Can You Fall Asleep?

I have been having trouble falling asleep for quiet some time, now. So going back through my post I found this one from a couple years ago. Anyone else have this problem?

You Are (not) Getting Sleepy…

Do you suffer from the modern-day dilemma called insomnia?

It’s just after midnight, and I’m still wide awake. Through time I have done all the things I’m supposed to do to fall asleep. I’ve taken a warm bath, sipped chamomile tea, listened to soft music. I’ve listened to no music at all. I have cut out caffeine during the day and take my meds in the morning instead of night. Except for right now, I am off the computer by 8; I’ve read books, tried meditation, melatonin, boring movies, and total silence. I have picked up the pace of walking, both at work and after work. Tried carbs, no carbs; sugar, no sugar. Bedtime snacks. No snacks.

And yet here I am.

I’ve heard various statistics about those who suffer from insomnia. Without doing extensive research at 12:06 a.m., I believe about 60% of older people suffer from some sort of sleep interruption. Not too long ago I read an article that said that as you get older, your body rhythms change, throwing off your sleep patterns.

Surprise.

I have tried prescriptions, and even though I get a hard night’s sleep, I’m the Walking Dead the next day. So those are out. OTCs are more trips into Zombieland. There are dozens of articles on the Internet telling me why I can’t sleep, but that doesn’t change the fact that I can’t sleep.

Sooo…I prefer to think of this stage of my life as preparing for retirement.

I believe that somewhere in the cosmic timeline is a bend in the road, a crack in the sidewalk that says enough is enough. This fifth dimension astro influence is saying: “You’ve worked your a$$ off all your life, first getting up at all hours with your babies, then staying up all hours waiting for your teenagers to get home, husbands on second shifts getting home at 5 a.m., getting up for work at 6 a.m. for the past 45+ years — enough is enough. Us higher forms of consciousness are preparing you for the day you don’t have to get up to an alarm, don’t have to punch a time clock, don’t have to put data in a computer, or drive to and from work in blizzards and thunderstorms and fog.”

Of course, the cosmos’ clock and my biological clock are two different things. The cosmos doesn’t get that I still have a few years left before I can sleep in and/or stay up all night. That I have bills to pay and obligations to meet before I can sleep till 10, have a cup of coffee on the deck, go for walks, play in the garden, and take naps whenever I want.

Did our parents have this problem? Our grandparents? Is it because we don’t work the fields for 10 hours a day that our bodies don’t work to their peak performance? Stress is always a factor. But our parents had stress, too. As did our grandparents. And so on.

It is true we are living in a whirlwind society. That technology moves faster than the speed of light, and if we don’t at least make an attempt to keep up with it, we become as rigid as the statues in our gardens.  With TV and movies and music blaring in our faces and politics boiling our blood and self-centered people taking over our every day world, it’s hard to slow down enough to sleep, no less breathe.

I know my retirement won’t be much of a slowdown. But I will let my biological clock take over, and go wherever the wind blows.

Until then, I’ve found some really cool gemstones on the Gemtopia Shopping Network…

You Are (not) Getting Sleeeepy…

eyesDo you suffer from the modern-day dilemma called insomnia?

It’s just after midnight, and I’m still wide awake. Through time I have done all the things I’m supposed to do to fall asleep. I’ve taken a warm bath, sipped chamomile tea, listened to soft music. I’ve listened to no music at all. I have cut out caffeine during the day and take my meds in the morning instead of night. Except for right now, I am off the computer by 8; I’ve read books, tried meditation, boring movies, and total silence. I have picked up the pace of walking, both at work and after work. Tried carbs, no carbs; sugar, no sugar. Bedtime snacks. No snacks.

And yet here I am.

I’ve heard various statistics about those who suffer from insomnia. Without doing extensive research at 12:06 a.m., I believe about 60% of older people suffer from some sort of sleep interruption. Not too long ago I read an article that said that as you get older, your body rhythms change, throwing off your sleep patterns.

Surprise.

I have tried prescriptions, and even though I get a hard night’s sleep, I’m the Walking Dead the next day. So those are out. OTCs are more trips into Zombieland. There are dozens of articles on the Internet telling me why I can’t sleep, but that doesn’t change the fact that I can’t sleep.

Sooo…I prefer to think of this stage of my life as preparing for retirement.

