#11 Sleepless Nights

Mar 01, 2015

I've been reading a lot of Facebook posts about people not being able to sleep. I feel just awful for these folks, often women because it brings me right back to the time when I wasn’t well and laid awake for HOURS staring at the ceiling while everyone else in the house was fast asleep. 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. My body 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 be able to conjure up the energy to call for help or have the nerve to wake anyone who was already sleeping so soundly; be still and hungry and not able to help me; be still and not be able to move, not even enough to roll myself on 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,  I had several unbearable sleepless nights. Nights that were filled with too much mind chatter while my body was exhausted and begged me for sleep.

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

When I couldn't sleep, I wish I knew...

Eckhart Tolle tells us that when you hate what you’re doing (not sleeping), complain about your surroundings (not being able to sleep), curse and argue about things that are happening (not being able to sleep), you are making life into an enemy. Life then 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 own sacred space when you begin to fight with sleep. You get angry, lay wide awake and your choice then is to post your sleeplessness socially with the hopes that others will read and join in your misery with hopes of passing away the time. But as you expound upon it to the hundreds, even thousands who add their energy to your misery, you're making it worse. STOP!

Tolle recommends we 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: Awakening Your Life's Purpose p. 203)?

Sleep is all about the present moment. The best advice I took from that chapter that helps me 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 late from a fun night out, the wind and the weather outdoors, the silence. My favorite is 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 a gentler way.

When you’re not well it is the single most humbling time in your life. When offered help, take it. When offered advice, give it a try. Open up and let it in. Seek out suggestions from those you trust and see what advice they have for you. Allow the help and the advice from others to work for you and sleep sweet.