Sleep has been escaping me lately. My body doesn’t seem to understand that the hours between 2:00 a.m. and 5:00 a.m. are meant for sleep. Currently, it thinks they are for staring at the back of my eyelids, reading, watching television, doing dishes, and otherwise thinking about the one thing I want most right now. Last night, in my wide-awake state, I noticed that my children were oddly quiet during those hours. I think even they feel compassion for my lack of sleep right now.
So what’s going on? I’m training lots. I’m eating well. I’m not stressing about work. I’m in the comfort of my own space. So what’s the problem?
To answer that question, I started thinking about the last times that I slept especially well. Most recently, I crashed hard the night after running Hood to Coast. I slept so hard that my right eye crusted shut. It was wonderful, but I’m not about to stay up all night and run in an effort to get one good night’s sleep. Before that, I think the last time I slept easily and well was last December on Whidbey Island where I did a Peerspirit writing workshop called “The Self as the Source of the Story.” Each night, I went to bed relatively early, usually before 10, and I woke with ease around 5 in the morning without even needing an alarm. The one morning that I “slept in” was the morning that we had the entire day to write on our own in silence. I think I was a little intimidated to start that effort.
I slept well on Whidbey Island because I was spending day and night doing things that meant everything to me. I went for walks, read, spent days in sessions with women I adore, and wrote. That was it. It was simple on the outside, though I was struggling with and writing about things that were anything but simple for me on the inside. What that tells me is that I don’t need things to be easy, but I do need them to be meaningful.
My big boss at a law firm where I sometimes work likes to say that there are three choices every person needs to make: who you love, what you do, and what community you live in. According to him, some people only get one or maybe two of those right, and the people who experience the most satisfaction in life get all three of them right.
A year ago, I thought I had the love piece down. Now, I have an incredible community, and I’m mostly doing work I love. There hasn’t been a time when I had all three at the same time.
I want all three. I can’t control the love piece, and I think the community is, at least in part, something you build with the person you love, so, for me right now, that means focusing on the piece about what I do. That’s part of why I’ve been writing so much. Writing is definitely therapeutic for me, but it’s also what I love most, whether I’m writing in my journal, this blog, an essay, an article, or content for someone else’s business. I enjoy it with my whole heart.
I’m going to continue doing what I enjoy and trust that I eventually will find a person I can love with my whole heart who will love me and who will join me in building a community we can love together with our whole hearts.
I want a whole heart, and I think it feeling far away is what’s keeping me up at night. But I’m hopeful. With each passing day and each passing (sleepless) night, I’m more and more hopeful.