Here, There and Everywhere

Posts tagged ‘sleep’

I Can’t Hear You!

A sleep-deprived excerpt from Zen Master Tova Tarantino Toshiba: The Illustrious and Delusional Abbess of Satire.

There was an older man named Alejandro, who lived down the road from the Abbott’s monastery. He loved playing music from Mexico and the land of the Incas and played it night and day. He was hard of hearing so he had to play the music as loudly as he could, so he could hear his own voice and accompanying drum. Sometimes, he would drum and sing until he fell asleep just as the sun rose.

A number of the nuns were upset with Alejandro and complained to Abbott Tova about his annoying, and off-key voice and drumming, keeping them awake night after night.

The good Abbott knew that Alejandro pined for his childhood sweetheart, whom he’d married and lived with for sixty years. She wasn’t about to ask him to stop, but also understood how difficult it could be to sleep when his voice and instrument’s sounds traveled through the night air and seeped through one’s pores like slow torture.

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“Please, do something,” one of the senior nun’s, Sam, implored Abbott Tova.

“I cannot ask him to stop, nor will I,” the Abbott replied.

“Then many of the nuns will fall asleep during practice and miss their chance for enlightenment,” Sister Sam retorted.

“If they are not able to awaken during sleep, then I have taught them nothing.”

“Many of the chores will not be done if they are sleeping during the day,” Sister Sam continued. “The garden will not be planted. The meals will not be prepared and the floors will not be swept.”

“So what?”

“So what? We’ll starve and live in filth, is so what.”

“You are only seeing two alternatives Sister Sam. Telling Alejandro that he can no longer sing for his lost love and find what little comfort it gives him, or letting him sing and our community goes to ruin.”

“I don’t see any other way,” Sister Sam surmised.

“Then you are caught in Limited Mind and must have slept badly. There is always another way.” Abbott Tova went to her chest and began rummaging around and throwing out one item after another. “Ah, here they are,” she said, and handed a bag to Sister Sam.

Sister Sam opened the bag, picked up a small wax ball and said, “What in the Goddesses name are these?”

“Are you blind, as well as sleep-deprived?” the Abbott laughed. “They’re earplugs.” Abbott Tova took a pair from the bag and placed them in her ears. “I’ve been wearing them for years and sleep like a baby. Hand them out to the nuns and there will be no more problems.”

“Oye veh!” Sister Sam exclaimed. “Why didn’t I think of this?”

“What?” Abbott Tova said, as she began replacing the items she’d removed from her chest.

“I said, I should have thought of this!”

“What? Speak up.”

“I said . . . oh it’s nothing.”

Sister Sam bowed three times, turned around counter-clockwise twice, and left with the bag of earplugs, amazed as always at the wisdom and compassion of the great Abbott.

More deaf-defying stories at: Zen Master Tova Tarantino Toshiba: The Illustrious and Delusional Abbess of Satire.

Every Day of Her Life

An excerpt to chew on from Zen Master Tova Tarantino Toshiba: The Illustrious and Delusional Abbess of Satire.

It is said that Master Toshiba created some rules to live by, which she practiced every day of her precious life.

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Before dressing each morning, cough vigorously five times, stretch until you touch the ceiling and meditate upon the sky.

Go to bed late. Eat whenever you feel like it or when food is offered and never eat more than you can chew.

Never receive guests when you are in a foul mood and don’t visit others when you are upset, sad, or depressed. There is no point in having your negative emotions rub off on someone else.

Always say the first thing that comes to mind and don’t hesitate to let others know how you feel and what you think. Otherwise, how will anybody get to know the real you?

Seize every opportunity by the throat and don’t let go until you have derived some satisfaction and understanding of the situation.

Meditate on the past daily and try to figure out your past mistakes. When thinking of the future, make sure to plan ahead as much as possible, so you have some control over what takes place.

Keep the innocence of a child, the wisdom of an elder, and stand steadfast in what you know and don’t know.

Before retiring for the night, cough and stretch, walk quietly in a circle counter-clockwise for three rotations and always sleep with your head at the foot of the bed.

