Tag Archives: dreams

Cheesy Dreams…

imageI think I might be a prolific ‘lucid dreamer’. I’ve jokingly titled this post Cheesy Dreams (as in being about dreams induced by eating cheese before bedtime as the old wives’ tale would have us believe). I don’t consume a lot of cheese and seldom before bed but I do have some of the wackiest dreams.

A Lucid dream is one where the dreamer is aware that he is dreaming while dreaming if that makes sense. Once he is conscious of this he may have the power to predict where the dream is going and may even manipulate the dream to some degree, replay it over and over or even pause and rewind. I’m not sure if all Lucid dreamers can do all of the above but I can.

For a dream to be classed as Lucid, some scientists say all the following criteria must apply (source Wikipedia ‘Lucid Dream’):

Awareness of the dream state (orientation);
Awareness of the capacity to make decisions;
Awareness of memory functions;
Awareness of identity;
Awareness of the dream environment;
Awareness of the meaning of the dream;
Awareness of concentration and focus (the subjective clarity of that state).

In most of my Lucid Dreams all of the above apply except I don’t always know the meaning. The most recent production was one of those. In nearly all cases I can remember and replay the dream in my mind while awake anywhere, anytime. Lucid dreaming is thought to be rare and has in the past been linked to the Occult, Eastern Religions or New Age. I don’t practice any of those – all I know is I dream in spectacular hi-def colour. Most people including me most times aren’t aware we are dreaming, which we all do (including PJ my cat who seems to have whole conversations with himself in his). We seldom remember our dreams and then only fleetingly before it is swallowed by our waking rational minds.

imageSo to the latest epic (and this whole blog as just been an excuse to write about it as I just had to do SOMETHING with it). I’m on an airliner. Not just any old airliner but the new Airbus A380 Double Decker. I’m in the dream but very much an observer of the action rather than part of it. I seem to be one of the Cabin Crew as during the ensuing plot I have access to parts of the plane only authorised personnel would have. It’s not just any old airline but my favourite British Airways. Ok, I can see where this dream might be coming from. As a kid I always wanted to work for BA. I’ve flown with them 4 times this year already with 2 more flights to come. Back to the Dream…

I’m on the lower deck of the plane and we have just taken off heading west out of Heathrow to the US. Now at this point I should say I woke out of the dream several times but went back into it, starting from the beginning. The first time in, I didn’t know where we were flying to. By some point later it was New York. As we were ascending the plane suddenly lurched violently to the right while the in-flight service was starting up. Then the dream jumped forward by a few hours. It was daylight when we took off but now it was dark outside and the passenger cabin was quiet as people slept.

Then one guy sat on the very last window seat on the right of the cabin called us (Flight Attendants) to say that a mysterious sleeping passenger, covered in a blanket had appeared in the seat next to him. The man was not sat there on take off and was not known to the guy complaining. When he checked in, he had this whole row to himself. The sleeping passenger was a blonde, good-looking young guy. His head was rolled back, mouth open, eyes shut. One of my colleagues went to wake him up. He slumped forward and the blanket covering him fell off…and he was bleeding from his chest profusely.

imageWe didn’t want to start a panic (it seemed) so we carried the bleeding guy through to the crew quarters at the rear of the plane. As all this happened at the back, the passengers all seemed to be asleep and unaware. There was no panic in any case. The crew quarters held a number of bunk beds where crew can rest on long haul flights. We laid the guy out on one bunk and then two things happened: one of the crew called the pilots on the internal phone to explain the situation. He immediately ordered a head count of all passengers on both decks. Next thing, we were walking through counting, checking bathrooms and locking doors. The other thing was we knew there was a medical doctor on board called Dr Singh who was in First Class at the front of the upper deck. BA doesn’t put its First Class on the upper deck of the A380 btw. A small detail but one I picked up on in the dream.

Two further shocks were to follow…actually four before the dream would end frustratingly abruptly. The passenger head count revealed there was now one more passenger on board than was accounted for on the passenger manifest or the head count before take-off. The young still unconscious bleeding boy was included in the count. Somehow, not sure how, it turned out the young guy was Dutch. His first name was Martin but he was not or should not have been among the passengers on our flight. The next shock was Dr Singh arrived on the lower deck to examine Martin…whom he pronounced dead at the scene.

