Friday, May 22, 2009

Like Sleeping Beauty

I slept in this morning…what a glorious experience that is! I am blessed with a baby that sleeps until 8 at the earliest, but as late as 11:00! I usually get up to see the older boys off to school, but once in awhile, I like to take advantage of the morning and stay in bed until I actually wake up.

I consider it one of the most magnificent indulgences! That, and what I call “Princess Naps”, in which you have a whole day to accomplish things…beautiful sunshine…and yet, you crawl in your cozy bed and slumber until there’s no more fatigue left anywhere. I don’t get those as often, with a three year old, though.

There is a moment just between sleep and wakefulness that is filled with such joy and promise. You are not yet out of the world of slumber, and dreams float in and out of consciousness. You are aware of your surroundings, but still able to slip back into the fuzzy shadows that take you away with sleep. They often overlap, giving you this amazing blend of reality and surrealism, where your visions embrace your thoughts and anything is possible.

It is this moment that I try to stay in for as long as I can. Having dealt with depression most of my life, I found that this moment is untouched by the disease, and I am most likely to experience happiness and peace if I can prolong my actual waking. I can slip back and forth between the two worlds, unhindered by negative thoughts or self-doubt, liberated by my imagination.

Once my eyes are fully open… when the dreams have fallen away like a silky sheet draped over me, leaving me exposed and vulnerable…I am then clutched by the fears and pain that accompany my sentient mind.

This morning, I saw sunshine coming through the blinds, dappled by the overgrowth of vegetation outside my window. The tiny sparks of light resembled diamonds in the haze of my condition. A down comforter kept me warm and snuggly, surrounded by soft pillows and the folds of cool cotton sheets. It was pure bliss.

I let myself snooze, allowing the content of my dreams to stay a moment longer, allowing me to both take pleasure in and ponder these images. Are these things that my heart yearns for, or are they merely a delusion fueled by random synapse activity in my brain? Can you truly learn from these dreams, allow yourself to work through the stressors of daily life?

I would respond affirmatively. I have found many times in which I have received the answers to prayers in my dreams. I have discovered tiny bits of information that during the daylight hours, I had felt necessary to hide from myself. I have had a visual dialogue with my subconscious and found the key to struggles that I had been going through.

I dream constantly. From the moment my eyes close at night until the alarm sounds shrilly, I am dreaming. I used to remember these dreams well into the day, leaving me feeling exhausted and overwhelmed. I had little ability to screen these, and felt as if I had never slept. I’ve taken medication for years, however, and one of the blessed side effects is that it has differentiated between the two states of consciousness, and given me respite from the strains of being “on” around the clock.

If I am awakened suddenly while in a dream, I find myself feeling disoriented and agitated. I can’t quite put my finger on what was happening in the dream, and yet, I can’t quite shake it. I wrestle with the aftereffects well into my day, trying to snag bits and pieces of the images and put them together into a whole that might make sense to me. I experience moments of déjà vu, where I can almost…but not quite…catch a glimpse into that world that eludes me. For this reason, I try as often as possible to allow my natural cycle to wake me.

Today, I wakened slowly, sweetly, and with none of the negative feelings. What dreams lingered as I woke were pleasant. The sun was shining, and the baby had slept long enough that he, too, was likely to wake in a good mood.

What an incredible start to the day!

My favorite place to wake is in the East bedroom of my grandmother’s house. It is – at least in my mind – MY room. The mountains bump up against the edge of her neighborhood, and block the morning sun for some time. It lights up the sky in radiant colors as it approaches the crest, bursting over the summit in a wash of radiance.

The bed was placed against the west wall, making way for the luminous wave to splash over the windowsill and bathe your face, waking you in it’s brilliance. It was warm and wonderful, and such a glorious beginning to the day.

Once, my cousin and I slept in the back of my dad’s truck in the front yard of Grandma’s. The rear window of the canopy promised to be a window to the sunrise, as well. Unfortunately, before the sun made it through the pane, it had heated the interior of the truck to a stifling degree, and we were forced to emerge, sweaty and gasping. Not quite what I had hoped for!

I must note that in order to achieve this perfect morning, it took a bit of finagling. You see, my dog gets wet food first thing in the morning, and this is something that she looks forward to all night. She lies in wait outside my door, listening for the alarm or any trace of movement inside. And then she goes crazy, whipping the two cats into a frenzy, also. If I do not emerge soon enough, she throws herself against the door, attempting to open it and/or force me to open the door.

Somewhere along the lines, she began looking for me in the baby’s room. Not finding me did not deter her, as it became a very effective way to flush me out. The baby monitor rocks on my nightstand as she slams into the door, which has a loose latch. The door strikes the wall, and you can hear her huff into the room. (She’s a large dog, and none too graceful!)

Then the cats join the action, climbing in the baby’s bed and nuzzling him. He, of course, wakes up screaming with as this furry intruder kneads with it’s claws and purrs loud enough to rattle the windows.

I then come screaming from my room, trying to keep them from waking Mr. Grumpy, who is NOT a morning person. To keep them from any more antics, I go ahead and feed them…and they think, “Mission Accomplished!”

So this morning, I was creative. When I woke about 7ish, I opened the door and let the dog in. Even though the cats are anxiously waiting, they are unable to open any doors, and the baby is safe. And my morning was unhindered.

Mission Accomplished. You just have to be smarter than the average dog.

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