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Posts Tagged ‘sleep’

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This morning when I found out that David Bowie had passed away, I hoped for a peaceful transition for him.

I then laughed to myself, as the song I thought of most was “As the World Falls Down” from Labyrinth.  My sister had the soundtrack back when it was new, and the music was so dreamlike and soothing, I used it to help me go to sleep.  It was the first song I learned the lyrics to, as I started to sing it to myself over and over in my head when I had a hard time dropping off.

I still do, actually.

Throughout the day, I’ve caught myself thinking about the lyrics again with a fresh mind. I’ve sung it to myself to soothe myself to sleep for so long, I no longer hear it as the seductive love song it was written as, but as a call of comfort from my inner self.

For all the times I have faced upheaval and chaos and pain, I’ve found peaceful refuge in words such as:

As the pain sweeps through,
Makes no sense for you.
Every thrill is gone.
Wasn’t too much fun at all,
But I’ll be there for you-ou-ou
As the world falls down.

I owe so much of my moments of finding-calm to those lyrics. May the man who wrote and sang those words now know peace, as well.

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Adolph_von_Menzel_Die_schlafende_Näherin_am_Fenster2

It’s not yet the seventh day of the new year, and I should have taken more time to rest. I worked extra last night to prepare for a pretty big morning, and woke up a little early feeling as though my sleep didn’t quite happen.

The morning went quite well, but left me fairly wiped out by the afternoon. I did my lunchtime yoga, made it through the rest of the workday, then came home feeling as though perhaps I should take it a bit easier.

I didn’t, really.

I made a fun, half-simple, half-involved dinner because my son wanted it to be my birthday. I then got onto the cross-trainer for my full new routine and lightly pulled a muscle in my leg. Fortunately I had the sense to soak it in a soothing Epsom salt bath, but by the time I was out of that and helped my son through his going-to-bed routine, I had just enough time to have a nice little dessert.

I’ve had a very busy 48 hours, and I want to stay up more and play a game, watch a silly movie, read philosophy… anything but go right to bed without really kicking back for some recreation.

But I’m tired. So I’m going to sleep.

Good night!

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The most important lesson of my most recent cocooning is the deep and powerful importance of getting enough sleep.  And I mean restful, truly sufficient sleep.

Unfortunately, I learned this lesson through not always getting it.

Now, the first step in getting enough sleep is the one I too-often skipped: making sure I was going to bed at a decent time each night, early enough that I would be assured about eight hours before I had to start waking up.  Okay, so there’s been times I’ve needed more than that, but I’ll be honest and admit that I wasn’t even giving myself eight consistently.  That was wrong.

Now the second step is actually being able to get to sleep.  This has been a lifelong problem for me, and it took me a minimum of an hour to get to sleep, usually up to two.  In fact, no matter what trick or tip I followed I just couldn’t get my mind to settle down and let me sleep.  That is, until I put together a certain meditation as an extra credit project for a class once.  Since I don’t think I’ve shared it before, here it is:

I get myself all ready for bed, tuck myself in, and close my eyes.  As I take a deep breath I count “Ten”, and imagine relaxation creeping up through my toes and through my feet.  As I exhale, the tension flows out, allowing the relaxation to creep further up to my knees.  I deeply breathe in “Nine”, and the relaxation creeps up my legs, and with the exhale it encompasses up to my waist.  Breathing in “Eight”, the relaxation comes up to my torso, and breathing out brings it to my shoulders.  Breathing in “Seven” encompasses my shoulders in relaxation, which spreads down through my arms and fingertips as I breathe out.  I then breathe in “Six”, and the relaxation moves up through my neck, filling and spilling out the top of my head as I breathe out.

Breathing in “Five”, I feel myself being carried through the energies of relaxation toward a soothing, starlit darkness, leading me toward somewhere special.  The inbreath of “Four” brings me into view of a space that I find very tranquil, and peaceful, and save.  With “Three” I am entering this space, feeling its welcoming embrace surround me.  Breathing in “Two”, I settle down into it, and with “One”, I am fully present within this sanctuary.

Breathing in and out this soothing air, I see glowing helpers coming toward me.  They could be angels or faeries or lockboxes or even shining spheres – whatever it is that I feel to be good caretakers of precious things.  One of them pauses before me, waiting to accept something from me.  I take the thought that’s foremost in my mind, and place it into their expert care.  I ask them to please be a good caretaker of this very important thought, and to work on it while I sleep.  They take it and move away to do their work, making room for the next one who takes my next thought, and so on, and so forth.  Sometimes I organize them one by one, and sometimes I just dump the tangle thought-mess into the box and let the caretakers sort them out.

What this does is re-assures all the many worries and concerns and hopes and fears that keep me awake… it reassures them that I recognize their importance.  I understand and appreciate that I can’t just shove them out of my head, and I make sure that they’re being taken good care of while I get much, much-needed sleep.  And if I find myself thinking other thoughts, I let a caretaker come up to receive it, then let it move on.

If I don’t fall asleep before I run out of thoughts, I take my empty mind and replay a song that I find soothing, over and over in my mind.  When I find my mind drifting I let the thought go and get back to the song.  When the lyrics start getting goofy and nonsense, I know I’m on the path to sleep.

When I awake in the morning, when I remember to, I ask the caretakers to please bring me back any thoughts or concerns that are ready for me to take up again, and that I’m ready to work with.  Any and all answers and resolutions are picked up with gratitude, and things that need to be worked on longer in my subconscious I let stay with the caretakers.  (And I do sometimes get really good answers, either immediately or during the day!)

I then breathe from one to five, drifting away from the space and back to the waking world.  I then breathe in “Six” to bring energetic wakefulness in through my toes, all the way up through to my head while breathing “One”.  Then I’m more alert, rested, and ready to face my day!

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