Yesterday was an interesting day. I didn’t go into the office all day. That rarely happens. I took the August Horizons Magazine to Speedy Pac and visited with Gerald and Janet Finnegan for awhile. Then I went to the farmer’s market and got some klondike potatoes, plum tomatoes, broccoli and mushrooms. I came home and made my vegetarian version of Sweet Tomatoes broccoli bacon raisin salad and put it in the refrigerator to blend for a few hours. I was excited that my avocado was ripe, however it was a day too ripe so I made guacamole with it. Earlier I’d been outside pruning my eleagnus bushes and now was sniffling, so I took a Benadryl. I mostly took the Benadryl not to stop the sniffles, but because I knew it would knock me out for a few hours. And boy did it.
I took the Benadryl about 2:00pm. The last time I saw the clock it was 2:50pm. The next time I saw the clock, it was 8:45pm. I’d slept six hours in a row! Boy, did that feel good. You know how some nights you are getting lots of good sleep and your bed is comfortable and the temperature is just right, a little cool, a little breezy, the right amount of covers, the perfect sleepwear that lets you slide around and not get tangled up. You wake up a few times in the night, just briefly, and see by the clock that you have lots of hours left to sleep, so you drift happily back into dreamland. And if you do it a few times in the night, it feels like you are really getting a massively wonderful sleep session in.
I usually sleep and wake about the same time more or less each day, and I sleep twice a day for about 3-4 hours each time. That seems to be plenty for me since I’ve done that since about 1997. I know it doesn’t sound like enough, but I meditate twice a day for an hour each, and I think that counts as rejuvenation time for brain and body. I’m sure that helps me get away with less sleep. And when my system needs more sleep, it will just make me sleep longer sometimes.
My Facebook friends see my posts all night long and ask “Don’t you ever sleep?” “When do you sleep?” I think that’s funny because I probably sleep as much as everyone else, just not all at one time. The idea of lying flat for 8 hours isn’t appealing, but then I’m not a recreational sleeper. I mean, of course I love to sleep, but I more so love to be out and about, exploring, having adventures, working on my projects. To me, sleep is something I do when it’s time, like fueling the car.
The times I have to be on the real world’s schedule, such as conferences or out of town events, I simply take along my arsenal of sleep drugs to knock me out on time so I can be up on schedule. A favorite sleep cocktail is two Valerian Root capsules (1020 mg total) and two (3mg each) Melatonin tablets. Usually an hour after that, I am very relaxed and feeling sleepy enough to drop off. If I need to call in the big guns, I take Unisom, which is like a double dose of Benadryl. I particularly like the Melatonin spray.
Now I know some of you are thinking that wouldn’t put you to sleep. A lot of people I know are on prescription sleep medication and many are still not sleeping well. I can’t pretend to know what is right for them. I know my system is more sensitive than most since I don’t drink or take medications, and I eat very little meat or processed food, no beef, pork or butter. I am aware that is a major consideration. I connect twice a day in meditation and do some energetic chi moving exercises. That helps me sense and feel out the nonphysical extension of my physical body, my energy field or aura. I’m real familiar with what it feels like.
When I eat carcass or bread or pasta, it feels different. It feels like it takes more time to move into my bloodstream; I feel slowed down and heavier as though the gravity just changed. It’s a subtle difference, but a difference nonetheless. The thought comes to mind of having water running through a plastic tube and it flows naturally and moves quickly, as clear water does. Then I eat a piece of chicken and maybe I had it on toast, so I have introduced something else into the stream. Eating those foods is like placing a sponge in the tube where the water flows through. It still flows, just slower because now more filtering has to be done.
When I introduce a prescription drug to the mix, that’s placing another sponge in the tube, more work to get the water to flow freely. If I drink alcohol, that dries up some of the water, so there is now less water going through the tube, and now the tube has two sponges in it. The prescription sleep aids are stuck in the sponges, so no matter how many pills you take, the sponge is soaking them up and you’re not getting to sleep.
The remedy? You remove the sponges by eating more natural, less processed foods. What is processed food? Processed food is anything with a face or a label. Unprocessed food is fruits, vegetables, fresh meats. Deepak Chopra says eat only what would, if you placed it in a paper bag on your kitchen counter overnight, not leave a stain. You remove the sponges by keeping alcohol to a minimum. You remove the sponges by only taking prescription medication when absolutely required.
The sponge metaphor is important to me, because when I eat bread or pasta, or chicken or turkey – which is the only processed food I typically eat – it feels like I have placed a sponge in the middle of the free flow of my fluid body. So I’m not surprised when medications don’t work as planned for my friends. They left out the most important component in the equation = that the medication itself is merely one piece of the puzzle. You have to take into consideration all of the factors, as they react to each other. How does this one affect that one?
Kind of like we do with people. To have the most harmonious experience, we should take everyone into consideration. And if, like the Native American tradition, in every deliberation we consider the impact of our decisions on the next seven generations, what a world we would be.
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