The other day I felt really tired towards early evening. And I let myself feel it. I had come back from the Universal Medicine Retreat 2013 in Hoi An, Vietnam a couple of days earlier and had generally been sleeping more than usual and been more willing and able to feel what was actually going on in my body. And here I was, on a Wednesday evening, sometime between 7 and 8pm and I could feel a quite lovely tiredness after my working day. There was no weariness or exhaustion, no stress or duress, just an easygoing tiredness. My body felt warm, it felt like me and it felt right, familiar and quite lovely in its own way. An early night was definitely on the cards.
Nothing much to write home about then – except for one thing: sometime between 8:00 and 8:30 I would have to check my emails again! I was waiting for an answer from interstate that would determine whether I needed to set my alarm or not for early the next morning to work on a couple of texts that had to go out before I went to work.
I did what I usually do as far as my evening routine is concerned, and then back to the laptop – within 20 minutes and a few more emails I found out that there was more to do than I had anticipated and that there were actually three texts, two of which had to be back the following day. So I decided to do the practical thing and set my alarm.
No big deal – until I checked in with my body again: I had already become aware of the fact that the warm tired feeling wasn’t there anymore. All I could feel was that my head had become the most prominent part of me. I also became aware of an anticipatory feeling of being rushed sometime in the future (tomorrow), plus a hint of potential overwhelm and a real pressure around the assumed possibility of not being able to meet these new deadlines. And somewhere lay waiting a whole barrage of thoughts about all the other things I had to do and somehow squeeze into the next day, and subsequent days.
In other words, I wasn’t connected to my body anymore. If I wanted to sleep and sleep well I needed to reconnect. I could feel that these thought processes / emotions were slightly above and ahead of my body like a bank of fog: it felt really strange but it was very real. And it felt cold. It was hard to believe how cold it felt. I had to keep checking: it was definitely cold. And I couldn’t feel the tiredness anymore, just this immaterial and disengaged, cold and somehow empty blur.
I was just about to go to bed, but how could I settle and go to sleep? I knew that my body must still be tired but I couldn’t feel it anymore. It was amazing to observe how my head was running the show and feeding me this weird and unreal state of disembodied, strained and cold alertness. Had I not let myself feel the warm and very real physical tiredness before, I could have easily fooled myself into believing that I wasn’t tired at all.
So I went to bed knowing this was not an evening for catch-up TV or other things. I needed to just get into bed and reconnect – I knew that my body must still be tired, but I had just lost touch with it and the tiredness.
What happened next? I just ever so slightly started feeling my body again; I was also aware of my expectation of meeting that warm and real tiredness again and then… I woke up an hour before my alarm went off the next morning and easily did all I had to do before going to work.
Big deal? Yes, for me it was a big deal – an amazing experience of the truth of my body and the disengaged coldness of an otherwise different choice.
But wait, there is more: I got my friend Katerina to read a draft of this blog and she wanted to know what happened after the semicolon and before I woke up the next morning!?
Well, it was just so simple and straightforward that I am nearly at a loss as to how to describe it. All I know is that I wasn’t telling myself off for having lost the connection and I certainly didn’t try to re-connect. All I did was trust the knowing that my body and the tiredness had to still be there. I just put a few feelers out, felt what I could feel, which was quite subtle, and gave what was there permission to be there. And before I knew it I had fallen asleep. Very simple and oh, so profound.
By Gabriele Conrad, Goonellabah, Australia
Thank you Gabrielle,
Such profound experience that tells us what happens when we walk, talk and live from our head and when we dont. It is simply there how we feel, all we need to do is connect to ourselves and feel deeper what is going on..
It is our movements that determine the quality of our life, whetherh that be work, family, sleep anything for that matter.
We are instructed to idolise and worship the mind and its capacity but never are we told why humans do things that they know only too well are not good if not damaging for them and their health, i.e. overeat, drink alcohol, take out their anger on others, insult, swear, biting fingernails. etc. etc. Mind to the rescue one would here rightly advise, based on the high esteem this locus between our ears is held in and these behaviours should immediately cease – but, as we all know,this is far from true and we keep doing what we’ve always done, year in year out. Is it then not obvious that it’s not the mind that rules, the mind is being ruled but pride forbid such insight and wisdom. We’d rather keep doing what we’ve always done, it seems.
It seems to me that life is based on repetition, because we go round and round in circles round the sun going nowhere. Our movements become repetitive so that it would appear that they are robotic. A day becomes a month, a month a year and has anything changed in many cases no not really the rut has just got another year deeper. Because as you say Gabriele we would rather keep doing what we have always done because it’s familiar and more comfortable than change.
