Do your dreams predict your Facebook feed?

I’m entering dangerous territory.

Dreamland.

Dreams — and how they figure into our waking lives — fascinate me. I don’t remember which came first —  my vibrant dream life or my wonder for that version of reality. But both have been with me since childhood.

What’s curious to me these days is lucid dreaming and predictive dreaming, both of which I seem to be getting better at.

The other night, for instance, I noticed I was in the middle of a super frightening nightmare, and I willed myself awake.  Not bad, I thought, when I woke up in a sweat. Now how do I start teaching myself how to fly?

For the past year or so, I’ve occasionally (a few times a month) experienced deja vu during the day in which I am certain I dreamt the interaction already the night before. Nothing momentous; in fact, regular every day occurrences that have a particular interesting twist. Not just the regular drop off at my daughter’s preschool, for instance, but one in which her classmate starts to speak to me in Russian.

I’ve read that such predictive dreaming is, in fact, not uncommon. Famous physicist Russell Targ (most well-known for his work with the military on remote viewing) writes about his own experience with precognitive dreams “predicting” newspaper headlines that he’d then read the next day.

But here’s a peculiar phenomenon I haven’t come across yet in reading on the subject of dreams, and I’m wondering if any of you have: Sometimes I dream my Facebook feed before it happens.

I have 851 Facebook friends. I’m pretty well aware of the 50 or so who appear regularly in my feed. So that when I dream of someone far away — who is not present in my day-to-day interactions and who is not one of the regular 50 people who appear in my feed — and that person shows up in my Facebook feed the next day, I am … to say the least … startled. Like, “Hey you, weren’t you just randomly in my dream last night? What are you doing in my Facebook face?”

Is there an algorithm to explain that experience? I say that only half-facetiously. There probably IS an algorithm to explain that. (If so, please share it, and if possible, in graphic novel format, which is how I best understand geek.)

In addition to dreaming about someone the day before they show up in my feed, I have, on multiple occasions, been talking about something with my colleague at work during the lunch hour — something seemingly obscure — only to find the topic being explored in an article posted by one of my Facebook friends in my feed when I return from lunch. As if Facebook was eavesdropping on our conversation.

Is there an algorithm for that? For overhearing a discussion on, let’s say, the ecosystem of the gut after eating meat or milk? Is there an internet worm crawling from our ears, our minds, and back into “the system?”

I know that readers of this blog span the spectrum of futurists believing we already live in the Matrix to religious devotees who believe the Bible literally happened. (And I appreciate that diversity!)

So tell me:  what do you think? Does this ever happen to you, too?

Is it more common than I think,  this transmission from mind to physical matter (our computers) and back again?

Or am I naive to think of “the internet” as matter, at all? Isn’t it, too, mind?

 

Giving it up to Cory Booker

It’s widely agreed among women that following Cory Booker on Twitter is more groin stimulating than the hottest 1980s era episode of All My Children.

But Cory is also a deep thinker, and a spiritual guy –at least his social media strategy team would have us believe.

It’s working. He’s totally got me wrapped around his finger.

Cory shared this on Facebook yesterday:

It was timely for me. (aka “Wow, that Cory Booker is so in my head!)

I’ve been thinking and writing about what I gave up to become who I am now.

Truth is, I think about it a lot. Almost all the time. Definitely, way too much.

Sometimes I wonder if I breathe in nostalgia instead of air.

What could I have been had I made a left instead of a right?

Stayed in Washington instead of moving to New York?

Continued in children’s book publishing instead of leaving to freelance?

Stayed single longer?

Stayed married without kids longer?

Stopped having kids at just one?

At every given moment, indeed, we give up who we are in order to become who we might be.

Right, Cory Booker?

This is automatic. It’s quantum physics (I think). After all, it’s impossible to be who you were and who you are at the very same time. At least, not without a migraine.

If we could do this, we’d be time travelling already. Or having coffee with multi-dimensional beings.

True: We’re often not ready to give up who we are, but just as often we do so in spite of ourselves. Every single day, every single action, may require this on a small level.

And big choices certainly do.

So why not, give it up willingly,  for ourselves?

Life is, indeed, a marathon. Through which we shed many layers of skin.

And each time, we birth ourselves anew.

It’s a much better way to approach life — to approach our Self — than constantly imagining “what might have been.”

The intentional act of giving up who we are propels us forward — from past, to present, to unimaginably awesome future.

Fool’s errand

This morning, as I was just starting to feel better about my tough week, my husband corrected my Hebrew.

It’s perfectly okay that he corrects my Hebrew — it’s something I have asked him to do with the intention of learning quicker. After all, aren’t your mistakes sometimes more memorable than your achievements?

Despite the fact that I’ve asked him to correct me, I still often feel like an asshole when he does. Particularly when I realize that I’ve previously made the same mistake in front of someone who didn’t correct me. Someone who let my mistake just hang there in midair. Who just nodded, but inside thought to herself either a) “awww…isn’t the new immigrant so cute?” or b) “dumbass.”

