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February 12, 2013 / A Mindful Traveler

In The Dark

I’m not talking about the Grateful Dead’s most commercially successful album. (I do appreciate this video though.)  Nor am I referring to the fact I’ve gone longer than usual between posts.  (Although like the Grateful Dead, that is relevant to these observations.)  Instead I’m talking about the Northern Hemisphere winter which has compelled me to wake up in the dark for the past three months.

Despite being a morning person, I’ve never particularly enjoyed having to wake up in darkness.  Last week I awoke far earlier than I needed to and, unable to continue sleeping, took the opportunity to start meditating.  It felt surprisingly comfortable, perhaps because it reminded me of pre-dawn practice periods at retreats I’d attended.  I fell asleep very early that night and awoke at an even earlier hour the next day.  As well as meditating, I was even able to do some work before I actually went to work.  I was energized that day, thinking I’d found a new lifestyle that would make me just as productive every day.

That evening I fell asleep early and… Woke up four hours later.  I couldn’t sleep for the next three hours and although I did fall back asleep after that, I arrived at work exhausted.  The next day I caught a bad case of the flu that turned a long weekend into a long recuperation period.

As I suspect is the case for many people, while I was sick all I could think of was my discomfort and how I would deal with an extended illness.  This afternoon when I returned home from work I was actually unsure of what to do.  The concept of free time with my full health seemed like a complete novelty.

What binds these experiences together besides an excessive amount of information about my health and personal habits?  In both cases, I assumed that because I felt one way at one time, I would continue to feel that way the next day.  The very nature of change makes it difficult to predict, but curiously, the fact that change occurs seems to be the one thing that doesn’t change.

Or, to quote the Grateful Dead, “every silver lining’s got a touch of grey.”

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2 Comments

Leave a Comment
  1. Won Seok Chung / Feb 12 2013 11:54 am

    I had a similar experience lately as I had a flu… Thanks for sharing and it’s insightful!

    • A Mindful Traveler / Feb 12 2013 12:07 pm

      Thank you for your kind words! I hope you’re feeling better 🙂

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