“Your body prepares for REM sleep by sending out hormones to effectively paralyze itself so that your arms and legs don’t act out the storyline you are creating in your head. This attempt at self-protection doesn’t always work perfectly, and when that happens, what follows is far from pleasant. Sometimes, it is the brain that doesn’t get the message. This can lead to waking up in the middle of the night with the frightening sensation that you can’t move your limbs. At other times, the body doesn’t fully paralyze itself like it is supposed to. This is the root of a series of problems called parasomnias [otherwise known as] sleepwalking.” ~David K. Randall
Change is no joke.
Although our lifestyle has changed exponentially, my kids still spend most of their waking hours at the same school they’ve been attending for several years and my husband still drives to the same office where he has been working for many years.
It’s Schroeder the Dog and I who don’t quite know what to do with ourselves. Schroeder used to have a big back yard, a screened-in porch and a doggie door. He and I have some major adjustments to apartment living. He wants to go out all of the time and I don’t blame him-this is the most beautiful time of the year.
But this means he is looking at me, like this, all day.
Today was a little bit like sleepwalking. I felt the exaggerated pressures of all the things I need to do, without any ability to accomplish them. It is a familiar feeling-this is the way I usually feel sometime around 3:00 am. In spite of the evidence of daylight and consciousness, I couldn’t organize my “list” or categorize anything in a way that would help me orient myself to reality.
In its mildest forms, sleepwalking can be amusing to witness. If there had been a camera recording my movements, I might even be able to laugh at myself. I was grabbing my yoga mat headed to the gym just to realize I had the time wrong. I started to get my car registered and then figured out I didn’t have the proper paper work. I wanted to read but couldn’t concentrate.
Then, I started reviewing 2012 where I came across a journal entry about the power of centering prayer. I wrote about my scattered-ness, my anxiety, my confusion about what needed my focus.
For the first time in over a year, I lit a candle, set my 10 minute time, closed my eyes, and sat in my big comfy chair with the fall breeze whispering through the open windows.
As my favorite quote says, “When the solution is simple, God is answering” (Einstein).
When I find myself sleepwalking through my days, wondering where I am and where I am supposed to be going, the solution is simple. Sit, breath, and remember my relative unimportance in the world. So much of my stress exists because I think too highly of myself, I misunderstand my power. I start thinking it is all up to me. Like a superhero in my own dreamland, I imagine that I can stop the train. I think I can turn the world back a day.
Siting, praying, and slowing down my thoughts bring me back into the real world and the limitations of being this human. The world is not on my shoulders. I am not powerful enough to stop that train or turn the earth on it’s axis.
But I can go for a walk with my dog, my neighbor and her three year old son and we can sit and watch the train as it flies through the trees it’s its ambitious pursuit to somewhere. I feel the solid ground gently grumbling under my feet, and for today, that is pretty incredible.