The mysterious activity of the full moon kept me awake last night, way past the witching hour when all good girls are fast asleep with sugarplums dancing in their heads. I tried the usual trick of circling mantras in my skull like a dog chasing its tail, to no avail. Often this strategy lulls me into oblivion; the Buddhist version of counting sheep. When I confided this to Rinpoche (Tibetan term for an esteemed lama that means "precious one") he looked askance and said, "Mantras are supposed to wake you up if you do them properly."
Sheepish in external demeanor, my inner voice dismissed this truism with the desperation of an addict. Without a good night's sleep, the world is a dismal place where people places and things drift by my window-to-the-world like disembodied spirits.
As I could never fall asleep with a ticking clock within 100 yards of the bed, and the light of the digital ones disturb my autonomy as if being watched by a pernicious and omnipotent HAL, there is no way to tell what time it is in the middle of the night unless I turn on my iPhone that hides out in the folds of my sheets. After flailing about and finally laying on hands, it takes its damn time for the glowing apple to emerge from deep space. When my squinting eyes finally rest on the tiny numbers that say 1:30AM, I react with an "Oh shit" and head post-haste to the bathroom to find sleep aids. Decorum prevents me from disclosing what type they are but let's just say I need a doctor's prescription for the little gems that insure a rock solid night's sleep.
Fast forward to the next morning. Repeat of the iPhone activation routine. Glorious god in heaven, it's 8:44 AM and I have managed to log the requisite hours to make my life liveable on this sun-stroked day. The phone's green squares and blue squares also reveal vital information: in a unique convergence, every social engagement planned for the week has been canceled due to various and sundry circumstances not of my making.
Pre-cancer, this might have been a coitus interruptus experience. But now, at this wonderful hour when a multitude of industrialized people have already drunk their first cup of coffee sitting in their cubicles flooded with flourescent light, I feel anything but thwarted. My body sinks even deeper into the afterglow of a solidly drugged sleep state, and I am thankful. The turtle need not stick its neck out of the shell today.
Who is this new person who likes to hide out and do nothing but wander through her garden watching the plants grow...who talks to the plants with the voice of a Southern person of color, astonishing her husband who one day happens to be passing nearby and says with bemusement, "You're talking to the plants?" Glad he didn't notice the accent of my alter-ego who loves digging in the dirt with her hands and tending to the sickly or the tilting ones, who has gotten over the agony of using precious water so that she can foster green things sprouting from the earth.
For an underachieving overachiever, it's all a brave new world and as long as I can be content with not knowing what the next hour will bring, the world is a beautiful place.
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