The next shock was revealed by the Captain. He had radioed back to Heathrow explaining our situation with one too many passengers on board and a fatality and was requesting an emergency return landing slot. The Control Tower guy he was speaking to replied back how odd it was that a Dutch KLM flight had earlier landed from the USA reporting one of their passengers missing. A guy went missing sometime time while they were in the air and they were one down on their manifest and head count. It also turned out that we had been in a near miss accident with that same KLM flight on take off accounting for the violent lurch to the right at the start of the flight.

imageThe final happening in this weird and fascinating play out was that as we were preparing to return to Heathrow, all the Cabin Crew and Dr Singh, had come out of the room where Martin’s body lay. The room was dark and silent and was the closing scene for me though I woke and tried and tried and tried to go back into the dream because I HAD to know what happened after the last thing I saw. That last thing was inside the darkened crew quarters but the body of the young deceased Dutchman was nowhere to be seen. Instead, a mysterious and sinister beautiful dark-haired, dark-eyed BA Flight Attendant in pristine uniform stood there adjusting her make-up. And she had most certainly not been on board at take off.

So there it is. My latest Lucid dream. I’m not aware of any meaning to it but I have wanted to go back into it to find out what happened next. Maybe the dream will manifest itself into a short story one day.

Or maybe it just has.

Do you believe Angels can speak to you today?

imageI do. It’s happened on only two occasions in my nearly 50 years on this planet but both were significantly different from any other life experiences to date that they remain vivid in my memory to this day.

At church today we were considering the many ways by which God can talk to us and we to Him. Through His written word, through prayer and just talking to Him, through being still and quiet, though thoughts and dreams and through His appointed messengers or Angels.

One of our leaders brought us some insights on this. A good, solid and sound guy. He mentioned the Angel thing and as he did said in passing that he’d not met anyone yet who had had an encounter with such beings. As he spoke, I thought back to a time I lived far from London in the north of England when I had two such encounters.

imageI’m a Londoner and proud of it. Not born as but raised so apart from the first 18 months of my life. When I started University in Sheffield in Yorkshire when I was 18 it was the furthest north outside the capital I had ever set foot. I never had any plans on visiting Sheffield let alone committing 3 years of my life to living there. Do the degree, get back to civilisation in London was the general motto among all my London suburban school set. As things turned out I was the only one of my school friends who decided not to return to London after my degree. I fell in love with Sheffield and more significantly fell in live with a God as I found faith there. Discovered a church that had life and was so different from anything I’d seen before and so stayed. Of my University mates too, I was the only one who stayed. I left home at 18 to study but I only truly cut adrift at 21 when as a young adult I committed to making my own life with my stamp on it many miles from home, my friends and all the previous crutches I’d leaned upon.

I remained in Sheffield a good many years moving through diverse jobs from Nursing to HR to Marketing never really questioning whether I should still be there at all until that encounter as I walked on a dark rainy night by myself to get to a party.

I don’t know whether I have a ‘Guardian Angel’. I kind of hope not. I would be far too embarrassed to meet him/her one day to then realise they had to stick by me and witness all the deeds of my life. I instinctively know that I do believe in Angels as messengers from God And always have.

As the guy shared his thoughts today in church, I reflected on the two encounters I believe I’ve had with Angels and asked myself why I had those encounters and what they meant. Unlike the tales in the Bible I read, there was for me no blinding light, no wind or choral singing. The Angels do sing, though. My mum has also heard Angelic choirs on a couple of occasions, especially in her sleep. She is someone who prays a lot, not just any old praying but deep, deep prayer like you read about in the Bible. She’s woken up to the sound of such beautiful music that once she’s awake she can neither describe or adequately recall. Her description of them as far as she is able to describe has made my hair stand on end.