If you can’t go to sleep, drink a large glass of lime juice, repeat your bedtime routine, and go to the toilet before you lay your body down to rest.

More coughing and stretching at: Zen Master Tova Tarantino Toshiba: The Illustrious and Delusional Abbess of Satire.

Wandering or Lost

An amazing story, koan or tale from Zen Master Tova Tarantino Toshiba: The Illustrious and Delusional Abbess of Satire.

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Enlightenment is not some goal to attain or strive for; it is your natural state. It can be realized at any time while sitting, talking, walking, or most often when laying down to sleep. Our minds are most open when we are not focused on a particular object or task and are at ease with what is and where we are.

It takes practice not to practice. Be diligent in your daily activities, chores, work, and contemplation. Do not focus. Let your mind wander. Wherever it goes is where it’s supposed to be. There is no path, but if you find yourself on one, try not to get lost.

Dreaming the Dreamless by Mistress Tova. Pg. 10

More unbelievable words of enlightenment: Zen Master Tova Tarantino Toshiba: The Illustrious and Delusional Abbess of Satire.

What A Day For A Daydream

586613838e010d433bacb209ce65ea56c69e859e-thumbAn excerpt from the hot and cold Zen Master Tova Tarantino Toshiba: The Illustrious and Delusional Abbess of Satire.

A mother of one of Mistress Tova’s students missed her daughter and came to see what she was learning at the monastery. She found her daughter sleeping in the large bedroom she shared with ten other students who were also asleep. Quietly, she approached her daughter and gently shook her shoulder. Turning over slowly and rubbing her eyes, the girl awoke to see her mother sitting on her cot.

“Mother,” the girl whispered. “What a wonderful surprise.”

“I’ve missed you so much,” her mother replied. They embraced. “Are you eating okay? How’s your health?”

“Shhh,” the girl whispered to her mother. “I’m fine, but can’t you see we’re meditating?”

“Meditating?” The mother looked around at all the sleeping students. “You’re all napping. It’s the middle of the day.”

“It may look that way Mom, but we are in deep meditation.” Several snores arose above their whispers.

“When we’ll you be done, so we can visit?” her mother asked.

The girl looked outside to gauge the sun. “Another four or five hours, not much longer.”

“You’re going to sleep your entire day away.”

“Oh no, Mom,” the daughter said, her eyes shining brightly. “Mistress Tova says that it is best to sleep in, take long naps, and relax as often as possible, day or night. She says that it wakes us up to the reality of what is real.”

“You’re kidding?” Her mother said.

“Kidding? I’m not a kid Mom.”

Her mother rolled her eyes. “You left home to live like a sloth and sleep all day?”

“It’s not like that. You don’t understand. Mistress Tova says this is the surest path to enlightenment.”

“Then Mistress Tova is . . . never mind.” She kissed her daughter on the cheek, and stood. “Let me know when you’re done. I’ll be outside. I think we need to talk.”

More devious koans, stories, & tales, at Zen Master Tova Tarantino Toshiba: The Illustrious and Delusional Abbess of Satire.

Baby Wreaks Havoc

Having a newborn wreaks havoc on two aspects of daily life I used to take for granted sex and sleep. I would give my life savings for one night of either after our son was born.

The reality of a baby taking control of our lives around the clock had crossed my mind but never stopped to linger until the first week of shock had passed with our new son, Shona.

Sleep deprivation is a killer. Night after night, every two to three hours, the call of the wild shrieks from the crib, “Whaaaaaa.”

“No. It can’t be!” I exclaim. “Not again! We just fell asleep! I can hardly move.”

As I roll out of bed, hit my knee on the desk and grope my way through the dark, I remind myself that I wanted this experience. I asked for it and there’s no turning back.

How could anyone in their right mind choose this nightly torture? Nobody put a gun to my head, promised me riches or threatened to blow up my house. This had surely been a conscious decision, although it must have been made while I was in a coma or under general anesthetic!

