Sleeping and dreaming are two of my favorite things. Seems a bit odd considering the challenges with insomnia, sleep disturbances, and nightmares, perhaps it is because of those things that I enjoy sleeping and dreaming so much. I enjoy and appreciate them greatly, and definitely have experience with some of the less pleasant, less restful, and less satisfying options sleep has to offer.

I did not sleep well last night. I don’t recall my dreams. I had no nightmares, and did not spend the time restlessly – I just mostly wasn’t sleeping. I managed more than 4 hours of sleep, though, and one period of unbroken sleep that lasted nearly 3 hours. Not too long ago, a night like last night would have been spent out of bed, awake, perhaps writing moodily whatever stray thought crossed my mind in the twilight of minimal artificial light. I would have, potentially, become more cross and frustrated – and anxious – as the night passed. I was sleepy and tired last night, just not able to fall asleep, or stay asleep, so I stayed in bed, relaxed and comfortable, meditating through periods of wakefulness until I felt sleep begin to return. I am decently well-rested, though not ideally so, and I am in a mostly pretty pleasant mood, although I am in a lot of pain with my arthritis.

There is a connection between quality of sleep, and my experience of pain. Pain seems more than usually painful when I am not well-rested.

I yawn, and stretch, do some yoga – slowly and with great deliberation. I am stiff, and seemingly unreasonably so, but I’m not really surprised by it, just annoyed. I accept the feeling of annoyance as a warning that I may not have the emotional resilience I expect to, today; the moment of kindness turned inward eases the annoyance, but not the pain. My medication will kick in slowly, over the next hour; I count on the yoga for as much relief, and it generally delivers.

Sipping coffee, dreaming of love, and thinking of home.

Sipping coffee, dreaming of love, and thinking of home.

It is a quiet Friday morning. I enjoy quiet mornings greatly. This one I spend gently, considerate of my needs and my lack of sleep. I take time to contemplate the sensation of ‘going home’ – and getting there – and what I might enjoy seeing and experiencing as I step into a space that feels like ‘home’ for me. For the purpose of this moment of contemplation (daydreaming?) I accept the assumption that my emotional experience of ‘feeling homeless’ is not driven by externals, that it is simply a stray sensation I am stuck on that can be changed by moving in the direction of things that feel differently for me, with practice. This opens the door to considering what does feel like ‘home’ to me? (My traveling partner is correct that my linguistic and grammatical tendency to phrase thoughts ‘in the negative’ supports negative thinking and experiences more effectively than it can support positive ones; I work on changing my implicit biases with a number of practices like this one.) Beginning with the assumption that I can improve on this experience, I allow myself to ‘think through’ a variety of ‘arriving at home’ moments, letting my imagination fill in gaps and create little details that catch my attention and point my awareness in the direction of what sorts of things really do feel like home – for me. I have changed over the years, and my taste has as well.

This morning, I ‘come home’ in my imagination to a very orderly place that feels spacious, but is quite compact. The space is ‘filled with light’; windows that bring in the natural light of morning, or afternoon is especially lovely. The decor is organized around function, and in favor of being able to create in the same space in which I live; finished art on the walls, beautifully arranged with adequate white space, easel and brushes neatly ready on a whim, and unashamedly out in the open. The art would be selected to take advantage of the light, and also ‘where I’m at’ in life now; lighter, brighter, more glow, less darkness, sensuous textures, positive meanings. Decor in neutral earth tones in light shades and pale wood case goods would direct my eye back to the color; art, objects, beautiful porcelain tea cups, books – always so many books! In a place that feels to me like ‘home’, all my lovely breakables would be on display – and in use. I would live gently in a ‘cruelty free zone’, treating myself with compassion, kindness, and care (I have been too hard on myself for far too long). The environment would feel quiet, and stillness would be available – even plentiful – and would be ‘inspiring’ to live in. The dining table would be set, beautifully, simply for the loveliness of it, in between meals. The kitchen and pantry would be arranged to suit my needs and cooking style, and would take into account my injury and my arthritis – putting things I commonly need in easiest reach, and maintaining a ‘logical sense’ that perhaps only makes sense to me, but does so in an intuitive way, changing only to improve on that. This is unmistakably a ‘selfish’ perspective; there is no reason to hold out on myself in my own daydream, and the point of the exercise has nothing whatever to do with how I treat others, or building a lovely home in a shared experience. This one is for me, about me… it is me, communicating my needs to myself with greater clarity than I otherwise might, and hoping to improve on my day-to-day experience along the way, just benefiting from knowing myself and my needs a little better.

More often than not, when I feel ‘home sick’ or yearning to ‘go home’, it is desire for a safe place that feels like my own, filled with order, stillness, sufficiency, and contentment…the other details are simply a way to get there.

...And a wee garden would be lovely, too.

…And a wee garden would be lovely, too.

Today is a good morning to consider going home. Today is a good day to consider what that means to me. Today is a good day to be my own best friend, compassionately listening, offering encouragement and support, and celebrating growth. Today is a good day to enjoy change.