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A Dream/Poem of Distortion

5539913049_ecbcbcdf7b_bImage Credit: Time Distortion by Mario in arte Akeu. License found here

I leave the room for a minute, and when I return, someone has taken my seat

My brother gives me my plate, not much food on it anyway.

I go into the other room which has mirrors – I see myself, and I look normal

There is a man named Jessie who is eating with us.

I don’t know him. I suspect that he is there with me, but we don’t speak.

He feels like a stranger. But I think he is supposed to be my boyfriend.

I realize I am in a Criminal Minds episode, one that I remember

I am part of the team. We are searching for an unsub, and we have to clear out the room with the mirrors.

But before that, I am back in that room looking at myself in the mirrors and find that my image is distorted.

It keeps changing, like I’m in a house of mirrors where one second my face is huge and distorted,

another my body is super skinny,

then fat,

every time I look

a new distortion.

I find my friend with the long blond hair. It appears she is an extra on the set.

We look at ourselves in the mirror.

I ask her if everything looks normal. She does not notice anything unusual.

I am afraid/know I am losing my mind. I feel myself spiraling into that black hole/hold.

I don’t tell her what I see.

We are now cleaning out a small room which seems to be attached to a garage.

I see a commotion and it looks like the unsub escaped through the sliding garage door.

In the dream, I remember seeing this episode.

I watch as Reid chases after him.

I remember feeling it was strange to be in the episode instead of watching it, only experiencing part of it.

Filming is over and they tell me it’s time to say goodbye to my friend.

I find her in the checkout line in a supermarket and she gives me a post-it note with her contact information.

I remember wondering, being confused about a time loop:

how could this be happening now, if the episode had already aired…

but this hadn’t happened before, so it has to be happening now

I find myself trying to get on to an escalator, but instead of working like usual, it rose straight up instead,

leaving an empty space where the bottom step should have been

I follow another cast member up the stairs/ladder to the right

and when I get to the top, there is nowhere to get off

I feel that someone else is controlling the motion now and I continue up, past people on exercise bikes

the ceiling is getting closer and closer and I have to almost lie down so I don’t get squished

I am now horizontal in a normal sized room, but find that I am strapped into this machine that is pulling me around

I’m trying to escape, only one leg is strapped in

Finally a guard comes over and releases me

I remember almost losing my shoe

I walk around and find that there is a checkout counter where we can buy food/drinks.

I look at the drinks in the case, there is apple juice, orange juice, etc. All only half full, all stale.

There are people crowding around everywhere.I don’t know what’s going on.

I hear people whispering “should we tell her?” I ask someone and she says that there will be an execution.

We are all being led outside, forced to watch. I push my way to the front to get out of there.

There is a man who may be after me.

Once I’m outside, I remember that this is a dream and I try to escape this scenery.

I feel myself start swirling and I find myself lying in some grass.

This place looks very strange. There are huge creatures, the colors are very vivid.

They look like huge stuffed animals come to life.

I look down and realize I am holding a small stuffed animal that I brought through the vortex with me.

I realize it is now alive as I feel its claws dig into me.

I am trying to escape from these giant creatures, and I see something that looks like tree branches coming towards me.

At first I think it is a giant spider, but then a kid pulls on its leash and I realize that is is a giant dragon.

I am thinking “Did I really just escape that prison, only to almost get eaten by a dragon?”

So as remember again that I am dreaming, I decide to walk through a tree.

As I get close, I wonder it if will work, but I truly believe it will.

As I enter the tree, I feel the depth of it, I feel its spirit welcoming me, enveloping me

I move through it slowly and as I exit on the other side, I realize I am on the other side of the house.

There are kids playing outside and when the door opens, I realize that I didn’t escape.

It’s the house of the man who imprisoned me. I want to run, but then think that since it is still a dream

Maybe I should face him.

So I walk inside the open door to the enclosed porch

It is dark outside and I see my reflection in the mirror

I look like a younger version of me

I am wearing a pink T-shirt with writing on it and jeans

A wide brim straw hat is on my head

I find the inside door

Knock

His very small wife answers. She is short and is wearing bright red lipstick. She seems like a caricature.

She recognizes me and says “Oh, it’s you…”

She says that before she lets me in, I have to apologize to her.

I apologize

For what, I am not sure.

