Yesterday was Mabon, the Autumn Equinox, a time of contemplation and thanksgiving. I was going to walk to the library and work on a project for a client. I was going to do all the dishes that have piled up and tackle the to do list that had grown longer every day. I was going to have a bonfire to celebrate the sabbat. Instead I slept.
I didn’t intend to sleep. Not at first. The past week I’ve been spectacularly busy. My done list has been filled will several entries each day. I’ve managed to keep the house clean. At night I would climb into bed and fall asleep excited about what I was going to be working on the next day. I’d wake up, sleepy, but able to get Ben’s lunch packed and walk him to school. It was proof, I was sure, that this whole four month plan was the right one.
Wednesday, though, saw an interruption to that productive flow. I was worn down. I decided to keep things low-key, to keep working but not push myself. A reading and writing day would be just what I needed to keep moving forward, if at a slower pace than I was accustomed.
I polished a short story, ready now for feedback. I finished up a blog post for next week and got started on another. I even fit in reading, making some headway into a book that is proving a challenge to get through. The entire day was a struggle. I downed copious amounts of caffeine to stay awake. By the end of the day, despite the work I had done, I was exhausted and cranky and not satisfied. There were dishes in the sink. There were items on my to do list that hadn’t been checked off.
My anxiety went into frantic hamster mode. Doing things my own way is all good and fine, but I have to actually do things. I have to work! I have to justify this experiment! I had to shake off this low energy and get back to productivity! It went on and on, flagellating me with the determination to get! things! done!
Instead, I slept. I thought about how I had traded the anxiety of churning out inventory for conventions for that of marking off a to do list. I’m supposed to be living by my own life patterns, and yet, within the first week I’ve fallen into another trap of “going with the flow”. This emphasis on making every moment count monetarily is so ingrained in my psyche that it is near impossible to root out.
So I slept. I sat in the same chair I had occupied the day before, reading and writing and struggling against somnolence. I pulled several throws over my body, and I slept. I knew I’d lose the whole day. I’m not a thirty minute napper. I’m the kind of napper who sleeps for hours and wakes up questioning what just happened. I slept from 10 am to 3 pm, waking up a half an hour before the kids got home from school.
I can’t say that I had some magical epiphany and now everything is all better. I can’t even say that I felt completely rested. I ended up going to bed that night earlier than usual. But what I can say is that the world didn’t end just because I decided to sleep instead of work. I can say that I gave myself permission to explore a different flow: one without judgement that allows me to find my own rhythm.
Today I am still tired. The exhaustion lurks behind my eyelids. It is a companion that has been with me most of my life. I acknowledge its presence. I acknowledge that it is a tool I can use to shape a flow of loving kindness. And I tell it, “Not today.” Then I make myself another bottle of caffeine and get to work.