I believe that somewhere in the cosmic timeline is a bend in the road; a crack in the sidewalk that says, enough is enough. The fifth dimension astro influence is saying: You’ve worked your a$$ off all your life, first getting up at all hours with your babies, then staying up all hours waiting for your teenagers to get home, husbands on second shifts getting home at 5 a.m., getting up for work at 6 a.m. for the past 45+ years — enough is enough. Us higher forms of consciousness are preparing you for the day you don’t have to get up to an alarm, don’t have to punch a time clock, don’t have to put data in a computer, or drive to and from work in blizzards and thunderstorms and fog.

Of course, the cosmos’ clock and my biological clock are two different things. The cosmos doesn’t get that I still have a few years left before I can sleep in and/or stay up all night. That I have bills to pay and obligations to meet before I can sleep till 10, have a cup of coffee on the deck, go for walks, play in the garden, and take naps whenever I want.

Did our parents have this problem? Our grandparents? Is it because we don’t work the fields for 10 hours a day that our bodies don’t work to their peak performance? Stress is always a factor. But our parents had stress, too. As did our grandparents. And so on.

It is true we are living in a whirlwind society. That technology moves faster than the speed of light, and if we don’t at least make an attempt to keep up with it, we become as rigid as the statues in our gardens.  With TV and movies and music blaring in our faces and politics boiling our blood and self-centered people taking over our every day world, it’s hard to slow down enough to sleep, no less breathe.

I know my retirement won’t be much of a slowdown. But I will let my biological clock take over, and go wherever the wind blows.

Until then, I’ve found some really cool gemstones on the Gemtopia Shopping Network…

 

Holding On While Sleepy

6009A strange combination of emotions has struck the Goddess’s circle this evening.

I’m sure you all go through the ups and downs of life, the reality of which thickens or thins, depending upon your mood.

My kids and their kids have moved out, finding their own slice of paradise, finally free of bubbling-over grannies and know-it-all grandpas. We love our kids, and I know they love us. But it was time for the baby birds to fly, leaving behind a mix of sadness and relief. I can now go back to being the granny who makes root beer floats with her grandkids at 10 o’clock at night and dances in the summer rain and splashes in all the puddles and gets her grandkids full of mud. I know mom and dad’s expectations, and can now go back and dance around them whenever we get with the grandbabies.

I am sad my 5-year-old grandson isn’t here to play Unicorns and Dragons with me; he isn’t here to read Pete the Cat to or to watch the Lego Movie for the 30th time. Part of my youth has moved out with him.

But I’m also relieved that I can come home from a hard day at work and chill and write and watch TV and watch scary movies or bloody movies. That I don’t have to get up at 2 a.m. with grandbaby #2 or figure a way to entertain him for more than a few hours.

There is a reason 63-year-olds aren’t first-time parents.

But back to the strange combinations.

Like pickles and ice cream, wants and needs are often at odds in my little world. I suffer from insomnia, and it sometimes affects my day job. Having said that, now that the kids are gone I can go to bed (even though I can’t sleep) at an early hour and practice the routines that everyone has insisted bring on sleep.

We’ll see about that.

For the kids’ moving out is just at the wee-beginnings of Spring, fostering a yearning for something new and fresh in my life. The birds and their melodies, the frogs in the ponds, the breeze through the pine trees, all are promising me the beginnings of yet another wonderful year. A year full of confusion, joy, laughter….and writing.

Of course.

With all the promises the Spring Cleaning Lady offers, I need to do some Spring Cleaning of my own. To stop being a slug when it comes to moving forward to the higher aspirations of things like getting published. Or increasing my readership.

Do you feel the turn of the tide when the seasons change?

The onset of autumn, or winter, both with their silent and sparkling worlds; summer, hot and sticky and full of jazzy clothes and music; burrowing in or digging out.

I need to listen to my Muse. She’s bugging me to leave the two novels I cherish behind and get into something fresh and new. And she is right. I love the things I have written, but they are of a different tint, and the Spring seems to nudge me towards something fresh and exciting. I am thinking about new worlds, alternate worlds, mystery and fantasy in this world.

Which leads me back to the insomnia.

This is where the paths cross — crisscross — back and forth. The excitement of writing something new, of research and experimentation and new characters, are at direct odds with my erratic sleeping schedule.

I am a firm believer that YOU CAN’T WRITE ANYTHING FRESH IF YOU ARE STALE.

