Every once in a while I have a bad night. Lately I mostly just wake up and can’t go back to sleep rather than waking up terrified or upset, but it takes its toll. This morning I woke up about 4 AM. I was planning to wake up around 6 to get some things done, so two hours before was not the best time to wake up. I don’t get all the way back to sleep. I decided to rest, in any case, so that the remainder of the day wouldn’t end up being a complete loss.

As I lay curled up, trying to sleep by counting backwards from 100 (I can tell I’m getting tired when I have to start over, and it tends to keep my brain from going on the usual hamster wheel of what I ought to be doing instead), Nyx got up, shook herself, grumbled a little, and settled down with her head on the bed next to me. I stopped counting and started petting her head, and she fell asleep. My husband was sound asleep on the other side of the bed. Between the two of them breathing peacefully and the relative quiet of the world outside, it wasn’t a particularly bad thing to be awake and not doing anything.

I drifted in and out of half asleep, I think, never quite getting all the way back, but when I finally got up this morning I didn’t feel like I had lost rest time. I don’t feel completely exhausted. Weary, yes, but not badly so. Maybe sometimes I just need to be awake when there isn’t anything going on so I can let myself just be. So much of my life is moving and thinking and organizing and trying to get things done that I forget that there is silence and quiet and a complete lack of stress if I can only let myself find it.

I’ve been pushing hard just to try to get back to normal (normal for me!) for a few months. I think I am almost there, and I think it is perhaps time to admit that I am pushing a little too hard. I would like to be able to feel like I am moving to the rhythm of my life instead of running desperately on a treadmill that is set just a bit faster than I can go. Some of the stress is easing, most days, and sometimes I can move into a space and time where there is nothing wrong with simply existing, but I have to get through this month before everything really lets up and I can relax.

I think it’s time to start making bread again. It is one of those activities that I can only do when there is extra time, and it is important to me to be able to do it well. Perhaps I will block out time this weekend to do that and end up with the house smelling like fresh bread, which always makes me happy.

Maybe, if I find more peace during my waking hours, I won’t wake up looking for it.