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August 20, 2022

From Trauma to Practice: A Revelation In Lucid Dreaming

In 2017 I reached a point in my life where things needed to change. You know that place. Whether it’s an unexpected pregnancy, losing a job, losing a loved one or perhaps, one day, you wake up and realize the big life you built for yourself doesn’t actually have you written into it.

Sure, you’re there, in your own life, but there’s no room for you in it. Welcome to Modern Womanhood. #feminism

In 2017 I fell in love with a handsome Frenchman, got pregnant, got dumped, had an abortion and my sister committed suicide. Really, she just died. I descended into Dante’s layers of hell. Fear, pain, guilt and hanging on so tightly that I became frozen.

When I hit bottom, I realized I was inside no longer outside of death, losing, but inside death and free.

Free to rebuild a new life where I was no longer an on-looker on the periphery. I was going to dream a life where I was the main character.

First I had to make my way out of the fog.

My San Francisco fog included popping marajuana candy like candy, drinking too often, seeing friends too little and exercising never.

I worked as an organizer. I mobilized people to vote. I trained people to train others, to vote (hey, only 50% of Americans vote), to make phone calls, and rally against a multinational billion dollar tobacco company Phllip Morris. We won. I had work. I had purpose. I was just miserable.

I knew something needed to change. Things were bad. Despair seemed like a step up. There was no way out. My family, friends and ex-boyfriend were decidedly not going to save me.

I picked up a book about Toltec lucid dreaming. I’m half Mexican and lived in Mexico.

The book, written by Sergio Magana, gave instructions for a breathwork practice. It was ancient, simple and involved dreaming.

Perhaps I should backtrack, and talk about Mexico. Mexico Lindo. I went to Chitzen Itza, Palenque, Tikal in Guatemala when Playa del Carmen was still a little town. Not the bustling metropolis you see now.

Not so long ago, twenty-five years. I was barely legal to drink and enjoyed my tacos and beer so much my best friend Renne Skye, an Iroquios woman from upstate New York asked me, “Do we have to stop at every single taco stand?” I love the New Yorkers.

We climbed the triangular moss-covered pyramid temples. We bribed a guard and slept on top of the Temple of the Moon in Tikal, Guatemala.

Renee Skye and I left soon after. A man in Houston airport called us, “Mountain biking, hiking, back-packer women!!”

I came back the next year alone and ready to discover something waiting inside.

I hitchhiked from South to North with my painter boyfriend Nahuum Savedra. We were looking for a Peyote shrine he visited the year before.

We found it. He ate the biggest peyote flower we found. It had 13 large buttons. I had a small five button flower.

I can’t remember if he screamed or not.

He ran away. Far into the desert he ran, until the sun hitting the sand took over his shadow.

In a moment of lucidity, I realized something. I was hot!

I saw a lone tree. I sat underneath it for hours. Fairly content. Tripping balls, uteri, todo.

All of a sudden, out of the heat and the emptiness and the monotonous beige of the Sonora Desert, I saw a cloud of dust heading towards me.

What could this dust cloud be? Or who? Was it a human running towards me? It was skinny, like a human. If so, should I prepare myself?

Was it a storm? The kind of storm one can’t see clearly while on Peyote?

The dust cloud got bigger and finally materialized as a horse. I was dumbstruck.

The horse said, “Wheee, whee, wheee, wheeee!”

Then ran away.

Many Peyote meetings, Aztec dances and Velaciones (songs sung all night in front of the animas or spirits) later, I began to practice Teomania.

Teomania is a daily breathwork practice. My teacher’s teacher, Xolotl Jose Luis Chavez, calls it our offering (“ofrenda”).

I began this daily offering of breath and my life changed. It changed in the way creativity changes your life.

It’s not dazzling or glamorous. It doesn’t pay your bills. Yet..  it makes you feel.

Feel in the best possible way. Feel in a way that is stabilizing. Feel in a way, where you are a seed, blossoming out from center. From margin to center.

Feel in a way, where you create dreams that come true. What could your subconscious hold for you?

Join me in one of two modules this September and October.

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Sheila Marie Hernandez  |  Contribution: 1,540