I’m up at 3:17 a.m., as per usual.
As many who know me know, no matter what time I fall asleep, I wake up around 3 a.m. This has been the case for as long as I can remember. I have NO trouble falling asleep, but around 3 a.m., I’m up.
I’ll usually (hopefully) fall back asleep for a couple of hours before waking up for the day. I just need to occupy my mind for a bit first, to tire myself out again so I can fall back to sleep. This means a night’s sleep for me is really more like two naps with a break in between.
Watching TV sometimes works, but there’s an art to finding something pleasingly familiar but not at all engaging. And I have a whole OCD thing about making sure whatever comes on next on the same channel fits the same bill (just in case I fall asleep and wake back up again before the TV shuts off — e.g., can’t risk waking up in the middle of something scary), so TV is more effort than it’s worth.
For years when I’d wake up, I’d immediately snap one self-portrait using the camera on my computer in the kitchen. I called it “The 3 a.m. Project” and I had literally amassed hundreds of photos chronicling night after night of what waking up at 3 a.m. looked like. But then “selfies” came along and engulfed the world, devolving my poor, innocent, little experiential art project into a pedestrian, narcissistic mess.
I try not to check email since once I start working I’m finished with sleep, and tired by morning, having effectively already worked a “full” day before the day even begins.
It’s a good but terrible time to catch up with social media and personal email…good because I have the time, terrible because I shouldn’t.
So mainly I read, which I love, or I’ll write. Annoyingly I can only write on my iPhone (which is why this brief tale will take forever to pen…forward five letters, mistake, back three letters to correct, forward six letters, picking up speed, mistake!, back four, repeat..I will simply never master this keyboard) since I’m not so much writing as I am thinking with my fingers, thus pulling out my computer means more commitment to “awake,” and less commitment to “asleep” than I’ve been willing to make.
And then 10 days ago, while in Bali, I went to see a Brahmin priest near the town of Ubud. He read my Hindu astrological chart, and told me about me — past, present, future. He talked to me through an interpreter whose English wasn’t great either, and I could write a book about what and whether I “believe” or not (bottom line — I believe that literally anything is possible, but have a healthy skepticism about everything).
But, he was spot on about many things he couldn’t have possibly known without some truth to his practice (giving me hope that all of what he said was true…), such as this gem, which he advised almost in passing, “when you wake up at 3 a.m., do yoga instead.”
I SHIT you not.
He gave me a list of days of the month that are optimal for my soon-to-be new 3 a.m. yoga practice, telling me, “better not to do every day,” which is good news…I think…since laying here right now in bed where I belong, the idea of leaving it, to practice yoga next to it, sounds awful.
But, I’ll let you know.
4:30 a.m. Time to go back to sleep.