Last night I woke up at 12:52 a.m. I know the precise time, because I checked the clock on my way to the bathroom. I’m not sure what woke me, but as I opened my eyes I remembered the image I’d had. My mind was sorting silverware. I can’t call it a dream, because it was mechanical without a script or actors. My first analytical thought deduced my brain was simply taking a break from the challenging 24/7 job it holds in my head. It knew it couldn’t shut down, but it needed a rest. So, it created a repetitive banal picture. Maybe this is something my mind does on a regular basis, but it is the first time I consciously experienced it.
My dreams have always been vivid. I dream in color, sometimes lucidly, and often wake to find I can’t quite put into words what I saw during the night. I’ve dreamed full-length movies that if only I could write them, I might be an Oscar winner. Generally, my dreams focus on one of the following: attacks ( PTSD), school (taught for 23 years), drama (extracurricular adviser), hometown (always dark and frightening), water/nature (the best). It’s no wonder my brain was sorting silverware; it needed a mindless task to recuperate!
And, that is my point. The most complex part of our anatomy needs rest, and so does our body. We live in a world that bombards us with information and the belief we need to continually be doing something. We ignore our exhaustion as long as we can, as long as we are able to keep the pace we have set for ourselves. We fill every minute with a litany of tasks, some necessary others pleasurable.
On any given day I might rise at 7:00 a.m., hit the trail for an hour walk or head to the gym, run errands, clean the bathroom, shower, throw in a load of laundry, meet friends for lunch, grocery shop, prepare dinner, phone family members, pay bills, catch up on some writing for my writing group, spend some quality time snuggling with my dogs (and husband), and fall asleep reading a book for one of my book clubs. Add to these commitments extras that seem to come my way every day, because the truth is if you ask me to do something that helps or brings happiness to someone, I’m going to enthusiastically say yes.
Don’t get me wrong. I am happy I am involved in many activities I love and have the ability to meet the demands of daily living. I am blessed to have a family who enjoys communicating with one another. I am grateful for my friends near and far. Of course, my pups are the best dogs in the world (as are everyone’s everywhere). I love my husband and spending time with him above all else. But, lately I don’t have time to think. I can’t remember the last time I rose in the morning with a day that is a blank slate ahead of me. So, I need the equivalent of my brain sorting silverware–a pajama day with a good dose of Netflix. Accepting we need a time out may not be as difficult as we imagine it to be; we just need to admit that it’s okay to slow down and rest when we find our stamina, or our spirits, depleted.
Although my brain had been twiddling its thumbs while I was sleeping last night, the minute I woke up it was all hands on deck. First, I tried to make sense of the silverware sorting (hence this blog) which took a lot longer than you might think. Then, my thoughts traveled from Who will win the Iron Throne? Daenerys? Jon Snow a.k.a. Aegon Targaryen? The Night King? Drogon? Rhaegal? NO ONE?” to Which project should we tackle first? New deck? New Floor? Reface the fireplace? Driveway? No answers here, time to move on. to Forget home improvements! What about that trip to Australia?!
The last time I looked at the clock it was nearing 3:30 a.m. I guess that little respite my brain indulged itself in was as refreshing as a rainy day nap on the sofa. It was full of ideas and energy. About that time I got the message. As I drifted off I thought, Take some deep breaths and rest. The next thing I knew it was 7:00 a.m. and my alarm was buzzing.