As I turn the corner to enter the baby’s room, I slam my nose into the door I thought was open. I swear loudly.

“Whaaaaaa.”

“Hold on, I’m coming,” I groan.

Entering the room I quickly turn on the soft light and see my son’s arms flailing in the air as his tiny little mouth roars his need for attention like a ferocious lion. He grabs my finger with his waving hand and tries to suck on it. While picking him up I realize how small and fragile his body is and recall that his screaming is the only thing he can do to ask for help.

Cradling this sweet precious babe silently in my arms while he stares blissfully into my eyes soon releases any anger or frustration I was previously feeling. I whisper to myself, “How could I ever doubt the desire to create this amazing miracle?!”

After a diaper change and 30 minutes of rocking, I lay him back down to sleep with the hope that he’ll be knocked out for at least 48 hours. Why not dream for a miracle? I never get enough sleep anymore to really dream anyway.

By the time I’ve navigated my way back to bed I’m fully awake. Looking over at the clock I discover it’s 3 a.m., only about three hours before I need to get up for work. I glance over at my beautiful wife, Audrey, who is breathing loudly in the land of Nod. As I turn off the light and stare into the darkness, I begin to wonder if this madness will ever end.

Three months go by and nothing has changed. Not only is sleep a vague memory, but sex seems to have also disappeared down a long dark tunnel.

It’s 10 p.m. and Shona has finally fallen asleep. Audrey slowly undresses, slips into bed and beckons me with an alluring glance of desire and warmth. As we begin to lovingly caress one another, a slow fog of fatigue fills our bodies and without so much as a sigh we’re both gone, not from ecstasy, but exhaustion. The next sound we hear is not the anticipated joy of climax but a loud cry waking us from our unintended sleep.

Eight days pass. (Yes, I counted). It’s Saturday. Shona has gone to bed. We both took a nap earlier in the day and are anxious to co-mingle our bodies with pleasure. We finally feel that we have some energy for one another and are determined to not let anything come between us. That was the plan.

We begin one passionate kiss after another when I suddenly sense that Audrey’s mind has drifted away. I take a deep breath and apprehensively ask her what she’s thinking about. She nervously says, “Do you think he’s OK? He hasn’t cried in a long time.”

“Yes, I’m sure he’s just fine,” I reply and begin kissing her passionately with greater urgency. Again she stops and says, “I’m going to go check on him real quick. I’ll be right back.” While she’s gone to the other room I feel myself beginning to implode with frustration and resentment. “What about me? What about my needs?” I begin to feel sad and sorry for myself. She jumps back into bed and reassures me that our child is just fine and he’s, “soooooo cute.”

Time goes by and Audrey is surrounding my body when she suddenly exclaims, “Stop. That hurts!” We both look at each other in amazement. We didn’t expect this. Her muscles haven’t recovered from the trauma of birth and it’s too uncomfortable to continue. She’s just as disappointed as I am and we console one another with hugs and kisses.

Weeks go by. We attempt a variety of sexual activities but nothing seems to ease the pain except time. Finally, after three months of no sleep or sexual connection, a miracle happens!

It’s a Thursday night. A night I’ll never forget. For some reason known only to the baby gods, Shona goes to sleep at 8 p.m. and sleeps until 8 a.m. the following morning! Audrey’s body is fully recovered and we gently make love for the first time without any discomfort or pain.

What a thrill. It almost feels like The First Time all over again. My faith in life slowly returns from months of male postpartum depression. There is hope after all. It is possible to give birth, have a child and time for yourself and your partner. Patience, understanding and commitment to making it work eventually pans out.

Like the song from the movie Casablanca says, “You must remember this. A kiss is just a kiss. A sigh is just a sigh. The fundamental rules apply . . . as time goes by.”

So, when your tiny tot is screaming, you’re not sure if you’re awake or asleep and you think your partner has taken vows of celibacy, stop and remind yourself that this too shall pass. As sure as the sun comes up in the morning your baby will one day sleep through the night and the precious intimacy and joy of sex will flow again.

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