While You Were Sleeping

“My dancers can be doing the most marvelous things in the studio, but if I’m not there to witness it, it may as well be the proverbial tree falling in the forest. Never happened.” – Twyla Tharp, The Creative Habit

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 The humming of heavy machinery carries on through the framework of this building, through my ears and deep, deep into the core of my brain. This is where I am right now : Caught in the way of sound waves that could easily pass for an experimental orchestra tuning up intentionally out of tune. This is a reach, but as I close my eyes for a minute, letting those low vibrations pull out, I give the sounds a title for an imaginary album, Experimental Sounds for Insanity. The construction workers near our building got off to an early start today by offering up a whole new variety of sounds for everyone on this block. Noise never bothered me until I started getting quiet, but if the peace I find only exists under perfect circumstances, it doesn’t really matter so much. We go through the motions and feelings of, How dare they make so much noise! There are PEOPLE living here! Honestly, trying to focus on whatever I was thinking about before now with waking the mind, seems sort of impossible. So how do we find peace in real time with what is really going on outside of the hot rooms and outside of our meditation places? Abbot Ajahn Amaro says that “all that stuff about lotus flowers and devas doesn’t really help you that much. What is really amazing, the real miracle is that you can watch your own mind.” How do we just accept the drilling, pounding, and inexplicable dinosaur sounds pouring in from across the street? This is where we begin to realize more about ourselves and find ways to bounce back to neutral without losing it all to emotional outbursts.

The earth is my witness.

“If you don’t have mindfulness, your whole life will be like a dream.” – Thich That Hanh

IMG_8989Imagine any nightmare where you are running or falling. Nightmares usually force us to confront some type of great fear within ourselves, so knowing that dreams take place purely within our minds makes it easy to separate them from other events that happen throughout our daily lives. What if our wandering thoughts had just as much of an influence on our emotional stability as any of the dreams that we experience? The idea that we are conscious of reality vs. memories, planning, creative thoughts, etc. gives us the impression that we are in control, but if we practice living in another place more than we do in our current reality, it would only make sense to say that we are dreaming more than we are living awake.

So take that thought down the hall and out the front door. Take a good look around at the people you see, and there you will find it, right in front of you dreaming. The space between us is relative, but truth remains undeniable.The almost cross walk sign blinks ahead with five seconds left and counting. This is where five seconds seems to matter a lot. This is where I see the person however many steps in front of me with a quick flash of regret and subtle panic wondering, why am I left out of this? I stand with my canvas bag full of groceries wrapped in one arm and a small potted rose plant in the other. Settle and pause. I look around on the corner of Robson and Homer where the permanent drizzle hangs like a theme, and I know I know it all once again. There is timeThere is time enough for me to wait and take it all in. I pattern this thought into the back of mind with a surrender into real life in real time. I see myself in the back of every dark haired girl like we are the same. As she opens her umbrella and crosses the street, I see myself. I no longer wonder if I am some alien wandering this place. Is she is sleeping? She could be in the hurry of a crowd but decades away or ahead. The daily nightmare or fantasy of any place but here, and I know what that means. This is the moment. We learned how to be sober, so now we can learn how to be awake.

Categorizing memories

Note for those of us who are finally waking up : The world we once knew is no longer the same because while we were sleeping it kept on growing. It did not wait. 

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Dreams are stories circulating through the brain.

What separates those stories from other ones moving around my brain during my waking hours? The REM cycles and fluttering eyes take hold and filter through what is already there to put a show on my mind’s stage, and during the day, my midbrain does the same thing. The negative consequences for reviewing events and troubleshooting the possibility of future ones over and over again are great. We are constantly saying  I want to change how this happened. Since regret is one of the hardest emotions for us to cope with, we spend a lot of time reviewing the past and planning for ways to avoid the same events in the future. For those of us in recovery, living with regret and resentment are extremely dangerous. While we learn to live with our sober minds, we learn to accept that we deserve to be healthy. If we are living our days reviewing painful events and trying to change the present, this is a lot like forcing ourselves into daily nightmares. There is no rest for the wicked, and if we keep thinking that we deserve to feel shame, we will only make it more difficult to find peace and truth in the present moment.  The things that we think will save us will only keep us trapped in what we know. To be known by yourself, it is imperative that you investigate all the you are, and all that is around you.  The full potential can be found in the buzzing of machinery if we just breathe and realize what appears. Time falls quickly through our hands the more we try to catch it. There is always enough time to fly awake, so keep on going you beautiful sober thing. ❤

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For more on the sobriety journey, follow The OAM on Instagram @the_oam, and check out The OAM facebook page. ❤

 

 

 

 

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