I have STRUGGLED with insomnia for as long as I can remember. Last night I didn’t sleep at all. With work and homework due this week, I was more than agitated this morning.
In a way that was very unlike me, I paused before pushing on in my grouchy way for the rest of the day.
I decided to not throw the day down the drain preemptively. I opened to the possibility that the day could turn out numerous ways. I decided to try to be with my exhaustion in a different way.
Writing about befriending my insomnia gave me a nauseous feeling. If I hadn’t slept in a week and I read that sentence on someone’s blog, I would roll my eyes and stop reading. But what did I have to lose?
The day moved on and I jumped into my homework. It was slow. I was spacey. I wasn’t capable of getting through much of it at my usual pace. I could only focus on one thing at a time. I just didn’t have the brain capacity to multitask. I couldn’t think about anything in the future that was not the sentence I was reading at the moment.
When I was at the bank, I didn’t get agitated when it took much longer than planned. I was too tired to put any energy into agitation. The customer service rep even told me she enjoyed talking with me because I was easy going. I didn’t tell her my secret that a part of my easy going demeanor was actually my exhaustion.
When I was making dinner, I couldn’t use the time to plan for the next day because my mind only had space for the task at hand.
I couldn’t even clean up while I was on the phone. It hit me that my attention was on one thing at a time all day.
Here is where my practice comes in…
I study and teach Shamatha or mindfulness meditation. It’s an ancient practice that involves noticing when our awareness is on the present moment and then cultivating that awareness. I started meditating because I wanted to be more awake and aware of the moments in my life. I wanted to see my habitual patterns and maybe choose new ones.
A sleepless night: A perfect time to practice.
I was much more physically tired today than I was yesterday. But in the way I described above, today, I was more awake.
I did not get as much done today as I usually do. I moved slowly from one moment to the next. I lightened up on myself and others because I just didn’t have the energy not to.
I enjoyed my day, even with my exhaustion.
I don’t know if I will be open to this experience the next time I don’t sleep. But that doesn’t matter. What does matter is in this moment, I am.