Coming out of Hurricane Sandy, I was very contemplative about sleep versus rest. We got alot of sleep the past few weeks. And yet….we were still so tired. But sleep doesn’t always equal rest, is what I have learned. Sleep is a good starting place, when you find yourself worn out, tired, fatigued. Especially in the middle of a disaster and recovery situation. Listen, when you have no power — and the sun goes down — and the cold starts to set in — you drink a few cups of tea, play a round or two of WhooNuit with a flashlight, and when the fireplace logs burn out —- you run upstairs and climb under the covers. It’s bed time! Who cares if it’s only 8:00pm, the clocks don’t work anyway!
But I’ve kinda got a reputation, of sorts. Even before Sandy, my kids would bust on me about how I go to bed at 630p. NO! I don’t! They are exaggerating, Stop believing them and making it worse!! But I will admit, it’s customary for me to fall asleep in bed watching some show. Some nights I make it to 9pm, most nights not. Hey, I get up really really early. I’m running ALOT. I commute crazy distances to work. Life is hard right now. And I’m tired.
The weird thing about it is — even with lots and lots of sleep — I still seemed tired. Oh, I’ve had the annual physical, the blood work, I take a daily iron supplement. I’m doing what I should — not ignoring some sleeping illness. I’m just T.I.R.E.D. all the time.
So a few weeks ago, before Hurricane Sandy blew us away — I received an email from the Chopra Center. It was an invitation to a free 21 day meditation challenge. I had signed up for one of these before last summer, but never made the time to do it. Just like last time, it caught my attention. Somewhere inside my spirit, I feel I need to learn to meditate. I had heard great things over the years — yea, maybe mostly from Oprah — about how much meditation can be a stress-reliever. And I am stressed. Stress is at the center of my insomnia, at the center of my binge eating, at the center of my need for rest. So – I signed up, and anxiously awaited the start on November 5th.
Then Sandy blew through and blew away our heat and electricity. For 8 days. UGH!
Luckily, power came back that Sunday — and on Monday — I faced the challenge of trying to settle myself down, to enable myself to be STILL long enough to participate in a 15 minute session. The first few sessions were HARD. I’m not going to lie. I’m not one who can sit still for very long. Over the years, I’ve even lost my ability to be still enough to throw myself into a good book. Once I realized that, I declared ENOUGH! That’s it. I need to reclaim my STILLNESS. I need to reclaim my ATTENTION SPAN. I want my QUIET TIME BACK!
Well, I’m into this meditation thing about 10 days now. The biggest realization is just how much I am enjoying it. Oh, it’s still hard. I cling to the Sanskrit mantras he offers, so as to drive away the whirly twirly thoughts that are flying through my head. But I’m convinced that my mind will settle down. Heck, it’s a skill, like any other, and I have to train my mind to relax, to enjoy stillness, to be quiet, and be okay with it.
About Day 8, a couple of puzzle pieces fell into place. I woke up on Monday morning, went for my run, got showered and dressed for work, ran for the bus, headed to NY, worked all day….whew……yea. but it was then that I realized, WOW, I feel really amazing. I feel rested. I feel really rested. 8 days isn’t enough for me to declare any Scientific Conclusions, BUT…..I will say that I think it is my Mind that is tired, rather than my body. My body has been soaking in the sleep, but my mind has become weary of the burdens it carries. Work, running, home life, the hurricane, bills, the roof, etc etc etc. My mind wanted a rest. My mind needed something.
For right now — I’m sticking with the Chopra Center Challenge. It’s about finding abundance in your life. The music is lovely, Deepak’s voice is very soothing, the concepts are thought-provoking, and it fits my thirsty soul’s desire for understanding. I have 11 more days to go, and I’m loving how I feel.
Be sure to find moments of true rest, my friends. It’s all part of taking care of yourself — Mind, Body and Spirit.
Ciao for now……Diane