Miss Clavel and Insomnia Wisdom: Principles for Rest Have Evolved

Do you remember these lines from the children’s book, Madeline?

In an old house in Paris
All covered with vines
Lived twelve little girls
In two straight lines

And a few pages later:

In the middle of the night,
Miss Clavel turned on the light
And said, “Something is not right!”

I was there last week. While I’m not Miss Clavel, and I didn’t turn on the light (of course)… in the middle of the night I realized something wasn’t right:

Having only five Restful Insomnia principles, as I described in my last newsletter 

Now these five principles are critical – they’re the basics from the Restful Insomnia book I wrote 10 years ago. But they don’t work as well alone, without these other two elements.

That’s because you need a broader framework to fully dive into deep rest – a framework where you address both entering the night and becoming aligned with your world. I’ve been practicing these principles for a long while and helping clients with them. And now they’re “official” Restful Insomnia elements.

In this newsletter, I’ll share about the first principle. In the next newsletter, we’ll uncover how being right with insomnia also means being right with the world.

To the Restful Insomnia Community, this new principle may be familiar, at least in theory.

If you’ve been reading the newsletter or downloaded my ebook, this factor isn’t new to you. But instead of being a precursor to the Restful Insomnia work, it’s an essential principle.

And that’s changing your relationship with sleep and rest

Because when you believe that sleep is the only way to get what you need to be yourself the next day, you’re up an insomnia stream without a paddle.

If it’s been a while since you’ve read my ebook, 7 Reasons to Stop Trying to Sleep, here’s the gist: Trying to sleep keeps your mind, body, and emotions awake. It’s having a goal, an outcome. That’s the opposite of sleep, which is about letting go.

Chasing sleep is like this: You get stuck behind an accident on the freeway, and instead of getting off and taking a different route to get where you’re going, you spend hours fuming and revving your engine.

First fundamental principle: Your relationship with sleep & rest. 

Sleep is a miraculous gift. However, resting is the essential first step towards getting you there…all the while it renews your mind, body, and emotions.

The Restful Insomnia tools calm your relationship with the environment, body, mind, etc. But they’re harder to make use of when you constantly gauge whether you’re getting closer to sleep.

This is not a huge leap to understand – in theory. But to shift out of this desperate nightly quest requires clarity and release in several areas, which my clients are familiar with:

  • What are your individual beliefs about sleep? For example, do you believe that good nights are only defined by 8 hours of total oblivion?
  • How do you experience the chase for sleep? Do you have rigid rules – almost superstitions – in hopes they’ll guarantee sleep?
  • What goes on in your body and mind when you can’t sleep?
  • Do you believe you’re wasting your time if you “just” rest?
  • What’s the best path for you to rest at night? How can you minimize the quest and support the shift to rest?

Once you understand how your crusade for sleep keeps you awake, you can gently explore other ways to create a night of deep rest (and shhhh sleep).

The seventh principle

When you begin to dissolve that obstacle of chasing sleep, when you deeply understand the value of rest, we work with the next 5 principles: soothing your environment, body, mind, emotions, and connections. Those tools give you confidence you can rest at night.

Though even with that valuable ability, there is often another level that’s keeping you from rest and its best friend, sleep. That’s for the last new principle, which I’ll talk about in the next newsletter.

In the meantime, let’s snuggle in our beds, even if they’re not in two straight lines, and move into rest. And even sleep.

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