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Sleeping With Eyes Open

October 11, 2011


This is the newly vandalized pillar on my way to the local dog park. The first time I walked past, it annoyed me because of the fact that it is – well – vandalism. Plus, I’m sure it is a really raunchy message to someone – raunchy as in, a threat. Like, “oooo, you better sleep with your eyes open”. The next few times I walked past, it became part of the scenery, just like the other pillar that has Metallica scrawled across it’s midsection. Until yesterday. For some reason, yesterday I read the words differently. The words resonated with me somehow, “sleeping with eyes open”. Reading those words gave me a sharp pang of sorrow that radiated through my heart. It reminded me of my Grandpa.

Nocturnal Lagophthalmos, is the medical term for the condition of sleeping with your eyes open. My sweet little Grandpa did not have this condition. 🙂

Alzheimer’s Disease, over the span of twenty five years, made my Grandpa sleep with his eyes open. Not in a literal sense, obviously. The disease that ravages your brain also has the ability to put the individual into a vegetative state. Sleeping with eyes open, but not sleeping. Existing but not remembering how to exist.

“Spirituality means waking up. Most people, even though they don’t know it, are asleep. They’re born asleep, they live asleep, they marry in their sleep, they breed children in their sleep, they die in their sleep without ever waking up. They never understand the loveliness and the beauty of this thing that we call human existence.”

Anthony De Mello

Let’s get out there and enjoy life with our eyes open and aware of the beauty that surrounds us. Not sleeping through life though, because we can remember. Our memory is in tact, and we are able to be aware. Life is just too short not to enjoy. So wake up!

9 Comments leave one →
  1. October 11, 2011 11:13 am

    A poet once sarcastically sang ” Light is miserable and it is only in darkness and sloth we find true happiness” But a soulful prayer is ” From darkness lead me towards light”.

    • October 11, 2011 11:51 am

      Thank you for coming, chapter 18. Its kinda like doing the right thing is harder sometimes? I’ll take light to the darkness any day of the week. That place sucked.

  2. October 11, 2011 11:25 am

    Hello Joy,

    I agree with your post wholeheartedly. Life is far too short to go through it asleep.

    I think the meaning of that grafitti is what the author you quoted was saying. The majority of people now are sleeping with their eyes open. What kind of enlightened stewardship of this planet might we see were everyone to wake up?



    • October 11, 2011 11:43 am

      Agreed, Doug. Aloha right back atchya!

  3. October 11, 2011 3:27 pm

    Beautiful post. I feel that sometimes I forget the beauty around me, and find myself in that same state of “sleeping”. Then I have to pinch myself as a reminder! 🙂

    • October 11, 2011 4:46 pm

      Hi Nicole. I know, I’m surprised I don’t have bruises from all the times I have to pinch myself. 😉

  4. October 11, 2011 4:37 pm

    Great message. I constantly ask myself whether I’m just sleepwalking through life or if I’m truly awake, absorbing and experiencing everything around me.

    • October 11, 2011 4:45 pm

      Thanks Greatsby! It is hard to be present in your body and present in present time. Sheesh. I’m tired just thinking of all that presence. 🙂

  5. sana permalink
    October 12, 2011 5:55 am

    Hi Joy, Here is an awesome quote that I found today….”The owners of this country know the truth. Its called the American Dream because you have to be asleep to believe it” ~ George Carlin. I thought it was pretty funny regarding the crazy poltical climate of today. Loved the blog BTW

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