I was watching a TV show last night: one of the characters asked a table of friends to share “what keeps them up at night”. One of the dinner guests responded that she falls fast asleep the second her head hits the pillow. To which another guest said ‘Oh come on! You never wake up in the middle of the night? There must be something out of your control.’
I found this exchange really interesting. A good friend of mine has told me many times that all your problems seem worse at night. If you start thinking about issues that need resolution or things that just need to get done, there is really nothing you can do about it in the middle of the night. Plus, it’s dark and quiet. No distractions from those icky feelings. It’s just you and your headiness face to face and it SUCKS. Earlier this week, I woke up at 4:30am and couldn’t go back to sleep. This is beyond rare for me. Although I am no stranger to anxiousness, I am a champion sleeper. Seriously. If sleeping was an Olympic sport, I’d me a gold medalist. So, the fact that I woke up in the middle of the night to watch my fears dance around in my head, taunting me, and keeping me awake, really pissed me off.
My dear uncle has been in the hospital for about two weeks now. To sum up, he went in with one problem which exacerbated an existing condition and also brought up a third gaggle of issues. Not my kind of dominoes. Basically it was a clusterfuck of health issues and an emotional roller coaster for him and everyone involved. The great news is he’s doing much better today than he was two weeks ago. Shout out to all my friends and fam for their prayers and support. Not out of the woods and a big procedure on the horizon but things are better. Progress. So you do the best you can. And you watch your family members cope in their own way. But still, it’s tough to accept. Everything is so out of your control that it’s easy to get stuck with your fears and just feel helpless sitting in your puddle of tears.
It should really come as no surprise that this stuff would disturb me- it would disturb anyone. But I’m me. I do a good job of allowing myself to move through my emotions and stuff. I meditate. I practice yoga. I have more tools in my toolkit than most and guess what.. it still affects me in ways I don’t want it to. There are things I just don’t want to accept. If this were your story, beloved reader, I’d tell you to be patient and gentle with yourself; to celebrate that progress is being made and that you’re doing a great job of taking care of yourself throughout it all. But when it comes to me, myself, and I, we are not nearly as accepting and kind. Huh? Messed up right? Damn right it is. Oh Casey..
And then I catch this show and this character claims nothing keeps her up at night. How full of shit?! And I would have said the same thing for most of my life. Everyone has woken up in the middle of the night with some shit that’s making them crazy. Finances, health scares, relationship problems, work issues, family disputes, disagreements between friends, passing a test, contract closings, home construction, whatever. Life can be stressful. We have all lost sleep. And if you haven’t, write a book because you are keeping some amazing secret to yourself and everyone would love to know what it is. Seems to me like what you don’t want to deal with will come out to play at some point or another. And even when you meditate and leave the gate open for all, including the unpleasant things, that doesn’t necessarily mean that is when you can work on them. They might wake you up at 4:30am like “hey now is a good time to be open about how freaked out we are that we have no control”. My only wish is that next time it happens, I can meet myself with compassion and not judgement. It’s ok to be scared. It’s ok to be mad too but I think it’s probably more useful to not be an asshole to yourself.
The dare: The next time you wake up in the middle of the night with churning thoughts and feeling things you don’t want to feel (hello resistance), pretend it’s your favorite person in the whole world that woke you up. Treat yourself as you would someone you deeply love. Soothe yourself as you would someone else. Show up for yourself. You deserve it. And if you have no idea what I’m talking about, good for you! A special dare just for you, get started on that book ; )