Variations on The Giacometti Code

Up too early again this morning. For some reason, I’ve been waking at 3 am all week. I toss and turn and wait for the alarm to begin chirping at 4. I wonder if getting up before the alarm would make me less tired. As it is, I drag myself upstairs to let Leonard out, feed him, and push the button on the machine that dispenses the coffee. I have to remind myself to unclench my jaw when the noise of the grinder jolts me into 4.15. (I take my waking slowly). One hour fifteen minutes of the morning already unattended. Wasted.

So I’ve been touchy. And out of sync.

I think the Dalai Lama rises at 3 every day. But he has someone to bring him a glass of water and set up his cushion. I’ve always thought seated meditation is like half-sleep and you can count it in your tracker as sleep if you want to.

I can’t do more than a few minutes of seated meditation: dolls begin to move around the room, walls breathe in sync with me. And I swear that fire and brimstone sermons I must have overheard in infancy, creep from my subconscious. My shrink says our memories may not be accurate, but the emotions are. They must come from somewhere.

It took three times smoking marajana for me to connect the three-day funk (funk is putting it mildly: babies spoke to me) to the few hits off a joint at a party. It took me much longer for me to connect seated meditation to severe depression.

But then: I often wonder if the joke on us – that our intellectual drive to find cause & effect for our surprising thoughts, fears, proclivities, reflexes is nothing more than Nature handing us a toy, and sending us in the other room to play while she gossips with the Universe. And when we make our great pronouncements, Nature smiles and pats us on our heads and thinks: Now, isn’t that cute?

If people do something “out of character” we look for evidence of trauma: a stroke, or a brain tumor. Sometimes find one. So is our character architectural? Interactive architecture, built like Stonehenge to exploit the landscape. Maybe this is how we are the authors of our own identities. Not as someone who plots the narrative, but as someone who decides, obstacle by obstacle how to accommodate our environment. And some of us can make a mess of it. Mistaking mountains for molehills and scaling unnecessary walls. Tripping over what seems like a sudden moraine.

Yeah, no. I just realized that is so not an original thought. Though the route to get there was mine alone.

Me, ever-reaching for metaphors that will ride alongside moments and translate them into something meaningful. Trying desperately to line up the days to catch as much light as possible, through rituals. Coffee, then candle, then keyboard. Stone after stone after stone. Like dominos. As precarious as dominos.

Yesterday I thought I excavated a cause & effect for what I have (and haven’t) been feeling these last months. All the psychological tools for self-discovery and examination that I’ve learned during – what? – 30-something years of therapy, put to use to explain the sleeplessness. The shame.

Breakthrough. Eureka. Sleep!

I set the alarm for 4. My quiet time. Just me, and Leonard and the coffee machine. But awake at 3. Again.

I am so out of sync it’s not even properly surreal. I’m assuming surreal requires access to dreams, which require sleep.

So back to the drawing board to find the “reasons”? Because knowing the reasons gives things meaning, and understanding meaning is the key to freedom from suffering, right?

Or was it letting go of meaning that provides freedom of suffering?

I may just ask Nature to take back her ball.

Oh, and if you’ve seen the TedTalk: Giacometti died the year I was born. So I am kind of figuring that is why the 4 am thing is not working out for me.