I lie perfectly still in shavasana pose with tears pooling under my eye mask. That odd duck, Jenny, was leading our group of three in her version of restorative yoga. Her version includes a guitar, or ukulele as it was today, and singing. I do think Jenny sings like an angel and she had sung “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” as beautifully as I have ever heard. I began to cry as the lyrics floated over me wondering if this was a song about sleep or even death. Either way, I thought, that is what I want.
If happy little bluebirds fly above the rainbow, why, oh why, can’t I?
As early as age 8 or 9, I remember telling my mom that I couldn’t control my brain. At 54, I still know what that little girl was trying to convey and I still don’t have the words. My brain is Hal—the computer-cum-monster from the sci-fi movie. Hal takes over at night flooding my brain with activity, keeping me wide awake. Always. Wide awake.
When I was 19 or 20 and living on an air force base in Turkey, I took too many sleeping pills. The medical record will say that I tried to commit suicide. The truth is I hadn’t slept in about a month and I was simply exhausted. As a consequence, the Air Force required me to see a psychiatrist who tried bio feedback on me in an effort to help me sleep. During our sessions he would hook me up to galvanic skin response nodes and tell me to picture myself on a beach, hearing the ocean waves crashing in. My mind would trail off. I found myself pondering universal truths like: Where is my dog’s belly button anyway? After only a few sessions he dismissed me from his care proclaiming that I was “the reason polygraph tests are inadmissible in court”. Apparently my brain had responded in exactly the opposite manner as was expected.
In the 35 years since, I never regained a healthy sleep pattern. Some nights I get 4 or 5 hours of broken sleep and those are the good nights. Many nights I don’t sleep at all. This happens every day and every night. Today is the same as yesterday and all the yesterdays that came before. All my tomorrows are the same. I live in a constant state of jet lag.
I’ve very recently gone to see a naturopath/endocrinologist. He has me taking farcical quantities of hormones and supplements. Every morning he sends me texts with thumbs up and happy face emojis telling me what I should ingest that day. I want to believe this will work. It has to work.
Jenny asks us to sit crossed legged and bring praying hands to our chest. I bow and say “Namaste”. Jenny returns the bow and the greeting which literally means, “I bow to the divine in you”. I dream of a day when I sense the divine within myself.
Somewhere over the rainbow skies are blue and the dreams that you dare to dream really do come true.