Both my encounters with Angels were far less dramatic but both came ahead and to warn me of very significant changes that were about to take place in my life.

imageThe first occasion was while I was Hoovering the house. There you go. No choirs, no blinding light but with a voice loud enough to fill my whole head above the sound of the vacuum cleaner. I was in Sheffield happily settled into my new life and happier still that I’d found a new best mate and his wife to be who became closer to me than my own brother. For this lifetime loner, this couple had got into my heart in a way none had before and I was basically dependent on them for my happiness, though I never realised how much at the time. My friends were from Wales. They were sent for a time to Sheffield where they thought they would stay. Little did any of us know but they would be called back to Wales to eventually co-found a church. Unbeknown to me, as they began to realise the path they would have to take they became concerned for me and how they would have to face telling me. I in my bumbling innocence just carried on believing life was all going along as normal. So then I start the chores one say in my house and I can still see the scene in my mind now as I type as the blue-grey Hoover ran over the dark brown carpet on the upstairs landing when filling my whole head came the words “Martyn and Claire are moving to Wales”. That was it. Nothing else. I remember switching the Hoover off and contemplating and being very still. I was not spooked. The voice had come from outside me but it was not the fact I’d heard the voice that made me still as much as what it said. I can’t remember how much later came the moment an anxious Martyn and Claire had me round to dinner to tell me the news – within a couple of weeks for sure. By the time they told me I already knew. What could have broken my heart back in those vulnerable days leaving me truly bereft of family far from home did not crush me. They moved to Cwmbran where they both still live and I remained in Sheffield for much longer. Too much longer.

That’s where the 2nd encounter came in – to warn me of another significant life-changing event coming my way. As a person I have never had drive or ambition but I will throw myself with all heart and soul into anything I commit to. Loyalty to a fault us how some have described me. True and fair points. I would most likely still be in Sheffield today had I not got kicked out on my arse. Don’t get me wrong, Sheffield is after London the only place I would call home in all the world. I am fiercely proud of that city and it’s people and do not regret one single moment spent there. God had other plans for me and I wasn’t listening, that’s all. So, one Saturday night I was on my way to a party. It was Winter, the night was dark and it was raining. I lived on the south side of the city at the time and walked alone to the party where I would meet up with friends. As I write I can still see the scene in my head. I was walking with shops and houses to my left and the road with traffic to my right. No-one was around or close to me. There were people out and about, but due to the weather not that many.

As I walked, I heard from outside of me to my right above my shoulder and about 2 feet above me an audible voice. It spoke in a whisper: “You do not belong here.” That was all. This time I did stop what I was doing and I did turn around and look up. I was shaken as it happened out in the open and in public. No-one, however, was close to me. No one was directly behind me. More importantly…no one was above me but the night sky and pouring rain.

It was a few years later that I finally got booted out of Sheffield by circumstances beyond my control to eventually begin a new life back in the cut and thrust of London, taking a career path I stumbled into but which has given me more opportunity to experience than anything I imagined before. It wasn’t easy. It never is and for most of the start of the new era it seemed like nothing other than utter failure. The encounter with the Angel remained with me all the time and to this day and at church this morning I was minded to consider why the Angel had spoken the words to me. What was the meaning in just warning me of a drastic change to circumstance that would come that God knew I would not heed at the time.

The lasting legacy of both my encounters is this: through them and having now come out of much pain the other side, I have a sure testimony in my life of God’s concern for me to forewarn me, to be with me in the going through it all and to build my faith as I look back and see His presence before, during and after.

Fundamentally as a person I’ve not changed. I still bumble along needing kicks up the backside and Angelic messengers to whisper in my ear when God Himself can’t get through to me. I’m happy to report that so far and not for many years has there been a need for that to happen. I must admit though to still experiencing some trepidation each time I switch the vacuum cleaner on…

Ian-Luke Penwald

A true story. This time…about me.

The radio station I work for is 17 years old today.  I’ve been with them for all but the first year. 17 years and still in the same job kind of got me thinking about how and why and why I’m still there and this is my story. Some of this is going to sound strange, but I promise it’s all true.

“I don’t care what you say, God, I’m out of here!!!”  That’s pretty much what I said when I stormed out of my last job. No, I wasn’t a Vicar but I was a fairly new Christian that had learned to consult God in all things (or else what’s the point of having a faith?). But I basically told God to stuff it, that I was not even going to consult or pray about it, that I was at breaking point and I was jacking it in.  I lived in Sheffield, South Yorkshire at the time working as Export Marketing Services Manager for some crummy cutlery firm. I had spent all my working life in Sheffield after graduating from Uni. Before that job, I worked in HR and before that…I was a Nurse.  Cutting it short, life became overwhelming with one thing and another and the job was killing me….I was one of the first ones there in the morning and often the one locking the factory gates late at night. Ah, poor me. It took its toll, the Doc diagnosed me as on the verge of a breakdown, work got harder so I told them to go screw.  Jobless with no state support, there was only one place to go…back home to Mum and Dad in London.

