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  • Writer's pictureErin Chandler

What Today Brings

“...people with nothing to declare carry the most.” – Jonathan Safran Foer, Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close

Sometimes spirituality fails me, or rather I fail at spirituality. Just last week I was so happy I thought it might be downright unhealthy, that dancing in the halls, singing in bed kind of happy. Then comes a night like last night when insomnia sets in. I got in bed about nine in the evening and at four a.m. I was beating my head against the pillow, near tears, petrified of what I like to call, sleep deprivation paranoia. There was no particular reason for my complete awakeness all night long, maybe the snowed in factor of last week, maybe it was a few too many chocolates throughout the evening, in any case it was hell. Up came every fear that is currently buried somewhere deep inside of me, fear of financial instability, fear of some health crisis (I had cancer twice about 7 years ago and would appreciate that to be checked off of my bucket list), fear of where I’m going to live and grow old because it won’t be where I’m living now, fear of good and bad decisions regarding relationships and fear for my little bookstore and my wish for it to thrive.

Around 11:00 I listened to a guided sleep hypnosis meditation of Michael Sealey on YouTube, Journey to Becoming Your Ideal Self. Usually these hour-long meditations send me to sleep in a matter of minutes, last night it sent me back to CNN, back to the infinite social black hole that is Facebook and up to get another glass of water. Around 1:00 I stumbled across a video of a woman offering her insight to subconscious blockages and took her test. According to my ‘results’ I suffer from fear of not being worthy, I must have gotten some signal, she said to all of us that answered the questions in a similar fashion, that while ambitious and motivated, sometime under the age of six we received some signal that we always had to be good and were not rewarded, something like that. I combed my memory for any baby messages I may have gotten and remembered always being the ‘good, obedient child’ and my brother doing whatever he pleased and always getting whatever he wanted. Darn it! I’m subconsciously cursed because I was quiet and pleasing and he was hell on wheels! I don’t believe that in the light of day but last night it peaked my curiosity.

Around 3:00, I tried another meditation by Sealey, Sleep Hypnosis for Deep Confidence (Depression, Anxiety, Insomnia, Self-Esteem), again not a sleepy bone in my body, forehead in hands, Nancy Kerrigan style calling out, “Why? Why? Why?” I turned Sealey’s usually soothing Australian whisper but last night it was deeply annoying. Then I got up to search a million tiny boxes for a hidden cigarette I may have stashed away when I gave up that nasty habit, way back yesterday.

By 4:00 it was fear about the things I had to do the next few days and how I would never catch up on sleep and how could I get through the day with no sleep and how could I get sleepy the next night after spending all day with no sleep, ad nauseum. Then something miraculous happened, I woke up and it was 6:30, great two and a half hours in! I let the dogs out and got back in bed for another three hours. I dreamt of a road trip with my friend Leslie Jordan, New Orleans, Santa Fe, some anonymous mountain winding desert land that curled around into a circus town of thieves and gypsies, some of which I knew, offering us all kinds of things. We searched for a restaurant and at one point the snow was so deep Leslie got stuck in it crying, I stood safely on the sidewalk screaming, “I can’t go over there!” Then we ended up in somewhere like Peru and there were monks canoeing in a river, racing I think they were. Finally, the night was over.

I have a solution for such spiritual malady, it’s meditation. Spirituality and inner peace is a practice, a practice in which I have experienced beautiful results. For a year in North Carolina, I studied with a group practicing silent meditation. Like magic my fears disappeared. I felt that I was truly infinite and a part of everything. That peace available and attainable to all of us is so real, so substantial that there is not a circumstance in the world we cannot walk through with grace and love, including dying. I hope that transition is a long time away, but I truly believe the only way to accomplish this is to sit in silence and listen. For fifteen minutes, thirty minutes, or an hour a day, close your eyes and let the thoughts diminish in the air above you. Realize you are not your thoughts, you are an infinite being connected to all. We are simply different waves of the same vast ocean. We are all life, life experiencing itself through us. We are everything.

Until that knowing settles deep within ourselves, we can rest assured, or not rest as the case may be, as Steely Dan prophesized, “When the demon is at your door, in the morning it won’t be there no more… any major dude will tell you.”

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