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Spaces of Rest


The sun streams into my bedroom window as it rises. Given that its high summer right now, this means that I get woken up by full sunlight at about 5:30 each morning by a blaze of heat and light. The world is ready to go. Boats blaze past, stopping just underneath my window to pick up passengers. Canary Wharf is in constant motion already. And the computer’s email box dings with emails from the USA… friends back there getting ready to turn in are sending final messages for the day. It keeps moving.


Recently I’ve been waking up exhausted.


It’s not the type of exhaustion that comes from lack of sleep. I get eight hours and my eyes don’t want to shut anymore. It’s on the inside, something like inertia that is on a 24 hour cycle and the only reason why I get up is because there is nothing else to do. That and the sun is now burning my eyes like eggs.


The best way I can describe it is fatigue. Its the type that comes when there’s an innate conflict in one’s philosophy which can’t easily be solved. We say to others ‘do what I say, not what I do’ with the realization suddenly that we know neither what we say nor what we’re doing half the time.  Of course, to make matters  worse, we all have these contradictions. You can’t get away from them as long as you’re alive. The best you can do is take a cue from Walt Whitman when he says “do I contradict myself? Very well then I contradict myself.” And then you try to push on.


Times like these I can’t debate or even discuss much. I don’t know what I think and really don’t have the energy to debate on sandy ground. I try to listen to what I hear and think it through when I can. These times are for digestion and opportunities to be fed as I am one to starve myself most often. 


I remember once when I was at college I remarked that I found the need to sleep very annoying. My friend turned to me and said “we need to rest so we don’t make idols of ourselves.” And in our strain to make demigods of feeble men we have to lay down every 16 hours or so just to reiterate that the world keeps going without us. It’s like a plant, force anything to grow all the time and the result is something floppy and lanky.


And so, I do get up. I don’t jump out of bed and start making phone calls but I do brush my teeth.  I know I need to do that, and wash my face. I go through all the things even though the list seems so much shorter today. And I know above all else, I must get up if for no other reason than to get out of the sun for a bit.

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