Sleep – renewal, fixing the chinks…

Writing Practice on subject – Sleep, 15 minutes – prompt by http://www.redravine.wordpress.com

Child – How come during the day you keep your eyes on me all the time, but at night you leave me in here, alone?

My sister Margaret told me this today. When her daughter was 4 she asked this question one night as margaret was tucking her into bed. This is a logical question from a child. How do we learn to sleep alone, what are the feelings and thoughts that come to us when we are wordless and inarticulate infants and we are placed in a familiar crib in a dark room. Is it contact with a familiar we are afraid of being cut off from? what is alone ness in the dark to a young child? Is fear of the dark something we learn?

I have a friend who suffers from a sleep disorder. She cannnot sleep at night. Instead she goes about the house doing domestic chores to calm herself. She has been in therapy for many years; treated with antidepressants and medications for her bi-polar disorder. She places the reason for her difficulty to find sleep on the fact that she was a baker and shiftworker for twenty years. i have never asked her about how she feels about the night, the dark. Is that something a friend asks about. Would she find it an intrusion.

I can talk freely about my own fears of the dark, of being locked in a dark bathroom with an ebony sculpture as large as me, but this was in daylight hours. The nights held no such fears as i experienced in that bathroom.

I welcome the night. i feel safe and rarely have I felt threatened by the coming of night. Sleep and i are friends it is a renewal for growing over the gaps inflicted on me by daytime happenings. Things i may not be even aware of. But sleep heals the chinks. dreams, when remembered, bring awareness of a happening, a thought I didn’t realize was important to me from the day before, but masked in a series of images which hang like a mystery over me as i come to gradual awakeness. When insight flashes about what these dreams may reference, relaxation washes over me and i feel right. But if the dream’s meaning eludes me, i feel a disturbance and a lack of clarity.

This somewhat inchoate rambling is what I came up with this evening, in response to this prompt. Maybe the incoherence is due to the glass of wine I had before beginning to write. Well, one does not always write at ones best, most alert freshness. Mea Culpa. But I shall now review it and see what germs of potential ideas this diatribe contains.

6 Responses to “Sleep – renewal, fixing the chinks…”

  1. AnthonyNorth Says:

    Fear of the dark is, I think, a modern problem, invented by virtue of the electric light. Before this, we all lived with the dark, and had little choice.
    Choices breed fears.

  2. suburbanlife Says:

    Anthony – thanks for visiting and for your provocative opinion that fear of the dark may be a modern problem. “Choices breed fears” would be a good writing topic to wrap one’s mind and writing practice around. I shall go and mull on it. G

  3. mariacristina Says:

    I wrote about this topic from red Ravine too. Their topics are always interesting.

    Even though you mention the sleep habits of different people, still you are examining the meaning of sleep for you, for humanity.

    You are curious, and through your curiosity explore different truths. We could gather all our essays and write a beautiful anthology.

  4. pmousse Says:

    I love the idea of sleeping healing the chinks, and also you appreciation for dreams, and how understanding them adds clarity to your experiences when awake.

  5. ybonesy Says:

    I thought the question your niece asked at age four was so interesting. My girls never asked me that, and now I wonder if their sleeping in the same room until just this year had something to do with their getting over any fear of the dark.

    I love going to sleep. I love pulling back my hair, washing my face, brushing my teeth, fluffing my pillow so my head plunges into a soft spot and the sides come up around my ears, muffling out any noise, even if there’s mostly no noise. I would suffer greatly if I were like your insomniac friend.

  6. suburbanlife Says:

    Christine – I shall go and do a re-read of your post on sleep. I agree, redRavine’s topics are always fruitful to follow up on and the broad range of writers’ responses are instructive, I find. It is a wonderful community!
    This writing prompt – Sleep, contains so many potential avenues to explore. I know you are interested in dreams, and so you have a rich vein to mine. And yes, a compilation of unedited essays, warts and all, might be so interesting to have on the bedside table for dipping into at will. G

    pmousse – I know people who say they never remember dreams, and doubt if they do, in fact, dream. What must such a way of going through life that must be, how strange? G

    ybonesy – my niece is an only child and has had difficulty learning to sleep alone. Like your girls, my older sister and i shared a bedroom until our teens and neither of us has ever had sleep issues as children or later, as adults, so there must be something in the companionship aspect of shared rooms helping kids ease into sleep.
    I have learned a lot about settling for sleep from years of observing our dogs’ bedding down rituals, and do believe some of our preparations for bed are similar to their circling behaviour before they settle, or the way they arrange and rearrange themselves prior to heaving that big relaxed sigh and letting their attention gradually dwindle. I too love going to sleep. G

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