Perhaps I was still awake because I had not spent enough time the last few days doing the breath practice, which was the assignment for a group I attend. If I had done so, I suspect I would have felt more relaxed, more able to let my body's needs take over. It's not that I haven't done the practice of gentle inhaling and exhaling--how simple is that?--during the two weeks since our first class. In fact, I have stopped and paused periodically during the day and intentionally and deeply inhaled and exhaled. I have done this during rest periods. I have done this before turning out the light at night, but not first thing in the morning, for once I am up and to the bathroom, the day seems to thrust me forward. I am certain I have not done the practice for chunks of 5 minutes or more as suggested by our facilitator, but I have closed my eyes and honored my body's ability to breathe. I have noticed that often my exhaling breath is raggedy and uneven and short, but the inhale amazes me with its capacity. What I have not done is set aside time, the same time every day, for this practice, and I must admit, I wonder what that resistance is all about. I know the value of meditating, of centering prayer, of following the breath. I encourage others in the practice and have adhered to the practice myself in the past, but right now I am not walking the walk. Why is it we know what would be the wise and healthy and loving thing to do for ourselves, but we don't do it? Is that why I have had trouble sleeping lately?
Perhaps it is because I feel on the brink. Am I ready to return or restart or renew or venture forth to something new? Am I ready to add in and awaken to new passion and purpose? My night time body seems to say, "yes," but my daytime body in need of more healing time does not agree.
When I am not able to sleep, I know it is better to get up and read or write, and so last night at 12:30, I climbed the stairs to my garret office, sat at my desk, and jotted down thoughts for this post. Then I sat in my comfortable chair with my hands open on my lap and gently inhaled and exhaled, feeling the breeze breathing through the open window. I wondered about the light I saw in a second floor window in the house across the alley. Does she always leave it on or was she also having a sleepless night? Maybe we will compare notes some day. Eventually, I knew it was time to give sleep a chance again and I hoped I wouldn't disturb my husband as I crawled back into bed. Maybe tonight will be better.
What do you do on sleepless nights? What thoughts rumble around in you as you wait for sleep to take over? I would love to know.