The other day I felt really tired towards early evening. And I let myself feel it. I had come back from the Universal Medicine Retreat 2013 in Hoi An, Vietnam a couple of days earlier and had generally been sleeping more than usual and been more willing and able to feel what was actually going on in my body. And here I was, on a Wednesday evening, sometime between 7 and 8pm and I could feel a quite lovely tiredness after my working day. There was no weariness or exhaustion, no stress or duress, just an easygoing tiredness. My body felt warm, it felt like me and it felt right, familiar and quite lovely in its own way. An early night was definitely on the cards.
Nothing much to write home about then – except for one thing: sometime between 8:00 and 8:30 I would have to check my emails again! I was waiting for an answer from interstate that would determine whether I needed to set my alarm or not for early the next morning to work on a couple of texts that had to go out before I went to work.
I did what I usually do as far as my evening routine is concerned, and then back to the laptop – within 20 minutes and a few more emails I found out that there was more to do than I had anticipated and that there were actually three texts, two of which had to be back the following day. So I decided to do the practical thing and set my alarm.
No big deal – until I checked in with my body again: I had already become aware of the fact that the warm tired feeling wasn’t there anymore. All I could feel was that my head had become the most prominent part of me. I also became aware of an anticipatory feeling of being rushed sometime in the future (tomorrow), plus a hint of potential overwhelm and a real pressure around the assumed possibility of not being able to meet these new deadlines. And somewhere lay waiting a whole barrage of thoughts about all the other things I had to do and somehow squeeze into the next day, and subsequent days.
In other words, I wasn’t connected to my body anymore. If I wanted to sleep and sleep well I needed to reconnect. I could feel that these thought processes / emotions were slightly above and ahead of my body like a bank of fog: it felt really strange but it was very real. And it felt cold. It was hard to believe how cold it felt. I had to keep checking: it was definitely cold. And I couldn’t feel the tiredness anymore, just this immaterial and disengaged, cold and somehow empty blur.
I was just about to go to bed, but how could I settle and go to sleep? I knew that my body must still be tired but I couldn’t feel it anymore. It was amazing to observe how my head was running the show and feeding me this weird and unreal state of disembodied, strained and cold alertness. Had I not let myself feel the warm and very real physical tiredness before, I could have easily fooled myself into believing that I wasn’t tired at all.
So I went to bed knowing this was not an evening for catch-up TV or other things. I needed to just get into bed and reconnect – I knew that my body must still be tired, but I had just lost touch with it and the tiredness.
What happened next? I just ever so slightly started feeling my body again; I was also aware of my expectation of meeting that warm and real tiredness again and then… I woke up an hour before my alarm went off the next morning and easily did all I had to do before going to work.
Big deal? Yes, for me it was a big deal – an amazing experience of the truth of my body and the disengaged coldness of an otherwise different choice.
But wait, there is more: I got my friend Katerina to read a draft of this blog and she wanted to know what happened after the semicolon and before I woke up the next morning!?
Well, it was just so simple and straightforward that I am nearly at a loss as to how to describe it. All I know is that I wasn’t telling myself off for having lost the connection and I certainly didn’t try to re-connect. All I did was trust the knowing that my body and the tiredness had to still be there. I just put a few feelers out, felt what I could feel, which was quite subtle, and gave what was there permission to be there. And before I knew it I had fallen asleep. Very simple and oh, so profound.
By Gabriele Conrad, Goonellabah, Australia