Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Sleepless Nights

It's 2:30 and my eyes pop open. My mind starts working overtime. In my room I can hear nothing except the sound of two corgi in deep sleep and my husband's rhythmic breathing.

It isn't an unusual occurrence, this waking up in the middle of the night. It is becoming rather common. They say you should count sheep. What sheep? What could I count? The things I need to do tomorrow? Should I list the things I have didn't do yesterday? All of that just makes you more awake.

Back years ago, I had a technique that worked to put me back to sleep, but it has failed me lately. I would tell myself, "if I am not back to sleep in 30 minutes I will get up and make cinnamon rolls. That will take me a couple of hours." Then I would walk through each step in my mind.

First I will need to get out a bowl and warm it. Then I'll get out the yeast and proof it. Then the flour , sugar , butter, cinnamon....on and on and on. Eventually I would fall asleep. Only once did I actually get up and make the rolls. But then, there was always the real possibility I would actually do it and I think the whole idea made me tired. Today, I am not making cinnamon I simply ignore the whole thought.

There have been nights when I imagine I am sitting on a boat in Neiafu Harbor in Vava'u Tonga. The sun is just coming up and lighting the sky in tones of garnet, amber and amethyst. I see the church on the bluff over the bay. The sounds of dozens of people singing floats across the water, surrounds me as it lifts to heaven. The boat gently rocks as rigging keeps time to the music. I feel the warmth of the early morning rays as they touch my face. There is a smell of frangipani in the air. This is my perfect moment and in that moment sometimes I can rest.

But tonight, I tried walking a training walk in my mind, from Sausalito, up the hill to the Golden Gate Bridge to San Francisco, all the way to the ferry and back. My imagination remembering the challenge of the steep climb and the feeling of the cold persistent fog. As I lay awake I remember how my muscles strain as the miles add up. How my body finds a way to sweat in 50 degrees. I think about how much time that walk could take and I remember business calls taken on Crissy Field. I picture the tourists and the bicyclists, the herons and the sandpipers. I count the steps. 12 miles of steps. But all of this only makes me more awake and wanting. Wanting the sun to rise and the calendar to clear enough to take the first step.

I can't sleep because I have places to go.

P.S. I will tell you a secret. Last night I raised my personal goal for the 3 day to $16,000. $1,000 for every year I have beaten Cancer. That would be $2,000 more than I have made ever before. That my friends is a scary goal, but just like a walk to SF, you get there one step at a time.

THANK YOU for helping me get there.