My Week: Sleep, Space, and Stillness

Last weekend was a bit of a whirlwind. I spent a lot of time with family, took a yoga class, worked, and traveled. I wasn’t terribly busy, but my time was fully occupied.

The week before had been very stressful at work. It wasn’t necessarily more stressful than usual, but it was challenging nonetheless. While I usually thrive when I am surrounded by multiple challenges, this past week was different.

By Sunday evening, I felt irritable, drained, and just overall icky. I went into the next week feeling depleted and exhausted. It was another difficult work week, and a bit more so than usual. I nearly fell asleep while out to dinner Friday evening. I stayed in bed with the cats a few extra hours on Saturday. Even going to yoga just seemed too stressful so I skipped it.

This experience has reminded me of the value of sleep, space, and stillness. These are three things that I need in sufficient quantity to function and to flourish.

Having been in school for the past three years, I spent a lot of time in isolation reading, reflecting, and writing. I unintentionally developed the discipline of making time for myself week after week. Now that I am not in school, I do not have the same impetus to remove myself to a quiet space for 10-20 hours each week.

Yet, I think that is why I have been doing so well emotionally over the past few years. Space and stillness are two things that I crave as a highly sensitive, introverted person. Sleep is equally important for my emotional balance and contentment.

Despite my respite from the demands of a structured educational program, I am going to intentionally continue to make time for myself every week, and every day, so that I can not only avoid feeling like crap again, but so that I can live a life full of peace and joy. I am going to allow myself the pleasure of sleeping, resting, and reflecting to my heart’s content.

Be the Rose

“If we could change ourselves, the tendencies in the world would also change.” – Gandhi

Just as we ought to be the change that we desire in the world, we should be the rose that others will want to stop and smell. Be still in the present moment and blossom. Grow your roots, soak up the water and sunshine. Feel the gentle breeze rustle through your leaves. Relax and connect in the quiet open space of unlimited possibilities. Appreciate your beauty and the intricacy of every delicate petal that is your conscience. Engage all of your senses and absorb the aromatic nuance of unconditional love.

Whisper

In the mid -1970s there was a perfume commercial in which a woman said, “if you want to get someone’s attention…whisper.” It always woke me up out of a sound sleep. The fragrant mist of mystery surrounding stillness is alluring. And it is unusual today, where in your face tactics seem to overwhelm the media landscape. Gentle whispers are all around us, but are too often drowned out by noise. Yet, it is from within this clutter that silent space is most needed, most comforting, and most welcome. Sometimes my absurd fear of being irrelevant makes me think it is best to scream when my true nature is to whisper. I will continue to whisper, and I hope it will someday lead to someone waking up or to something shaking up in the most peaceful way possible.