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Insomnia?

Hi John, Carla and Everybody,

First of all, thank you all so much for being here. I'm so grateful for your presence and your wisdom.

I've been putting off asking this question--hoping that it would resolve itself on its own, b/c I do feel that it is part of my recovery--and probably mostly b/c on some level I am ashamed of it... like I should be better than this, more evolved than this, wiser than this, blah, blah, blah.

I wanted to talk about this at the last Open House, but I'm still uncomfortable sharing with you guys using the spoken word, I sometimes get tongue-tied and can't think when I have to talk instead of write. Shame is a very old piece of my personality structure--and so I'd like to just say it out loud to you all now: I'm ashamed of being an insomniac!

The insomnia began in 1981 when I gave birth to my daughter--and I figured it was b/c I was worried about taking care of another human life--you know, the extra alertness and hyper-vigilance that I used to navigate my own life, now had to be hyped up another huge notch to cover her too. My fear was quadrupled.

But that's where my analysis ends... b/c the insomnia continued, through many changing life events. And in order to soothe myself and solve the problem, I've read every book I could find, studied the Internet for solutions, taken every non-drug solution (I don't use drugs--but I could make a list of all the homeopathic and OTC solutions I've tried, but you probably know them all, from acupuncture, to melatonin and 5-HTP), I've used special eye masks that have you look at your 3rd eye, tapes that take you to dreamland, light boxes, and on and on. Some things will work for a day or two, and I'll think the problem is solved and then... I lie awake until 2 or 3 am again. I get up at the same time everyday whether I sleep well or not, and I do alright in the morning, but by afternoon, I'm often wiped out. I try not to take naps unless I really must, and I still exercise every day, unless I'm just too tired. I try to take care of myself, but I often feel exhausted.

OK, so, now I am beginning to notice that I call this a problem. I call insomnia a problem. And lately, at night when I'm lying awake, I'll think "Trust your life," "Life is Trustworthy," and "You are not at stake." And when I think that, I realize that I'm OK even when I don't get enough sleep. Even when I feel exhausted during the day, hesitant to take on new things, worried that I won't have the energy I need to live my life--I see that I'm OK. And right here, in this, I can see my resistance to my life, I can see how I am not trusting my life, that I think I must do more, be better than, take on more, etc. to be "good enough."

Recently, lying awake, I'll do the mindfulness meditation that John has given us over and over again. And sometimes, with my eyes closed, I am looking. I think I do it then as a solution or cure for the insomnia, but it doesn't serve me that way. It may be just me practicing looking at me.

This sounds like a very old lived theme of "fear of life" to me. And the insomnia is just another notch on fear's belt--it gives me the excuse to feel afraid--it could be anything else, but for me, now, it's this.

I guess that's it... but then again, maybe I'm just over-analyzing it. If it could be "anything else," then it looks like "resistance of what is" to me.

Geez, it's so painful being in resistance to my own life. But here I am. And when I am not resisting whatever I am feeling in the moment, even my own fear, I see that I can choose to look again. To be "here," here where I am. And then, for that moment, I am safe in my own life.

So, I go back and forth. I'm in fear and terrified, sad, angry--and then I am. Just here.

I know that I'm looking in this post for a solution for insomnia. And I know that there isn't one even tho' I keep looking for it. Maybe I'm really looking for a way to live with it instead of get rid of it.

If you guys have any thoughts on this, I'd really appreciate them. Please excuse my rambling, I think it is just an attempt to get clear.

With love to all,

Dawn

Dear Dawn,

Anxiety comes up for me in different moments related to different circumstances in my life, for instance around sleep I go to sleep easily then if I'm woken up I can't seem to go back to sleep then the anxiety sets in, I know I'll be grumpy, tired not able to be in my day with my total energy etc. Then I noticed one day that that feeling of anxiety is not there anymore, this for me is really the magic of the looking. Making it a problem, sleep, not sleep or even trying to fix it in all the ways I know how, meditate, calm my mind , not make it a problem etc...it just goes and it seems to have no need to resolve itself, it's just the looking over time..and my anxiety was gone. I've heard there is nothing to do etc. But there is the looking. It's so helpful to share as it does take time and even if I hear that all these states are beside the point, the recovery is what it is huh! John shares how this work evolved with conversation with us also engaging in conversation with other 'lookers" does help me to remember to just keep looking and "everything will turn out all right"...

Much love, Maureen

Hi Dawn

I can totally relate to your comments. Especially the comments about shame. I have had issues from time to time with sleep. During periods of more situational stress I might use a prescription medication for a short time to help with sleep and I beat myself up, seeing this as proof that I am clearly not far enough along the path or this would not be still be happening. I am so resentful of how spiritual pursuits have caused me to adopt standards and ways of trying to be that are simply unattainable. It feels like a total set up and I bought into it hook, line, and sinker. Since engaging in the looking I have noticed that I am not as hard on myself about all of this. I used to struggle during the night when I couldn't sleep. Thankfully, I have not done that in years. I don't get the sense that you struggle during these periods of sleeplessness Dawn. I came across a very good book for people who do struggle against insomnia. It is called "Restful insomnia: How to get the Benefits of Sleep, Even when you Can't". Lots of good tips on how to work with sleeplessness. I have also found that Magnesium is helpful as well.

Recently, when I have not been able to sleep I sometimes find that doing the looking helps. It is, in some way, reassuring. But I am not sure exactly why. Maybe It is similar to what you said, Dawn, about realizing that you are okay, despite sleeplessness (or anything else for that matter).

I don't know if any of this is helpful Dawn. I guess I am rambling as well but please know that I can totally relate to what you have been going through.

Keep well.

Paul

Directcontact

Hi John, Carla and Everybody,

First of all, thank you all so much for being here. I'm so grateful for your presence and your wisdom.