While I believed in my heart that I was not doing the right thing at the time, looking back I know I was and I even believe that God may have had a hand in ejecting me from Sheffield because He wanted me somewhere else.  Sounds strange? Well this is gonna sound stranger: I even believe I heard His audible voice – either Him or an Angelic being – telling me to leave a year before events drove me to.  It’s true and as I type these words I can still hear those words again in exactly the same tone.  I was walking alone to meet friends at a party on a dark, wet night.  There was no-one walking by me or near me.  All of a sudden, to my right and behind me and seeming to come from a good 2 or 3 feet above my right ear I heard the words “you don’t belong here”. It was kind of like a loud whisper. No-one was around me at all. The traffic was moving, the rain was splashing but I heard those words above it all.  That was all I heard.  Without wanting to sound like Kevin Costner in the movie ‘Field of Dreams’, I have heard that same voice again on a couple of occasions just before significant events in my life have occurred, but that’s another story.  Needless to say, I shrugged it off and carried on living my life until that Monday morning when I quit.

Moving back home only eased the immediate physical needs like having a roof over my head and food to eat. I could not claim state benefits for a while having voluntarily left my job. Mum and Dad were both initially supportive of me but it was only time before the cracks in my relationship with Dad, which had always been there,  started to become a chasm that in turn took its toll on Mum as the arguments between me and Dad became more frequent and close to violence.  I needed to get back into work, but the last job had taken its toll on me to the point I had no confidence in even applying for jobs several positions lower than what I was capable of.

Then one night, Mum knocked on my bedroom door.   She handed me a newsletter she had received from a brand new radio station that had just started in the city.  They were looking for volunteers to help in all sorts of areas and one of those was in Marketing.  I put the newsletter under my pillow, prayed about it and went to sleep.  Next day, I contacted them I can’t remember whether I phoned or wrote but I do remember saying I’d be prepared to do anything – “even clean the loos and make the sandwiches”.   I got called in for an interview – for a voluntary position.  I was interviewed by 3 people – for a voluntary position.   Sometime later (I forget how long) I started volunteering there half a day a week working in their Database section…inputting data into a computer all afternoon.

So that was how I got my foot through the door. I had never had any desire to work in media or get behind the mic (though I have since been on air a number of times). I was just happy to be doing something useful, feeling I could actually work again.  The radio station paid for my travel (but that was it) and the Unemployment Office saw the move as positive (in order to keep giving me benefits) because many people do get into radio by volunteering (still true to this day).

At some point after I started as a volunteer and forget how long but I know it was, say, within 2 or 3 months (yes, volunteering that long, though by then 5 days a week) I had a dream. A physical dream like you get in the night.   The dream was about the radio station I was at and in the dream 3 clear things took place within the radio station, which when they had all taken place seemed to indicate that I would be there on a permanent basis. The first thing to take place was a department that did not exist at the time was created. The 2nd was that a member of staff there, someone who is still my friend today, would leave and the 3rd was that there seemed to be a change around of office furniture and layout. When all these things had taken place the dream ended with me sitting in a new place and I looked like I was there as part of the permanent team…and I so wanted to work as part of this team with all my heart.

All these 3 things did take place – but over what seemed a long time.  I was a full-time volunteer at the station for nearly a year. The department that did not exist was the Marketing Dept, which was one of the first things the new incoming Managing Director set up. The station did Marketing stuff, but there was no official department.   Sometime after that, the employee I saw in the dream did leave and moved abroad.  Finally, there was a shift around of part of the office layout.

Like I said, all of this happened over nearly 11 months but for me, not really understanding or noticing these things taking place at the time (or at least not registering them) time was running out.  Things had become so dire at home with Dad. As much as I loved volunteering for the radio station, I knew I needed to get a job and get out of home.  Dad was old school and nothing wrong with that.  He never understood being jobless and had low tolerance of it.  By the Winter of ’96 I had become so desperate that I remember looking out of my window and praying. As I did, my eyes fell upon the tallest tree in the park behind our house.  I remember my prayer turning to have a focus also and I started asking God to give me a job “before the trees are in leaf”. What I meant by that was before the Spring.

