Photo A Day – November 13: Sleep #FMSphotoaday

THIS IS the dream catcher that hangs over the bed where I sleep. Last night it seemed to be faulty.

‘To sleep, perchance to dream’ – Shakespeare, Hamlet Act 3 Scene 1

I woke in the early hours, tired after a long day, worried about work and another busy week.

Some native American tribes believed dream catchers filter dreams. Fashioned to look like a spider’s web, they were intended to catch any harm that might be in the air, as a spider’s web catches and holds whatever comes in contact with it. Bad dreams would stay in the net, disappearing in daylight, while the feathers served as a soft ladder for the good dreams to glide down and gently enter the dreamer’s mind.

I don’t actually believe the dream catcher is capable of this – it is just a beautiful, handmade decoration. But on nights like this it would be lovely to think so.

I was awake for quite a while, finally weary enough to sleep again, only to sleep through my alarm and rise much later than usual, so I had no time for the Morning Pages exercise of The Artist’s Way, for the first time in ten weeks. Though not always easy, I have found keeping the discipline of writing three A4 pages a day very helpful. Having missed it I felt more anxious and ungrounded, and I recognised that I felt that way more often before I began the twelve week creativity course.

Sometimes sleep can help with creativity, sometimes hinder it. Dreams can bring inspiration – I have experienced waking in the early hours to write a fully formed poem or realise a solution to a problem. Rest can promote more creative energy.

Yet I recognise that sometimes it can also be a block. Most Fridays I ‘work from home’ (sometimes literally, sometimes euphemistically). I run an LGBT youth group on Monday to Thursday, working between 7 and 12 hours a day. On Fridays I plan to work on other projects but the work of the week can catch up with me and leave me tired. I have at times been tempted to have a siesta for an hour or two when a walk around the nearby park might be more effective in re-energising me to continue. Sometimes it’s hard to know if it’s what my body really needs, or if it’s a subtle form of resistance or procrastination.

Unlike Hamlet in his famous soliloquy, I am not contemplating what dreams may come in the afterlife. I want to dream more of what motivates and inspires me here and now, and less of what disturbs my sleep with worry about what’s past or yet to come.

For the background to the Photo A Day challenge, please read the intro to Day 1 here.

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