Monday, December 13, 2010

A Season of Hope

Today, it’s 1°C outside. The snow that had fallen last week has been almost completely washed away by the rain. The ski slopes that had opened last Friday are already closed. In a way, it’s like being held hostage between two seasons — fall and winter —and caught in the middle, I’m unsure of my footing.

Perhaps that uncertainty has more to do with the fact that I’m still not sleeping well. Last night I was in bed by 10:30, but I woke up at 2:24, 3:36, 4:47 and then awoke, panicked, when my alarm sounded at 5:15. My body felt heavy, as did my head, and although I was tempted to reset the alarm, I dragged myself out of bed and started my day.

I have not had a good night’s sleep since early October (when my mother passed away). Despite working with my family doctor, and other health professionals, to regulate the problem, nights like the one described above occur often. Almost daily. There is, however, something “empowering” about the lack of sleep. Because I’m tired of being tired, because I lack energy (like there’s a Mack truck parked on my chest) and motivation, I have become focused. I have to choose wisely how to use the energy that I do have. The result? I’ve finished a new series of paintings. I’m working daily on a rewrite of a manuscript. I’ve written a new song. But most importantly of all, I have learned to rest. Saturday, for example, late in the afternoon, I drew myself a bath (something I rarely do), lit a couple of candles and relaxed for forty-five minutes. I spent most of Sunday afternoon watching movies and wrapped up in my lover’s arms. Ah … the importance of rest.

While I hate to use the word, this “insomnia” is forcing me to not only choose what I do and when, it’s helping me to focus on what’s important, on what matters most. I am in a period of self-reflection. Am I on the right path? Is this where I want to be? And if not, where is it that I want to be and how do I get there?

I try to keep everything in perspective (one shouldn’t make rash decisions when sleep-deprived), but it’s important for me to have this dialogue, to ask such questions, as I continue on this journey. That is my hope, and as Barbara Kingsolver reminds us, “The very least you can do in your life is to figure out what you hope for. And the most you can do is live inside that hope. Not admire it from a distance but live right in it, under its roof.”

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