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Monday, October 3,2011

Sleepless

By Jonna Shutowick. M.S. Ed.  
A sleepless night can be a blessing. I am not sure why my body suddenly becomes restless now at three a.m. but I would bet it has something to do with age. And with a restless body comes a restless mind. At least a few times a week I find myself staring at the ceiling deciding whether I should fight it and try to go back to sleep or give in and get up. The urge to fight it is more pressing during the week due to anxiety about being tired for work the next day. But I find that when I relent and climb out of bed, I usually do not regret it. It seems my body is busy with some sort of energy that needs to be dealt with, so I am riding the changing tide and am discovering I like where it takes me.

Profound insights from a deep and honest place inside of me come to the surface. Things I grapple with in the light of day become crystal clear. Maybe I am just too busy during the day to allow all the parts of myself to flourish that they wake me up at night to say, “Ok, now it’s our time. Let’s play!” Of course, these bright spots only come when I completely surrender. No negative little voice whispering about how tired I am going to be the next day or clock watching. I have to just get up, make some herbal tea, and do whatever comes to mind.

Sometimes it is meditation, which is actually quite relaxing and usually helps in not being so tired the next day. But that is not always what my late night self wants, so it cannot be forced. I try to listen. Sometimes I write (like now), sometimes I read, sometimes I watch T.V. I’ve made very important, sometimes life altering, decisions during this time that were somehow too overwhelming to deal with in the light of day. I’ve been surprisingly creative in this peaceful solitude. Poetry has, on some occasions, written itself. I’ve even become aware of some things that maybe I wish I were not aware of, but really, what good does denial do any of us? My inner, wiser self gently taps me on the shoulder during these nightly sojourns and whispers answers that are inaudible in the light of an active day.

I have found that when I stop fighting with any notion that I am supposed to be asleep and allow whatever will be to be, I am at peace. It is not always a gold mine. Let’s face it, sometimes it is back-toback reruns of Friends, but I find that the less I fight it, the easier it is to eventually get back into bed and fall asleep.

So the next time you find yourself sleepless wherever you are, might I encourage you to listen to yourself and be open to what you hear.

 

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