Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Daydreaming at night

When I was young ...well, I still AM young and I will defend that position. Who wants to take me on? huh? HUH? :) But when I was REALLY young, say 7 or 8, I used to lay on my bunk bed unable to sleep, day dreaming at night. Sometimes it was the top bunk, sometimes the bottom, just depended upon what was going on in our house.

My sister and I shared a room. I was younger so I defaulted to the bottom bunk. But if my sister pissed my mom off, she was demoted to the bottom and I gained the upper. In my memory, we switched around.

So when I lay there dreaming, I stared either at a white ceiling or at the brown bars supporting the upper bunkie board. I wasn't really looking at anything.

I was pretending to be water.

I imagined being water in a creek, feeling myself floating over pebbles and stones, shifting my shape to any creek structure. Eddying off to the side and rolling out again. Carrying fallen leaves. A stick. Moving quickly in some places. Slowly in others. Curving into each new turn, new fall. Supple. Relaxed.

So when we were thrown out of our bunk beds at 2 a.m. by a crazed woman who wanted our rooms clean RIGHT THEN, I had a place to go in my mind. Through the screaming and hits, through ducking books, games, clothing, I had a place.

From the outside, the insanity of an alcoholism-driven home can be terrifying. Most times, it drives others away. Baffled at what to do. Full of pity.

But through the clouded days of unpredictability, where soft, shaky footsteps could precipitate punches, loathing and glaring, feelings of despised worthlessness, something within grew. In the gentle movements of a creek, quietly staring, my mindfulness training began.

I had no idea that this would become a practice - not only mental, but physical. The relaxed postures of taiji that flow from one to the next, nice, even breaths, mind empty, intention clear. Taiji was my creek in a different form.

The craziness of growing up forced a balance within me and damned if I'm not thankful for it now. I'm thankful it was blatant. I'm thankful it was admitted. I'm thankful that it forced me to dream.

I just need to work on staying in that centered, imperturbable space when chaos hits the fan. :)


Hey, I don't know how the heck I did it, but I deleted my last post! How does one do that without knowing? Maybe I better rethink defending my youthfulness.

Anyway, graduate school is on pause. My 50% cost reduction was erased when my husband was part of the University cuts. So...another curve in the stream to ride!


  1. Really powerful Lucy. Yes, much training and many opportunities for developing skills of balance in chaos! Your image of being water is beautiful and inspiring - both for a child living through our experiences, and still as an adult, traveling the *normal* chaos of life.
    btw, I don't remember ever sleeping on the lower bunk - isn't that funny!?! i love you, K

  2. Maybe you have "the bed is top bunk" approach to life! Or...maybe I stole a few evenings on your bed when you had a sleepover. ;)

    I always talk (i.e. write) about how tai chi tempers the emotions, which it does for me...even just thinking about the movements. But it also gives me a sense of my true internal strength as well. There are times when I use it for its original purpose: a fighting, grounded martial art. And that helps too. Sometimes a joint lock or crescent kick to the head of an imaginary opponent does just as much to maintain presence in chaos (for me) as the even breathwork and soft water-like movements!


    Do you ever do that with your art? Not now, but have you in the past? Like artists who work with clay, they can create delicate, intricate pieces, but before it got to that point, that clay was slammed on the ground a few times to prepare it!

    Maybe that could be a job for me! Clay slammer. "What do *I* do for a living? I'm so glad you asked..." BRB I'm gonna search craigslist right now.