I woke in the wee hours of the morning, mind racing about everything and nothing. It's been happening a lot lately, despite moving my meditation practice to the evening just before bedtime.
I've gotten into the habit of playing little mind games when this occurs--naming the state capitols, listing all the countries in the world I can think of alphabetically, going through the Nine Inch Nails catalog by release date, etc. These methods have begun to fail more often than not, as they did this morning (last night).
One of the mainstays of my bedtime routine has always been to leave all electronics in my office, save my Kindle paperwhite (and only so that I can read without keeping my husband awake). Recently, I've had to break that rule by placing my iPhone (and earbuds) on my nightstand, all queued up with a droll podcast or other spoken word audio to help me fall back asleep when the Sandman fails. A necessary evil.
When I woke this morning at around 3 am, after trying other methods, I resorted to the last ditch effort of boring audio. The day before, I had downloaded an audio version of Walden by Thoreau. I had listened to it years ago and remembered how the calm, almost robotic male voice rambled on about nails and seeds and trees. Perfect.
I started out listening carefully, but before long, I was dozing in and out. I would wake a random moments and realize I was still on Chapter One, dip back down into semi-slumber with images of ponds and shacks and woods in my head. I must have truly fallen asleep at some point because I dreamed that the narrator morphed into Ben Shapiro (whose voice is most definitely not droll, or an elixir for sleep).
After about an hour and a half of pseudo-sleep, my mind was fully awakened by this phrase, which caused me to literally laugh out loud:
-- all but the cat; she took to the woods and became a wild cat, and, as I learned afterward, trod in a trap set for woodchucks, and so became a dead cat at last.
In that moment, one of my favorite mantra's came to mind:
It could be worse.
After all, despite a frustrating, sleepless night, at least I am not a dead cat at last.
So, thank you, Henry David Thoreau, for making my morning a joyful one by starting it with a chuckle.
Here's a link to the free Walden audio download on LibriVox:
Walden by Henry David Thoreau
Highly recommended for sleepless nights...
I write novels and poetry and this blog.