“I dread the night,” my wife told me at one point a few months after our first child was born.
Do you remember those days? Are you going through them now?
You hear the little one cry out–fear shoots up and down your spinal cord, “Oh God, am I gonna have to get up?”
If you’re lucky, you fall right back asleep. If you’re not lucky, some work problem you’ve been having surfaces and you’re up for the next hour trying to get back to sleep. If you’re really unlucky, you’re in for a night of continually waking up. Like when the baby has a cold or is teething or who knows what.
I recently read The Autobiography of a Yogi and there was a phrase in there that really struck a cord. The circumstances were such that Yogananda Paramhansa was about to be able to settle down after a long day and go to sleep. Then his guru told him to get up and prepare food as guests were to arrive. Yogananda dutifully did as he was instructed.
“You have conquered the fear of fatigue,” his guru Sri Yukteswar explained.
In the last year I’ve come to terms with being tired. If I get woken up and have a hard time falling back asleep (it often happens when I’ve been sleeping really deeply, I wake up and feel ready to go!), I don’t think, “Oh God, I’m gonna be tired. F@ck I hope I fall back asleep.” Instead, I’m just awake, and not sleeping, but relaxing in bed. It’s much better than building up the fear of fatigue.
I recently sent out a survey to my newsletter group and put it on this site as well. One of the subjects that got a lot of interest was self-discipline. Well, the main feature of self-discipline is thought control. The “dread” of night comes from lack of thought control, lack of mental poise.
Last night, I was really proud of my wife and I. The little one woke up and cried and stayed up for a good 2.5 hours, starting just after 1 AM. We were both up, trying to figure out how to settle the baby down. Not once did we get upset with each other or really get bent out of shape in any way. We were just calm, trying to fix the problem, and not thinking about the fact that tomorrow might be more difficult due to lack of sleep.
We’re growing in our self discipline and thought control.
A final note here while I’m thinking about it. I’m a huge fan of Mister Rogers. What a great show, and a great man. He has this line that he says about growing. That we’re always growing. What a great reminder–we’re always growing, it’s not just the kids or the young ones. As adults we should always be learning and becoming better.
So, dread of night be damned, whatever happens, happens. I’m gonna strive to keep my cool.