Listening to and honouring our bodies is super important, so when we are feeling tired, making time to rest or have an early night as you did, making sure we are still connected to our body.
I was holding a 4-month-old baby the other day for nearly two hours, listened to their breath and felt the suppleness and ease of the body and how innocently and beautifully we sleep when we are young. The Way of The Livingness is a wonderful support to get back to that ease and surrender.
Walking before going to bed is also a great wind down tool that allows us to deepen in our connection and feel complete in the day so we can rest deeply.
Yes, I have heard this from other people too, I will go for a walk before sleep for a few nights and see how this feels for me.
There is a way of walking that engages the lymphatics and eases us into the winding down rhythm. There is no better way.
The simplest of things like walking gives some great benefits.
One of the problems with ill mental health is that people are not getting a good nights sleep and there is exhaustion in their body, when tired it is easier for us to not be ourselves and fall pray to the energies around us.
Simply listening to our bodies are resting when tired is a huge step towards positive mental health.
“And I let myself feel it.” Six simple, but very powerful words, words many of us don’t use often enough. How often are we really tired but don’t let ourselves feel it? Too often, I can honestly say from my own experience. But when I do allow myself to feel the tiredness, feeling how my body is asking to stop and rest, I know how important it is to acknowledge the valuable message it is giving me, for saying yes to stopping and resting is simply an honouring of this very wise vehicle which supports me through each and every day, and night, of my life.
Nothing comes from nothing and therefore, how we move during the day affects how we sleep at night. Poor sleep does not just happen out of the blue and nor is it up to good or bad luck; responsibility and honesty are the important energetic factors in this equation.
So many people have sleeping problems, but few relate it to how they live during the day. When we are connected to our body during the day the chances are we listen more to our body by resting when we need to rest but also the quality of our sleep is much deeper.
I never used to consider it was how I lived during my day that was the reason I often struggled to go to sleep. But coming to this realisation has totally changed the way I am living and if I lay my head on the pillow and sleep is elusive it doesn’t take long to see that I hadn’t stopped any time during the course of the day to see how I was feeling. Taking mini stops during the day to check in with my body has made such a difference to the ease of going to sleep and the subsequent quality of my sleep.
That way, the whole day and its rhythm become a rehearsal and foundation for our sleep and the possibility if not likelihood of it being restorative rather than just a semi-comatose state of utter exhaustion.
When we are complete in our day it is simple to surrender to go into repose and then fall asleep.
How often do we fool ourselves and don’t listen to what our body communicates because we are not present anymore or enough in our body. That is why I could think I was not tired and go to bed too late and do other things my body didn’t like which I thought at that point in time were allright for me to do.
What a beautiful written piece of experience. How much can we learn from this and how much do we effectively know inside out, but struggle to live with ? How great is it to actually come back to a place, in this case your body, and bring yourself back to the connection (love) we come from. How truly wonderful is that?
The messages, the feedback are always there – we are inseparable from it and yet, we turn the other way, ignore and belittle it, pretend it doesn’t exist or doesn’t support, try to destroy and root it out. What do we get out of it?
When we berate ourselves for what we are not doing, we are confirming patterns of behaviour that have been with us since childhood – this I am not good enough and I have to get better. The fact you didn’t go there, you simply clocked that there was a difference in your body and deepened the relationship with what that difference was changed the pattern of behaviour. Very inspiring.
“I also became aware of an anticipatory feeling of being rushed sometime in the future (tomorrow)” I Love this subtle yet powerful realisation. How many of us have this living in our bodies without even clocking it?
How often do we anticipate feeling something negative in the future? The crazy thing is that our dear old bodies suffer in the present moment as a result of us worrying about something potentially negative in the future. So there we are, not actually experiencing the negativity of whatever it is that is coming up for us in the future BUT experiencing something unpleasant in the now as a result of anticipating something later on. So what this means is that even if we don’t actually experience something negative in the future, we guarantee experiencing something that is uncomfortable in the now through our projected worry. What an absolute waste of the present moment.
I have received so much support from Esoteric Yoga sessions to help me to reconnect to my body and begin re-establishing its communication with me. It’s a whole other world when I’m connected to the whole of me 🙂
Choosing to surrender before one goes to sleep often offers us just that – an opportunity for the body to regenerate, heal and reboot for the quality we need to live for ourselves and others for the next day!
This one is a loving work in progress for me – “I just put a few feelers out, felt what I could feel, which was quite subtle, and gave what was there permission to be there”. I know when I do it it feels super simple and a lot of wisdom comes from there. And a lot of space, as I am no longer fighting not feeling what is simply there to be felt.