Then walk through the kitchen. The woman is now nowhere in sight.

I see two cats playing, one of the looks like my cat. It seems that she used to live here.

I continue on to the living room and a see another cat.

There is a teenage girl coming down the stairs.

I tell her that I am here to see her father.

She says that she will go get him

and I sit down to wait.

I begin to feel myself losing the dream

begin to feel my physical body

I try to hold on, but it is already fading

already gone

and I am no longer there.

I know the man’s name in the dream

In the dream, I have known him before

now I cannot remember


Trapped in an Asylum in the Dreamworld

asylum-wide-does-gotham-heading-to-arkham-asylum-mean-we-ll-see-her-ae9dad7d-b209-4dea-8ec7-4ae90b990113

Just had a very interesting dream. It seemed to last for a few hours. I even woke up twice and re-entered it. It was as if I never really left the dream.

It started out with me joining this secret group that solved crimes. This girl was training me and we went into this building and she spoke with a man on a roof, while I waited for her inside. I had left my things in another room and when we went back to them, she asked if I was sure they were the same. I asked why wouldn’t they be, and she said that the man likes to trick people. I ended up throwing a lot of it out. We are just about to leave and I find that I am carrying an old book that apparently had been given to me. The people at the register call me back because they think I am trying to steal the book. They look at it for a while, but can’t find it in their system. Finally I ask if I can go since it obviously isn’t theirs. The man behind the counter tells me he has a package for me and pulls out a box with my name on it to give me a reason to stay. The girl who is training me comes over and we open it. Inside is a case that belonged to her mother before she died. Somehow, she had known I would come and left if for me. I do not know what it contained. As we’re looking at the case, I realized that they weren’t going to let us leave. I began to come up with a plan that she create a distraction, while I got the case and the book and escaped, and then she would join me since they didn’t seem to care about her being there or not. This is when I woke up the first time.

As I went back into the dream, the girl was gone, and I was now trapped in this building with my family. They had told us not to talk to anyone. But, I decide, that doesn’t mean that we can’t explore. We pass a person carrying a body without a head. Next we explore upstairs and pass many people who seem a little unusual and I get the impression that maybe this place is like a mental hospital, it seemed like Arkham Asylum, strange because I’m not too familiar with that, but the name came to me. There are a few stores that we go in and as we make our way back downstairs a few people grab at us, but we are able to avoid them. As we look off over a balcony we see the doors to this place open and close. By the motion of the doors we can tell that they are meant to keep people inside, and realize that we have to figure out how we’re going to get out. It seems that they open the doors at set times. Next we are back downstairs and they want everyone in the auditorium. During this time, my dad manages to slip outside through the doors. Then somehow my mom, who is carrying a baby manages to escape. I follow them through the doors, but we are now being chased by guards who want to bring us back. This is when I wake up the second time.

As I return to the dream this time, I am back in the asylum. My dad is there too. I saw him briefly, but then they took him to another room. I get a call from him on my phone and I answer and it sounds like him, but I suspect that they are listening, asked him to call. I had EEG wires attached to my head and somehow I could see my dad’s brainwaves on my phone screen and he appeared to be sleeping. I was watching his brainwaves for an arousal as I dialed his number from a different phone, but he did not seem to wake up or hear it ringing. I got up again to explore and try to plan my escape. I came across a machine that visitors could sign in and out. The name of the last person who had left was still there. I knew if I put my name, it would cause alarm, so I put my dad’s initial and last name I.Day, and then buttons came up where you could add guests. I pushed the button 3 times accidentally and it said that we had to pay $3 in order to leave. There were slots for coins and as I am looking to see if I had any money, my dad comes over and gives me this giant coin to deposit. It turned out only to be worth $1 so I am searching through my quarters, trying to insert them before time runs out. There was a timer and I remember it saying I had 37 seconds left. As I add the last quarter, a message pops up on the screen and says that we have angered it. Not quite sure what that means since the doors opened and we ran to get out of there. We made it through the door and off of the grounds before the gates closed. And I remember my dad picking me up to escape in a cab. This is where I finally woke up and ended the dream.

Not sure exactly how I was able to stay in this world for so long. It lasted for at least a few hours judging from the time that I woke up the first time and when I finally got up. It was like it was such an interesting world, that I couldn’t leave. Even though I woke up and got up for a few minutes, I continued to think about it and my mind never fully left, so that when I got back into bed and drifted back to sleep, I was still there.


