Lesson 8: My mind is preoccupied with past thoughts

The clock ticked as I tossed around the bed. I shouldn’t have stayed up late drafting that article. Why did I send that? Did I really need the money? Or was I craving some attention? It had been years since I had sent a query. What would the editor think about it? Should I have written more about myself? Maybe I should have spent more time editing it. God, it was getting late. I should sleep.

But sleep evaded me. I couldn’t even focus on my breath. Outside, I heard Sam talk to the client abroad. It was 1.30! Why was he still on the call? He knew I could not sleep if was even the slightest bit of noise. I was hyper-sensitive to sounds. I had always found it difficult to sleep if there was anything out of routine. New places, new pillow, new timing, any disturbance or change to anything related to my sleep habits and patterns irritated me.

Pregnancy was the worst. I had endured months of sleeplessness. And those sleepless nights with anxiety… what if it returned? I needed to wake up early, but no one cared. I should have slept earlier and not worked on that article. What if it was a mistake sending it? I had asked for help from my writing circle. Maybe I should have not asked them. Maybe I should have just posted it on the blog. I buried my head under the pillow. But his muffled noise still seeped in through the thin stuffing of the pillow. I woke up irritated. I wanted to go out and yell, “do you have to be loud! I am trying to sleep. Please I am really tired.”

I knew he was just doing his work. And yet, I couldn’t stop the irritation from rising. Why was I so angry? What was really going on here? I sat upright and leaned back into the bed. There was no point in getting angry or trying to sleep. Why was I unable to sleep? Was it the noise? Did staying up late to write the article spoil my sleep pattern? Or was I up because I was afraid of it being rejected? Or was I scared because I was thinking about all the previous times, I had trouble falling asleep.

I looked around me. The kids were fast asleep. The in-laws were fast asleep. It was my mind that was very alert and awake. My mind was preoccupied with everything that had happened earlier in the day. My mind was simply preoccupied with the past. My writing, my husband, my so-called sleep sensitivity.  I was just not present to this moment. I turned my attention back to my breath. All I needed to do was re-train my mind.

I could let it all go. I will let it all go. I sighed and snuggled into bed. I focused on my breath. I saw the thoughts arrive and leave.

(Like what you read? For more writings like this, visit the Lessons of Love page.)

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