Sunday, November 27, 2011

insights from the land of insomnia

Last night, I didn't sleep a wink. I was up from 7:10am Saturday morning until 3:00pm on Sunday afternoon, which at that point, I collapsed on the couch watching Hulu episodes of Grey's Anatomy. It was the first night in a very long time that I couldn't sleep. It's a little scary for me because it brings me back to my emotionally dark days of college. I would lie awake and just think. I would think about things I had to do, the projects I needed to complete, the errands I had to run, whether the ski season would be good...or I would struggle with nightmare after nightmare, literally scaring myself senseless.There were so many nights I wouldn't sleep but maybe an hour or two and then have full days of classes which may have included rock climbing or backcountry ski trips. It was hell.

Last night, as I struggled with the monster of insomnia, I decided to just be curious and sit with it. I tried all the traditional methods of getting back to sleep: counting backwards from 300, deep breathing and then I pulled out the laptop and cued up some TV trying to unwind, but for some reason, my body just resisted. A few years ago, if this was to happen, I would have been sent into a panic. I would have freaked out as if something was terribly wrong and I needed to see my doctor immediately. But last night, it was different.

I simply sat. I simply waited. I enjoyed the company of the monster hovering around me. I knew that my body just needed a reset.

In my yoga class this morning, full of exhaustion and soreness from traveling in the car, I pushed back into one of my downward dogs and thought about how as I get older, my body wisdom increases. In college, I recall feeling a disconnect from my brain and my body. Insomnia is the perfect example of this-my body is tired and I know I have to sleep but my mind is at the velodrome, racing round and round. The disconnect is what causes the anxiety, the pain, the worry, the anger, the rage. So, getting back to my downward dog, I pushed back and felt the "koshas," or sheaths as you say. I literally felt my bones inside of me. My muscles and all their fibrous strands expanding and contracting. My lungs expanding and getting in good doses of air. My heart beating in a steady rhythm.

Maybe it was because I was beyond the point of exhaustion, but I connected with my body this morning in a new, wise way. And it felt good. My body wisdom has evolved as I have gotten older. I listen better now. I judge less, and notice more. I can be the witness and the participant at the same time. This is the essence of being human.

1 comment:

Melina said...

I suffer from insomnia as well. It is a type of hell. I've tried all the tinctures at whole foods, but sometimes, I just lay awake all night. Thankfully, not so much anymore. I feel ya, sister.