Dream Research Project

So I am currently recruiting participants for my research project related to dreams. It is a study involving unusual experiences occurring somewhere between waking and dreaming. More information can be found on my Dream Research Project page. I have had multiple experiences that fall into this category, one of which I have written about here.

Dreams have always seemed to fascinate me. The fact that we can live a completely different life while we are sleeping, how sometimes, I cannot seem to distinguish whether what I remember happened while I was awake or asleep, and whether or not it matters.

My dad and I have had discussions about fictional characters and how we sometimes know more about them, than about the the author of the books in which they appear. Sherlock Holmes, for instance, and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. Is Sherlock Holmes really any less real simply because he is fictional? It depends, I suppose, on your definition of reality. We know so much more about him than we do about Doyle who we assume was a “real” person.

In any case, this research project involves examining various worldviews and exploring how these liminal experiences can influence or change our ways of thinking about the world around us.


My Story So Far

So, I want to tell you a story…

Actually sort of a recap of my life for the past year and a half since moving to California.

I remember how when I told people I was moving, they were always more excited than I was. I had no interest in moving here, it wasn’t really something I even wanted at all, it was something I felt I had to do, some unknown force. (Especially since I avoided California when applying to schools as an undergrad due to fear of earthquakes.) But this graduate program felt like something I needed to do. What I was excited about was going back to school (too bad it’s not quite what I had expected). And in hindsight, I realize I should have done a little (a lot) more research, and a little (a lot) more preparation. It’s hard to know what to expect when moving across the country on your own without family/ friends (although for me, it’s not the first time…I was seventeen then, an undergrad-with very few things…but I digress) to one of the most expensive areas (SF Bay area) in the country when you’re broke and dependent on an unknown (at the time) amount of student loan income, in a recession with unrealistic expectations of the length of time it will take to find a job in your field…

After two months, I put all of my things in storage and left my ridiculously expensive shared apartment and my jerk of a roommate whom I found on craigslist and chose as being the better of two unappealing living situations (the other having been less expensive but with four other people who didn’t seem to get along very well), having had only 1 week to find a place to live for me and my cat… (not to mention how pet-unfriendly most places in the area are…) and went back home (Chicago) for a month, where I subsequently lost, and found said cat, and decided to give California another try. This time with a little more insight (still nowhere near enough). But at least I was able to find a slightly better living situation (month-to-month lease, my own bedroom/bathroom/yard, but still shared, and still way too expensive for a struggling unemployed grad student with too many bills.) While I was home, I had told myself I would find my cat, find an apartment, and find a job. And within 2 months I had done all three. Although in hindsight, I should have been a little more specific…

I got a job tutoring high school students in math and science part time, which was cool for the most part…the kids were great….but it would have been nice if they paid me on a regular basis…

So at this point, I was ready to leave, move back to Chicago, Philadelphia, anywhere at all. And if I hadn’t gotten my current job, I would have…but apparently it seems to be in the cards that I stay, at least for now. And even though my grad program isn’t quite what I thought it would be, I have learned a lot (mostly about myself, which I guess is why they call it Consciousness and Transformative Studies). I’m still not sure if I will finish it, but I’m taking it one quarter at a time…

Even with my job, I couldn’t sustain life in the Bay area, so I moved to Sacramento and am definitely much happier there, even with the commute. I really don’ t mind the drive, but for me an hour commute isn’t terrible…(in Chicago, it usually takes about a half hour to get anywhere anyway so I’m used to that). I’ve noticed that most people seem to love San Francisco and the Bay area. I am not one of them. They’re definitely great places to visit, but not places I want to live…(SF = expensive tiny apartments, multiple roommates…I like my privacy too much, even Oakland and Berkeley are not much better); so now I have my own studio apartment in Sacramento and I feel much more at home :). It’s more suburban than I’m used to, and I may move to midtown when my lease ends, but my rent is affordable and no roommates (Yay!)

So I made another vow; to stop focusing on the problems in my life and know that everything will be okay. I have food to eat, a place to live, a job…that’s all I really need. Every problem, I think, has a solution and life is about finding them. The solution may not be obvious and you may have to be creative, but it’s there.

