At night I go to sleep. In the morning I wake up. Between those two, there are innumerable mini-wake-ups. I go to the bathroom. I come back to bed. Sleep doesn’t overtake me, or perhaps I don’t have the patience to just lay there waiting, as if for a gift. And so I turn on the radio. I listen to news and interview shows from the BBC, which is what the public radio station here plays from midnight to five am (which is a half-hour before my it-really-is-time-to-wake-up time). You would think that I would use my time constructively—clean, knit, read, eat—but I don’t. I lay listening, waiting, hoping for sleep to take me away from learning more about the drama that encompasses so many people’s lives.
There is no night’s sleep for me; it is a series of naps within the night. I wonder what impact this has on me? It’s exhausting thinking that there is always something I could be doing with my time and it’s exhausting always learning new things. And it’s exhausting not getting a stop-to-start sleep because I have always needed a full night’s sleep. I have always been envious of those “I just need a few hours of sleep” people.
It’s not even that I have concerns and stresses and anxieties that are keeping me turning from side to side to side to back to side looking for the magic position in the night. Sure, I had plenty of drama a few years ago, and that may be what has permanently disabled my sleepscape, but I don’t now. Now I have a life that flows as a backyard stream, it’s touched and touching, and keeps on going, inevitably, around rocks and down little rapids, and even calms in the pools that develop behind fallen branches before the rush—onward, forward.
So why can’t I sleep? Maybe I’m never tired enough? Maybe I should succumb to the quiet of my mind rather than seek company in the night. Am I getting too many words in my life? Since I teach, I’m talking all day long. And when I’m not talking, I’m reading and writing lessons, and grading. And when I’m not so involved, I’m listening to radio, listening to talk radio or music where my focus is always on the lyrics. And when I finally have enough, I watch TV, but my partner and I always discuss and debate the drama of the cooking or house hunting show we are watching. So there are always words percolating; there are always thoughts developing and responses formulating. Is the problem, not the lack of bladder control, but the lack of thought control? Does my mind really need to be still, or as still as I can make it, to find the atmosphere I need in order to sleep from ten to five-thirty? Maybe I should practice some form of meditation in bed—force my mind into the off position.
Yes, I think I will try that. I will give myself “me time” in bed. (And no, I don’t mean that kind of me time.) Is the problem that I don’t give myself time for me? Or is it that those words are always directed outward or are from beyond the self. They come in invited, surely, but has it become too much of an invasion rather than an interaction, or maybe the notion of continual interaction is too much for me. Where am I, my core, if I am always focused on beyond the cells of self? Have I given myself up to constantly joining and creating a flow of ideas and thoughts rather than occasionally casting myself onto a smooth, sun-dried rock from where I can be still and meaningful because I simply am?
Bask, I need to bask in bed. Bask to the beauty of being, whatever that means intuitively because I will not seek to analyze those moments. In the still small moments of night, I will be as dark matter, there and not there.