It was probably about 2 years ago now that I was having great difficulty sleeping. This has been a perennial problem for me and is part of having fibromyalgia. But at this time I had thought I was doing quite well health wise, until I began not sleeping again. It wasn’t that I wouldn’t sleep at all, but that it would take me hours to fall asleep and then it was light and short. I knew I had to start sleeping and fast – I was a teacher and doing anything is difficult on a continual lack of sleep but I was very conscious of wanting to be as aware as I could be for my students.
I set an evening routine that followed healthy sleep habit outlines I found and stuck to it pretty closely. One important element was that there were to be no screens for 2-3 hours prior to going to bed. This was very difficult considering I was so tired at night all I wanted to do was blob in front of the TV.
To help myself with this I decided to do a creative activity each evening before I began to get ready for bed and for whatever reason I decided on collage. In the past this had been mandala drawing but I think I wanted something different, something with interesting colours and shapes that wasn’t stressful. My type of collage was to take old papers, newspaper, magazines, advertising, old books, calendars, whatever I could find and carefully cut out interesting images from them, keeping their original shape and then re-form them back into a new image. For about 20mins each evening I would play with my current collection of paper cut outs, waiting until I found a new collaboration that I found satisfying. Some finished pages were for no particular reason, some for fun, some because of the colour, some because of the shape, some were trying to express a feeling or create an atmosphere.
It was a time of quiet, of stillness, of listening to my inner self and God’s Spirit.
There was no magic in these meditative moments, either in regards to my sleep or my relationship with God but there was time and space. Space to help calm my racing mind and to rest in this simple but pleasing activity, and time to spend sitting next to God; to realize and reflect on how I was actually feeling and what I might need to be listening to at this time. And in this mysterious space of creativity, awareness and focus on God, there was peace. There was sometimes sleep also.
See more images and an overview of how they were created here: Paper Meditations..