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Keep Out: Hypnopompia Happening

Updated: Apr 16, 2020

19th Septemer, 2018

Feel like there are things to 'talk' about but I can't quite remember what. I notice after I do my writing and get out on my bike that my mind continues 'blogging' as I cycle along. Wish I could remember what it blogged! An interesting phenomenon. The author of Rest (Alex Soojung-Kim Pang) mentions that. He says if you put in some prep in the morning and then go out for a walk later then your subconscious mind continues to work on whatever it is you've been consciously working on earlier. What I experienced was different though - it was more conscious sentences coming to me, and forming, as I was cycling along.

On the topic of mornings, I was just thinking about something else the authors said, when I woke this morning. He describes a state called hypnapompia, which is the state where the subconscious 'converses' with the conscious. It's apparently an extraordinary time for creativity, as many of the creatives - like Salvador Dali and Ernest Hemingway - discovered. But it relies on a kind of waking slowly, allowing your mind to drift between the conscious and subconscious, before you're sharp. 

As I lay there this morning, with Grace and Isaac to the left of me on the bed and Postman Pat straight ahead on the TV, I wondered when my morning mind had last had the opportunity to enjoy this state. Hmm. It seems a distant memory. Maybe my mind used to do it in the school holidays when I was teaching, but I never made any use of it. I remember I could never lie in on a Saturday, as my brain was programmed to wake around 6.15 in line with the teaching week. Shame for those wasted hypnopompic sessions. 'Youth is wasted on the young' hey, Oscar Wilde?

I used to use an alarm clock that had a gradually-brightening light and the dulcit tones of birdsong to help me wake up less brutally though. As well as a Vitamin D light I used in Winter (my friend Mark called it the 'giant sun disc'. I still remember him walking into the kitchen and asking 'what's with the giant sun disc?', as it was perched on the kitchen side). 

These days I'm usually awoken by Grace trotting in and immediately asking for various things, like breakfast or whether or not baby Isaac is awake. Or saying 'it seems Isaac is asleep' and thus waking him up. 

But this afternoon Grace requested to make a 'Keep Out' sign for her room. She says if this is on her door and I go into her room she'll have to say to me 'Mummy, did you forget the keep out sign' (something she's got from Max and Ruby). So maybe I need this on MY door. Something that will allow me to tap into this hypnapompic state without it being invaded by Postman Pat and his black and white cat. I love the idea of lighting a bit of creative kindle in the mornings. 

And maybe it could also be enabled by my friend Nicola's strategy of using the Teasmade ... imagine that. A cup of tea made for me in my own bedroom without me having to leave the bed? Who would need a husband then?! I could just reach for the laptop and the tea, settle in and get that fire started... See the 'keep out' picture below for inspiration if you, too, want to write and are a parent. 

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