There are days I’m so tired that if I close my eyes, I could sleep for a million years. Some days, this is not a problem. I have the wisdom to know that this won’t last, and that some nights are better than the others. And then some days, this is a huge problem! I find my mind repeating over and over again how tired I am. It is this endless loop and negative thoughts arise easily in this loop. I forget the wisdom and I feel lost.
And then, not everyday, but once in a while, I have a breakthrough. Instead of resisting the ouch of tiredness with the stories that my mind comes up with, I feel it. How does being tired feel? Where does it manifest physically? And what can help me? Just acknowledging this makes me feel better! And that tiny space inside my heart starts to open…
It takes tremendous compassion to love the person we are when we are tired and sleep-deprived. On such days, I find myself having mean thoughts, acting unskillfully, and saying things I wouldn’t under normal circumstances. These episodes quickly turn into opportunities for judgment, which only makes everything ten times worse. My mind starts doing all sorts of dances: comparing, resisting, judging none of which feel generous in any sort of way.
And then the few golden moments: when I see that I’m judging, and I see the underlying conditions (lack of sleep!) that have given rise to the actions. I understand and forgive as a friend would. I think of Anjali, I smile and start over. It is a new moment. It is by no means a guarantee that I won’t act unskillfully again, but it does feel more generous in my heart.
I’m starting to understand unconditional love. It is about loving ourselves, not only when we are acting generously and we are on top of things and as present and loving as can be, but also when we are mean and acting with fear and not able to be as present. I’ve often found that when I’m willing to understand and forgive, my mind stops its “I’ dance, and is more willing to look outside of myself. And then I realize that life is challenging sometimes, not just for me, but for everyone. It opens the doors to compassion.
On days when I have moments like this, I can receive the joy with which Anjali greets the same toys and the same curtains and the same dryer. And I can share her delight in being loved.
With Love, S.