The Washroom: Waking Up

Sleep can be a precarious thing for many folks–finding ways to transition from busy, exhausting daytime work to deep, restorative sleep.  There is another transition that we go through, on the other side of sleep.  Waking up.  On both sides of this thing called sleep that we know we cannot live, be healthy be thoughtful, be creative without, we must go through a transition.  In our literal spaces of sleeping and waking, most of us engage that transition from being awake to sleep and to waking up again, in the washroom.  Whatever your going-to-sleep routine is, it involves somehow a preparation that puts your body in a space for sleep–unfetters it from daytime clothing, relaxes it somehow, and makes sleep more possible. On the other side, in the washroom, we move that still half asleep body into some light, and often with the help of water, bring ourselves back into the present moment, into a new day.

That is the big, literal, set of transitions that we go through on some daily cycle, for which we need a literal washroom.  What if we went through these kinds of transitions of a smaller and spiritual kind many times in a day?  What if we went through these kinds of transitions of a much larger and spiritual kind several times in a lifetime?

I believe that we do.  Of the larger sort:  a friend has just shared his family’s visit with a loved one in hospice to find that the next morning, as is often the case, that loved one passed away.  That visit to the dying loved one so often allows that person the unfettering needed to move into that final sleep, to go home in peace.  At the very same time, such visits with the dying loved one can be like the light going on in the morning as we enter the washroom–they wake us up out of a walking slumber and allow us to see, and hear, touch and feel more deeply, more truly, more clearly.  These significant passages in life prepare us, release us, wake us up and let us rest.

So, every day.  Today there will be these mini passages, moments, sounds, encounters that give us permission to let go of a little bitterness, to release a fear, and in so doing experience a freedom like we never have before.  Others will bring us to an awareness, to a personal light that makes next steps on our path clearer.  Watch for these transitioning moments.  They come to us all the time.

Bob Patrick

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