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It’s not that I don’t try.
Every night, I state my positive intention: “Tonight, I’m going to bed at 10:30 p.m.” After taking a lavender bubble bath and saying my prayerful Metta Meditation, I head for bed with new resolve. I turn the laptop, iPhone, and iPad off by 9:30 p.m., turn off the lights, make sure my room temperature is comfortable, smooth my soft sheets and cozy blankets, choose my favorite pillow, and open a boring sleep-inducing book.
If these techniques don’t work right away, I listen to calm music, select “ocean waves” on my sound machine, or focus on a hypnotic relaxation podcast.
Okay, I think it’s working. I feel sleepy. More relaxed. Wow. I’m something else. I conquered my problem. It’s time to drift off to sleep. Watch out world. I’m going to be powerful tomorrow. Sharp. Alert. Creative. Happy. Fully awake and aware.
Forget it. My hope for a good night’s sleep dissipates. I toss and turn, trying to find a comfortable position on my back, side, or stomach. Nothing feels right.
I’ll distract myself by doing a relaxing yoga pose for five minutes.
I know the problem. It’s the pillows. Which of these five pillows will win tonight? Ah, this one. It got one thousand positive reviews online. I can’t lose. I know this pillow will change my life.
The pillow was too high for my neck.
I’ll go into the kitchen and eat graham crackers or make oatmeal.
Comforting, but not a cure.
I read somewhere that “pretend yawning” fools my body into thinking it is exhausted and sleepy. I yawn wide and loud for a long time. Nothing happens. Except laughing at myself.
This is all pretty funny when I witness myself in it objectively.
How about sleep affirmations? I believe in the power of healing words on my conscious and subconscious mind, so here I go:
>> Sleep comes to me easily.
>> I let go of anxiety and surrender to the peacefulness of sleep.
>> I allow sleep to renew me.
>> I inhale and exhale deep breaths of letting go, inner peace, and relaxation.
>> My mind is calm, uncluttered, empty, and still.
I think about taking Melatonin (which keeps me up instead of making me sleepy), a sleep gummy (which doesn’t seem to work for me), an over-the-counter sleep medicine (which makes me hyper), or a prescribed medication (which is addictive).
Feeling frustrated, I distract myself by playing “Words with Friends” with a friend who is also wide awake at two in the morning.
My Love Relationship with Insomnia
Before you think I am completely disappointed in myself, the truth is that the rebellious child in me is absolutely ecstatic to have this extra time.
An extended day. Thank you, oh, great Spirit. I am free to dance with the night. Create new stories, books, songs, and ideas. Complete unfinished thoughts and tasks.
I surrender to receiving the golden trophy for “best insomniac of the year.”
Drum roll, please. It’s time for me to be the “devil’s advocate” and give all insomniacs the opportunity to feel better about themselves. If you have a challenging time sleeping because of your Jumpin’ Jellybean thoughts, unfinished lists of to-dos, worries, anxieties, or never-ending creative ideas, then…
>> Enjoy it.
>> Accept it.
>> Embrace it.
>> Make it into an opportunity.
Expanding daylight hours into the night can be amazing. I’ve written four books during the night and composed countless songs. I’ve been this way since I was five years old. I would stay up long into the night trying to finish a story that was rattling around in my head and before I knew it, it was morning.
I feel privileged to be part of what I like to call Sacred Time. Everything is finally quiet. The kind of quiet I often crave during the day is finally here in the middle of the night and it is magical.
Sacred Time is when the magic fairies come and sprinkle stardust in your spirit and whisper, “Come on. Let’s create something new together, dream of new adventures, write a new chapter to your book, finish an article for Elephant Journal, compose words to a tune that’s been in your head, complete something on your to-do list, work on ways to heal a relationship, and send the “Metta Meditation Prayer of Loving-Kindness” to yourself, to others, and to the world.”
How about giving yourself a pep talk to get to know yourself better? You are your own life coach and inner guru. In the stillness of the night, what is your highest inner voice saying to you? Listen. Acknowledge yourself. Give yourself a hug. Look how far you’ve come and the challenges you’ve made it through. Who are you? What are you feeling deep inside? How about writing down all your feelings in a journal?
Release. Let go. Surrender. Accept. Create. Love.
Wait. There’s a Facebook message from one of the editors of Elephant Journal. She lives in Lebanon. It’s morning for her. It’s night for me. My project and our human connection are too exciting to ignore. I don’t care about sleep. I want to collaborate with her. I’ll be okay as long as I get close to five hours tonight. I can take a nap in the afternoon. Naps are great. They save me.
I find it a healthy release of feelings to share my hate-love relationship with insomnia and Sacred Time, but I have a disclaimer. If you don’t have insomnia, please don’t follow me to your ruin. If sleep comes easily to you, continue to lead a healthy lifestyle, and don’t make me your role model on sleep. The doctors are right. If we don’t follow the eight-hour sleep regimen, thinking clearly is more difficult, mistakes and accidents happen easily, falling asleep while driving could be disastrous, and as doctors often say, we may age and die prematurely.
But if sleep eludes you tonight, remember that the most incredible, miraculous, and other-worldly creations occur between two and five in the morning. Embrace Sacred Time. You never know what magic might be waiting for you in the middle of your sacred night.
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