The famed Italian director Federico Fellini was a dreamer his entire life. However it wasn’t until he found the teachings of Carl Jung that he proudly and completely embraced the importance of dreams as harbingers of the imagination and as revelatory messages from the depths of the human soul. It is said that he often asked colleagues who were gathering in the morning for a day’s work, “Did you dream last night?’
The Power of Day Dreaming
My own earliest memories came because of a health affliction, asthma. The convenient inhalers of today were not available when I was a child. I had to ingest tablespoons of cherry flavored medicine (the smell of anything cherry flavored still makes me gag) and be under a blanket with steam. In this strange, dream-like state, with vaporized water pouring over me, I imagined different worlds in the wisps and clouds; queens and kings, fairy castles, knight and their ladies, trolls and elves inhabited each cloud and then floated away.
Three of my older brothers played youth sports. I was dragged to their games and practices because I was too young to stay at home alone. We had to get to the ballpark early as there was only one shade tree and my mother wanted to grab it before the O’Connor family. I took stacks of books and a large supply of sugar daddies, a candy on a stick that didn’t melt in the relentless sun. I would recline on a tattered beach towel and devour Laura Ingalls Wilder. I was no longer a skinny little asthmatic but a pioneer girl roaming the prairie. The world around me fell away; the weakness of my lungs, the heat of the mid-summer day, the nasal screeches of Little League coaches. I was strong, fearless, undaunted.
Sadly, my father and I were never close. We seemed to have nothing in common. He was a laborer who spent his days on construction sites hanging drywall. I was the youngest of six children who listened to musicals and begged for piano lessons, something he for which he saw no practical need. But we did have one shared trait. Insomnia.
He would read late into the night when he couldn’t sleep. I would do the same, trotting out to the living room with a book, switching on the lamp and settling in. We didn’t talk much.
But one night, out of the blue, he said, “I sometimes imagine myself as Merriweather Lewis, exploring the country, adventuring in to the unknown, dreaming of wonders ahead.” He was reading the Journals of Lewis and Clark at the time. I nodded approvingly. “I imagine myself as Laura Ingalls Wilder rising on a wagon across the prairie with her father, mother, sister Mary and a bindle boxer dog.” We sat quietly, a moment of rare connection, letting our imaginations drift.
Did you dream last night?
Kate Fuglei is an actress and singer who divides her time between Studio City and Brooklyn. She has appeared in over forty episodes of television, including most recently in one of the first episodes of STAR TREK/PICARD. She is a published author with two novels based on the lives of the physicist Enrico Fermi and the educator Maria Montessori. The greatest blessing in her life is her marriage to writer Ken LaZebnik and her two sons, Jack LaZebnik and Ben LaZebnik. They inspire her every single day.
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