If you struggle during the day to stay awake, your faux burst of energy at night won’t take you far. If your moods swing like a tire swing, you won’t be able to stay on task very long. If you are pushing yourself to the limit, you won’t have much left in you for romance or adventure.

And your characters will suffer.

Writing can be methodical. Writing can be spontaneous. Writing can come crawling in the front door or spring out on the patio. Inspiration, too, ebbs and flows. Just like our bodies.

Learn to work with the swings of your own psyche. Don’t push it when you know you can’t. Feel the glow when you can. Find time to dance in the inspiration of your own words. But get enough rest first.

For there’s nothing worse than your character falling down…and they can’t get up.

 

Sleep and Cats and Dogs — Oh My!

eyesIt was a beautiful Summer morning. Cool breeze, bright sunshine, quiet countryside. I take the backroads to work; little if any traffic, cornfields and open fields and barns and houses on hills in the distance. Calming. Nourishing.

So I’m driving to work and I ZOOM! around this cute little ruby red car (must have been a Chrysler…great paint color), saying to myself (and them through the ethereal)…if I didn’t have to get to work on time, I’d be you.

Moving at the speed of light isn’t my thing. If you know me at all, you know it takes a lot to get me zinging at all. I’m usually not late for work — but I usually have more than 2 hours of sleep, too.

Clicking off on my fingers the reasons I might have insomnia (husband gets home at 3:30am; ; overworked at work; cats and dogs sleeping in the bed)…What?? Cats and Dogs sleeping in the bed?!?

As I get older I find that I’m really not as much a cat or dog person as I once was. Sure, they’re cute. Sure, they’re loving and affectionate and independent. They are also a pain in the butt at night.  Can’t leave the dogs (3) out to wander through the house because they’ll knock down the babygates in the kitchen and eat whatever is on the counter. Can’t leave the dogs out to wander at night because they will bark like idiots at 3:30 a.m. and wake up the kindergardener (and you don’t want a kindergardener up and crabby at 4 in the morning). Cat’s barred at the door will meow relentlessly every 15 minutes until you let them into the bedroom because, hey — they want to cuddle.

It would be one thing if the cats would just find a place at the bottom of the bed and just sleep. But, like most cats, one has to climb up by my neck, lay on my shoulder, put her arm around my neck, lick my face (ewww) every now and then, and not allow me to turn over without turning the world upside down.

I have no room in a king-sized bed.

I’m not a pet-on-the-bed kinda girl. It’s just become easier than waking up every hour or two because someone is in the garbage or meowing their heads off or scratching at the door or watching TV.

Looking back on that little ruby car, they were just meandering along the road, taking their time, breathing in the fresh air and quiet countryside. (At least that seems like what they were doing). There were no (obvious) deadlines, bosses upset, burned-out co-workers, or garbage picking dogs in their vicinity. Just them…and the morning…and driving 25 mph.

There’s no need telling you that stress is the hellion of the millenium. You used to be able to work 40 years someplace and get a gold watch for your time. Now you’re doing the work of two people, getting barely paid for one, and praying downsizing goes to the next company over. We push ourselves way too hard — and can’t help it. It’s move forward or move out.

I’m tired of working that hard. I’m tired of worrying if I’ll get my work done on time or if I’ll learn the newest version of some program. And the older I get, the more ridiculous the whole working world seems.

Believe me — I appreciate Technology. Agriculture. Science. But I keep thinking we’re paying an awful high price for the privilege. You don’t have a choice. You want TV: you have to work. You want to buy groceries: you have to work. You want to buy your grandbaby a birthday gift: you have to work.

America is such a hurry-up culture. Do it now, do it fast, move on over if you can’t handle it. As much as I preach a “stop and smell the roses” kind of life, it’s not always  feasible. Not when someone is on your tail pushing you faster and faster.

It’s hard to find the middle ground. The middle ground between sleeping in and sleeping at all. Between mowing your lawn and sitting in a chair on it. Keeping pets and living with pets. But we all have to do it if we are to keep our sanity.

Which brings me back to my original thought. Cats and dogs on the bed. Mass hysteria — or mass sleep hypnosis?

Maybe I’ll start eyeballing the comfy sofa downstairs.

