Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Bumps in the Night

Saskia in Bed by Rembrandt

Although most of us don't look quite like a Rembrandt sketch, we can still relate to that look of discomfiture at being awake in the middle of the night. Insomnia occurs for various reasons. Some reasons are deep and broad, requiring medical help. Seek that help.

Sometimes we are still occupied with thoughts of our day: What did he mean when he said....? How can I pay for....? What should I wear for 'casual Friday'?

Sometimes we worry about our plans for the future: Will it be sunny for the yard sale this weekend? Who should be invited to next month's review meeting? Summer vacation can't come too soon!

Sometimes our mind floats to the realm of fear: 'What's going on with my stomach? Is it cancer?' 'How long will grandpa be around? He seemed so frail today.' 'She hasn't contacted me for a follow-up interview. What if I don't get this job?'

In all these cases, our mind keeps us awake. That often overactive, planning, questioning, determining organ that is our boon and bane in turn. That's generally the case. Look at Saskia's expression in Rembrandt's sketch. You can almost hear her thinking, When is this going to be done? I have work to do.

There are those times when outside energies also play a part in the insomnia. The days when we drank that extra cup of caffeinated whatever. Or we ate too much too late at night. Or took a three-hour nap before dinner. Or we watched an exciting late-night show or movie that got our adrenaline pumping.

I recently had one of those nights. My mind was skittering and skimming over the day. A few hours before bedtime, I felt queasy and let my system clear itself out in the bathroom. My partner and several friends were getting over the recent round of flu. Monkey Mind started chattering, Bet this is the start of the flu. Maybe something worse is happening. Why do you think you'll get by without getting it? I did some deep breathing and felt a heaviness lift from my chest. I challenged those other thoughts by consciously changing them, I'm thankful for my health....grateful for my partner. Amazing how my friends are sick yet functioning. What courage! Thank you, Divine, for the roof over my head and the food in the kitchen....  I began to relax. With that relaxation, I recalled that in a generous act of thanks for my help with a minor problem, a friend bought me a refill on my Starbucks' drink. I started chuckling. Waaaay too much caffeine today! Then I returned to the gratitude list and fell asleep.

It's easy for us to find dark thoughts to bump into during the night. The Darkness itself coerces our Monkey Mind. We have to remain conscious, reach for the Light, change our thinking, take on those Bumps. Our recognition that we have the capacity to change how we view things helps us to step into that change.

When was your last bout of insomnia? What caused it? Were there outside forces, e.g. caffeine, aiding and abetting it? Did you intervene with the Dark thoughts? How? Did you find your way to Light thoughts and ease?

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