Lesson from Crow

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Recently, Mr Crow was sitting in the middle of the road as I went to work. Another crow was flying overhead across the road. This is not a usually scene and certainly caught my attention.

So I looked up the meaning of the Crow to find out what message I was receiving…

From the website Spirit Animal, I found these most common meanings of CROW…

  • Life magic; mystery of creation
  • Destiny, personal transformation, alchemy
  • Intelligence
  • Higher perspective
  • Being fearless, audacious
  • Flexibility, adaptability

When I read this I smiled because I have definitely been going through a transformation these past couple years…spiritually, emotionally, and vocationally.  Not to mention, that at that time, I was coming out and healing from a time of intense negative emotions and insecurity.

Right about now I feel like I am coming in to the home stretch of my vocational transformation. A year ago, I graduated from my Masters Program and became a Certified Health Education Specialist.  Then almost immediately went into my teacher training program, which is more than half over. I can see the finish line. I can see how far I have come.

What is so great about Crow is that he was reminding me to take stock of my progress. I think that it is really important to stop and realize how far we have come on our personal journeys. It is important to celebrate our progress instead of focusing on our struggles or only being reminded of our failures.

Now I look back and realize that 4 months ago I stood in front of a class with no clue about my stance or what I was doing. Today, I definitely know more. I have more to learn but I successfully taught teenagers about genetics, evolution, and how this applies to their lives. I have helped students who were struggling to find academic success. I have brought a smile to the faces of teen angst. I have used my mindfulness training and the lessons of my personal life to help children battling anxiety. I have learned so much from my students about perseverance, diversity, and the importance of finding a balance between work and play.

I have also gained more clarity about what I want to do and what I will not do when I graduate. I have learned about creating energetic boundaries in the work place; something that I forgot about.

What I don’t know is what opportunities I will have for my next step. That will come when the time is right. However, I am setting the intentions for what I want and what I don’t want. I write these thoughts in my journal, so that when the time comes I can refer back to these expectations and stay true to myself.  In the spring, I hope to have at least one viable option that works with my current career goals while providing the work-life balance that I expect.

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For now…

I celebrate my little successes

I learn from my mistakes

I honor my journey

The rest in due time

 

 

Sleep

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Sleep has always been a huge part of my life, not because I love to sleep but if I don’t get enough sleep I don’t function well.  I need 8 hours of sleep a night. With less than 7-8 hours of sleep my ability to maintain my emotions or think straight is greatly diminished. With 6 or less, I my body temperature elevates over 99.4 degrees (I am always at 98.4 or 98.6) and I actually feel sick or like I am coming down with something.

Because of my need for sleep, I have become a bit obsessed with it. I really hate not feeling well, mentally or physically, so I make sure I get the sleep I need, even if that means going to bed when most people are just getting their night started. My friends can attest to this. I do not have a big nighttime social life.

So over the past years I have noticed some patterns and lately I have come across information that is helping me understand these sleep patterns of mine.

First, I started documenting my dreams. In doing so, I realized I was waking up or having my most lucid dreams around 3:30-4:30 every morning.  When I started teaching, this became the time when solutions to questions and difficulties became apparent, creative ideas were formulated, and my classroom lesson plans were improved.

Talking to friends and family, I have realized that this is a common wake time for people. This is especially true for older people who are no longer in the workforce and therefore a pre-determined schedule.

Check out this entertaining TedTalk about 4am…

https://embed-ssl.ted.com/talks/rives_on_4_a_m.html

Second, my husband got me a FitBit HR for my birthday which can analyze my sleep patterns. Pretty cool when its working.  My FitBit confirmed what I already knew…I toss and turn all night. I do have to change sides to prevent from getting stiff so that made sense. What it showed me was how much deep sleep I got and in how often I was really asleep, in a light sleep or truly awake.

Now that I am working, I have been using an alarm clock, which also wakes up my husband.  I am pretty sure that why he got me the Sense sleep monitor and alarm clock for Christmas. This crowd-sourced new product learns your sleep patterns and then will wake you up gently and during a sleep pattern where you are not in a deep sleep. When you wake up in the middle of a deep sleep or REM sleep, you will feel tired and drained. However, if you wake during a light sleep you will feel more refreshed and awake. So, the Sense will wake you within 30 minutes of your alarm for the optimal time to have a good day. You can purchase directly from Sense website at https://hello.is/3 or at Amazon.

During this time of sleep monitoring… articles on sleep kept appearing. What I learned was that our ancestors would sleep when it became dark. After about 4 hours of sleep, they would wake get some things done and go back to sleep.  This theory helps explain why we wake up in the middle of the night. Working 9-5 jobs and the use of artifical light have forced us to change our natural sleep patterns, thus perpetuating sleep problems. This all supports my belief that when you fight nature, you will ultimately suffer.

Finally, it was suggested to me to honor this waking time by getting out of bed and doing my lesson plans or whatever information I was “downloading” at that time. I could then go back to bed and finish the rest of my sleep. This would alleviate some work time in the evening that I could spend with my family. One night I did do this and it wasn’t bad. I woke at 3 am and got some work done. Then I went back to bed around 4:30am and slept until 6am. Normally I get up at 5am but I was able to get some morning routines done at 3 am instead. I also realized that the sleep I got from 5-6 was a deep good sleep and I felt better in the morning then when I toss and turn for that last hour or so.

There are two problems with this new pattern of sleep. One, it is winter and I don’t want to get out of my warm bed. Two, when my husband is home my early morning wanderings can affect his ability to sleep. I think this is mostly true because he is also having trouble sleeping and doesn’t want to accept this mid-night waking theory. He would rather toss and turn.

So I will try this mid-waking thing at some point. I have promised to try it for one week at some point. For now, I write down the information and ideas I do receive and I implement them at 5am when that damn alarm goes off. (in truth, I wake before the alarm most of the time)

So if you are having this same problem, maybe something here can help you. For those that fall asleep and don’t stir until the morning…you are very lucky!

Honor yourself and your internal rhythms. Balance occurs when we allow our bodies and spirits to live in harmony.