The official site of the sleep-deprived

Friday, January 15, 2010

The Pursuit of Joy

Last week, my writing partner on this blog and I enjoyed a cold winter evening with a group of friends––eating, drinking, and being merry. We laughed so much that by the end of the evening our sides and faces hurt. As I drove home, I realized how important laughter is and how often we forget to put joy first in our lives.

That night, I dreamt about driving along a narrow, icy road bordered on both sides by snow banks twice my height––an apt symbol for my currently restricted life. Finally I emerged at a beautiful beach, where I saw windsurfers riding the waves. Even though the ocean was pretty rough, the surfers seemed to be having a good time gliding up and down the watery peaks and valleys. Watching them, I thought, “That looks like fun. I could do that.”

Of course, most of you know that water symbolizes the emotions. Waves represent the ups and downs, the crests and troughs, of our emotional lives. The windsurfers in my dream enjoyed riding those waves––even when they capsized they laughed, then got back on their boards and tried again.

Since then, I’ve thought a lot about joy. What’s its source? Where can we find it? Why is it lacking in so many people’s lives? Why do some of us seem to connect with it naturally, while others seek it desperately, yet unsuccessfully? How can we recapture it when things go wrong, rather than giving up?

I’ve thought a lot about my related dream, too. How succinctly and vividly our dreams speak to us, and how often they give us hope. My dream showed me that peaks and valleys are all part of the ride––you can’t surf on calm seas. It also said I don’t have to stand on the sidelines observing joy. Fun needn’t be an occasional experience, it’s available to us anytime, all the time.

Where do you find joy? What prevents you from embracing it? What can you do to experience more joy in your life? We invite you to share your thoughts and dreams.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

The Watcher, continued

I really hope you’ll humor me on this one because I’m still stuck on the theme of my last post about “The Watcher.”

As I mentioned previously, many of us are able to wake up at whatever time we designate (right down to the minute) without an alarm clock. The question that’s been keeping me awake lately is that if time is a man-made concept and our conscious minds are asleep, who’s actually watching the clock for us?

Articles I’ve researched on the subject say only that yes, it’s been determined in controlled studies that this is something we should all be able to do. A statement which is always followed by “but it is unclear how the brain keeps track of time,” or “how the brain manages to keep track of the hours is unknown.” Well, my point exactly.

I’m having trouble believing that it’s the brain keeping track of hours via circadian rhythms or hormone levels or whatever. If that were true, how is it that it still works even on the first night of daylight savings time (yet another contrived human invention)?

But now there’s a new twist – instead of just waking up at the prescribed time, the characters in my dreams have started telling me it’s time to get up. They’ll interrupt whoever is speaking to announce “it’s 5:30” (my normal wake-up time). Or if I lie down to take a short nap, I’m warned by a disembodied voice that “okay, it’s been 45 minutes.” I half expect to see an etheric someone standing there with squinty eyes, giving me a motherly finger wag …

If I can learn to compose myself before my eyes pop open – my next step is to unearth some personal information about these timekeepers. Who are you? What are you? Where did you come from? Do you have a name? But most importantly, how did you end up with this thankless job anyway? ;-)