What’s underneath? The 7th pathway to Restful Insomnia
It’s kinda hellish when you don’t know what causes your insomnia.
Is it coffee or chocolate, lack of exercise, too much screen time late at night? Or maybe an underlying illness, thyroid or cardiovascular disease, heartburn, diabetes? Is there something you “should” do that you’re not, like sleep hygiene? Is there anything you could change?
Even when you manage to get through these nights, there’s a lurking exasperation – why are your nights so hard? What’s really going on?
The seventh pathway to restful nights
What’s really going on is the seventh pathway to Restful Insomnia: Becoming aligned with your world.
When I work with people, we start with the most pressing problem: resolving the stress at night. Then we travel down the other six paths to Restful Insomnia, understanding and creating tools for each unique insomnia terrain.
But it goes so much deeper. As we travel pathways to rest, it’s clear that insomnia touches both inner and outer lives. We uncover some underlying reasons for sleepless nights, and one of the biggest reasons is this:
The cumulative weight of being out of alignment with the world around us
When you’re out of alignment during the day, it doesn’t disappear at night… We bring this feeling out of whack to bed, making it hard to descend into rest.
Living in our paradoxical culture
The signs of being out of whack might be clear – disliking your job, overwhelm from impossible expectations, or even PTSD from unresolved past events.
Or you might not even know you’re feeling out of whack, because you’re managing your life pretty well, given everything.
Still, our culture (in the US at least) is not as easy to live in as it looks. Our culture is paradoxical, both privileged AND dysfunctional.
On the one hand, we have amazing gifts at our fingertips: flowing clean water, transportation, more items in our grocery stores than we can sort through.
And on the other hand, this culture pushes people to do more than they’re really capable of. The dysfunction often means overwork, disconnection with true emotions, distance from nature, and “isms” that keep people demeaned and separate.
We’re often compromised from our most cherished values. People are exhausted and can’t bring their best self to their lives, so they can’t feel at peace and at ease with their values or who they are.
Like the Queen of Hearts in Alice in Wonderland, we run faster and faster, but don’t get very far. And sleep is one of the casualties.
It’s a natural part of our insomnia work to go beneath managing what’s doing on, deeper into your nights and life.
What do you cherish?
Let’s take a moment to look at one of the cherished values in your life. It might be time with family and self… creativity… equity… health of our miraculous ecosystem.
Can you live that value fully in this culture? What’s one way that you feel you need to compromise that value, just to get by?
Maybe you squeeze in time for kids between chores and errands because your work requires your lifeblood. Or that painting you started 6 months ago is gathering dust in the basement. Or do you cringe at how much you drive or order through Amazon because other options just take too much time?
Take a gentle breath, and take your time. Just notice what’s going on in your heart. How does it feel?
Is there any way your heart can imagine how to bring yourself a little more into alignment? Some small step to honor that value in your life….
That might be setting a timer to have 90 seconds of devoted connection with your children and your spouse each day. Or drawing an imaginary landscape 5 minutes three times a week. Or buying one book or other Amazon-item at a local store, ignoring the price difference.
And when you imagine taking that step, notice your heart again. Notice how it feels becoming in closer alignment with your true self. Can you imagine having your sense of YOU when you head for bed? Is it easier to rest?
I’d love to hear your thoughts about this pathway, and how it affects your life and your nights.