I've been putting off asking this question--hoping that it would resolve itself on its own, b/c I do feel that it is part of my recovery--and probably mostly b/c on some level I am ashamed of it ... like I should be better than this, more evolved than this, wiser than this, blah, blah, blah.

I wanted to talk about this at the last Open House, but I'm still uncomfortable sharing with you guys using the spoken word, I sometimes get tongue-tied and can't think when I have to talk instead of write. Shame is a very old piece of my personality structure--and so I'd like to just say it out loud to you all now: I'm ashamed of being an insomniac!

The insomnia began in 1981 when I gave birth to my daughter--and I figured it was b/c I was worried about taking care of another human life--you know, the extra alertness and hyper-vigilance that I used to navigate my own life, now had to be hyped up another huge notch to cover her too. My fear was quadrupled.

But that's where my analysis ends ... b/c the insomnia continued, through many changing life events. And in order to soothe myself and solve the problem, I've read every book I could find, studied the Internet for solutions, taken every non-drug solution (I don't use drugs--but I could make a list of all the homeopathic and OTC solutions I've tried, but you probably know them all, from acupuncture, to melatonin and 5-HTP), I've used special eye masks that have you look at your 3rd eye, tapes that take you to dreamland, light boxes, and on and on. Some things will work for a day or two, and I'll think the problem is solved and then ... I lie awake until 2 or 3 am again. I get up at the same time everyday whether I sleep well or not, and I do alright in the morning, but by afternoon, I'm often wiped out. I try not to take naps unless I really must, and I still exercise every day, unless I'm just too tired. I try to take care of myself, but I often feel exhausted.

OK, so, now I am beginning to notice that I call this a problem. I call insomnia a problem. And lately, at night when I'm lying awake, I'll think "Trust your life," "Life is Trustworthy," and "You are not at stake." And when I think that, I realize that I'm OK even when I don't get enough sleep. Even when I feel exhausted during the day, hesitant to take on new things, worried that I won't have the energy I need to live my life--I see that I'm OK. And right here, in this, I can see my resistance to my life, I can see how I am not trusting my life, that I think I must do more, be better than, take on more, etc. to be "good enough."

Recently, lying awake, I'll do the mindfulness meditation that John has given us over and over again. And sometimes, with my eyes closed, I am looking. I think I do it then as a solution or cure for the insomnia, but it doesn't serve me that way. It may be just me practicing looking at me.

This sounds like a very old lived theme of "fear of life" to me. And the insomnia is just another notch on fear's belt--it gives me the excuse to feel afraid--it could be anything else, but for me, now, it's this.

I guess that's it ... but then again, maybe I'm just over-analyzing it. If it could be "anything else," then it looks like "resistance of what is" to me.

Geez, it's so painful being in resistance to my own life. But here I am. And when I am not resisting whatever I am feeling in the moment, even my own fear, I see that I can choose to look again. To be "here," here where I am. And then, for that moment, I am safe in my own life.

So, I go back and forth. I'm in fear and terrified, sad, angry--and then I am. Just here.

I know that I'm looking in this post for a solution for insomnia. And I know that there isn't one even tho' I keep looking for it. Maybe I'm really looking for a way to live with it instead of get rid of it.

If you guys have any thoughts on this, I'd really appreciate them. Please excuse my rambling, I think it is just an attempt to get clear.

With love to all,

Dawn

Insomnia-shame

Directcontact

I wanted to talk about this at the last Open House, but I'm still uncomfortable sharing with you guys using the spoken word, I sometimes get tongue-tied and can't think when I have to talk instead of write. Shame is a very old piece of my personality structure--and so I'd like to just say it out loud to you all now: I'm ashamed of being an insomniac!

Dawn

Dear Dawn,

You have really researched your insomnia thoroughly. Enough, perhaps, to notice that you are not in charge of this aspect of your life. Now, Let's look at shame. Shame says you SHOULD be in charge of it! Why? This is an experience that is evidently present in a continuing way. Human beings seem to have recurring themes that keep happening in their lives until they don't. You are aware of this particular theme. But, as you know, it is not you. Each time it occurs you experience it. That's all. Like each time it rains you experience it. Would you have shame when it rains? No? Is it because you are not identified with the rain? Why be identified with the insomnia? Sure you also experience the effects of lack of sleep. But that too is like a drizzling rain. Our mind, under the influence of old patterns related to the fear of life, wants to give meaning and make stories about everything. When I am awake because of anxiety, I find it helpful to remind my mind that I am not in charge of what is happening and I tell it to, "Let everything be as it is." I repeat as often as necessary to interrupt the mind's storytelling and, like you, use mindfulness meditation to just notice what is happening. Like watching a storm raging outside. Sometimes this kindly attention to whatever is happening allows for incremental movement and change in the patterns. All is well. Lera Jane

Rest

Thank you all for your support, I really appreciate your words of wisdom and understanding.

Maureen, it gives me a lot of hope to feel that if I just continue the looking all of this suffering will finally dissolve and disappear into the background. Thank you so much for that--even if sometimes it seems so far off.

Paul, thank you for your kind words and your book suggestion--I ordered it b/c it sounds perfect--what a wonderful idea the writer has, to finally stop fighting what is here and learn to live with it. I read the reviews and it sounds like it will be helpful to me.

Sometimes this kindly attention to whatever is happening allows for incremental movement and change in the patterns. All is well. Lera Jane

LeraJane, as always your words are like a balm, and since the weather people were predicting rain today, and b/c I particularly love rain and rainy days, I could easily connect it with the idea of shame or any feeling I am having--as just being present, out of my control, and just to give it my kindly attention.

Thank you dear friends. I have so much gratitude for your presence here.

With love,

Dawn

 

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