I got a massage last night. I’ve gotten them on and off for ~20 years, and have experienced everything from crying to weird bumps that tingle, to pain, to release from pain, to mindlessness, to floaty-ness, to talking, to…

Sleeping.

Until this year, which is when I started getting regular massages (god that sounds so luxurious doesn’t it? And it IS — it’s my biggest splurge ever. I just feel decadent getting them so often but they really help with my back), I had experienced all of the above except sleeping.

I’m sure I’ve wavered in and out of consciousness sometimes, but as relaxed as I get, I’d never fallen asleep until about 6 months ago.

And now I always seem to fall asleep, and right when she finally gets to the good part — my neck and shoulders and my back.

That’s the part I want to enjoy the most, for godssake. I want to be awake and enjoying it, not snoozing and drooling!

Tell me I have a sense of entitlement, but I have to endure daily pain so I think I should at least get to enjoy a fleeting release from it, right? But no, all but once in the last 6 months, I have snored through the good part.

I find that so alarming and yet I’m not sure why I find it so alarming.

Other than getting massages more frequently (causing me to relax more easily and fall asleep during them?!), the only possible causes I can think of (that would cause me to fall asleep) are that my 1 year old job is still mentally taxing because my brain is still engaged and absorbing information,

AND/OR that I don’t get enough sleep.

By the time I get stuff done (whether necessary or desired) we’re looking minimally at 8:30pm to start…Step #1 of the Disengagement Process.

That’s stuff like my washing face, prepping coffee maker, letting the dog and/or cats out and in a few times, writing some notes to myself or posting, maybe talking to a friend or doing some online reading (which “they” say is not good for you to do at least an hour prior to your bedtime, and which NAG** would undoubtedly agree with).

Then all of a sudden it’s time to go to bed.

“Going to bed” is Step 2 of the Disengagement Process and is code for “reading.” I always say I’ll read for “only” X minutes, but it’s usually one extreme or another: Either I get absorbed in a magazine/book and read too late, or I read something “inspiring” or “educational” like my summer reading for punishment, in which case I’m asleep in 15 min.

Step 3 of the Disengagement Process is turning off the light and turning on the radio to you – know – what, and Step 4 (the Unintended Step) is lay/lying there and listening for a 1/2 hour until I doze off.

Sometimes I can turn the radio on (which I do to keep my mind from racing) and I can fall asleep in moments, but often I end up listening.

Anyway, the point is (and I do have one): I don’t get enough sleep, and maybe that’s a reason I keep falling asleep in my massages. (Bet you forgot what we were talking about, didn’t you?)

I am a grownup for godssake. I know by now that to function properly I ideally need 9 hours of sleep a night. I also know that there’s a snowball’s chance in hell I’ll get into bed by 9:30 not to mention get 9 hours of sleep on a weeknight.

And speak of the devil: it’s 9:30 now, so I’m gonna go read before bed.

I think it’s a Buddha night <This summer’s reading for punishment>

**NAG=Nurse Aunt Grace, who’s — ironically enough— my aunt and a nurse, and who’s been spot on about all her diagnoses (except probably on herself and her husband, ’cause you can’t be perfect I guess) and who saved my mom’s life. But that’s another story.

ADDENDUM written last night after I went to bed to read (Step 2 of the Disengagement Process). I opened up the Buddha book (fully anticipating my normal 2 page limit) and started where I left off, on page 24 at a chapter called, “Stopping, Calming, Resting, Healing” (AHEM to me).

Thich Nhat Han tells a story about a man galloping quickly by on horse and being asked where he was going so fast. He said “I don’t know. Ask the horse.”

Here’s Thich (with emPHAsis by me): “…we are riding a horse…and we can’t stop. The horse is our habit energy pulling us along…we are always running and it has become a habit. Then he starts talking about the “art of stopping,” which I just did to write this, but which is probably not what he meant.

He then, as the chapter title would suggest, goes into calming, resting and healing, and the interconnection between them all and the benefits to our minds and bodies. Definitely a “you had to be there” moment, I guess, especially because I can’t summarize it well enough, and we already know this stuff (intellectually anyway).

But when I read that chapter (written in his simple, spare, yet elegant style) after having just written and thinking about the very same topics (albeit in a totally different style to say the least) I almost wet my pants I was so freaked out!

Talk about the teacher being there when you’re ready to learn the lesson!

Opening up to that chapter — coincidence?? I don’t think so — it all just hit me so hard, since I had JUST been saying I’ve been falling asleep in massage, going going going until later than I “should,” not getting enough sleep, not making enough time to disengage.

And there it was again in “Bedtime with Buddha”: the “art of stopping,” which then led me (perhaps not surprisingly given the name of the chapter) to Calming, Resting, Healing. I just had to finish that chapter.

I ended up reading up to page 34! (so I can skip a week now?)

TONIGHT It’s 9:38. I’m sleeping with Buddha. Must go back to 2 page toleration limit. Was up ’til 11:30 last night pondering all of that (above).

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