Days Thirty-Two and Thirty-Three: Birthday Marathon … Lost in Space

At the edge of awakening this morning (Saturday), I heard Jody come in the front door. I smiled and got up to greet her. As I rounded the corner, she barely glanced at me, and retreated into another room.

“Where’s Jody? Where did she go?” … “She’s dead, Bruce.” And it took awhile to let that in.

My mind has crashed and burned over the past two days, with little resurrections yesterday as I was together with the members of the Evolutionary Collective. Now, at 7:45 am in Berkeley, California, my heart is rising again after twelve hours of sleep.

The flight from London, England to San Francisco lasted between eleven and twelve hours. It made for my longest birthday ever, and perhaps the dreariest one. The voice inside said “No pills” although I had a sleep inducer tucked into my wallet. I obeyed the voice.

Within the growing dullness, I could feel that I was being held by friends even though they were all far away physically. I was also being held by life, Spirit, the bigness that permeates all. Still I slumped.

At the beginning, I talked to my seatmate, a young lawyer going home. But then he put on his headphones, and that was essentially that. After dinner, I put my feet flat on the floor, extended the seat back, put on my blindfold and waited. Again, nothing of peace came.

I worried, I fretted. What’s to become of this wayfaring Canadian? Since leaving Dakar, Senegal on Wednesday evening, sleep had given me maybe one hour. I was approaching my previous record of sleeplessness – 34 hours. I remembered the delirium – the thought, jangled with desperation, that I was going to die.

Blessedly, the San Francisco Airport eventually appeared on the horizon … now about 42 hours. There was a long delay before we could get off the plane – some problem with the runway. (Sigh) Finally we moved/stumbled down the aisle. I don’t know how I managed to avoid smashing into the person in front.

Down twisting and turning corridors, grabbing on to the meaning of overhead signs, trying to remember the San Francisco subway system (BART).

Customs ahead. The lines barely registered. And then they did. My foggy eyes seemed to be saying that there were 150 people ahead of me. It wasn’t an illusion … they were right. (Sigh, sigh, sigh)

It took over an hour to reach a customs agent. He was delightful. I was a mess, but hopefully a kind one.

I got to bed at 11:00 pm at the Downtown Berkeley YMCA. Forty-six hours without appreciable sleep. Two minutes later, I was gone.

Yesterday held many joys, all revolving around love shared. We looked into each other’s eyes. We saw who was there. I spoke to the whole group a few times. What I said rang true inside, and that made me happy.

After we returned from lunch, the fade accelerated. I was in a practice with three other folks and I could feel my words starting to slur, my contact with goodness, truth and beauty letting go. I pushed myself into communion but the pull of sleep intensified.

Our day was done at 5:30 and I approached my friend Lara to see if she wanted to go for dinner later. “I need to sleep for an hour first.” Lara took one look at me and said “I’ll walk you home.” I didn’t resist. She took my arm in hers and we meandered the two blocks to the Y.

Thank you, Lara. There was no dinner for this guy. And … Voilà! … it’s today. A perfect time to be with people once more.