Thursday 24 March 2011

Sleep Is A Reconciling, A Rest That Peace Begets for my website for the most travelled of my images, Jesus sitting on a tube train being ignored
www.agracefuldeath, for the A Graceful Death exhibition, paintings from the end of life  Go to this link to donate and find out about the A Graceful Death, the Film.  See our video explaining what we are doing, and be part of the team help us to raise the funds to make the film brilliant.

Look How The Sun Doth Rise When Fair At Even He Sets

I am quoting from an Elizabethan poem that I have not read since 1981, and may well have got it all wrong.  It is a lovely poem about not crying anymore, and I have skipped that bit to only quote the sleeping bit.  The sleeping bit is what I want to talk to you about today.  Wake up now, and take notes.

I have been feeling dreadfully lacklustre lately.  I have woken each morning feeling unrefreshed and still tired, and have longed for a different kind of life where everything is easy and straightforward.  Once up, I have felt better, and though feeling cheerier for being vertical, I have not looked very pretty.  "Nonsense!" I hear you all cry, but I do have to tell you that it is true, I haven't been looking my best.  "My,"  the Cosmic Gardener said to me recently, "you look done in."  My children have commented that I am not fetching and delivering to them with the same speed as before, and suggest with regret that I am getting old.  I have not wanted to get up from my chair once seated, not even to find a nice book to read;  not even when I have finished my task at the computer, to put the kettle on.  Not even, when my glasses slide off my nose, to push them back on again.

I have much to do, and as always, I take on far more than is necessary.  I think, "I know, I'll make a film!" and then think "Gordon Bennett.  How??"  I think,  "I know!  I will paint a huge portrait!"  and then think, "however will I do this?"  I think "Hurrah!  I will raise money for my projects and it will all be easy because I'm good and everyone will know that", only to remember that there is a recession on and people are trying to Not Respond To Projects, even though the projects are absolutely fabulous and everyone does know it.  The children are growing up and are forever needing Something, the house is lovely but large and gets a little out of hand with the steady flow of folk coming and going, some staying, some not - and always me, happy but getting slower and slower and more and more comatose, in the middle of it, trying to make sure it all works as well as can be expected, just like I always have.

But recently it has been different.  I have thought along the lines of Stuff The Washing, and I Don't Need To Paint (oh let me rest).  I have thought I Only Want To Wear Grey Clothes And Lie Down A Lot, and every time I sat in front of my computer in my busy and paper strewn office, I have thought, "Well, I am sure I came in here for something, goodness I can't even remember what my name is and ooooh!  Pretty flowers!" as I look out of the window at nodding daffodils in the garden and forget utterly where I am.  At the same time, there have been long journeys to London and back, perhaps the most significant one being when I went up to Teddington to collect the birthday cake from Dear Old Dad who had bought it for Dear Old Daughter for her 21st, and then didn't know how to get it to Brighton.  "It's my Duty" I said and whizzed up to London to solve the problem.  A last minute request for money from the Furiously Independent Son In Kingston saw me parked illegally in Kingston and waiting to hand over enough to pay for his History Trip the next day.  But when Son eventually appeared, he was so ill that I chucked him into the car and took him back to Bognor within seconds of seeing him.  

So back to Sleep being a Reconciling and so on.  Darling Dublin Friend called and asked how I was.  And so I told her.  "I am," I said in a low voice, "struggling.  I turned 50 last August and am going to be 70 this coming one."  "Oh," said DDF.  "I am, " I continued in a near whisper, "on my way out."  With no fuss, DDF asked if I was getting enough sleep. Proper sleep.   " I don't need sleep!  I haven't time! I am fine do you hear me I have far too much to do blah blah justify justify etc."  "Hmmmmm," DDF said, "I bet you wake in the morning feeling unrested and anxious."  That is true, I told her with astonishment.  What is this voodoo that you are doing? If she doesn't get enough sleep, DDF said simply, she wakes fuzzled and muzzled for the whole of the next day.   " I really need my sleep,"  she said without shame.  Go to bed she suggested, at a good time.  10.15 is a good time, not 10.16, and don't take a cup of tea to bed.  Take hot milk and try it. 

Readers, I did try it.  I got to bed that night at 8 and put my laptop in a cupboard downstairs.  I took hot milk to bed and I lay in my pyjamas and feeling a little self conscious, I put out my had to turn the radio on to hear some reassuringly furious radio 4 discussions on war and morals and tenseness, only to find it was morning.  I had fallen asleep.  I had slept from 8.02 till 6.30 and it was time to get up and start the day.  I was so impressed with DDF.  "She knows," I said to myself as I got up.  And my mood was lighter that day.  By 9pm that night I was in bed again and by 9.04 I was asleep.  A week later and I look nice again.  "You have," said a passer by recently, "a ruddy bloom."  I like the day times again.  The Cosmic Gardner had not offered me sympathy this week, my children have been dealt with with a new and brutal efficiency ("No I can't do that, cook you dinner, fetch your birthday cake, mend your trousers, paint your room - I'm going to bed")  And what is more, I cannot wait for bedtime.  With this new regime, I have found that I have jettisoned care and worry at the bedroom door.  I lie in my bed and giggle.  It is so simple, and DDF knows it.  Now I know it.  Eileen Rafferty, Photographer Extraordinaire, knows it too.  She has always told me I need to sleep more.  And I remember now seeing a small You Tube clip where the writer and socialite Arianna Huffington told us ladies that we should literally sleep to the top.  We don't get enough sleep, she says, and we are malfunctioning.  We get brownie points for not sleeping much, if at all, and to sleep is weak.  Well hell no.  We think we get brownie points but what we get is Madness.  Yes.  Madness.

So this blog is dedicated to DDF, Darling Dublin Friend, who has a deep and scary insight into how simple it is to make life shine again.  "Sleep is a reconciling,  a rest that peace begets, look how the sun doth rise when fair at even he sets."  I think she wrote that and pretended to be an Elizabethan poet. 

Just had a message from DDF and she said to me and I quote

"Delicious sleep thout pervadest me and hath made a nagging cranky bisom of me.  Come to me this night and lie with me - forsooth!" 

I say speak for yourself.  Kiss kiss.

No comments:

Post a Comment