What’s it about when you suddenly wake at 4.00 in the morning? Wide awake, not just a little roused, but wide awake, mind fully active, thoughts clear as day… The sort of wakefulness and clarity you so often want when you have something to focus on during the day but can’t muster the energy. The sort of wakefulness that won’t let you get back to sleep until… Until what?

It’s as though something has to be thought or said that can’t make it self heard in the clamour of day, so crowded with demands and routines that reflection and creative thought are roughly pushed aside by the necessities of living. Something that had been lying dormant in the mind or buried under the turmoil of the day, the germ or an idea, a seed that starts to sprout little shoots of thought, tendrils that don’t mean anything,yet.

Just like the green shoots that first push up in spring. At first they don’t mean anything they can’t be identified as any particular type of plant. To the uninformed one green shoot is like another, they’re all the same at first. Gradually they begin to take on form, their shape gives them away, they reveal themselves as belonging to this genus or that, one type of plant or another, and gradually, with time and a little nurturing they become fully formed, baby thoughts at first and soon a recognisable plant, or idea.

We often speak of it as though these nocturnal thought-ramblings are not to be trusted. The infamous four-o’clock in the morning low point when we are vulnerable to the destructive incursions of our own doubts and fears, undefended from the pervasive negativity of self-doubt, and prey not only to ideas which during the day we’d dismiss out of hand.

But perhaps too it is something to be trusted in nurtured. Maybe it is the only opportunity for an intuitive part of us to communicate something important, unhindered by the static of routines, demands and habits that clutter our waking hours.


I’m a psychologist, coach, and therapist. All my work is aimed at enabling people to improve personal aspects of their lives and work.