The correction, in case you are wondering, was my use of the word “chuggim” when I really meant “chaggim.” Chuggim, for those who don’t speak Hebrew, are after-school enrichment type classes. Chaggim are literally holidays or festivals, but refers here in Israel to the Jewish High Holidays. In  September, people are constantly referring to “achrei hachaggim” (after the holidays) because the chaggim are as disruptive to your life and schedule here in Israel as winter break is in the States. In September, you’re just getting your life back on track after the summer break and then WHAM, the chaggim hit you.

I actually know the difference between chuggim and chaggim. It wasn’t a true mistake; the kind where I used the wrong word because I thought it was the right word.  It was a mistake of confidence. It was a mistake rooted in my desire to speak Hebrew without thinking, which is what all the veteran immigrants advise you to do.

The two words are similar sounding and used frequently (at least by weary parents). Chuggim just came out. I quickly understood my mistake after my husband corrected me and also suddenly realized it wasn’t the first time I made it…and that the previous time was to a friend of mine. (A friend, I hope, in the “aww….isn’t she cute” category.)

The chuggim/chaggim mistake came up in the context of my mother’s upcoming visit to Israel, which we are all very excited for. (Yes, emphasis added with love for my mother who reads every word of every blog post…and then analyzes what I must have really meant when I wrote it.)

In June, I asked everyone I knew if they had a school calendar for the upcoming school year. My mother was planning a trip during the chuggim (which is probably what I  said at the time, though you now know I meant chaggim). It was my intention to coordinate her trip with the break from school and work during the chaggim.

Everyone assured me that yes, there would be a national holiday declared, but they couldn’t tell me the exact dates.

What?!? This was maddening to me, and more so to my mother, from whom I inherited my “bordering on maniacal” organizational skills and obsessive need to plan in advance. How could they not know in June the official school break for the High Holidays? Wasn’t it the same every year? Didn’t it occur between Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur? Or during Sukkot? Or both? Sure, our winter break in the States varies from year to year, but it basically starts a few days before Christmas and ends a day or two after New Year’s. It’s predictable! You can plan around it! You don’t need to be a fortune teller to figure it out.

But no one here could answer my question. Not the parents with kids currently in the system and not parents of older kids. No one knew. I even searched our regional web site (in Hebrew!!!) to try to find out the answer on my own (after my husband politely decided not to on my behalf).

I finally just heard yesterday from a coworker who heard it announced on the radio that the school break would be during Sukkot (the week after my mom’s visit.) I think, but I’m not 100% sure, that the Ministry of Education just decided this the day before school started.

So much for trying to coordinate my mom’s visit. (Yes, mom, I am still taking time off work and we will keep the kids home so they can visit properly with you.)

“You could have called the school,” I blamed my husband this morning when he got the “official” announcement in his email inbox.

Huh, what are you talking about?, his look said back to me.

“Don’t you see? This is my life here,” I wailed at him this morning before he left for a meeting. “Half the time I feel like a moron and the other half I feel like an imbecile!!! Maybe you should take pity on me! Moving to Israel made me stupid!”

“On your walk to your meeting,” I spat at him with venom (but really sadness and frustration), “think about that! Spend some time thinking about what it must feel like to be ME! Stupid, stupid me!” (The words I actually used were a little more foul, but the above is basically what I meant.)

In a moment of brilliant patience and kindness, my husband kept his mouth shut, nodded, and walked out the door. Whether or not he actually spent time pitying me on his way to work is another issue.

I was blessed with a quiet house in the hour after he left. My oldest kid was out at a friend’s house and the two little ones were in Gan. I spent this luxurious hour sulking, cleaning my dirty house, sulking, putting in some dirty laundry, and catching up on the lives of my far-away friends through their posts on Facebook.

While scanning the Facebook updates from Hurricane Irene-damaged New Jersey (and still selfishly sulking), I was fortunate enough to find a video link in my News Feed from my FB friend Carol, a veteran American immigrant to Israel who I’ve never met in real life. The video she posted reminded me of something very important; something that wiped the sulk away and replaced it with a guilty sigh.

In between the moments I feel like a moron and the moments I feel like an imbecile, I actually feel alive. More alive than before. More connected to myself, my kids, my husband, my community, my planet.

It’s my acknowledgment of and addiction to this feeling that makes the stupid bearable. It makes me want to stay, instead of leave.

True, when I lived in New Jersey, when I had my own business, when I was considered a community leader and an educator, when I was writing for important publications and being interviewed by journalists, I felt like a smart Somebody. It was a really good feeling.  But, in truth, what was attached to that feeling of being smart was a compelling need to constantly know more and do more. To research, to learn and to share. Naturally, I was addicted to my computer, to my BlackBerry, and to social media outlets. In order to maintain my competitive edge in that space, I had to be turned on all the time.

All the time.

What were the consequences of being turned on all the time?

You know what they are. Think about your irritation when your husband interrupts you when you are in the middle of an email; or the compelling urge to check Facebook while you are sitting at a table in the Food Court across from your son; or the panic you feel when your internet isn’t working.

My life here has allowed me (forced me?) to disconnect. Not completely, obviously, but significantly.

And, suddenly, I remember there’s a good side to being Stupid.