 

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Are You Or Are You Not?

writing girlSome of the best advice, the best posts, are posted by others. If you are on Facebook, you know what I mean. The following post was shared on my FB by my very special friend and writer Jane O, who found this on Author’s Publish (www.authorpublish.com), who published it from an article submitted by Chantelle Atkins (http://chantelleatkins.com/), Chantelle also is a fun writer, and she hit the target with her article, “How to Know if You Are a Writer.”  It’s a little over a thousand words, but it’s soooo true! See how many are you!

They say that everyone has at least one good book in them. Does that make you a writer? Or is it more than that? Is it something you decide to be, something you learn to be, or something you have always been whether you liked it or not?

The following statements are what I believe marks someone as a writer. The following factors distinguish writers from other individuals. You don’t have to agree with every statement except the last one. It is the ultimate defining factor, but all the others are key factors that inform why I am a writer

You stare into space. You gaze out of windows. You fall into trances. You drift away. Reality jerks you back. People get impatient and roll their eyes. Get your head out of the clouds, they said when I was young. They told me to stop daydreaming. Don’t stop daydreaming.

Your concentration is variable. Sometimes it is like a dog with a bone, fixed and savage, eyes narrowed, teeth clenched, hands like claws, fingers pounding at the keyboard. Nothing can break you. You keep going until your back aches and your neck cricks and your bladder protests. Other times you are in and out, like clouds in the sky, drifting and aimless. This is because people want your attention and your mind is somewhere else. Sometimes it is because words, images, and voices are forming and joining in your head. You have to sit back and be patient. Don’t try to force it.

Real life gets in the way. This is annoying. Especially when you are on a roll. Housework, real jobs, phone calls driving places, and shopping can all interfere with your writing. You’ve got to do all these things, because real life dictates that you must. But these things are often a chore, something you resent and rush through. Just to get back to the story.

You can’t sleep at night. Your head is full of it all. All of the time. It is relentless. Their voices are getting louder. They are drumming at your door. Kicking their feet against the wall. Moaning and whining. They want their turn. When is it going to be their turn? They’ve told you so much now. You know what they look like. You know what they sound like, how they speak, what slang they use, what their mannerisms are. You know their stories and their dilemmas. You just want to get some sleep! But you can’t, not until it is done. Not until things are settled. They are in control and they know it.

Inspiration comes at strange and wonderful times. Dialogue springs into your head. Characters grow and change, becoming more real. They sneer and jostle and roll their eyes and seep inside your consciousness. Plot twists you never knew you were capable of dreaming up. Oh my God! Where did that come from? Who would have thought? But of course…that would be brilliant…that would work, that would tie in and make sense…and then…and then…You have to get home quick. You need a pen. A phone to tap into. Anything. You must not forget. You must not lose it!

You people watch. You don’t know you are doing it. It is not on purpose. You are often a loner, an introvert, someone who carries things around, cradles them inside until writing sets them free. You think people are not for you, not really. But they are. Because they are the life and soul of the stories. And they are everywhere, doing what people do. They are sloshing drinks and swearing under their breath. They are wiping oil stained fingers down their shirt. They are sighing in the queue at the store,  biting their lips with some secret unknown worry. They are shiny with sweat, frantic with unrealized dreams and potential. They have whiskered chins and nicotine fingers, fat thighs, and newspapers rolled under arms, they have backpacks and are going somewhere, but where and why? They pass you on the street, they look through you, they are chatting on the phone, they are always living lives, secret and unknown. They could be anyone. They could have a story.

You suffer from crippling self-doubt. It has plagued you for years. You don’t blow your own trumpet or beg for attention. You swallow the words you really want to say. You don’t know why you write, I mean, who are you? Who are you to write anything? Who wants to know? Who will care? But you do it because you have always done it. One way or another. Sometimes life gets in the way and people tell you to wake up and stop dreaming. Make money, work jobs, pay bills, care for kids. They wonder why you care about writing. What is that? It doesn’t get you anywhere. It doesn’t make you any money. But you know why you do it. You do it because you would go crazy if you didn’t. Because the voices would get too loud to bear. Because the people inside your head would feel lost and let down, be voiceless and alone. Because of all the things you don’t say in real life, all the things you have stood by and watched and heard and felt and thought, because all those things need to come out. All those things. They need to be heard.

You write. Ultimately it comes down to this one fact. This is the crux of it. If you are a writer, you write. Whatever it is. Poems, fiction, non-fiction, blogs. Whether you share it or not, whether you publish it or not, whether you think you are good at it or not. You do it anyway, there is no choice.