I’ve always said that I am a morning person. That’s when I am most creative and productive. Words flow easily and faster during the pre-dawn hours and midday. But that’s not when I do my best thinking. That happens at night, after my pre-bedtime ritual (dinner, shower, whatever beauty regimen I feel like following…).
Most times, I read a few chapters from one of the books on my bedside table. Then I reach for my journal to corral and decipher the elements of my day. That’s when my best, most reflective thinking begins. Sometimes the thoughts are inspired by the day’s events, the book I’m reading or something that’s been simmering in my subconscious all day, after reading something on the Internet. Other times, they come, or seem to come from out of the blue. Often, if I think hard enough, I can trace them to their origin. However, I don’t always do that – it takes time, the origin may not be so sweet and the emotions attached to the origin may be too upsetting to revisit.
In any case, once the thoughts begin, I can’t stop them. I can barely harness them. They run on, full speed ahead, delving into dark corners, snatching at the light of revelation, picking up relevant and disparaging other thoughts along the way. What do I do with these thoughts? After wallowing in them for a while, I may write a long catch-up letter to a friend, a blog post (which I schedule to be posted a few days later, in case I change my mind or want to alter it), an email laced with questions to someone who can provide the answers, I may deposit them in my journal to be analyzed at a another time or in my notebook to inspire an article.
After reading an emotional/passionate, heart-baring email from me one night, a friend asked, “You could have just told me all that; you didn’t have to write it. But you’re a writer.”
You see, in a particular moment when things are happening, I am too involved/active – mentally, physically and/or emotionally. The full impact and significance of things implied, said and done, don’t quite hit me in the right place. Often I don’t even respond because I am trying to catch everything that’s coming at me.
But in bed at night – my thinking time – odd bits and pieces, realities, meanings, implications, deep heart issues, probing questions surface, swirl and take me on a meandering path to understanding and a response.
There was a time when I found this nighttime thinking session disconcerting – keeping sleep at bay. No longer though. I’ve accepted that this is my time to mull over the stuff of my life. I cherish it as part of my nighttime ritual and look forward to it. Not in an obsessive way because every now and then, it doesn’t happen. Not that there is nothing to think about, but because I can’t legislate thinking time. For me, it seems, it must come on it’s own terms, when the issues are significant and/or urgent.
Do you have a special time of day when thoughts bubble to the surface and take you on a ride to understanding, discovery and response?