Thursday, January 23, 2014

Put the Octopus to Bed




I've been in bed for an hour and my brain is still overactive. (Scientists call it wandering brain syndrome).  So many anxieties have popped up that I produce adrenaline instead of melatonin. Trying to calm my thoughts is like trying to tuck an octopus into a bed.   


Its head is cozy on the pillow, and the covers are up around the "neck", but one sinuous tentacle slides up, and reaches for me. I tuck it back under the covers while a second tentacle sneaks out from the other side and starts to wrap around my neck. It's not malicious, but demands my attention. 




I name each tentacle after one of my preoccupations:  unanswered questions about finances, unresolved frustrations with technology,  a nagging difficult relationship, anxiety about an upcoming oral presentation. I find myself having imaginary conversations with an accountant then my sister and being on hold with a tech support desk. 






My mind's not just wandering now, it's ramped up to running long jumps. My thoughts are pounding as fast as an athlete's track shoes. 



I step out of reach of the thin arms covered in suction disks that would fix themselves to me.  The octopus must be shut away. I put it in an aquarium. Once I imagine myself beyond each worry, I can quiet myself. But just to be sure they don't try to sneak out, I write each distraction in my phantom calendar, with the name of a person who can help me with the problem. I can't deal with them now, but I will deal with them later. 




And if I see him on the move, slowly extending upwards, groping for a way out, I remind myself that the tank is locked tightly locked.  (unlike the video above!)  I roll over, turning my back on the mute creature. 

Sleep tight! 


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