Winter grew into Spring. Things at home got worse.  Each day I would walk through the park behind the house praying on my way to volunteer. As each day went past a new tree in the park would start to bud and my hopes sank lower.  I’d reached the point where I’d had enough. I decided that the next day I would go in and tell the team that I could no longer afford the time to volunteer any more. As I walked through the park the next day, I was physically in tears. I looked up at the tallest tree, the one I had fixed on while praying for a job and the one tree that was holding out against the Spring while all other trees in the park has succumbed…and I saw it was in bud.

That was the day I was offered my job….and I turned it down twice. U-huh. To my utter amazement, I was offered a job as an ad salesman despite never having sold anything in my life. Oh it get’s better.  No salary either. Nope.  Commission only, which meant what I sold I kept as my salary with an unlimited cap….and if I sold nothing I starved because taking the job would mean coming off benefits so no safety net.  I decided to go for it, then others cautioned me out of it and so I decided to turn it down and hit the job seeking thing big time.  Next day, the new MD took me aside, assured me of his confidence that I could do the job he was giving me to try. After my previous declines, he sent me out of the office to go for a walk for an hour and think about it one more time. He would then accept my response, whatever it was, but would never ask me again.   My job is all about working to targets and deadlines and has been for most of those 17 years…but this was the toughest deadline I’ve ever been set.

I went for that walk.  Our studios were at the time based in the heart of London close to Buckingham Palace.  For some strange reason I headed for The Mall in a daze. I can remember feeling cold and detached on a bright sunny day. I remember the lump in my throat, the heaviness in my chest.  One hour to make a life-changing decision. No friends around me. No Mum and Dad or kid brother to whom I often turned for advice. Now for some more weird stuff.

A couple of weeks prior to this, I had been in our church ‘house group’. It’s sort of like a small social group within a church where members can meet more informally to support each other, worship together and pray for each other among other things. That night we decided to pray for each others needs.  Mine, of course, was the job (or lack of one). We stood in a circle, held hands and prayed together.  When it got to praying for me, the young girl to the right of me suddenly said that she could see a picture of me in her mind and she could see a flag above my head. On that flag she could see a blue star on a white flag.  She asked me whether that meant anything to me and did I understand what it meant.  Well, yes it did sort of. It sounded like the flag of Israel, a country that most people knew I had an interest in.   What had this to do with praying for my job?

So I’m in the Mall on this bright sunny day yet I’m cold and shaky with a big decision to make. There are tourists milling all around me ‘doing the Palace’. The fear in me is such that I find myself stopping as I tend to do when I get in these situations and I went very still inside.  I tried to pray in my head but nothing came out – in my head.    Then from nowhere, my mind started to drift to stories I knew in the Bible of others who were faced with great fear and life-changing decisions and the Israelite King David came to mind.  As I started to remember some of what he went through, I just began to feel the thought… ‘take the risk’.

“Is that it, God? Is that what you want me to do…take the risk?  Make the leap and take on a job I don’t know how to do, lose state benefits with no guaranteed income?”   It would have been helpful at this point to have heard ‘the voice’ again, but I didn’t. But inside me started to change. I stopped shivering. I grew peaceful.   I knew what I had to do.   I stopped praying there in The Mall.  I looked up.  I had not known that new Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, was to visit the Queen at the Palace that day on a state visit.  On such occasions, it is customary to deck the flag poles along The Mall in the Union Jack and the flag of the guest state-visiting nation.  In this case, the flag poles along The Mall were draped in the red white and blue of the Union Jack and the blue and white Star of David on the Israeli flag. I was stood directly under a flag mast carrying the Israeli flag.   My house group had prayed two weeks in advance for a critical situation in my life none of us in the room knew was about to happen.

I went back to the office, accepted the post and 17 years later, well, here I am still. There have been highs and lows over the time, just like anywhere else.  I’ve thought of leaving and have wanted to leave many a time, just like all of us do in our jobs.  When I took the job I promised I would always consult with God before I made a move away and I have kept my word.  I’ve got to times where I’ve been close to walking away just to do something else and really put my faith on the line waiting for an answer after consulting the Big Guy.  The answers He’s been giving me have not necessarily been the ones I wanted to hear.

