Day 19: sleep, Judgment and fears about

I would say (and I am going to try to use non-judgmental language here) that I have a challenging relationship with sleep.

It might be hereditary, because my son, from when he was a little boy, has talked about sleep in interesting ways.  Sometimes he sounds like he thinks sleep is his enemy.  “I don’t want to sleep.”  “Sleep is a waste of time.” “I feel better when I get less sleep.”  “Why can’t I stay up all night?  I’ll feel better if I do.”  I talk to him about how humans need sleep and how sleep is one of the most important ways to nourish and take care of ourselves, even though he may not believe it.

And I believe what I say to my son about sleep.  I really do!

However, it is undeniable that I have a challenging relationship with sleep.  I rarely get enough sleep.  I don’t fall asleep easily.  Whenever I wake up and  start thinking, uneasy thoughts usually creep in, almost immediately. (See Day 17 for a posting about that.)

So I thought I would write about sleep today, in a non-judgmental and perhaps helpful way.

How might I start doing that?  Well, I’m thinking about how I move towards a non-judgmental stance with anything — people, situations, whatever.  And how do I do that? Well, I think the elements include the following: (1) curiosity about what is going on, (2) acceptance about what is,  (3) maybe some hopes or wishes about what direction I’d like to move in,  (4) ideas about how to start moving in that direction, (5) taking a step, and (6) losing my investment in what happens when I take that step. (Geesh!  Who knew that there were so many steps involved?)

Note to self:  write future blog post about the steps towards a non-judgmental stance, including how the language “paradoxically” includes both movement and standing still.

Where was I, before the italics? (Another alternate title for this blog:  “The Year of Writing Digressing-ly.”)  I know where I was: non-judgmental stance.  And then before that, the topic:  Sleep.

Hmmmm, maybe nests of digressions like that indicate some avoidance on my part, in writing about this topic of sleep.  And, maybe I’m over-analyzing there, but, hey!  I probably am avoiding that topic.  As a matter of fact, last week, I was doing a group where I  passed out a worksheet on “Self-Care.”  The worksheet included questions like “What does self-care mean  to you?”  “What have you done for self-care?”  “What gets in the way of you doing more self-care?”  “What might help you do more self-care?”  And as I was filling out the worksheet myself, I could feel my mood getting lower. I was pissed at myself for choosing this worksheet.  I thought, “I wish I had chosen a different worksheet instead!  This worksheet sucks! I don’t want to do this!  This is probably depressing other people in the room!”  And it’s true that it was a difficult topic, but it was a helpful one for the group to discuss. But when I thought about why I had that reaction to the worksheet, I realized it was because of The Topic Du Jour.

Sleep.

And how “bad” I am at that — a very important part of my own self-care.

So, now, I’m realizing that I have a lot of self judgment about how I take care of myself, sleep-wise.  And I need to accept THAT, too.

I need to not judge the judgment.

“Not judging the judgment.” That’s a phrase I use a LOT in my work. And that does seem to blow people’s minds.  People have remarked “Yes, my head is now going to explode.” Sometimes, when I say “No judgment about the judgment”  and I see people’s expressions,  I feel like Captain Kirk in Star Trek  when he’s disabled yet another dangerous robot or computer by saying something paradoxical, like “You are perfect AND you’ve made an error.”

Arrrghh!  Another digression! This is ridiculous. But, again, there it is:  I guess this is a tough topic for me.

As a matter of fact, here’s a thought I’ve had several times while writing this: “Maybe I should press Save Draft, and write about this later!  I mean, it is a long weekend, dammit, and I want to relax and have some fun.”

And maybe I will press Save Draft at some point, but not yet.

I also think that, as with EVERYTHING,  I don’t have to “finish” this  today.  Maybe just starting it is helpful.

So, what else would I like to write about Sleep today?

I guess that I do have some judgment and fears about sleep.

The judgment includes thoughts like these:

I’m not taking care of myself well enough.

I “should” know better.

Even though I know and believe that enough sleep is important,  I often don’t give myself that gift, as much as I want my son to have it.

My fears?

Hmmmm, those fears feel scary.  (I think I do fear the fear, at times.)  So I’ll do my best right now to write about them, a little.

What are my fears about sleep?  Maybe that I won’t wake up?  Wow. That’s the ultimate fear, isn’t it?  Also, maybe I have some fear of losing control. And maybe because of the operations I had when I was a kid, maybe I associate sleep with the forced sleep of anesthesia, too, in some ways.

Maybe.

As I often find (and encourage other people to do), just writing down fears — getting them out of your head, on paper or screen, so you can see them —  can help. (As scary as it might feel to do that.)

I think that may have helped.

I’m going to stop there, dear reader, for now.  Thanks so much for your curiosity, and for witnessing me, as I stand still AND move towards non-judgment. (And I hope there were no head explosions or any destructions of computers or robots, at any point during the reading of that blog.)

Categories: personal growth | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

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6 thoughts on “Day 19: sleep, Judgment and fears about

  1. Another great post. And once again my head didn’t explode from reading it. “Not judging judgment” sounds like the practice of meditation. Let the thought come, observe, accept that it’s a thought. Watch it with gratefulness that we have the miracle of thought as it passes by and fades. When you don’t judge, react or fight, it will eventually pass. Sleep is believed to be one of the few moments in which we experience la petite mort (the little death), where total abandonment of our body and mind is required (the others are fainting, death, orgasm, and sneezing–not necessarily in that order). Jeffrey Hopkins, Professor of Theology at the University of Virginia, writes on this topic as it applies to TIbetan Buddhism. Most people who are asked how they’d like to die, respond that they would prefer dying in their sleep since it is the most peaceful transition to death. This post in part discusses fear. But in addition to fear, it brings to mind the issues of trust and control. Much can be found by examining all of these. Thanks.

  2. And another great comment! Mindfulness IS a big part of letting go of judgment, for sure. Thanks for all you wrote here.

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