This week I’ve been letting myself have a few extra minutes in bed after my alarm rings, rather than flogging myself up straight away (or beating up on myself later if I couldn’t flog myself out of bed right away). It’s always been my inclination to sleep in rather than hop right up in the morning, but that’s an inclination I have been resentful of on a lot of days, when there were things to do and I didn’t snap right to and get busy.
I have a little more grace for myself over this now, after a couple of weeks of focused training in being brave. Bravery requires strength, and strength wears out. Recovering physical strength needs rest and sleep; recovering emotional strength needs rest too, but not only physical rest. It needs comfort and relaxed ease; it needs the perception of safety and love.
For a number of reasons, that perception has been lacking lately. Earlier this week, when I set my snooze alarm and fell back into bed, I noticed I finally had it — that cozy sense of safety and comfort. It’s harder for me to find at night while going to sleep, echoes of childhood fear of the dark, but in the morning when there’s light, when the night is over and nothing scary happened during it, then I can relax and notice the softness of my pillow, the smooth comfort of sheets and warmth of a coverlet if it’s a cool morning, I can breathe deep and feel myself covered, calm, and safe. Sometimes I imagine what it would be to have the solidity and presence of someone else here, warm skin and the nape of a neck to tuck my face into, the shadow of another soul to hide away with. If a daydream isn’t everything, it’s not nothing either. An imagined sense of love and acceptance can still help to create a moment of peace.
I want to learn how to be brave, which means deliberately facing up to scary things and doing them. If I want to keep growing here, if I don’t want to break and run crying for mommy, I’m going to need to cultivate moments of comfort, moments when I don’t have to be on my guard and staring down monsters. I don’t know how to be brave all the time and I don’t know if anyone can actually do it. I’m not much of an adventurous soul yet, but I want to be more of one — I need practice, which means I need rest and recovery, and that means I need comfort too.