A couple of months ago, I started a full time temporary day job thinking it could be a solution. Because, although my rent is now affordable, my total expenses have not decreased much (the law of conservation of expenses has converted it into gas for my commute). Well it definitely helped, but not in the way I had hoped. I worked there for a week and a half before I quit. I found that I could not work a full time day job, part time (30 hour/week) night job and go to school. The work was boring, tedious, and I was so exhausted I could barely function. But in that week and a half, I learned something. It was because I hated it so much, that it made me realize everything I love about my current job (never having to set alarms and wake up early, not having supervisors monitoring my every move,  having free time during the day…)  It made the negatives mere annoyances (non-compete clause, ten hour shifts (as opposed to twelve), etc.). It helped me truly understand that I am lucky to have a job, especially one that I enjoy and that allows me to go to school. And I am definitely grateful, because a lot of the people I worked with there don’t have the luxury to quit.

So now I look forward to going to work (I work as a sleep tech). And I started taking math classes at another school as well during my free time during the day. I’m currently taking a Linear Algebra class (which is where I quit math as an undergrad) here’s to hoping I can get through it this time around…first math class I have ever had difficulty with and I took Calculus through Differential Equations…conceptually I love it (vector spaces, etc.) but I can’t seem to finish the exams… This summer, I’m taking Discrete Structures and a few courses in my other grad program probably on psychology of consciousness and starting my research project. I’m also working on writing a sort of fictional memoir as well as  starting a science literary project and preparing to apply for PhD programs… I think I have finally figured out that I am a philosopher after all and am looking into programs in Philosophy of Science (neuroscience, physics, cognitive science, etc.) because I love to think about this stuff… (and if I got to do that all day, it wouldn’t be work).

A few weeks ago, I attended a conference on consciousness in Tucson, which was very interesting…I will post my thoughts on that very soon… So until next time…

Latasha Monique


Why I am Studying Dreams

This is to all of you who are wondering, and as a reminder to myself: This is my personal statement for the Consciousness Studies program at JFK University…

To dream the impossible dream, that is my quest.  

– Don Quixote


The mysteries of the world have long fascinated me. Ever since I was very young, I have been fascinated by questions of why things are the way they are; why I exist; who I am; why am I the way I am; and who is this person inside my body; is the place I visit in my dreams real? What about the characters I read about in books?   I remember feeling this strange incredulity that I am actually alive, a part of this world, and that one day I would die. Like it was some cruel joke to be thrown into this world about which we actually know very little; and forced to make our way through this thing called life knowing all the while that we will die, but still not knowing exactly what that is.  My quest is to learn as much as possible, my dream is to understand my world. 
There are many worlds in which we live; there’s the one that we see as our main reality, the one while we are awake; there’s the one we visit at night while we sleep; there’s the one we create for ourselves as seen through the lens of our thoughts and experiences; there’s also the worlds that are created by others around us in which we simply play a supporting role.

In the world that I have created for myself, I consider myself a creative, artistic, curious person who is interested in philosophical and scientific inquiry as a means to understand the world. I have always immersed myself in books; learning as much as I could, exploring different worlds, all in my quest to understand as much as I can.
My quest has taken me down many roads…I began with psychology because I wanted to learn about behavior and why we do the things we do, but I realized that although it’s interesting, I didn’t want to be a psychologist. I studied international relations because of my love of traveling and languages, but found it wasn’t challenging enough. After reading a book that combined fiction with quantum physics, I pursued my newly rekindled interest in physics and, after obtaining a job in a biology lab, began to study that as well. My undergraduate degree is in Unified Science (a field that combines biology, chemistry and physics). I have taken courses in molecular and cell biology, organic chemistry, biochemistry, microbiology, modern physics, differential equations, neuro-engineering, physiological psychology, cancer biology, epistemology, metaphysics, critical reasoning, philosophy of science, various other science courses and some French and Russian language courses.

I worked in biology research for a while studying the Epstein-Barr virus, Kaposi’s Sarcoma related Herpes virus, HIV, antibody treatments for cancer, & the tropical disease Schistosomiasis. I have performed experiments which have been included in multiple publications on which I am listed as co-author, and one in which I am first author.

