I have a tendency to wake up at 2 or 3 a.m. and then often can’t return to sleep until 5 or 6 in the morning. This used to really frustrate me; I felt exhausted, out of control, and generally crabby.
At some moment in time, I stopped fighting this, and accepted that this is who I am. I read something once about how Leonardo DaVinci used to go to bed quite early (like sundown-ish) and he would sleep until 1 or 2 am and then get up and work on whatever project he was into at the moment for four hours, and then return to bed for another four.
He still got his full 8, just not in a conventional manner. And, if you know anything about him, he lived to a ripe old age, and is considered to be absolutely brilliant in multiple fields.
Point #1: There is not just one way to approach life; sometimes a different approach will work better for you.
Point #2: It is way easier to accomplish things when you are uninterrupted. Who is going to bother you at 3:00 a.m?
While I am not going to utilize my middle-of–the-night a la Da Vinci, I do think there is something to be said for those awake minutes. Once I stopped fighting the not-sleeping-ness, my interior became more serene. I found if I had an issue, I could say to myself, “You are not going to solve this tonight, yet, let it simmer for a while, and I’m sure the answer will come to you.”
Those of you who use crock pots know that if you leave it on high for very long, the dish usually burns on the bottom and edges. However, if you set it on low, everything eventually becomes more tender. I believe ideas can be like this. If you obsess over the thoughts, the mental energy is too intense; you get almost fossilized and tough in your thought patterns. However, if you gently place the concerns into your mental slow cooker and let them bubble away for a while . . . it is so much more likely that you will experience “Ah Ha!s” and the fall-off-the-bone-type creativity that we all want. Generally, thoughts I place in the Brain Pot in the middle of the night are done about the time I am taking my morning shower (this is where I get all my good ideas).
Point #3: If you are kind and gentle with yourself, usually, you don’t get burned.
Point #4: You can metaphorize anything. This is the beauty of the English language!