatever I’m doing and slowly take in my surroundings waiting to see if I actually heard something. As seconds pass by I recognize the sound of water and confirm that it’s presence is near. I then begin to fell the ground rumble below me feet. I continue to look around to find where it’s coming from, but I can’t see anything yet. The sound of the waves not only become louder but the water sounds like it’s eagerly picking up speed. I think to myself, where is this thing coming from? When will it get here? The powerful sound of loud rushing water tempts me to enter a state of panic, but I don’t.
I don’t move. I don’t contemplate if I should flee or stay and what the consequences of either are. I remain firmly planted and can feel my heart begin to beat louder and faster almost mimicking the huge waves that I now see coming. They come closer and closer and my heart feels like it’s working too hard to remain calm. My mind is busy processing the notion that a tsunami is coming and all I can think to do is remain still as a statue with a solid footing and stare at the viscous water that is now in front of me. It’s close enough that I can feel a misty breeze and the ground shake chaotically under my feet. And then I wake up, heart still racing.
When it got to the point that I was having multiple tsunami dreams in a given week, I needed to know what was going on. This is not normal. I think it was after the 5th consecutive night of tsunami dreams when I reached the end of my tolerance for them to happen so often. Immediately after I woke up, I ran a google search about the meaning of tsunami dreams while still laying in bed. What I read about tsunami dreams made a lot of sense. And now I understand why I have them so often. Here are some key points from what I’ve read.
“If we look at water in our dreams as a symbol of our emotions and feelings, part of our inner world, then tidal waves can be like our emotions welling up and getting a little out of control.” … “Tidal waves often appear in our dreams when we are under a lot of pressure or when significant change is occurring. They may be an indication that we feel a little overwhelmed, that maybe we fear we won’t be able to cope or adjust with what we see in our future.”…”It is worth recognizing that when we have these tidal wave dreams there is often an area in our life that we are not looking at clearly, or that we are avoiding. Tidal wave and tsunami dreams remind us that if we don’t confront and deal with thing that are our of balance in our life, then they will confront us first! there are fewer clearer signs of confrontation than standing right before a towering body of surging water!” … “Like most dreams, dreams of tidal waves often work on many levels. Whether external pressures are dominant in our life or not, a tidal wave dream will often indicate a period of internal change. Remember that the sea is often a symbol for our own subconscious, so a giant wave in the sea can be like our subconscious rising up, making sure its power is felt through-out our waking and conscious life.”
This makes perfect sense! My life is constantly changing. Each year is significantly different than the previous. I’m always thinking what’s next and wanting to do a million things. And throughout the course of a year I apply for numerous programs (most of which have nothing to do with one another) with the curiosity to see what life would be like if I got to create a new road for myself. I’ve been anxiously waiting to hear about my NCCC application. If I got accepted, it’d mean I’d be moving, again. I’d be uprooting myself once more and moving to an new place to explore. Denver or Sacramento, that’s where I’d be. That could be my new home. Exciting right? But why am I not excited? Why am I not super pumped to be on the road again doing direct community service? This is what I’ve been waiting for. This is what I want. Right?
Denver it is. I’m moving to Denver. I received an offer for the NCCC Denver campus, and I accepted. This means I’ll be getting to explore places in the States I’ve never been before. Get to lead a team of young motivated individuals to make a difference in community across our region doing direct service projects. I’ll get to live out of a backpack for a year (something I actually enjoy). I’ll get to make some money while getting the rest of my student loans paid off! What a great deal! I’ve been wanting this opportunity since I first found out about it almost 10 months ago. But it’s not all sunshine and rainbows. I don’t think my frequent tsunami dreams were about the excitement of finally getting something that I wanted, but more so, recognizing the great things and people I’ll leave behind. I’ve become so comfortable living at home this past year. I was mentally preparing for another year with my current AmeriCorps program when I initially didn’t hear anything from NCCC. I was going to stay. Things were going to be the same, and I had grown quite fond of the way things are. I have a solid support system. I don’t anticipate that support system going away when I move, but it won’t be the same.
I’m usually never homesick when I travel internationally. It’s quite easy to meet great travel friends and become a type of travel family. These people who were once strangers become my closest companions and new support system. That’s not to say that I don’t miss my family or my home, because I do, but not to the point that it brings me down. I know that my support system (family and friends) are always very excited to hear about my travels so I try to live life up to it’s fullest potential. But this time it’s different. I’m not going far far away. I’m just going far away. I think it’s weird to be living in another part of the US away from my family. It feels like limbo. A place of in-between. It’s going to be a first for me.
Diagnosing My Leading Cause of Recent Tsunami Dreams. While I have no doubt that the idea of leaving my family was a contributor to my tsunami dreams, I don’t consider them the cause. I think my biggest cause was knowing that I would end my relationship with my current partner in order to once again hit the road. We had been together for a year with multiple ‘false alarms’ of me hitting the road, but this time it was really going to happen. We both knew that some day I would leave, that I wouldn’t pass on the opportunity for a new adventures to shape my personal growth and development. Now that time is here, and it suddenly makes things that I was once so excited for not so exciting. There was never really a clear discussion of what would happen when I leave, but it was always clear that I would. And that even after that year was done, there would most certainly be another opportunity that I would want to chase after shortly after. My partner probably thought I was/am the most mental person ever always wanting to do one thing after another. Where would he fit? How does one adapt to being with someone who is so sporadic with no signs of slowing down? It’s hard to find an answer. For me it’s hard to find a compromise, so we decided not to. This was going to be our bittersweet ending.