It is 03h00. I have only had about 2 hours of sleep. I am not suffering from insomnia, but I do have the belief that if you can’t sleep ‘there is something you need to attend to that you are delaying’. For me, not being able to sleep is nature’s way to activate me into action. It seems as if my unconscious is trying to make me more conscious – metaphorically I feel that my unconscious is saying ‘awaken from your slumber’.
I remember a period of 3/4 months in the early 1990’s when I found it difficult to have a restful, full night’s sleep. I changed bed positions, tried to sleep earlier (to get in some sleep), then go to bed later, stopped drinking any caffeine and so on in order to solve my ‘sleeping problem’. But nothing helped. It was also the period in my life when I had achieved some significant success in my work with elite athletic teams. I was running workshops on mental preparation and sports psychology. At the time, it was a new field in South African sport. During this time, my wife felt that I should write a book. I resisted this since it seemed like such a huge task. Instead, I had written 1-page handouts for the workshops that I had been conducting.
After months of little or no sleep, I can still remember the turning point. My wife walked into my office, opened up my cupboard and started to collect the 10 or so 1-page handouts that I had developed for my workshops. She stated that she was going to give these to the publisher as a skeleton and that somebody else would write the book. I remember protesting and making it known that these ideas needed to be expanded in order to create a book. And only I could do this. One couldn’t just give 10 ‘unconnected’ 1-page handouts that were given out at workshops and hope that a book would be created.
I started to sleep peacefully on the day that I started to write my book. I had stopped delaying what needed to get done.
I am presently doing an Ericksonian hypnotherapy course. As part of the training, I have been made more conscious about how we ‘split’ and/or ‘link’ ideas to give meaning to our worlds. We are linguistic systems that split and link ideas to create new ideas. And these new ideas are split and linked again to generate other ideas. It is a never-ending cycle of splitting and linking. Besides being linguistic systems, on a deeper level we are actually meaning-seeking systems.
Last night, I went to a book launch of a good friend of mine. His book is about ‘the art of the idea’.
I really enjoyed the presentation that he gave, but one idea seemed to agitate me. This surprised me. But what was the idea that activated me emotionally? Well, it was the idea around the distinction that had been created between the meaning of a sunrise and a sunset. The idea was about the idea that there are two types of people: sunrise people who are upbeat and optimistic (give out energy) and sunset people who are somewhat pessimistic and dampen the mood of creativity (drain energy).
I wondered why I was so sensitive to this? And then it hit me. Pictures of sunsets and sunrises are equally beautiful and it is impossible to distinguish between the two. So the splitting of sunrise and sunset and then linking it to types of people did not resonate with me. In fact the idea caused an agitation (and rejection). But maybe, that is the power of an idea as one links and splits new pieces of information. An idea is not necessarily wrong if it causes an agitation.
When you consider your emotional response to an idea it usually tells you more about yourself than the actual content of the idea itself.
Information has no existence or meaning apart from that given to it by the system with which it interacts. Information has no objective existence (Dell 1985).
The birds are starting to sing outside. It is still dark outside but a new sunrise is just beneath the horizon. It is from the darkness that the sun arises. And it is from the light that the sun descends, as sunrises and sunsets ebb and flow in time.
To my good friend, John Hunt, congratulations on producing an exceptional book with outstanding ideas. Always so thought provoking to encounter your thinking. All the best for the book.