November 24, 2015

Sleepless in Amstelveen

Two nights ago, or was it this morning...? Somehow my days and nights blend together lately. It could be the dark mornings and early evenings of this northern country. I get up for work and it's dark, I look out the window at the HvA and it's darkening even before I think about catching my bus home. And then "Bam!," suddenly it's pitch black, and my contact lenses are sticking to my pupils and I am bleary eyed from trying to read and work all day in the gloom.

 Early this morning, or perhaps it was yesterday after all, I woke up at 4:30 a.m. with my head full of thoughts buzzing around like a swarm of bees. I tried to shoo them away, but they settled happily on the branches of my frontal cortex. "We're just here to make honey" they said in a friendly tone.
Still, I brushed them away. They built a hive, but said softly, "Don't worry, we're not here to harm you. We don't sting." Another one added "Not hard, anyway." I asked them if they would mind moving their hive at least to the floor next to my bed because I need my sleep and their buzzing was keeping me awake.

It was yesterday, or today, or a few days ago, or every morning this week, that very early, in the hour that I usually reserve only for turning over from my left side to the right side, that I find myself far too wide awake. This morning it was 'what to write a blog about,' and Adele is now singing on her new album 'when the night keeps you from sleeping.' Adele knows what I'm talking about. It's not my brain that's overly active so early in the morning. It's all this restless energy of the world that's breaking into my dreams.

I used to be able to separate my life from the chaos in the world. After all, I grew up in Israel. If you don't know how to create a bubble around you, then you can't survive. At least I couldn't.  I didn't read the news, still don't watch talk shows with angry politicians, I enjoy fiction and creativity, and surround myself with positive people as much as possible.

But the images have been pounding at my bubble steadily over the past few years. The Arab Spring began, and we all hoped it would lead to a happier Middle East, but sadly some of the dictatorships that fell turned into countries of even greater chaos. Peace grew further and further from Israel, where my family still resides, and since I go there to visit frequently, I cannot ignore the situation there.

And then, the overflow of refugees started landing in enormous numbers on the shores here in Europe. 

And as soon as I saw the first images of rubber boats full of grandmothers, children, young people, old people, just tired, trying-to-survive people, my bubble burst, and tears I hardly ever shed about anything started to pour out of me. I want to dive in and save them all. I want to work for the coast guard and rescue everyone. I want to give them 'warmth and shelter from the storm,' (sorry for the plagiarized quote), and I want to house them all in my home and play with their children so the parents can rest and let them find peace and escape from their wars.

Suddenly I find myself actively searching what to do, who to meet with, bridging East and West, making new friends and stretching myself emotionally. I want to do too much. I feel guilty for all the good I have, for all the heating I have in my house, for my job, for health, for a happy balanced family where no one is left behind although of course part of my family is back in Israel where it isn't all that safe there either and of course I feel guilty about that as well.

So at 4:30 a.m., my brain wakes me up to remind me to start being anxious and worried about the day to come, and to remind me to wake up early so I can start to save the world or as many souls as possible, and do my work, and be a good enough mother and not only that but do all the happy good things that are coming my way these days, and to plan and organize and think about the future too.

While some people are struggling to survive in the present.
So, the bees are making honey. But they're keeping me awake.

While I struggle with that dilemma, zentangling helps keep me calm.

1 comment:

  1. Very nice to read. Thank you for sharing. What is Zentangling? Sounds Chinese!