Some people count sheep…

Anubis sleeping on meI bake cookies—in my head, that is—while I try to fall asleep at night.  I’ve never been a good sleeper.  Even as a child, I could hear a pin drop when I was sleeping.  And the princess and the pea—well, that is me as I fidget in bed trying to get comfortable.  Now I seem to rarely have a full night of sleeping.  I know that having my cat Anubis sleep on me is a mixed blessing (he is so warm and snuggly, but he is nearly 10 pounds of furriness sitting on my stomach).  So I try lots of evening rituals like doing some yoga poses and breathing exercises before I get into bed.  I sleep on wickable sheets to stay comfortable regardless of temperature changes.  I keep my eyes covered with a sleep mask every night to block out light and other energies around me.  I have tried earplugs and they do help to keep out sound but they aren’t very comfortable—yeah that princess and the pea phenomenon again.

Instead, I think of measuring brown sugar, white sugar and butter then creaming it together (yum, especially the brown sugar). I add the eggs and vanilla and even taste the batter along the way just like I do when I am actually making cookies.  And of course the recipe I seem to make most often is chocolate chip cookies (see Ode to baking chocolate chip cookies).

Notes for blogI even write entire blog posts like this one not on paper but in my head.  Initially I am too tired or afraid that turning on a light to write it down will wake me too fully that I try really hard to not forget it by morning.  One night recently it was no problem—I was so awake all through the night or just determined to remember that in the morning when I got up, all my thoughts just poured out long hand on paper.  I couldn’t wait the time it would have taken to turn on my computer.  And some how it seemed too early, too strange to turn on my computer.  But I don’t always remember what I “wrote” in bed.  Sometimes it will be days and then I finally remember a topic I thought of to write about while I was “asleep”.

I also sing songs all night.  That happens pretty much regardless of where I am in the dream-sleep continuum.  I can get really annoyed by a song if it keeps playing over and over again when I am awake-ish.  If I am actually asleep, the song simply becomes the soundtrack to whatever is taking place in my dream.  It doesn’t necessarily change the dream, it’s just there in the background like in a movie.

It turns out that my uncle has some similar experiences.  We probably share some unusual gene.  I can’t say that I am sorry that I have that gene.  Other than being such a poor sleeper, I do appreciate that my way to create is so interesting and I get fun things to blog out of it!


Cloud hopping

Clouds to skip over the Hudson Valley RiverToday is a perfect day for cloud hopping.  What, you ask, is that?  Well, I have a particular proclivity to daydream in the clouds.  I like to look up on a day when there are puffs of cotton ball clouds that dot the blue sky.  I imagine myself leaping from cloud to cloud, landing in a soft and springy embrace in the next cloud.  I might bound from a low cloud and vault up to a higher one, or take a long lead and jump a great distance between clouds that are far apart.  Mostly I hurdle like a dancer leaps, one leg stretched out in front of the other; a jeté.  Rarely do I jump with two feet together.  Sometimes I soar from cloud to cloud in one long stretch as if I were playing checkers and jumping over 10 pieces in one successive move.

California wine country-style cloud hoppingMy favorite days for cloud tripping are breezy days when the clouds are moving with a moderate to brisk pace so that I can vary which cloud I go to next based on what is floating nearest.  A few weeks ago, Andy and I were working in the garden on such a day and it took a great deal of restraint for me to focus on the gardening task at hand and not go cloud hopping.  I did manage to squeeze some jumps in when I took a break to lie down on the grass and stretch my back (the gardening work was intense!).

Flying is something that I have been doing since I was a little girl.  My first early experience was at night in my dreams.  Probably due to watching Bedknobs and Broomsticks, I began my treks in the sky on my four-post bed as a child.  In the movie, the children go on adventures on a magical brass bed with their caretaker (who is a witch).  I went on my own adventures as I flew my bed way above my New Jersey hometown.  Mainly I would just watch the goings on from above.  I still love to go up high into the sky and watch the world and I have had those floating dreams many, many times over the years beyond childhood.

Driving along a New Mexico highway - Cloud hopping along the wayAnother media impact on my (you might say unusual, I say wonderful) flight behavior was the TV special Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer.  As a little girl, I have a very distinct memory, one that seemed real even when I was old enough to know it wasn’t, of looking out my bedroom window into the sky and seeing Santa and his sled with Rudolph at the front.  I determined when I was a bit older that the angle of Santa’s flight that I saw was exactly what occurs in the very last frames of the animated special.  My lifelong fascination with the sky and memories of my night flight adventures are very dear to me.

Day skipping in the clouds, conducted while awake, is very calming to me and something I am happy to do anytime.  It’s a form of daydreaming so not surprisingly, the clouds can be very distracting, even as I sit here and write.  My desk is in front of a large window and I have a great view above our tree line of a piece of neighboring mountain and best of all, the sky.  I might be in the middle of a sentence when a cloud catches my eye and I decide to go on an adventure in my mind – and in the heavens.

Cloud hopping on a Hawaiian sunsetBut cloud hopping is also very useful and productive.  Because of the meditative quality of the experience, I often solve problems or just become more relaxed when I am way up there.  If something is upsetting me and I am lucky to have the right conditions in the sky, I do a little bouncing from puff to puff and whatever was bothering me becomes less important.  Or I suddenly have clarity and make a decision that is authentic, based on my gut knowledge of what is best for me.  Like the time just a few years ago when I was on a bus in Florida and the sky was particularly splendid in deep blues and puffy pristine clouds.  I realized during that 15-minute bus ride between the media conference and the hotel that I was done with my corporate gig.  I immediately began my serious plans to leave.  The clouds served me so well that day because now I am happy as a child, floating above the sky and doing my own creative work.