On late night stories, books and goodbyes

5 Feb

As far as my memory goes back, I have always been a story-lover…

I was that skinny girl who would resist sleeping at bedtime as long as my parents were still awake (which means almost every day). It was a daily struggle between my parents to decide what to do with me… and most of often, my dad would plead my cause, and they would let me in, dropping a blanket over me…and hopefully I would fall asleep. My dreams were populated with people from my parents’ unfinished stories and everyday worries (almost everything evolving around Rwanda, our homeland… by then we were unwanted citizens but this is a story of an other day). Then one day (early enough for me not to remember when it started), I was reading by myself and became that avid reader. Sleeping time became a very busy time and sleeping an even bigger waste of time. My mom had to double-check to see if the lights remained switched off (I was very good at cheating though). I earned a solid reputation of a sleepless kid. As our son is growing I see the same patterns unfolding and smile… the teeth are brushed, the pajamas are on, the house is quiet (everybody is reading or supposedly sleeping) and a little someone just sneaks in with “maman tu sais…” coming up with a whole bunch of metaphysical problems! What some of you might not know is that my husband is an amazing storyteller (those who know us, now see the picture and laugh) so when I hear our son laughing in his sleep, I thank God that he had a day filled with joyful stories which are still making him laugh in his sleep (it happens often!). And secretly I am sincerely grateful he is not as an avid reader as I was a child… He does enjoy walking his friends in those endless goodbyes… you know you walk someone and s/he walks you back and because stories seem to be even more tasteful, you can’t help but keep walking each other … I did that as the same age, I still do that… in our family, we all do it (it has a name in Kinyarwanda my mother-tongue:guherekeza) … It’s good and sweet.


I was that skinny girl who would resist sleeping at bedtime as long as my parents were still awake (which means almost every day). It was a daily struggle between my parents to decide what to do with me… and most of often, my dad would plead my cause, and they would let me in, dropping a blanket over me…and hopefully I would fall asleep. My dreams were populated with people from my parents’ unfinished stories and everyday worries (almost everything evolving around Rwanda, our homeland… by then we were unwanted citizens but this is a story of an other day). Then one day (early enough for me not to remember when it started), I was reading by myself and became that avid reader. Sleeping time became a very busy time and sleeping an even bigger waste of time. My mom had to double-check to see if the lights remained switched off (I was very good at cheating though). I earned a solid reputation of a sleepless kid. As our son is growing I see the same patterns unfolding and smile… the teeth are brushed, the pajamas are on, the house is quiet (everybody is reading or supposedly sleeping) and a little someone just sneaks in with “maman tu sais…” coming up with a whole bunch of metaphysical problems! What some of you might not know is that my husband is an amazing storyteller (those who know us, now see the picture and laugh) so when I hear our son laughing in his sleep, I thank God that he had a day filled with joyful stories which are still making him laugh in his sleep (it happens often!). And secretly I am sincerely grateful he is not as an avid reader as I was a child… He does enjoy walking his friends in those endless goodbyes… you know you walk someone and s/he walks you back and because stories seem to be even more tasteful, you can’t help but keep walking each other … I did that as the same age, I still do that… in our family, we all do it (it has a name in Kinyarwanda my mother-tongue:guherekeza) … It’s good and sweet.

I tend to think that at night we uncover our social masquerade to express our souls’ yearning for wholeness: from babies breastfeeding actively at night, to young kids craving mommy contact, to lovers and many creative people who seem to be more alive during the night (at least for a couple of hours or so). Not to mention the seemingly “unyogic late night life” in some places when you meet with people who are literally dancing with their shadow side… But, don’t get me wrong; deep sleep is essential to life, for our mere survival and unless you are a saint, you’d better hang out with people who uplift you.

Back to stories and books, I have come to acknowledge the fact that books (at least my books) are living entities. Not only are they part of my life, but also they literally come to me when I need them the most and open me doors. This is how Yoga came to my life (at least in this present lifetime) and many other incredible good things and people (except my husband!). The last past years I have been reading more Yoga books than novels but I always find time to read books (seemingly) unrelated to yoga. And I want to mention at least three of them. The first one is a memoir by the late David Servan Schreiber (DSS): Not the Last Goodbye: On Life, Death, Healing, and Cancer. I read it overnight; by that time DSS was still alive, and I cried all night long…to wake up to the news he had passed away. It was indeed a goodbye. I am forever grateful for DSS’ pioneer and courageous work in popularizing holistic methods in dealing with trauma, depression and cancer. I can testify personally to the effectiveness of EMDR, a therapy I discovered almost ten years ago… It “has worked” from the very first session with lasting benefits. The technique is so simple and powerful that while trying to describe it to my friends, the only word that comes to my mind is witchcraft. The second book I want to mention here is a novel in French: Rien ne s’oppose à la nuit. More than a novel, it is an autobiography and the family stories Delphine de Vigan wrote are still haunting me. A very disturbing book that is definitely not processed yet. Even as I am writing about it, my heart is beating faster … I am not even sure that this is the kind of book I would recommend as a “must read” but here I am publicly mentioning it (and needing to do so). The last book is a memoir as well. A friend of mine, and yoga teacher recommended it to me, and for some reason, it took me time to (dare?) buy it and start reading it: The Road of Lost Innocence by Somaly Mam. Once you’ve read it, you can’t pretend you don’t know about sex trafficking. A must read.

Right now, I am reading a beautiful book, a book filled with stories that touch me beyond words: Barefoot in the Heart. It is a collection of stories about Neem Karoli Baba. Maharajji, as his devotees affectionately calls Him, is an Indian saint. I love Maharajji … and sometimes I feel he graces me with his cheerful presence. I feel Him…


By the way, this is a late night blogpost … after a beautiful, windy, cold and mostly indoor day…an other way of warming up from the inside out I guess.

“You can plan for a hundred years. But you don’t know what will happen the next moment”
“Know that I am always with you. My body was your need, not mine”
Sri Neem Karoli Baba.

2 Responses to “On late night stories, books and goodbyes”

  1. pillangoblog February 8, 2012 at 6:25 pm #

    You’re writing is so honest. Its great to read words that come from that place called heart and not from ego…thanx also for the interesting book recommendations.

    Like

    • jba February 9, 2012 at 12:06 am #

      I appreciate you taking the time for feedback on my ramblings… thank you.

      Like

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