By afternoon, the city’s bike/hike trail had been cleared of the light snow that had fallen before noon. Not wanting to waste the dry concrete, I slipped into an insulated barn coat and a stocking cap then stepped outdoors. I tentatively reached for the pair of gloves inside the breast pocket, but decided to forgo them because I prefer to walk with my hands in the coat’s side pockets.

When I entered the trail, a pair of mallards quacked as they launched from the nearby river. A neighborhood dog barked in response. I soon became mesmerized by the sight of sparkling snow and hoarfrost on the elm tree branches that border the trail. You might say I became mentally lost in the wonder of nature.

In what seemed like five minutes later, I arrived at Johnson Park. This surprised me because the distance from my house to the park is approximately one mile. Certainly, I cannot casually saunter a mile in five minutes. Perhaps it was the mindless daydreaming that had something to do with the time gap. I wondered what beauties I had missed by sleepwalking along the path.

We humans have the tendency to sleepwalk through much of our lives. This is especially true when we follow daily routines with mostly predictable outcomes. The lack of mindfulness blurs the wonders of life and causes us to exist in a dream world. The practice of mindfulness reveals the preciousness of everyday life in the way that the snowplow clears away snow to reveal the safety of dry pavement.

Sleepwalking, whether it is the default mode of existing or if it is deliberate denial of reality, conceals the richness of life in all of its warts and glories. From time to time, it’s a good practice to remind ourselves that we have been sleepwalking through life. With renewed awareness, we become present again.

We tend to take our lives for granted until a shocking event slaps us awake. Why wait until the death of a loved one, the car wreck, the chronic disease diagnosis to get our priorities in focus? The time for awareness is now.

When it comes down to brass tacks, many of the world’s crises have arisen due to the lack of total awareness. We prefer to go about our days, carefully ensconced in society’s collective comfort zone. We prefer to ignore nature’s alarms and to deny the warnings of people in the know. It’s uncomfortable to face reality and actively seek pragmatic solutions. After all, it’s other people’s jobs to do that, right? We fear that if we awaken from our sleepwalking, we might discover the breadth and scope of the world’s insanity.

The way I see it, is that my life is a type of research laboratory in which I experiment and tinker with my paradigms. I like to challenge my attachments to beliefs and investigate new ways to view the world and the Universe. In this way, I hope to increase my ability to expand the capacity to more fully live the life I’ve chosen.

The mundane experience of losing track of time on the city’s trail reminded me of the vital question: Am I consciously creating my life or am I just sleepwalking through the default, socially bland mode of life? This is a question that must be asked throughout life.


The Blue Jay of Happiness ponders this passage from director, performer, and writer, Alessandro Baricco. “The last light, in the last window, went out. Only the unstoppable machine of the sea still tears away at the silence with the cyclical explosion of nocturnal waves, distant memories of sleepwalking storms and the shipwrecks of dream.”

About swabby429

An eclectic guy who likes to observe the world around him and comment about those observations.
This entry was posted in Contemplation, Hometown, Meanderings, philosophy and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

6 Responses to Sleepwalking

  1. It is easy to do, especially lately, but this is a good reminder to not let it happen too often or for too long.

  2. Arnold says:

    Excellent essay, describing a universal tendency to seek an inner comfort zone. So I walk with God (these thoughts open to him); talking to myself is talking with him.

  3. rkrontheroad says:

    Becoming lost in wonder at nature, to me, is not sleepwalking. It’s appreciating the beauty and letting your imagination run. All good things to do. That’s one of the reasons we go out walking.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.