After a long days work, followed by a long dog walk, I am very ready to climb into the crisp clean sheets of my bed…..
This isn’t my bed…but a girl can dream….(find it at http://www.inewidea.com)
For some reason looking at this image brought back a little prayer which was taught to me by my ‘Highland Granny’, when I was a little girl…perhaps its the fairytale style of the bed which did it.
Now I lay me down to sleep
I pray the Lord my soul to keep
If I should die before I wake
I pray the Lord my soul to take.
Its a prayer which soothes me because I remember saying it sunuggled up in a cozy bed in my Granny’s house, usually after being spoilt with love all day long 🙂 However as I examine it a little closer it is quite dark, and the thought that I might die before wakening doesn’t seem so soothing. It harks back to an age where life was less certain and where we were closer to the reality of our mortality.
Many of the older Scottish prayers connect us firmly to our proximity to death, but in a way which seems to normalise death. Perhaps we would be less scared of death and aging if we could regain some of this acceptance….
It also leads me to think about how closely sleep and death are intertwined. Both sleep and sex are described as ‘little deaths’ by psychotherapists….two spaces where we let go of our conscious control and slip into our unconscious, and the realm of dreams.
I feel that perhaps I slide with wild unmindful abandon into this realm each night, so maybe I can pay a little more attention to the threshold I cross……if not every night, then at least tonight.
In the past, transitional times were carefully noticed and protected as spaces where the unknown could flow in unexpected ways into our lives, and poems, prayers and rituals attempted to keep harmful forces at bay. This little prayer is a fragment of these protections, and we can use these ideas to keep us mindful of the little daily transitions and thresholds we pass through. Noticing shifts and change around can waken us up to the reality of the life we are living….
Oh too many deep thoughts… I’m away to slide over the threshold of wakefulness into the blissful realm of dreams
I’ll leave you with a poem which I loved from childhood, by Scottish poet Robert Louis Stevenson
The Land of Nod
From breakfast on through all the day
At home among my friends I stay;
But every night I go abroad
Afar into the Land of Nod.
All by myself I have to go,
With none to tell me what to do-
All alone beside the streams
And up the mountain-sides of dreams.
The strangest things are there for me,
Both things to eat and things to see,
And many frightening sights abroad
Till morning in the Land of Nod.
Try as I like to find the way,
I never can get back by day,
Nor can remember plain and clear
The curious music that I hear.