Do you get into internal dialogues where one part of you catches another aspect of yourself being foolish, judgmental, absent-minded, mean-spirited…. You get the idea. Insert any negative adjective you might think of into the description.
Round and round you go, trying to fight your way out of disempowering self-talk, but all you end up doing is digging in yourself into deeper hole.
Then, with any luck, some distraction comes along and the interruption is enough to wake you up to the moment. Suddenly thoughts have ended, however temporarily.
The other night, I made myself crazy with this type of obsessive thinking. It was late; I was tired and trying to go to sleep. I got hooked by one thought that latched onto another that grasped the next one until I realised what was happening. Instead of just observing, I attempted to break the chain with positive thinking, or controlled breathing, until I became disappointed that those techniques weren’t working. Which then led to agitation because the hour was getting so late, and I still wasn’t asleep.
Eventually I wore myself out, but I woke up early. Fatigue weighed on me like a lead apron and was not mitigated by a restorative yoga practice. I was a grumpy zombie for the whole of the rest of the day.
What could have possibly helped nip these sleep difficulties in the bud?
If I’d had the presence of mind early on in the piece, I might have plugged my earbuds and listened to these lovely words from Jon Kabat-Zinn:
Let yourself rest in awareness with no particular effort to fixate an any object of attention, in what is sometimes called “choiceless awareness,” or “pure awareness,” that, like the sky can hold anything and everything – any aspect of our experience unfolding, including our darkest and most persistent aversive thoughts and deepest fears, and yet is not tainted or disturbed or harmed by any of it. An awareness that sees and knows it all just as it is. And in the seeing, in the knowing is free from the pull of negativity and habit – and provides a new place to reside, a new way to be and to live that is trustworthy, authentic and reconnects us to our intrinsic wholeness, wisdom and happiness. Fully embodied at home, right here, right now, in our own skin with things – exactly as they are.
You just have to be awake enough to have that sort of presence of mind 🙂