Friday, July 8, 2011


If you've followed my journey for any length of time, one thing I'm sure you know about me is that I'm constantly (perhaps chronically) exhausted from a profound lack of sleep. So is my wife, Joy. It's not that we have trouble getting to sleep; no, we just have trouble getting sleep. With a 14 month old son and a young Type-1 diabetic daughter who requires blood sugar checks in the middle of the night, it's tough for either of us to string together more than 3 hours of complete downtime. We know it's not healthy, but it's the job any parent would do for their children.

Whenever we can, my wife and I choose one of us to "take the bullet" and be on watch for the evening so the other can get some rest. Last night we put both kids in our bedroom with Joy, and I trotted down the hall to sleep in my daughters room. No midnight feedings, no blood sugar checks, and no glucose monitor alarms to worry about. I lay down at about 8:30 PM, and I was out in seconds. I vaguely recall Joy coming in at some point to turn off the light.

My eyes popped open at about 5:30 am, and I noticed immediately (for the first time in a long, long time) that I felt completely rested — that more sleep wouldn't do me much good. So I lay there for a few minutes, just breathing mindfully and enjoying the liminal state between sleep and total wakefulness. I reveled blissfully in a world of no distractions, no worries, and no sense of urgency. And when I felt I was ready, I sat up. Once out of bed, I read for a few minutes from Thich Nhat Hanh's "Be Free Where You Are," and then I spent a few minutes going through a comprehensive mobility drill, moving all of my joints in succession to get my blood flowing. Fully awake alert, and energized for the day — but not yet in a state of planning and preparing my list of to-do's — I went straight to the cushion and sat down for 15 minutes of alert meditation practice.

I'd love to start every day like this —

I'd be unstoppable!

The lesson for me is clear: A good night's sleep and a mindful start to your day makes a HUGE difference in my energy level, mood, and outlook on life.


This blog is part of the Ultimate Black Belt Test Program, which is an undertaking of The 100., and a part of Emerald Necklace Martial Arts in Boston, MA.

Learn more about Sensei Jason Gould

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