Sleepless Nights

I read a lot of Facebook posts about people not being able to sleep. I feel just awful for these folks, often women, because I’m quickly reminded of the time when I wasn’t well and I couldn’t do the same. There was nothing worse than not being able to sleep. It was agonizing. I can’t even say I tossed and turned because my body was like lead, I had no energy to even do that. I was still. That was all I could do. Be still. Be still wide awake and nauseous; be still and have to go to the bathroom and not able to conjure up the energy to call for help; be still and hungry and not able to help myself; be still and not able to move, not even to turn to the other side.

Whether it was the hormonal depletion, the meds I was on, the fact that I was totally immobile and exerted no energy during the day to wear me out at night, or that I slept all day while others took care of me; whatever the reason, and I’m sure there were many, I had several unbearably sleepless nights. Nights that were filled with too much mind chatter while my body lay exhausted and begging for sleep.

If I knew then what I know now about how to take control and be mentally still and relax my body, I believe my agonizing nights would have instead been more bearable, relaxed and filled with restful sleep.

What I wish I knew when I couldn’t sleep….

Tolle tells us that when you hate what you’re doing (not sleeping), complain about your surroundings (not being able to sleep), curse things that are happening and you’re arguing with what is (not being able to sleep), you are making life into an enemy. Life tells you, “War is what you want, and war is what you’ll get.” So life rewards you with more of what you’re cursing.

You and you alone, are responsible for bringing that hostility into your world, into your present when you begin to fight with sleep. You get angry, lay wide awake and your only recourse is to post it socially with the hopes that others will read and join in your misery. As you expound upon it to hundreds, even thousands who add their energy to it, it’s making it worse. Yikes!

Tolle recommends we instead ask ourselves a vital question frequently, What is my relationship with the present moment? Then become alert to find out the answer. Do I see it as an obstacle? Am I making it into an enemy? Since the present moment is all you’ll ever have, what the question really means is: What is my relationship with Life? (A New Earth p. 203)

Sleep is all about the present moment. His best advice to me that helps me close my eyes and nod out each night, is to just listen. Listen to your breath, to the creaks of the house settling, car doors closing, people arriving home from a fun night out (You’ll be doing that again!), wind and the weather outdoors, the silence. My favorite is the silence. Just listen and pay attention to nothing else and I promise you a swift arrival into the land of nod. Stop fighting. Your body is already doing that. Give it a break and allow your mind and body to come together to work in your favor. Choose gentleness.

When you’re not well, it’s not a time to be proud. It is the single most humbling time in your life. When offered help, say yes. When offered advice, give it a try. Open up and let it in. Allow help and advice to work for you and sleep sweet.

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