Some days I just want to stay in bed. My bed is really comfortable. I have a Goldilocks mattress, not too firm, not too soft, just right. Three pillows assure me of neck and head comfort. There’s the three I start with at night almost sitting up; the kind of firm one that I use as I slide into sleep, and the really soft one that takes me through ’til morning when I somehow end up totally horizontal.
Early morning sunlight slides through the slats of the shutters, diffusing the light so the room is hazy with a soft white light. The AC air is cool. Under the sheet I’m just warm enough. Have you felt that? There’s a very slight stretch where the purpose is not to elongate muscles and tendons to get up and get going, but to open and then curl up again and… stay in bed. For just a short period of time. In that halfway space between sleeping and wakefulness, there’s a lazy path of thoughts. Not the to-do list.
But sometimes, “what ifs?” What if I stay in bed all day today? What if I go out on the patio and slip into the pool before the sun rises? What if I get on my bike and just ride with no particular goal of where to go?
Sometimes the “I wonders” start. I wonder what my sweetheart is dreaming about right now? I wonder what my sister is doing? Are folks in another time zone eating breakfast? What do other writers do when they wake up?
Sometimes I do an in-bed meditation. Just breathe. Do a mental gratitude list.
Sometimes I just want to stay in bed. But I don’t want the light. I want to pull the sheet and comforter over me and block out all the light. Mostly I want to block out thoughts that have crept into my bed with me. “Why is there so much violence in our world?” “Why haven’t I heard from you?” “Why do I feel so alone?” There’s an opening in me that can let in self-pity, or anxiety, frustration, anger, fear. If I’m not aware, the seeds of those thoughts can sprout and take hold. I know it’s happening when I realize I’m clenching my teeth, or holding my breath, or my thoughts leap from one dark shadow of thought to another.
“Move a muscle, change a thought.” I think I’ve used that phrase for almost four decades to shift the mood. If I can just sit up, not get up. Or just force one arm up out of the covers. And remember:
Fate whispers to the Warrior,
“You cannot withstand the Storm.”
And the Warrior whispers back,
“I AM THE STORM.”
A few words like that have the power to remind me what’s true. I am a warrior when I need to be. I can take care of all the scared and soft and vulnerable parts of me. I am not alone.
Ethel Lee-Miller blogs regularly about people, the power of words, and the writing life. She’s been immersed in writing for over 30 years, teaching, coaching, editing, and gathering writers to publicly share their work. She is the author of Thinking of Miller Place, and Seedlings, Stories of Relationships. She also enjoys sharing stories at Odyssey Storytelling, Tucson Tellers of Tales, and just about anywhere there’s a mic.