Sleep Cycle

How do you know when you have come to the end of a cycle, when it’s time to move on to something new? Today I read this poem by William Carlos Wiliams,

Winter Trees

All the complicated details
of the attiring and
the disattiring are completed!
A liquid moon
moves gently among
the long branches.
Thus having prepared their buds
against a sure winter
the wise trees
stand sleeping in the cold.

There are small cycles and routines, and then there are bigger ones that hold the smaller cycles. The arrival of winter heralds the ending of a yearly cycle,  where there have been many occasions of  “attiring and disattiring”, to use Williams’ phraseology–of days and seasons, and it’s time for the cycle to come to an end. Nature never tires of repeating the cycle. The cycle varies a bit from year to year, but there are predictable ocurrances within the cycle. We fit ourselves into the cycle and adjust by changing clothes and routines. Sometimes, however, we want to escape the cycle– to leave winter, or summer, or whatever season it is, just for a few days even, and enter into a different cycle.

Maybe it’s why people want to parachute or dive, or travel. For a few minutes, or days or weeks, in the case of traveling, these experience  allow you to be totally yourself, yet enter a completely different reality, and being in that reality frees you to see how you can drop old ways and habits and become something else. It is a subtle, and liquid light, a gentle movement, and it prepares you for the freezing, the stillness that allows something new to enter in. Somehow all those changes, over and over the routine, allow wisdom to come.

More and more science is revealing the importance of sleep. Lack of sleep over time can increase risk of diabetes, heart problems, risk of some cancers and even death, according to the article in the Huffington Post, Lose Sleep, Lose Your Mind and Health.  Sleep, recent studies show, allows our brains to get a kind of cleaning sweep, as described in the New York Times article, “Good Night. Sleep Clean.” to get rid of toxins, allowing the brain to function better when we are awake. So it is literally is a wise thing to do on a physical level to sleep.

On a different level of wisdom resulting from regular rest, it’s interesting to note that the brightest places in the universe are caused by the darkest things. Quasars, the brightest objects in the universe, are caused by black holes at the centers of galaxies, an illustration of how darkness and light are part of each other in a larger whole. This is something to remember when going through yet another cycle of attiring and disattiring, and while waiting for the moon to enter.

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