2023 Mycelium #15 Pillows

I went looking for a new pillow and started to wonder where pillows came from and their place in helping us rest. We all seem to have different preferences for a pillow – hard, soft, curved, rectangular, stuffed with foam, feathers, air.  The first pillows were for the rich to raise their heads from the ground so bugs didn’t crawl into noses or ears and they were made of stone. Then over the time the more pillows you had to the more it was a sign of wealth.

Pillow abundance is a thing and I don’t mind a set of pillows and have a collection of cushions and pillows of different shapes, sizes and fillings on my bed. I treat my bed these days as a nest and my pillows more of a clutch of comforting supports so I can rest and sometimes work decadently in bed.  This is a newish phenomenon. As a mother and wife I used to spend the minimum amount of time in bed, but widowhood and being child free I like to linger there sometimes. The humble pillows literally have my back.

I respect the sacred act of resting these days and feel a bit cheated that I didn’t in my younger years. Admittedly there was a lot going on … there still is … but I did disrespect rest and felt it a luxury I couldn’t afford … and for the record I only had one pillow on my bed in those days!  Having your head raised so the bugs don’t get into the ears and nose is a lovely invitation to appreciate the humble pillow. I am imagining my head lying on something softer than a stone, and the winged ear worms being left behind so I can rest and rise into a higher state of sleep.

There are people I know who are like pillows. They help us to rest, they help us to empty our minds to take a break, they fill us with dreams and possibilities, ready for you to lean on them. Thank you to all of the pillows in my life, human and otherwise. They wait patiently for me to come to them, and I always know where to find them, modelling stillness and being invitational without moving to come and find ease and possibly relief from buzzing in ears and things that get up your nose.

I’ve been having quite a lot of wild dreams lately, possibly due to new medication and / or the new pillow elevating me to a different plane. The dreams are very elemental with water, air and fire featuring, there is a lot of death going on and snippets of them on waking make me wonder if I have been in a dystopian Margaret Atwood science fiction novel. There is a theme emerging about stopping, rest, respite or perhaps retreat, a kind of getting ready rather than that running away. I think that is the pillow talking to me.

Sleep’s place in recharging is deep and necessary work. It is not an indulgent treat, it is the place where the mycelium of memories, fantasies and the sub-conscious can find their way out to bloom in the wilds of a new day.  Giving thanks to the pillow today and thanking whoever it was who first thought keeping insects out of ears over night was a good idea and to all the others in history who discovered a sack filled with softer materials worked too. And to the pillow people and places in my life I am deeply grateful.

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