Something about Stillness 

When my nails are wet I struggle to find the patience to sit still long enough for them to dry.  Suddenly things involving my hands are very important, like adjusting the waist band of my pants to hold in my fupa, or rearranging the contents of the refrigerator so I don’t forget to eat something before it goes bad the next day.  There is always one finger that I have to paint over and over again, despite my greatest efforts to only grab things with the palms of my hands, fingers stretched out straight.  I just can’t sit still.

When I lie in bed at night, I wriggle and fidget and scratch.  Some nights are worse than others, and I am overcome by an all over itch.  It pricks me in one spot, and then another.  Scratching to satisfy the itch only sends it somewhere else. Lower legs, middle back, left eyebrow, back of the head.  It’s as if my brain is playing Simon with my body, lighting up the spots for me to get to next.  Some nights are worse than others, and I know I am in for a long battle before sleep finally comes.

What is this restlessness?  Is it possible that my mind cannot find stillness and my body therefore suffers?  Lately I have started using an app on my phone to guide me into sleep.  I’ve never really spent much time meditating before, and the silly feeling creeps in that I might be doing something wrong.  Growing up I had the same question about prayer.  How did people know what to do?  What to say?  It was not a thing I was taught to do, or that was expected of me, and so I never developed it as a habit or a practice.

But practice is what they call it when you meditate.  I am practicing the quieting of my mind.  I am practicing the strengthening of the link between my mind and body.  “Shut up” I say.  I know that’s not the greatest mantra, but it’s all I can think of, and like with prayer, I never learned how to do this.  I know when I practice yoga, I feel it.  With movement and breath I feel it.  But something about stillness prevents me from finding peace. My mind becomes defiant, battling the quiet with obsessive and circular thoughts; my brain sends signals to my body that cause me to tear at my own skin with my nails until it hurts.  To the point where I find myself at 9 pm, 10 pm, 11 pm looking for something else to do to avoid the painful struggle that is falling asleep.

Maybe I should work out more.  Physical exhaustion to slow down the mind.  Maybe I need to get back on the wagon of eating clean again.  Maybe I should cool it with the self help and career advice books that do more harm than good.  I am constantly stressed that I’m not happy enough, I’m not hustling enough, I’m not picky enough about how I use my time.  Depending on where I look, I can find a reason why I am not enough, and it is wearing me down to the point where I can’t stop thinking about it and can’t sleep.  I need to figure out how to rid myself of the tendency to overthink literally everything.  But maybe I won’t try too too hard to figure it out.  Maybe that’s the ticket.

Black and White

I’ve moved my sleeping spot from my bed to the couch to the floor back to the couch.  I finished my book.  I did the measured breathing.  I listened to my meditation timer.  I lay awake in the darkness, listening to the hum of the air conditioner.

And every time I feel myself about to drift off, the itching begins and then I’m wide awake in an instant.  I read that the itching is a test your brain sends to your body to check if you’re really ready to sleep, and if you can ignore the signals and allow your consciousness to slip away, you can lucid dream – since you’ve now mastered the art of controlling your mind.  I don’t know if it’s true, as I can’t ignore it and it keeps me up instead.

And so, another sleepless night ending in a 5 am Pinterest hole.  Today’s theme: Black and White.

 

Dreamy Textures

Summer is (almost) officially here, and with that comes my dreaded battle with insomnia.  I have always had a hard time sleeping once the weather gets hot – regardless of how cool my bedroom stays.  Maybe it has something to do with the extended daylight hours upsetting my circadian rhythm, but I’m walking around these days in a hazy state, unsure if I have a headache or just need more sleep.

These last few weeks have been so crazy for me, with family in town leading up to the wedding, the wedding, and our “mini moon” trip to Michigan.  We had so much going on I was running on fumes for days.  And now, we’re back to reality, doing all of our follow-up tasks.

The other night I was up at 2 a.m. going nuts on Pinterest, lost in a zombie zone of Colors//Patterns//Textures.  Last night, as I squeezed my eyes shut under my eyemask, I felt myself finally drifting off, watching the same images play over and over again inside my eyelids.  A few of my favorites are below.

It’s funny how without consciously trying to, my mind will seek out patterns and themes. Grays & Pinks always make a nice color palette!

Does anyone have tricks on falling and staying asleep?  Breathing exercises, yoga poses, I’ll try anything!