Rearranging furniture in an unlit room

We can’t change our thoughts if we don’t know what they are.

We must be courageous enough to look at them. All of them. And then slay the dragons that need to be slayed. We must shine the light on the bad ones in order to gain full control over what to do with them next.

It’s hard to rearrange furniture in an unlit room. You stub your toe, trip over things, and break stuff.

This is why I love morning pages so much. This daily uncensored stream of consciousness provides me the perfect setting to slay these mental dragons, one by one.

I’ll give you a personal example of a recent transformation that took place through this process.

Our daughter, Rory, is almost two. So, in the last two-ish years, I can count on one hand — maybe two — how many times we’ve slept through the night.

Yep. We’ve been divinely assigned a high-energy child who hates sleep. Like her dad. Only difference is, I don’t wake up the whole house with my insomnia.

My wife sleeps like a rock. Within seconds of her head hitting the pillow, she’s out for the duration. So, during Rory’s first year, because I was always awoken first, I was mostly the one to rock her back to sleep.

And then I started getting grumpy. Really grumpy. I got to the point where I was stomping my feet and cursing under my breath behind gritted teeth as I made my way to her room. I had to take a deep breath and gather myself before entering.

It was getting unhealthy. I had a breakdown. Sleep exhaustion sucks.

So, I took to my morning pages. And I faced those demons.

I wrote out exactly how I felt. How angry, annoyed, and frustrated I was. How I didn’t know when this was going to end. Some kids go three or four years with this frequent night-waking. Was this my destiny?! GOD, ANSWER ME! (I’m paraphrasing)

After three pages of soul-vomiting, my last three lines were this…

Rory is not my dad.

Rory is not my dad.

Rory is not my dad.

A little context…

Just before Rory was born, my dad lived in our basement apartment. He had terminal cancer and I cared for him during his last few months. It was super rough. He’d often hallucinate. The screams at 2am were gut-wrenching and I’d put on my robe, go outside, and down to the basement where I’d find him laying on his back, staring at the ceiling.

“What’s wrong dad?” I’d say while catching my breath.

“Nothing. I didn’t call you,” he’d shoot back.

This happened night after night. It left some scars because I never had time to heal properly. Rory was born just a few months after he passed.

Rory was triggering these flashbacks with my dad. I was being awoken from a dead sleep by screams — this time they were just coming from her.

As much as this sucked, at least I realized it now. I was aware now of where the rage was stemming from, and I could be cognizant of it when it happened again. And it did. But each time, my anger tapered off. And now, it’s not too bad at all.

So turn on that light. Rearrange that furniture with everything in plain view. It makes things a lot easier.

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Jonas stands on his soapbox daily at Medium. To get his meditations delivered straight to your inbox as soon as they’re live, click here.