The Manic and the Mellow

Until last year, I never really thought about creative energy.

If I woke up at 3 am, with ideas whirling around my head, I believed myself to be stressed, out-of-control, that sort of thing. There would then follow much duvet-battling and inevitably, I’d try deep breaths & clearing my mind of busy-ness.  After at least an hour of this messing around I might eventually get back to sleep & wake feeling knackered, beleaguered, fatigued. To me, it was destructive – never generative.

At some point, toward the end of last year, I gave up fighting.

If I woke up and all the world was circling around me – tasks, notions, plans, past, schemes, guilt, niggles whatever – I started getting up and taking them for a cup of tea.

I’d wrap myself up in a soft patchwork quilt, take myself up to my desk-and-thinking-space at FBHQ, switch on the heater, sip my tea and say “Right then. What IS it?” (usually with a good chunk of attitude – I figure the least I can do is let the demons know I am unimpressed by their 3 arrival. Hey –  I’m not a push over)

And stuff would come up and come out – I’d start to sift through what was important, what was not. What needed to be said, what needed to be dealt with…  Often I would write, sometimes I’d draw and map, sometimes I’d stare into space in a vaguely disturbing manner….then stuff would crystalise a little, I’d get sleepy & then I’d rest deeply.

It sort of links to the Rumi poem a few blogs back – Welcoming the crazy as it sweeps through your head; trusting that sometimes stuff comes up- not to push you down, but to push you forward… if it’s there – if it’s going nowhere.. well, surely it’s asking (demanding?) to be dealt with. .. what if it’s there for good-not-harm?

Over the last week, I’ve had four nights bringing in the wee small hours, clasping a cuppa and asking “Right then, WHAT?” in a seriously chippy fashion. Turns out I have an idea which wants some full-on 3D form in the world… It is demanding my attention and even though I have begged it to bugger off  “Dude, seriously. You’re making me look like a bag lady”  this idea is bigger than me – it needs to be heard.

I told one friend I’d been riding the 4am bleary bus to Resolutions-ville & she said “oh.. I love it when that happens. It’s creative. ” Another two friends are now worried about my stress levels and pointing me to meditation & Bach Rescue Remedy.. or wine…  It kind of makes me not want to ‘fess up my manic to them- they will worry about me… think me strange….

My confession is this. I kind of like 4am. It’s quiet and spacious and precious. If that makes me manic, then I can live with that. I believe it also makes me mellow.

The photo is of the beech tree  on the little hillock I pause under every morning on the dog-walk. If I’m ever manic – this is the where I start to mellow my day.

7 thoughts on “The Manic and the Mellow”

  1. I learned to work with two maxims:

    1. Write it down on a post it note – If I cannot read the writing I did half awake in the morning, it could not be important enough to matter! 🙂
    2. Wake up, mentally rehearse the idea and tell it to come back to me in the morning and then ask the idea to float into my unconscious

    Both work for me. Sometimes I just have to get up to exorcise the ideas by sending some mails or doing something but this is rare now.


  2. Peter – liking the maxims.

    reading this back, it reads like this happens more often than it actually does.. it is rare that I truly need to take it for a cuppa….. often I’ll just kind of go “really? do I need to do this now or are we good to wait until later?” the acknowledgement is OK.

    Mentally rehearsing? I’d probably mange to blow everything out of proportion…. might try it tho…

    The neuroscience stuff I’ve been playing with of late points to the brain processing data in the early hours of the morning, so it makes perfect sense that stuff comes up then…. what struck me was / has been some of the reactions when I say I’ve been getting up – seems that sleeplessness is mostly a no-no. I’m curious about whether that is always the case?

  3. Apparently, it used to be commonplace for people to have two sleeps in a night. Go to bed at 8 or 9pm, up at 2am for a couple of hours to write, think, etc, then back to sleep. Can’t remember what it was called.

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