Documenting my Dreams
The League of Extraordinary Women
The benefits of maintaining a dream journal and how it provides wise answers, surprises, joy, and creativity.
Where do we find stories of women-like-us?
Words by Divya Bhagat
Apr 12, 2023
Words by Divya Bhagat
Apr 12, 2023
Documenting dreams might seem like a futile activity, but did you know that it has inspired the smartest and brightest ideas in the world? Larry Page created the search engine, Google, which is literally a dream come true. The idea to create Google came to him in a dream. Struck with this idea in the middle of the night, he immediately wrote it down when he awoke, which further became one of mankind's most revolutionary ideas. Like he says,"When a really great dream shows up, grab it".Not just Google, but Mendeleev's Periodic Table, The Beatles' "Yesterday", and Stephanie's Twilight have been born out of dreams.
What is a dream though? Why do we dream?How do some of us remember our dreams, and perhaps also create iconic works like the Periodic Table and Google out of them? A dream is a simple projection of our own unanswered questions, troubling thoughts, and deep-seated insecurities.While struggling to correctly orient the elements before sleep, Mendeleev recalled seeing them in a dream, a table where all elements fell into place as required. Well, "sleeping on it" supposedly works.
Dreams are not magic or any kind of universal intervention. It might be hard to believe, but dreams are constructed entirely from our memories, based on recent activities, conversations and interactions we have throughout the day.
So the subjects or people that we see or the feelings that we sense are a projection of our own thoughts, feelings and perceptions. While dreams have been a very significant part of my sleeping life, my Fitbit claims I'm a heavy REM sleeper. I can agree because I dream a lot, and I also remember them. "How do you remember your dreams?" has funnily been the most asked question throughout my life. Waking up with dreams to share on innumerable mornings has been a crisp and vivid memory of my childhood. Dreaming of joyfully running around holding the giant ball of earth in space or dodging rows of cow dung on the roads or indulging in never-ending ice cream; it all feels like l've had a lifetime subscription to a movie service that comes straight out of my brain - some being beautiful and sensible while most being irrational and broken.
It is interesting how our very own brain is able to cultivate these interesting and engaging visuals that have so much to tell and have the potential to transform nighttime mundanity into entertainment and mystery.
While I enjoyed my dreams, I also saw them trickling into my real life - alleviating my anxieties, enriching my personal insights and convictions and colouring my imagination.
Some of my bizarre dreams that made it to my diary:
UFO Work Commute
Seismic Volcano House
A Cheetos River
My dreams helped me with two things:
1. Deciphering my deepest emotions
Writing down my dreams, sometimes sketching them out, provided me with an easy gateway to my inner feelings. When you're so engrossed in the external world and grappling with its unending demands, dream journaling helped me immerse myself into my inner being. Sometimes, it can often be helpful to pinpoint the cause of your feelings, particularly when we would otherwise dismiss them.
2. Propelling my creative imagination and thoughts
If I were given a task to build characters for a story, most of them would be inspired by my dreams. The most interesting dreams are the ones that make no logic whatsoever, but inspire you to think wild and free. They liberate you from the caged thinking that our school curriculums and societal bearings impose on us. A Cheetos river? Whoa, that could be a great installation at Imagica!
5 best ways that could work for you to document your dreams:
1. Sleep with the intention to remember your dreams. You could also mull over certain thoughts and questions you want to dream about before sleeping.
2. Write down your dreams as soon as you wake up. The sliver of time right before you regain complete consciousness is the golden time to remember your dreams.
3. Stick to one format or play with multiple. Write them down in paragraphs or write only a specific portion of your dream. Sometimes it becomes difficult to capture dreams in a linear writing format and do them justice. You can even sketch your dreams and give them a short title. Colour them to bring them to life.
4. To look for certain answers, you can ask yourself questions like "Why did I see XYZ in my dream?" Though there are dozens of interpretations available on the internet, the right one is the one that comes from within.
5. Treat it like a fun activity.
Divya is a brand strategist at TOD. She is a curious cat and enjoys reading all things consumer and culture. She thinks in visuals and loves doodling some of her thoughts in free time. Other than that, you’ll often find her floating in the ocean, devouring on mangoes and seeking adventures.
Divya is a brand strategist at TOD. She is a curious cat and enjoys reading all things consumer and culture. Other than that, you’ll often find her floating in the ocean, devouring on mangoes and seeking adventures.
A note about the Journal
For us at Thought Over Design ‘Creativity’ isn’t an end product. It’s an ongoing journey of inspiration that comes from fresh observations of the world, headlong dives into curious obsessions, explorations of art and culture, listening to diverse voices, and a million more places we’re still discovering.
The Journal is an experiment in sharing these musings with the world. It’s a mixed bag of scribbles from our research, inspiration sessions, lateral think pieces, work from designers we admire, pop-culture takes and often our own agenda-free creative pursuits.
The stories and ideas we share here are an attempt to not just gather our own thoughts but also leave the world a little more inspired than we found it.