Social change work is hard and frustrating and wonderful and terrible; it is also, at times, funny, quirky and just plain fascinating. With this blog we hope to capture all that goes into what we do at Capital Good Fund, and we invite you to join the conversation!

Monday, August 4, 2014

If You Could Go Without Sleep, Would You?

Last night my girlfriend Bianca and I left Montreal, where we had gone for a mini vacation, at around 11 PM.  We then drove straight through the night and finally got home and to sleep in time to watch the sunrise at 6 AM.  Given that I spent  hours staring out a windshield at empty pavement stretching on for mile after mile, I had plenty of time to think, especially about the beauty we sometimes miss when we are exhausted and choose to go to sleep.

Stick with me here.  Yes, I was extremely tired.  Yes, sitting in a car for that long makes your body stiff and your mind numb. However, there was something gorgeous about that ride.  At times a thick fog pelted me with its haze, and the world around me dripped into a puddle of light, that suspended in front of my car.  The mountains of Vermont were like verdant dying embers, a flame that's fallen asleep to dream pleasant dreams.  There was a strident quiet pervading everything, despite the fact that I was hurling through space at 65 miles per hour.

Finally, my drowsy and groggy mind began to form a question from the silence: If I could go without sleep, would I?  How many more books could I read, bike trips could I take, poems could I write, things could I explore?  Daylight reveals what is already there, but darkness makes the mysteries of life crawl out from under the rocks.  Is it better to sleep and rest, or to stay awake and explore?

You can guess what the poet in me says!  But what about the social entrepreneur? I'm not so sure.  There's no doubt that I wasn't as productive today as I would have been had I had a full night's rest.  Still, maybe we are all too rested and too comfortable.  Maybe there is a delicate dance between physical limits--the body needs sleep--and emotional ones--the soul needs mystery.  And maybe the way we choose to dance dictates the way we lead our lives and the impact we have on the world.

So what will it be, then?  When shall we shut our eyes to dream, and when will we force them open to see what is already there?  Perhaps we do neither well enough, for to change the world we must both see things for what they are and dream up new ways for them to be.

Just some thoughts from a sleep-deprived mind.


  1. From an employee who dances delicately into the wee hours of the night quite frequently, I must admit that the daylight adds its own value and reward to productivity. Don't get me wrong, it's a bit hypocritical of myself to have this mind frame, as I have undoubtedly managed to capitalize on the excess hours my insomnia provides and there's no questions that most of my best work isn't nearly complete until after 2 in the morning but for some odd reason, the hours in the night pass significantly faster than during my work day. I believe that by the end of the night, after you've supplied a good portion of your mental gusto all day long to anyone and every task on your plate that you are in fact, running on low fuel. The mind is most engaged in the morning, and this may be due to the clarity of the world functioning around us that subconsciously motivates a person. A well rested, refreshed mind, may be the largest asset of them all.

  2. Haha, Whitney, I love that you of all people read and commented on this post! If ever there were someone who worked at all hours of the day...!

    You make very good points, though :)