For the past couple years, insomnia has been the order of the day around here. I know that there are negative health effects caused by lack of sleep, however, I feel that I spent most of my life sleeping more than I needed, so it probably balances out.
Even in high school, I would come home, wherever that was at the time, and paint or draw for a bit and be in bed asleep by 8:30. In college, my schedule kept me busy from dawn until 9 or 10pm, but I always managed at least 8 hours of sleep each night. In adulthood, I have managed to sleep an average of 10 – 12 hours per night across 15 or so years, with the only exceptions being the first couple years here in Austin and the few weeks after my son was born. Even when I was in graduate school and working full time and taking care of Nate, I’m sure I still managed to get at least 8 hours of sleep every night. My understanding is that most people are not so fortunate, so I count my blessings.
While I am aware of some of the effects of my recent insomnia, I also feel that it has been a necessary experience for me to get what I need from my particular journey. That said, I think I may be at a turning point.
Last night, without cause, I slept long and hard and all the way into 10 am this morning. As I slept, I was aware that part of my brain would wake up and think it needed to wake me up, but something kept preventing that from happening, almost forcing me to stay asleep against my will, in a way.
I had an interesting dream while I was sleeping. It seemed I had accepted a job and was at my workplace, where our desks were situated near a river. I got the impression that my relationship with my coworkers was comfortable. It seemed like we were having a disagreement about something, but we remained congenial even behind our furrowed brows. It was ok to feel frustrated and to express disagreement. Nobody asked “Why are you so frustrated?” Nobody said “Calm down”, which to me, can never be said, or at least I cannot hear without also hearing condescension.
I left my workplace by the river and was driving home, when I dropped a photo. I think it was of a man with a baby or something. A police officer stopped me to tell me that the photo wasn’t exactly what I thought it was. He didn’t seem like a normal police officer and in the dream I had the sense that he was masquerading as such but was really there to serve as a guide to me.
He told me that I can do something different now. He said that it is time to shift my focus. Not because what I have been focusing on recently has been wrong or bad or stupid, (in fact it has been very necessary), but because I have already completed this part of my experience and I have all the information from it that I need to move on to the next part. “It’s time to focus on something new”, he said “You’re free to go.”
A thing that has been bothering me recently is that over the past year or so I have not felt like dancing or doing any moving meditation. If you know me, you are probably shocked reading that statement. You might even be thinking that had you known, you would have come to my aid. But not to worry, though it has certainly been uncomfortable for me, stillness is sometimes necessary, and I may not have been able to experience it without some measure of force from that which is bigger than me.
But today, for the first time in quite a while, I have been having a strong urge, just like I always have, to move and stretch my body. I don’t fully understand why that urge seemed to have left me for so long, or why it is back today, and I’m not sure what it was that seemed to have forced me to sleep to dream last night, but all of this is surely a notable part of my current experience. There will be time for deeper understanding later. For now, time to get a good long stretch in.