When life feels like it's on pause
When I lived in Australia I would wake up every morning, sit down and have my breakfast and check my emails. In the Northern Hemisphere, the world I came from, there were just going to bed. Majority of my emails from friends and family would come during my night time, so I’d always have a good chunk of mail to reply to when I'd wake!
I was expectant that even as I slept, I would receive mail when I woke up.
I was expectant, that even as I lay unconscious, there was people all around the world, in different time zones up and about doing things.
As I reflect on this mentality, it breeds the idea that things are happening in the unseen. While you are sleeping, you have no control over your thoughts and dream patterns, and you also have no control over what you will receive. When you are asleep you literally can’t see, or move, essentiality are lifeless.
Sleep is a good image of putting life on pause. It’s catch-up for the days before and preparation for the days ahead. If sleep is caching up and preparing ahead, then it shows how:
pausing as a human being is essential to movement in our lives.
If you didn’t take time to sleep then you wouldn’t accomplish much as you woke.
We all know the inefficiency when we’ve had an awful night’s sleep. Coffee only works for so long. Every night we enter a mental shift of stopping. Every day we pause and rest for 8 hours. On average in your lifetime you will spend 229,961 hours sleeping.
The image of sleep taught me:
1) Things are happening, even when you can’t see them
2) Choose to rest in hope, even when you are surrounded by darkness
3) Sometimes there are pauses in life needed before you can move forward
There is a great movie that’d I’d watch tirelessly with my cousin, sisters and mom. While you were sleeping is a 90s Romantic Comedy that I was brought up on, and we still quote to this day. I ended up writing a film review in university for this movie, it obviously had a big effect on me!
In short, While You Were Sleeping follows the story of a guy who gets mugged one day waiting for the subway, falls from the platform and into a deep coma for several weeks during the holiday season. The main character lays dormant for at least 80% of the movie, but the events, hilarity, life changes that occur while he is sleeping are what the movies is all about. He wakes up to find out he is engaged, his family is mad at him and potentially has amnesia because he wasn’t aware of the happenings. This confusion is humorous, but perhaps can be relatable to life.
I’ve woken up some mornings from sleep thinking, what am I doing with my life? What is even happening? Searching for purpose, finding clarity in the day, fighting for control I simply get out of bed and do what needs to be done.
Perhaps, for you, there aren’t that many great thoughts when you wake up. In fact, you really don’t’ want to do much, you’d rather start your day with a nap. Been there.
Yet, sleep is necessary. It allows us humans to shut off our brains for a chunk of our day to lay dormant. We can’t think, plan, confer, converse, wonder at all. It is a natural human need to sleep. I wonder why we were created like that, to need sleep. I think it’s because we can’t handle it all. We weren’t designed to work around the clock.
Sometimes before movement in life, there will be periods of sleeping, seasons of nothing, seasons of inactivity.
How effective it is for schools to create recess breaks in between lessons, how forward thinking companies implement creative workspaces and encourage times of wonder, play, and innovation in their work days. We do this, because studies have shown that taking a break, a mental shift increases productivity. Just as we wouldn’t be without sleep for effectiveness of our days, there are moments in life where you have to retain sleepy mode. There are questions that you will wait on before you receive an answer. There are medications that take weeks before the pain will be gone. There are people that require more patience than others. We may think waiting/sleeping are barriers in moving forward, -yet they are necessary for greatness.
What I’m getting at is, sleeping is just as important as doing. It may not be productivity on paper, but it is productivity for longevity.
So, don’t doubt what is going on behind the scenes. Don’t doubt what you can’t see. Don’t doubt the emails you will receive when you wake up, or the big thing that will happen while you were sleeping.
You can’t always see the whole picture right away in life. Sometimes you have to wait. You need to take a nap and let things be.
Don’t freak out. Let waiting make you that much better.
That is why waiting does not diminish us, any more than waiting diminishes a pregnant mother. We are enlarged in the waiting. We, of course, don’t see what is enlarging us. But the longer we wait, the larger we become, and the more joyful our expectancy.