I woke up early this morning unable to get comfortable. As far along as I am with my pregnancy, I have to sleep on my side, which I did at times before, but oh how I miss sleeping on my back when I want to! Between constantly getting up to pee, and then trying to get comfortable again amidst the pillows that surround me, it is no wonder I only get one hour increments of sleep at a time. Poor Chris — he usually wakes up every time I do, although he does not have to get out of bed, readjust, and hope his feet do not get cold in the process.
In any case, this morning I woke up way before it was time to get up and lay snuggled in with my pillows, knowing I should get up to pee, but not wanting to move. My mind started to wander and develop ideas for the day, and the first thought that came to me was: “When do we really get quiet enough to really think?” I know nothing ground breaking, but for me it was a bit of an aha moment. We often get up thinking about everything we need to accomplish in our day and laying in bed longer is cannibalizing the minutes needed to accomplish the many tasks set before us. Are we really thinking during that time though? Are we really pondering our life and wondering if are we going down the yellow brick road that is meant for us? Or do we know it so well, we do not question if it is the right one?
As we endeavor to move through our day, we go from deadline, to appointment, to other engagements, ending up at home with a list of items to accomplish, and if we decide to veg out, it is usually in a way that still does not allow us to be quiet. My hunch is that for most of us the deep quiet never comes. Instead we decide to put another load of laundry in, respond to that email, or organize what needs to happen for the next day, and if we are lucky, when our head hits the pillow we fall fast asleep after a good full day. Every once in a while we might be able to quiet our minds before falling asleep. If I had my choice, I would rather wake up with my thoughts quiet enough, as often when it happens as you fall asleep you never remember the quiet voice speaking to you.
I want to start bringing the quiet into my days — even if just for a few moments where I can check and adjust. I want to ask myself if I am going down the right road that day, and if I am, what do I need to do to be quiet at some point in my day. To truly listen and hear that quiet voice remind my why I am on this road, and what I need to do next.
I woke up at 4:45 am Sunday morning and could not sleep or get comfortable. I thought about just getting up. Instead the thought that came to me was to just lay there and be grateful. A long list of things came into my thought and eventually I fell back asleep. I woke up an hour or so later, not able to sleep and still uncomfortable. So I did the same thing.
I have had pivotal moments in my life when I have woken in the middle of the night and could not get back to sleep with very strong thoughts about another person in my life. Whether I had an intuition that something was not right in the world, or a moment of pause about a specific individual. Early on when I would have these pitch-black-middle-of-the-night intuitions, well they freaked me out. Over time I learned to stop, be quiet, and listen. Depending on how coherent I am I might lay there and pray, or think about how I can support and think good thoughts for the world situation or individual that woke me from sleep.
Waking in the wee hours of Sunday morning was not about a person, but it was a full body reminder for me. Why did I have to lay in bed unwilling to get out of my cozy bed to take moments to be grateful for my amazing husband, family, friends, colleagues, home, work, etc? The list went on in my head. Even to specific worldly pleasures, such as my new favorite sheets that I was laying between. That utter euphoria I felt for all the goodness in my life (does not mean it was perfect) reminded me to take more moments in the day to acknowledge that goodness. Why not before I fall asleep at night? Or at least on those nights when I do not fall asleep the instant my head hits the pillow… Who am I kidding? That never happens to me.
This is a reminder for you and for me. Be grateful. Keep it inside or let it ooze out and tell those that you are feeling gratitude for them. Snuggle in your bed and appreciate the sheets that have you smitten. Watch the video of your niece laughing over and over again. Forget the struggles that you have for a few moments and just be head over heels grateful for all the good in your life.
11 years of marriage. I cannot tell you that marriage is a perfect place. It is full of love, laughter, frustration, emotion, and so much more. I love almost every minute of it, because I am walking forward with Chris. More than being lovers and spouses we are best friends. A best friend that I can truly say anything to at any moment. He might not always like what comes out of my mouth, but at least it is the truth. Here are a few ideas of what I think are steps toward a happy marriage:
Go to bed together every night. If you cannot orchestrate that, then if one is going to bed before the other, come and tuck the other in. I know that might sound old school, or childish, but do it. It will make a difference. It is a way to connect at the end of a long day and allows your spouse to relax. Having said all that, Chris is the night owl and I rarely get to tuck him in. Better yet, what we often do is go to bed together, snuggle, and then the one that is not tired gets to read and/or catch up on episodes of their favorite TV show on the iPad. A win-win situation.
Tell each other what you think as much as possible.
