20 Feb How Waking In the Night Can Be Used for Good
I don’t remember the last time I slept through the entire night, from the moment my head hit the pillow until light streamed through the window.
We consider waking at night something to be avoided in our modern day.
Yet, it’s a relatively recent phenomenon to expect to sleep through the night, which became more of an expectation at the beginning of the 19th-century with the invention of artificial lighting which kept us up later, and the nascent Industrial Revolution, which caused us to set our alarms, constricting our sleep.
Before then, and throughout most of history, it seems, humans split their sleep into two halves.
In the middle of the night, humans would wake to chat, philosophize and write, read, stand guard, or tend to chores until their “morning sleep.”
Fascinating; I’m saying this because without failure, I wake in the middle of the night, when fears and worries seem to magnify.
Perhaps they do because we’re anxious that we’re not asleep, which makes us more anxious?
Anyway, perhaps knowing it’s been normal throughout history can ease some of those worries, just don’t go on your phone 🙂
I’ve found that when I wake in the middle of the night, I have to unload what’s on my mind or the negative thoughts will have nowhere to go.
And when they find their way to the page, I realize they are far less substantial than I imagined.
That’s usually how life works — confront your fears, and they lose their fangs.
The sun rises and I listen to the sound of birds and the soft rustle of leaves blowing in the wind.
I can hear the streaming of cars on the highway — the audible notion of movement, of beating hearts, of life.
To get up and live, or to stay down, and question what it means to live — we face this choice every single day.
There’s something deep within us, deep within you and me, that wants to rise. Call it the spirit, the soul, not separate from the body, but so much more than just the body.
It wants to get up, out from under the covers and seize this brief time on earth; it wants to feel the wind; it wants to ride the wind, and do those things it knows it’s capable of.
Our dreams, interests and desires — we’re instilled with them for a reason. Life has spoken to our soul, even if in just a whisper.
But friends, family, co-workers, strangers who have had their light dimmed by the inescapable pressures of being human will try consciously and unconsciously to dim our light, too.
Their thoughts drown out your own; their thoughts become the ones which keep me up at night.
No matter who we are, what we are, or what era we all our own, we’ve all been discouraged.
We are human; we are mortal; we are this physical body, with its scars and imperfections. The world will tell us we’re not enough, unworthy, even.
Being human means we can choose what thoughts, pressures and norms we take on. It means we can rise above the noise.
We are the soul which dreams, and we are worthy — this mind, this body, this heart — of attaining those dreams.
But it takes a tenacity and an unshakable desire to get up every day and live a life that’s truly ours.
Our default state is not despair, envy or anxiety. It’s love.
No matter how heavy or discouraging life can seem, get up, and choose to face the day. Love can’t fail.
That effort to smile, roll your shoulders back and continue — that determination to love all of life — it will take you where you’re meant to go.
Never stop. We’re in this together. And if you wake up in the middle of the night, I’m probably awake too, so 👋.