When I woke up this morning, I never planned on writing this post. I’ve done more than enough recently and I’ll be resting my fingers for a while now. It wasn’t until about mid day that I remembered that today is our birthday and I took this journey back to where this adventure started for me…right back in Sheffield in 1995.  Like any of us, I might lose my job tomorrow for whatever reason, yet that still won’t invalidate any of the last 17 years of this my personal testimony.


I had a dream…

I had a dream many years ago.  Not a Martin Luther King sort of dream, but an in the deepest watch of the night while you are sleeping kind.   In this dream I saw a towering, dark volcano in the early rumblings of a cataclysmic explosion.  It was night time and the vast, high walls of the mountain were as black as tar. The summit of the mountain stood way far above me but I could see a growing red glow on the mountain’s crown. Over the mountain and obliterating the night stars were billowing and angry dark clouds, endlessly churning and tinged from under with the reflection of fire. I remember ‘feeling’ this dream. I remember looking up at the summit far above me and feeling both awe and dumb struck by the anticipation of immense impending destructive power.

The Dream-maker’s cameraman then started to zoom out from the summit and pan down. My eyes started to scale down the sheer black walls until I saw lights below toward the mountain’s feet. As the cameraman slowly zoomed in again, I saw that the lights were habitations – little houses and villages cascading down the ebony slopes. And then as the dream’s camera lens took me in ever closer…I saw people. I saw three groups of people.  The first group I saw (and then heard) were people in a sheer state of panic. Running and screaming wildly and with no direction in any direction. They weren’t running together as if they belonged together.  It was each man, woman and child for themselves.  The second group of people I saw were those who locked themselves in their houses too afraid to make a run for it.  They cowered in corners or under tables dressed in dark robes.  Lastly, I saw a third group of people, also dressed in dark robes.  These people were not panicked or shaken. They went about in small groups of maybe five or six and they walked in single file. They each had candle-lit lanterns in their hands as I saw them tip-toeing around the debris spewing out from the mountain above. They never looked up or seemed to be phased by the mountain.  I saw them knocking on the doors of the houses of the second group of people – the terrified and cowering – and I saw them gently lead them out into the night by the hand. Where they led them to I never saw but they seemed to know where they were going and just quietly they all went on their way.

There are not a lot of dreams I’ve had in the nearly 50 years I’ve been alive that I can remember in such 3-D hi-def clarity but there are some I can do and in all I can count them on just two hands. But each one has been significant and each time I recall them – which I do more often nowadays – my inner self goes still and quiet because I know they were given to me for a reason which only now might be unfolding.

I’ve made no secret of my faith on this blogsite. I’m not a conventional Christian, whatever that is, but my faith is based on a real life encounter with a real live God and asking me not to believe His reality is literally like asking me to deny my mother or best friends exist. When I say I’m not a conventional Christian, I just mean that stuff I say and do might not be acceptable in some polite circles. Whoopie feckin do.

Look, what do you make of this?  It’s in the Bible in the Book of Acts:

Acts 2:17

New International Version (NIV)

17 “‘In the last days, God says,
I will pour out my Spirit on all people.
Your sons and daughters will prophesy,
your young men will see visions,
your old men will dream dreams.

OK, so ‘old men’…yeah, yeah, yeah. Looks like I’m all that (except this particular dream came many years ago, like possibly over 10 years or more).  But in my faith I can give witness to this passage being true for me. The dreams I’m talking about are so unusual because they are so vivid and because they are so rare and most of all because I can recall them and replay them with certainty, at will, whenever, wherever and despite my own very creative mind…they never change in the replay. They are always the same.

So what does this dream mean and why has it never left me?

OK, look…I’m a guy that always sees life with the glass half empty rather than half full. I do tend to see the negative before I see the positive but at least I am able to see the positive in the end. This dream has always spoken to me about the times we live in. It spoke to me about a very precarious world even though I dreamed it long before the news headlines of recent years. Watching the dream I always knew I wanted to be counted among the last group of people – those who understood the signs of the times they were in and who knew what to do and where to go to find ultimate eternal safety and who cared for others and not just for their own lives.

Being part of that people is only a prayer away.