It happens to us all — we struggle to drag ourselves awake in the morning, we get the afternoon slump at work, and feel completely without motivation in the evening. Something keeps us near the dreamworld of sleep, and the waking world is a real downer.
For me, I easily drift into sleep. I always have; I’ve always slept very well and I fall asleep almost instantly, whenever I want to. I also tend to shut down in certain situations — like at work, later in the afternoon, when I’m in a lull and bored. I will literally slump forward, my muscles half-paralysed, and slip into a dream for an instant. And even without falling asleep, I can get spacey and trancey. This dissociative state drags me down. It numbs everything: emotions, energy, motivation, and passion.
I hate feeling sleepy or numb. It’s torture keeping my eyes open when they are closing on their own, and no one wants to go through life disconnected from everyone and everything. So I’m trying some more “out there” techniques for wakefulness, mindfulness, and awareness. It’s about changing my consciousness to be more alert and engaged in the moment. More alive.
For me, true mindfulness and awareness is not found by focusing on my breathing or my surroundings alone. Awareness is being sharply conscious of the outside world, yes, but it is also being conscious of my inner world. The shamans say we dream the world into being, so it makes sense to me that one ought not seek to empty the mind, but to quietly accept and understand it, just as one accepts the noises that creep from beyond one’s room.
When I look within, I have a very detailed world to visit. I have made it so as a tool to understand myself and my parts (for I identify as a multiple, being composed of many many distinct and individual parts). This way I understand the full complexity of the moment. When I know how my part Pomona wants to meditate quietly, meanwhile Electra and Shiva are riding horses at breakneck speed with Phoenix leading on her griffin, meanwhile the kids are parading with their spirit animals, playing and interacting under a crisp blue sky, I understand how I am really feeling. There is too much in a moment for me to say that I want any one thing at all.
Then, I ground myself in the outer world. I feel my feet flat on the floor and extend my energy to entwine and flow with the Earth’s. I have a small rattle that I can use as loudly or quietly as I like, and I carry it with me always for the purpose of awakening my senses to physical reality. I also have a stone with one side beautifully polished to look like ancient paintings on a cave wall, and its energy is grounding to me. Sometimes I run through my 5 senses, focusing on each one for a moment to really feel what I am seeing or hearing or touching or tasting or smelling. I move my body through space too — grounding shouldn’t be such a still or stiff exercise. Space is an experience we have in the physical world, as is time — trying to experience time more deeply can be mind-bending but fun.
Feeling grounded, I peek again into my mind. I feel more secure and satisfied, seeing that my parts are living a rich inner life.
Inside, Robert helps Branch and Field take out their frustrations on an image of their perpetrator. They yell and raise their weapons high, charging. Meanwhile Alexa wanders off with Carrie to see the faeries and make offerings to the coming Spring season. Colin makes breathtaking, unique birdhouses and Allan wants to make a full-size train system — but to where?
I come back to my surroundings, my feet on the floor. The rattle in my hand. I feel excited by the possibilities life holds. I feel refreshed, and I have an understanding of what I want in all its fullness. I honour my parts’ wishes even though I’m at work and can’t do much for them — I can at least honour their wishes by knowing them and feeling them.
There is a level of self-honesty here that I can’t live without. I can’t pretend that my rich inner world is any less than the real world – for imagination and reality curl around each other in complementary contradiction, each needing, birthing and eating the other.