Those who wake at this hour feel a lonely separation from everyone but night birds and ghost crabs, never imagining the legion of kindred souls scattered in the darkness, who stare at ceilings and pace floors and look out windows and covet and worry and mourn.Kathy Hepinstall
I could have titled this post Wide Awake at 11pm.
Or 12 am. Or 1.
But I’m writing this draft now, at 2am. Because what else can I do? It’s been one of those nights.
I got to sleep just fine, and early, but then I found myself wide awake just after 11.
When I woke, I thought if I just lay quietly in my bed I would get sleepy again and doze off, but no. My head is filled with busy thoughts and worries. My body is full of aches and unnerving pains. I am worried about friends in dire situations, and I am grieving a deception that runs deep and long and where I gave the person ample opportunity to fix things, and they didn’t.
My mind races with all of the ways I may be able to help those in difficult situations. And it stands useless at the edge of the many things over which I have no control.
The friend who deceived me and who has left me in a really difficult situation? I could take legal action to resolve things so that justice was done, but in doing so I would inflict hardship on innocent parties. Children so often pay the price of a parent’s poor choices. So, I can’t do that, because it goes against everything I stand for, although I am urged to do so by others. And the person at the heart of this issue? I worry about them too, because I know they are not in a good place, and haven’t been for a long time, and I wish there was a way to help them except that they are beyond the kind of help I can give.
And behind all of that, so quiet but ever-present, is concern for my current health.
These worries keep playing out in my mind.
Still, I know from long experience that late night worrying does nothing to make the day ahead any better.
While I have been lying here it has rained. The sweet smell of the earth is comforting. Bats have flown overhead, and fed on the berries outside my back window. Frogs are clicking and croaking and the house geckos are calling to one another.
Down in the forest the trees are drinking in the starlight, talking amongst themselves, and feeling companionable with the critters that are resting in their branches, their holes, their roots. It’s a community that goes on, despite the worries in my head or the goings-on of the wider world.
Far off, I can hear the roar of surf.
My head is still filled with busyness but the thoughts are less loud. My poor old heart is less poundy, although it still feels uncomfortably large in my chest. I remember a time when I did not notice my internal organs. When my heart did its thing without my conscious awareness and where I did not feel its tightness within my chest when I roll over in bed or take a deep breath, when I could not feel the architecture of my left hip, or the wiring of my left eyeball, when my bladder was not a burning aching balloon in the bottom of my pelvis. But I am used to physical discomfort. I can ignore most of it, and let the rest fade to background music. I do that by leaving my body. And tonight, with a head full of worries and a body full of pain, that seems like my best option.
I find my bottle of Ylang-Ylang (so good for anxiety!) in the dark, and apply some to my wrists, behind my ears, and over my heart. Then I close my eyes and think of the places I might go in my head.
I am imagining the pond where the frogs are croaking. In my mind I am wandering through the night garden, and through the back gate into the forest. I hear the distinctive crash of a palm frond falling, and my skin is touched by a gentle breeze that has begun to stir.
The sky is lit with a tracery of stars, and the moon is dark, but I know the forest tracks, and the paths through my own garden, and anyway, I am still in my bed. Only my awareness is somewhere else.
Hopefully this walk will tire me out, so that I can fall asleep before dawn.
Every imaginary step I take soothes me.
A soft rain has begun to fall once more, and the star-bright sky is clouding over. The temperature drops suddenly, and I reach for a blanket to snuggle beneath as lightning flashes across the sky.
And just like that my worries evaporate. Everything rights itself in the end, I remind myself, and I am not responsible for anyone’s journey but my own.
I feel myself slowing. Perhaps sleep can still find me.
I remain hopeful.
Much love, Nicole xx
PS – Yes! Another hour of sleep before I woke up again. Not much, but enough to get started on my day, and I will nap when I get tired. That’s my plan, and it’s a decent one. No point worrying about not having slept. Better just to rest when I can’t go on. It’s pouring rain again, so Ben and I will secure the house, and draw up the drawbridge, and make ourselves comfortable and wait this weather out.
PSS – Don’t forget – I have an excellent sale on Ylang-Ylang oil, and the last copies of my Journeymaker’s Planner hard copy and digital copy over in my ETSY Store. Details here.