Try not to snap or react. Sometimes we are grumpy, have a poopy day, and we snap. Okay to be fair, Chris is WAY more patient then I am, and I snap way more often than he does. Do not take it personally. You know when your pants feel too tight and you plop down on the floor of the closest ready to explode with tears? Be there for each other at those moments. I know, I know 99% of the time it is the woman sitting on the floor. So to all those husbands out there. Sit down next to your wife and listen to her emotions, her hormones. Just love her immensely on those days.
Eat together at your kitchen table. Do it without your iWHATEVER device, your DVR, or Netflix. Absorb those moments together. We do not do it often enough, but when we do if makes life feel so different. Sad, but true.
Communicate, communicate, communicate. Just because you might have been with and lived with someone for 1, 2, 5, 10, 20 years does not mean that you should ever stop communicating. I should have made this point first because to me it is by far one of the most important aspects of marriage. Talk it out. Share what is on your mind. Listen. Discuss and resolve.
A happy marriage. No prescription. Just start with respect, love, and a listening ear. It is all up to both of you.
I was talking to a friend yesterday over lunch and we discussed a plethora of topics, but one that I kept thinking about later in the day was our shared excitement over having clean sheets. I know what you might be thinking. “Are you seriously going to write about sheets?” Yes, I am. “Why?” Because it is one of the best things ever. “Really??” Yes, really.
Call me a dork, but there are a few little things in life that make me feel relaxed, grounded, and completely at home. One of those things is crawling into a bed with clean, tight sheets at the end of a long week and weekend. There is something fulfilling about it. Kind of like that first day of your stay at a hotel before you have lived in it for a week, except in my opinion my bed is far better than most hotel beds.
Beds. Yes, let me just tell you about my bed snobbery. I am in no way ashamed about it. Think about how many hours you spend in your bed each day. If we each got a good night sleep, we would potentially be in bed for 8 hours a night. That would be 1/3 of our entire day. On weekends you might get even more sleep. It is my opinion that a bed is worth spending good money on in order to find one of good quality. Think about how much money we spend on a car, and I sit in my car for maybe 30 minutes a day, yet I spend more time in my bed. Food for thought?
So back to sheets. If you have a good bed, then you cannot skimp on sheets. The quality also needs to be outstanding. It is what your skin touches all night. They should be soft, appropriate for your body temperature (flannel if you get cold, lighter cotton if you sleep hot), pillows, comforters, they all matter for that perfect night of sleep. Feathers, faux feathers, down, faux down, there are so many options but at the end of the day what is it about your bed that makes you crawl in, decompress, let your body relax, and you fall into a fitful night of sleep?
For me it all starts with the bed, and those clean crisp sheets. Absolute bliss.
After traveling for a week, I am home. I have a big dopey grin on my face as I think about being home. We should all feel that way. Do you? I love thinking about crawling onto my clean sheets and into the bed that I love, right next to my hubby. As I look around my home to the things that are me, to the things that make it feel like home to us, and I sigh and take a moment to be grateful that my taste and Chris’ align. I know what you may be thinking. We should be taking our sense of home with us wherever we go. I do not disagree. Yes, as cheesy as I know it sounds, whenever or wherever I am with Chris, I feel home. But I am talking about that deep and wonderful feeling of appreciation for your physical home.
There are times when we might travel to a different city and love where we are and what we are exploring, but still end the day wishing we were sitting on our couch, or going to sleep in our bed. Eventually arriving home, it is like a breath of fresh air walking inside, opening up our bags, dropping our crusty clothes into the laundry, showering, and crawling into bed with joy and appreciation that we are home, and that all is good. Do you know the feeling?
We are all creatures of habit, and I am one that thoroughly enjoys being at home. The more I enjoy my house, and the more I cultivate the interior and exterior, the more it becomes my solace after a long day or week. The comfort of my home becomes the balance I need after an exhausting extroverted day, and allows me to nurture the introverted part of myself. A clutter free, clean, and purpose-filled place to rest my body and mind is how I recharge, which allows me to embark and take on the world.
What about you? Do you like things to be pristine and spotless? Does that ground and balance you when you come home from a long day, or is it about the items you have found from your travels that tell the story about your home? Is it the smell of your coffee maker filling the room, or the pitter patter of your dog’s paws across the hardwood floor? Is it the memories and events that happened in your home that make it feel special to you? Or, is it the people you share your home with that make your house a home to you?
I hope you feel you can come home from work, take off your bra, or strip to your boxers, let go of the challenges of the day, and unwind.