Monday, March 23, 2015

The Struggle Is Real

My husband falls asleep each night in, like, ten minutes. I mean, he turns out the light, rolls over, and starts snoring, just like that. Well, he doesn't snore anymore now that he has his CPAP machine, but in his spirit, he's sawing logs -- in about ten minutes.

This is just unfathomable to me. As a child, it was normal for me to lie in bed for a couple hours before I finally dozed off. It still takes at least thirty minutes, I think, on a good night.

I asked him last week, after you turn out the light to go to sleep, what are you thinking about? What's going through your brain? He said he usually starts to pray and falls asleep while he's praying. Well, what about the nights you don't fall asleep praying -- what are you thinking about? Oh, he's thinking about how comfortable the bed is . . . how cozy the blankets are . . . and then he's asleep.

Are you kidding me?

I told him about how my brain works when I try to go to sleep. An image will come to mind, completely unbidden -- say, of one of my students. And a scene will replay in my head of something that happened with her that day. And then my mind (again, completely of its own accord, I don't will this) will start imagining something I should have done when that event happened. Or what I should do or say to her next time that happens, or next time I see her. Not in a fretting, worrisome fashion; I'm not stressed or upset; it's just thoughts going through my brain.

Well, Hubby said, if I have those kind of thoughts come up, I just figure there's nothing I can do about that right now, and it's time to go to sleep.

Excuse me? What do you mean, you just figure? There's no "figuring" involved here! My mind runs unprovoked, without activation by my will. In fact, to turn the thoughts off is what requires an effort of the will -- and the effort it requires is so strong that it keeps me awake. (As my daughter would say, the struggle is real --  punctuated with a hashtag.)

Tell me I'm not weird. Tell me he's the oddball. The blessed, lucky oddball.

I wonder now if this is all by nature or nurture. I suspect I have taught myself over the years to allow my brain to work this way at night. (There have been benefits -- I have had flashes of brilliance at 3am that ended up in a script or a lesson plan.) But might it have done this no matter how I trained it?

In any case, I'm hoping I can re-train. I took a class at my church in New Jersey where we learned to meditate. Perhaps I need to re-visit those lessons and figure out how to empty my mind when it is to my benefit to do so.

Because falling asleep in ten minutes . . . oh, Father in heaven. How glorious would that be!

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