The breeze at dawn has secrets to tell you.
Don’t go back to sleep…
People are going back and forth across the doorsill
where the two worlds touch.
The door is round and open.
Don’t go back to sleep.”
I was listening to Pema Chodron the other day, and she mentioned the late night and early morning hours as a particularly vulnerable time. This deeply resonated for me. How often do I have trouble falling asleep at night or waking in the morning, depending on what is moving for me in my heart, mind, body, and spirit?
As I reflect more deeply, I am realizing that there are many levels of experience that I have around this. How often do I stay up late at night, browsing facebook or watching shows online or just “killing time” in some way – instead of easing right away into dreamtime. How many of us do this, procrastinating sleep, staying up later than needed. What is it that we are seeking in those late night hours? Ease? Connection? Relaxation? An escape from the vulnerability itself? Meanwhile, the hours while away, and in my experience, very rarely do I actually receive the “connection” that I am longing for in that late night window. I end up just depriving myself of sleep and going to bed no more fulfilled than when I began my hours on the laptop.
I experience similar discomfort when waking in the morning. My dreams are often incredibly potent, and I struggle to snap myself out of them to enter into the waking world. It’s like I have been experiencing some of that deep spirit and heart connection I am longing for in the dreamworld, and have trouble transitioning out. Particularly when the dreams are powerful, I struggle to rise, finding my mind half in the dreamworld for the majority of the day. I am stuck in-between, going back and forth across the doorsill between the worlds, but not fully in either world.
The presence of the sun itself feels important here. On days when it is grey or overcast, I feel equally vulnerable – sensitive, sleepy, lower in energy and spirits. I know I am not alone in this – there’s a whole “disorder” named after it – Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) – and I am pretty sure if it’s a real thing, I have it. I would not fare well in the Pacific Northwest (as much as I love it there!) What is it about our Father the Sun that helps us to feel bright? When the sun is shining, life is just easier, lighter, more – well – “sunny”. How could this be true? I mean, we are the same beings, on the same earth planet, just spun 180 degrees around into a different direction. The sun is still there, often reflected to us by the Grandmother moon. But it feels so different.
This seeking of connection late night and early morning feels very core to me to our human experience. I’d like to suggest that this is in fact an experience far more profound than the common categorizations of people ‘having trouble falling asleep at night’, facebook/tv addiction, insomnia,or being lazy sleepyheads in the morning (my parents would happily accuse me of this- my dad once woke me up by throwing cold water on me!). If these are disorders, then we have an epidemic on our hands. What would be a more insightful and helpful way to hold the struggle so many of us engage in with these hours?
It feels to me that this experience dates back to a much more primordial experience of being human. As infants, most of us were cradled to sleep as infants, and also held when we woke. There is a longing in me to be held and made safe while falling asleep and waking, in this cellular way that I sense dates back to my human origins. As an adult I still love to be cuddled to sleep, as many of us do, and likely always will prefer this. But to go the root of the issue, and identify the opportunity for transformation and growth that is here, I’d like to suggest that there is something much deeper going on. In my understanding, the severing of the child from the parent – right back to the umbilical cord – is on a spiritual level designed to create a sense of longing. It is this separation at the source that motivates us throughout the rest of our lives to go on a spiritual quest in search of our True Oneness through discovering our connection with God/Creation/all Life. So when that longing is activated – and most especially perhaps in those vulnerable hours – it is in fact an invitation into our greater wholeness.
I wonder – what might we experience if we filled those pre-bed and early morning moments instead with more conscious activities – some yin yoga, journalling, meditation, prayer? What if we were to seek that connection we are reaching out for within our own spirits and hearts and connections with the One? And what is the opportunity present in the darkness in particular -in that extra vulnerable time- that holds a sacred key…a portal perhaps, into the heart of the spirit world?
I’m curious what your experience is of these times of day…how you engage them consciously…how you ease into the dreamtime and how you wake into the new day? How do you seek and find connection? What supports you in these vulnerable hours?