Sleeping in

As a little girl, it was deeply instilled in me that best daily practices is early to bed, early to rise. As phases of my life have required different schedules, (i.e. graduate school, night shift work, being on call), I have fought the internal message that sleeping in late suggests poor motivation and laziness.

Reminded once again this morning of how deeply early values are embedded within us, when I woke this morning the clock read 10:49am. My belly tightened and my heart gripped. I had slept too late; there were so many actions planned for today, work to be done, emails to respond to, phone calls to make, a yoga practice and swim to complete, a visit with mom. Expectations whirled around unrestrained in my head rapidly before my brain had fully and completely woken.

Underneath all of that swirling was the pressing message, productive people wake early. Returning to my present moment, taking a breath to pause remembering all of the hundreds of thousands of mornings stacked one upon another where I have woken early and hit my to do list swiftly, it hit me. After a 70 hour work week, with another 20 hours in private consultation with families, my body needed sleep and that's why I had slept late and that was productive. Then, with a significant amount of compassion for myself, I checked in to see how I felt. Wonderful. Rested. Energetic. Excited. Relaxed. I felt for the first time in several weeks truly clear headed.

We are given so many messages as young children. Some may apply to us, others apply to those providing them. The values by which we were raised may serve us in pushing through hard times, and on the contrary may increase our hardship. A necessary step toward achieving balanced wellbeing is evaluating each of those guidelines and the goodness of fit for our own individual growth.

When a value doesn't serve us, an even larger challenge becomes confronting the lasting impact of its imprint on our cognitions and emotions. Likely, each and every time we bump up against an early rule provided to us by others, and do not submit, it will cause us a certain amount of discomfort. Each time we forge our own way, we will become more practiced at going our own unique way.

As a teenager, I distinctly remember the strong desire to sleep in and the guilt attached to it. Also I can easily recall the fatigue I saw across my father and mother's face at the end of each day from lack of sleep. Still I see it imprinted on my mother's face as she surges along as a farmer business woman with little rest and respite.

Calling my mom when I wake up from sleeping in to announce that I slept late has become a happy practice. Over the years, she has come full circle since I first began sharing my stepping away from her values, I used to hear the discomfort and anxiety grip her, now she smiles on the other end of the phone and says she is happy I rested. Through practice I have shown her that I need to sleep in sometimes and maturing involves the joy and privilege to ascertain exactly how I would like to grow and spend my days.

Feeling rested this morning, I was motivated and ready to write, this coming after a few weeks of feeling too tired to express my thoughts in a blog. Sometimes the window someone told us to avoid opening is just exactly the window we must open to let the light in.