I have trouble sleeping. I frequently wake up several times in the night (more often when I hear my daughter moving around - since she is awake most of the night - and then I really can't fall back to sleep.)
Sometimes I wake up and do some meditation. Last week (that week of economic horrors, which is continuing this week) I read the NY Times all night long, in bed, on my BlackBerry, following the financial markets around the world and reading op-eds. (I realize, of course, that this is not considered a cure for insomnia.)
Occasionally I wake up in a panic and that's what happened to me the night before last. I woke up with a headache (from slipping in more caffeine during the day) and I couldn't get back to sleep. And then I couldn't stop listing all the things in my life that I feel I've failed at, or everything that's gone wrong with the world, or whatever. It was just a very very bad night. On nights like that I think "what is actually so great about life?" I can't even remember simple things like French Toast, or a walk in Central Park, or Paris. I'm just in it - "it" being the blues, the hopelessness. Really, what I need to do is have a good cry, but I have a hard time crying. So the feelings get bottled up, clogged, and the headache continues and it's a struggle to get myself to do anything.
There are many things to be upset about: my daughter not knowing what to do with her life, the work I've found in the past few years, real estate, seems to be "shifting" (as one of the heads of a big NYC real estate company describes it.) The economy is in the toilet ($700 billion dollar bailout?) Friends are dealing with life threatening illnesses, Steve has to have two eye surgeries in the next month and Lucy (our beagle) has another ear surgery next week. Probably the most important election that we've had in a long time is coming up in 46 or so days and who knows how it's going to turn out? SARAH PALIN. The war continues, costing a billion dollars a day (is that possible - see Thomas Friedman's NY Times column today), the cost of everything is skyrocketing, Javier Bardem is never going to ask me out, and I feel old, frumpy and tired.
So yesterday morning, before I sat for my mediation, I did some reading and one of the books I picked up was Regena Thomashauer's book "Mama Gene's School of Womanly Arts." (This is part of my homework for the course I'm taking.) I read this:
"Treat a woman like a Goddess, she rises to the occasion. That's a tip that will take men far in the world of women. Worship her, and she will give you the best she's got."
It’s been a long, long time since anyone treated me like a Goddess.
I am a Goddess. (I really am, I really am…if I say it enough times, perhaps I will believe it.) We are all Goddesses and Gods. We don’t all know it (unless we’re Donald Trump.) How do we live a life that allows us to feel fulfilled, to know that whatever journey we are on is the one we need to be on, and to feel whatever feelings come up (no matter how painful) and to know that they will pass.
This course for women is based on the idea of seeking pleasure in your daily life and doing what makes you happy. I'm not quite sure what that is anymore, but I think it's a worthwhile pursuit, to figure it out. I looked at the inside jacket of the book and Regena Thomashauer ("Sister Gena") had written this: "Sister Goddess Robin - Welcome to Fall Mastery! I am looking forward to meeting you. Yes! To all of your dreams and desires! Love, Mama Gena." And for some reason that made me cry.
As the day progressed and my headache eventually went away, I felt better. And last night, I decided to take no chances. I took an Ambien.
“The sky and the sun are always there – it’s the storms and the clouds that move through.” (Pema Chodron – “When Things Fall Apart.”)