I need more sleep.
Some people think this thought so many times, their despair is deep and their frustration very intense.
Have you ever awakened in the night?
Or had trouble going to sleep?
When I went to the School for The Work, followed by the immediate news that my then-husband wanted a divorce….
….I had the most wild mixture of new thoughts about the universe and reality I was completely riding at the top of an electric shock, it seemed.
It was oddly not completely stressful all the time.
The world looked new.
I had The Work to question my thoughts. I would write long worksheets, and talk with new friends on the phone to do The Work, and return again and again to noticing I was fine….
….and again and again to noticing I was terrified, or enraged, or abandoned.
I woke up every night at 3:30 am for 9 months.
No matter what time I went to sleep.
I was *positive* I needed more sleep, I needed to stay asleep, that nothing good was coming from it, that it was a requirement for my wellbeing and health.
I began to worry that it would never end.
I felt dizzy sometimes, like the world was water and I was on a boat, as if my balance was off and I might fall.
But I didn’t fall.
During that time, I was up one night during a weekend with Byron Katie all about relationships.
I was spending the night in a hotel room with a dear friend, and so as not to disturb her, I went into the glaring well-lit bathroom and sat on the closed toilet seat and wrote at the top of a piece of paper:
I must go to sleep.
Then, I began to do The Work and question this belief.
Today, I notice because of the creative work I’m adding to my day (a webinar on Eating Peace, a 3 day retreat this coming weekend, enrolled in 3 classes, and quite a big load of clients and telecalls) I stayed up until 12:30 am last night.
I’m sure I need more sleep, in this moment.
I can feel the urge to close the eyes, the energy of what lying down would feel like.
I can picture what it would be like to have more sleep, to feel vibrant, energetic, and calm all wrapped up together (not nervous, zippy, and too-speedy and drained).
A voice inside says (when I believe the thought I need more sleep) that I should stop complaining.
“You’ll be OK. Sleep later. Stop whining!”
(I notice this is not a super helpful voice).
So who would I be in this moment, right now, without the belief that I actually really do need more sleep?
What if I didn’t have a reference for more sleep, less sleep, perfect sleep, requirements for sleep?
What if the amount of sleep I’ve gotten is just right?
It doesn’t seem true.
It seems like 8 hours of sleep would be fabulous, that resting deeply would be really, really good.
But if I just allowed that to go on the shelf for a minute, and relax without the belief I need more of sleep (or anything)?
I feel the body, I feel my chest and heart beating. I notice sensations in my eyes, my face without judgment that they’re bad sensations.
I see the time and notice I can slow down.
I’d let things be as they are in this moment.
Some days, sleep. Some days, no sleep.
It is never All-Not-Sleeping. It is never All-Sleep-All-The-Time.
Turning the thought around: I do NOT need more sleep.
How could this be just as true?
Are there any advantages to this state of sleep/body/rest?
Yes: I love the dark night when no one else is up, when the air is very still and quiet (or early morning). I love that my thoughts get to rise up and appear very obviously, not hidden by activity during the day. I love that I can trust that if I’m awake, I should be for some important reason–and think with delight of sleeping later. I love that my body can do such brilliant energetic things without much sleep.
I love discovering the OTHER stressful beliefs appear about my life, in the absence of sleep…..
…..like “I am abandoned” or “this needs to be fabulous” or “I need more people to come to my retreat” like I have had recently.
Turning the thought around again: My thinking needs more sleep.
Wow. Now THAT thought is true….oh so true….oh so truer.
My thinking (my believing) needs to be resting, lying down, fading into oblivion, pausing, dreaming peacefully, unencumbered, relaxed, still, quiet, comatose, knocked out, dark, slumbering, silent.
I notice my thoughts appear, but I don’t have to think they’re true.
“You can’t change your thoughts. No one can. That’s not possible. I am suggesting that you just investigate your thoughts and meet them with some understanding. Sleep deprivation is not hurting you. It’s your THINKING that is so painful…..It amazes me how people think we have some control here. It’s very painful to think that.” ~ Byron Katie
Who are you without your story that you need more sleep, or more time, or more energy, or more love, attention, comfort….whatever it is you think you’re missing?
As I finish this Grace Note, I notice I have 90 minutes until the next scheduled thing on my calendar.
Oh! I’ll go lie down now and close my eyes, instead of filling up the minutes with “work” and activity and “getting something done”.
Funny how that happens.
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