Counting sheep really doesn’t help. Whoever thought that up obviously wasn’t really having sleep issues. A couple of nights ago I tried. As I said, it doesn’t work. I got to sleep at 5am, but then had to wake up again at 7am to go to work.
It’s interesting to me how incredibly productive I am when I’m tired, though. Almost like if I don’t stop working, I’ll simply drift off into a slobbering snoring mess under my desk. So, from a work perspective, not being able to count sheep enabled me to count my blessings.
I have this falling asleep picture that I use sometimes (it obviously didn’t work the other night). It’s a view of a Greek Island type scene – looking at the jumble of whitewashed houses on a hill from the ocean. There’s a little old man riding a bicycle from the top of the hill, meandering down into the village. I watch his progress. On the left is a raging red sea and there’s a huge beach ball floating on top, moving in and out of my periphery with the waves. Sometimes the wheel of his bicycle squeaks and prevents me from sleeping. Sometimes I watch him stop and fix a puncture. He rarely makes it to the village – in order to fall asleep, I put him in a kind of a loop so as he reaches half way, I stick him back at the top. Shame, he’s really old and I probably shouldn’t make him work so hard.
Once he made it to the bottom but it turned out there was a huge festival going on and he couldn’t make it to his destination – there were feathered beauties running amuck, and gorgeous young men without shirts grinning and drinking too much. What a party! I suspect it was a grape festival because I’m pretty sure I saw people marching in place in huge wooden vats.
That night was also a long one of tossing and turning. It may well be the night I dreamt I was a poem – every time I turned over, a new line of it was written. I’d write it down, but I can’t remember the words – only that it was long.
It’s strange how our thoughts can gather so dramatically inside our minds – each thought waiting in a tight queue to be explored. As one thought enters and comes to fruition, another is impatiently waiting in the wings – urgently expecting a turn.
A quiet mind is required for sleep – one that has the raging thoughts under control and can put them in order. I think that’s what sleep is supposed to be about – a great filing system. Dreams are made up of the stray thoughts that refuse to be put away. So you end up dreaming about your neighbour’s love affair with your teacher from twenty years ago and their proclivity for eating watermelon naked on the pavement outside their house, which looks like the haunted mansion seen in too many childhood horror movies. And during the dream, you’re hovering slightly over it all – not quite flying, but your feet won’t touch the ground.
All because counting sheep really doesn’t work.