I have found all of the research that I have done interesting, and it is all a part of my quest for knowledge. Most recently I have worked as a sleep technician in a clinical and research capacity; in which I perform sleep studies as a diagnostic assessment and treatment for people with sleep disorders and as part of various research studies.
The state of consciousness known as sleep has become very interesting to me. I started in this field due to a long lost interest in neuroscience and the brain. A few years ago, I decided to pursue this interest and took a course to learn about sleep and sleep disorders, became a sleep technician and have been working in this field ever since.  And while I enjoy it and have learned a lot about sleep, it is not exactly the route that I want to take. Most of the research in sleep that I am involved in as a sleep tech is related to breathing related sleep disorders, such as sleep apnea, whereas my interests lie more in the realm of REM sleep, and dreams (especially lucid dreams).

At night, we close our eyes; we sleep; we dream, then wake up to a new day.

The world of dreams can seem strange and impossible when viewed through the lens of what is our waking reality; but in relation to itself, anything is possible and even normal. I have had a few very strange ones: ones in which I have traveled back in time and met younger versions of people I know now; or gone into the future to see future versions of them. I have traveled to China, and Italy, been able to fly, visited a land in which water was a suitable surface on which to walk, driven on roller-coaster highways, been a pirate, been shot and killed, etc. And each felt as real as if it had actually happened. It sometimes feels as if it is one place, as if I have been there before; and I can only remember previous dreams in detail when I am dreaming…
I want to know more, I want to know what it all means.
I am interested in the current theories on consciousness, the scientific study of consciousness, various states of consciousness, e.g., waking, dreaming (REM sleep), Non-REM sleep, hallucinations, coma, and other altered states of consciousness, including those present in various psychological disorders. I am also very interested in lucid dreaming, time travel through dreams as well as dream therapy. I want to know why we dream and what it means; as in what is a dream really? Is it a real place? It seems as real as anything else while we’re in it. Or could we all just be characters in someone else’s dream while living our own reality? These are just some of the questions I have and would like to explore. I think that the program in Consciousness and Transformative studies and especially the Dream Studies concentration can help me move forward on my quest to understand my world.

Not only am I interested in the various states of consciousness, I am interested in the spaces between those states, such as when people transition between various stages of sleep, or the state in between being asleep and being awake. As well as various ideas of reality. Take, for example, a person with schizophrenia; their idea of reality is probably very different from someone without schizophrenia.  Does that make either reality any less real? What is it about our consciousness that creates our world? These and other questions are ones that I would like to explore.

The mysteries of the brain are fascinating to me. I want to know how it is possible that most dreams feel as real as when you’re awake? And if they feel real and our experience of them is real, what is it that makes it not real? Dreams have always been a fascination of mine; along with consciousness, behavior and what it means to be alive or dead. Questions of why and how we exist have long been of interest to me. I hope to learn more about these topics and one day develop my own view of what all of this means.

A couple of my favorite movies, Waking Life, and Inception, have posed some interesting questions. The first of which tells the story of a boy who is dreaming and has various dream conversations but can’t seem to ever wake up. The second poses the idea of shared dreaming and the ability stealing or implanting ideas through dreams. I don’t know if any of that is possible, but I would like to learn more and contribute to the scientific study of dreams.

I have always loved school and have wanted to return to for a while, but have had difficulty in finding the right program. I feel that this program would give me a good foundation to pursue my interests and contribute to future developments in consciousness research. I have always had an interest in consciousness, but never saw it as a practical venture. I just know that I want to study it and learn more and I have finally found the courage to follow my dreams; to take that risk and do exactly what I want to do without knowing exactly what the future will hold. I am very excited to take this next step along my journey and about learn what I can about the study of consciousness and dreams.


Various Thoughts on Being Human Conference

culture is the shared interpretation of information.
what if no one person exists
all aspects of the mind of god
all parts of the hologram that contains the whole in each
one aspect of the whole,
we surround ourselves with ‘people’ who are similar to us, who share the same worldview, who interpret the world in a similar way to us
what if there are no people, there is no one else
maybe the purpose is creativity, to create our world
i think therefore i am – i cannot be sure about you
how do i know that you really exist, that you share my world
that you are not just in my mind
a trick, an illusion
how do i know if i see you as you really are
or is what i see only a projection, my interpretation of the information of you


I open my eyes

to emptiness

searching for pieces of me

lost long ago

and close them

to return

to the only place

that makes sense