Truths On the Edge of Sleep

As I begin to drift off I feel a choice between panic and acceptance

Kent Mitchell
4 min readAug 21, 2022

My guard goes down as I relax — experiencing myself instead of presenting me. Alone. Afraid before the universe, it’s not so bad, why can’t it last?

Upon awakening, I’m momentarily unaware of where I am, and I feel joyful. Imagine that. Just happy, not happy despite the issues, or happy blocking them out. Why can’t this last?

you know, I felt it again just now, wide awake!

The following day it happens again. I wake feeling open to what will happen. Even deep-seated angst about relationship feels okay; I’m satisfied with both in my interior life and my external actions as I wake. These feelings and thoughts fade so fast that I can’t put my finger on specifics no matter how quickly I jump to my bedside table to write them down...yet I know I had this experience of calm acceptance.

For a second here it is again. All the angst behind my eyes — about every little thing — from my anniversary tomorrow with my wife and me on different sides of the continent, to impending hotel checkout, delayed plane flight, concerns about work, and about the striking down of abortion rights by the Supreme Court yesterday. And behind it all I struggle with relationships as I struggle to remember to breathe. Breathe. Please.

Here I am in a motel room built in 1940 and refurbished recently as a chic hotel with yogurt, smoothies, waffles and cereal, but no gym. Every room has a record player and stack of scratchy vinyl. It’s a beautiful thing! And I am alone. Not only alone without my wife but alone within the aloneness, listening to the Allman Brothers from how many years ago, passing the time before I shall be called upon to confront the next reality. But more than that, already dreading the next challenge, already living, alone, the truth that our closest confidantes make us the most lonely.

Greg Allman sings, “all my friends never came back again“

It’s not what’s in the hotel room matters to me. It’s everything outside. It’s my daughter getting along with my wife. It’s my son finding a school he wants to attend. It’s me realizing that I should’ve brought my laptop so I could really put together stories with photos on Medium. It’s me somehow achieving zero inbox on my email while I’m here, and figuring out how to deal with this crazy car situation with the ending lease and the new one replacing it.

went to a fiddle concert today with my wife, back in town, and felt that there was no need to push for anything, just let it happen

woke up this morning thinking about my wife’s friend inviting her to visit while we’re in France and felt for a moment the joy of being open to what happens rather than making it happen

Each time I go to sleep, and each time I wake up, for a moment everything‘s OK, and then all of a sudden all the issues come down on me and I feel despair. And then I recover myself and just plow forward, pretending the heavy bag of despair isn’t dragging the ground behind me, stirring up dust, hurting my joints as I lean into my day moving forward towards I-know-not-what.

What if I could keep that first feeling of being OK? What if I could face those things that cause me despair, not just drag them around behind me? Maybe then then I could engage my day without the feeling of blindly trudging forward. Perhaps then I could afford to slow down and encounter my day as in the moment of waking, innocently and openly.



Kent Mitchell

Traveler, Writer, Designer. Seeker of Truth.