We complicate the simplest of things, don’t we? It is as though we were addicted to struggle and hardship when the answers are there, ready and waiting for us.
This is beautifully detailed about the differences between how we feel when we are in our body and how we feel when the mind, anxiousness, rush, living in the future, etc, takes over. Even if we get a glimpse of how the body truly feels before the mind takes over we at least have the choice to honour the body. That lovely warmth is a key that we are in the body and the moment, versus that racy disconnected feeling of letting the mind take over and take us away from the body.
Delicious in its simplicity and profoundness! We think it is a big deal or a drama, but that is what we want, an excuse to keep feeding the drama. In actual fact your approach was so simple and yet so honouring.
Reading this again I’m struck by how walking around in the cold dampness of disconnection for our whole lives is seen as completely normal- and it is ‘normal’ to us if that’s all we’ve ever felt. But normal is not necessarily natural- our bodies are finely tuned and highly sensitive instruments, designed to thrive off what is natural to it- warmth and connection.
Bryony I was struck by that as well, and the tiredness, various symptoms and sensations the body may be communicating for us to respond to that we are completely unaware of in our disconnected state.
It is the consistency of staying with the body, no matter what and how tempting the otherwise possibilities, that makes all the difference.
What supports is having no judgement in such a case, very easy to write these words not always easy to be free of judgement, but judging yourself would have increased what you’ve felt, this disembodied, cold alertness. To let be what is there and trust or even know the body knows what to do is of true support.
A true testimony of what surrender means. Simple. All knowing. Present.
Giving ourselves permission to feel what is there to be felt is the beginning of true freedom.
We often think that hitting the pillow and sleeping like log is quality sleep, “If I wanted to sleep and sleep well I needed to reconnect.” I reckon the log description illustrates more our exhaustion levels than true quality. It is iterating what you say about needing to reconnect to sleep well. Preparing for sleep allowing the body to surrender to it and not feel racy, pushy or nervous etc is a beautiful way to prepare for sleep.
Hitting the pillow and sleeping like a log reminds me more of a state of collapse and quasi unconsciousness than restful and restorative sleep..
Beautiful piece of being very aware on what is happening in your body. But to me in general, if I don’t feel that yumminess, that warmth, that delicateness, then my head is running the show. And that is still quite often, I realize, to be honest.
A profound reminder of how powerful it is for us to honour and be guided by the truth, the quality we feel in our bodies, in order for us to live the fullness of who we are and be moved by the lightness of our Soul. For this honouring is not just about this moment, as it is also a claiming of a quality of movement that sets us up to receive what is next, or to respond with what is needed next, regardless of us knowing what the ‘next’ is. As such we bring more of our Soulfullness to life.
A potent reminder of the fact that we don’t know what is next but have the opportunity to move in a way that offers an openness to what is next.
I love that reminder to get ourselves out of the way and respond to our bodies. We don’t need to know everything.
This is such a great example of how the mind can overrule the body and with what we naturally feel, but equally you show, Gabriele just how strong it is when we listen to the body and the following ease we can live by when we do.
To me, this blog proves how our bodies are always seeking a harmonious and still state of being, so even if we only have a thread of a connection back to that state, with intention and understanding for ourselves, we can get back and reconnect no matter what the outside influences or impediments.
I love the word harmony Michael and it is a great point you bring up, to live disconnected to our bodies we are living out of harmony with ourselves, as we are unable to respond to what our body is asking for and be with it in it’s natural cyclic rhythms
With our heads leading the way we can end up anywhere, but one thing is for sure wherever we do end up it won’t be in connection to our body, and it also may not be a place where we really want to be. I have found that to move with my whole body, in connection to every single part of it, ensures life unfolds easily, effortlessly and very enjoyably.
Correct, to be whole body aware, allows this grace and space to connect and honour what we feel and so not undermine or override what truly supports us, our bodies know….we just need to feel and listen.
Our mind can often over -ride the pull from the body to go to sleep. We are often sold the pictures of its way too early, spend some more time talking, watching TV or engaging in some house activities rather than honouring the simplicity of being tired and simply going to bed.
Thank you Gabrielle, that is so magnificent to hear and feel what you mean. No thinking or solution will work truly, only surrender and accept all that there is.. a job for me to do and go with.. As the other feels like fighting against the water that is still.
Gee our head can get in the way with the truth of our heart sometimes.
‘ I could have easily fooled myself into believing that I wasn’t tired at all.’ This is what a lot of people do and what I did for a long time, not only overriding a feeling but just denying it had been there, completely leaving the body and let the mind run the show.
Sometimes I find that I go to seeking something too stimulating in the evening to avoid surrendering, often it is reading news articles and getting caught up in world events and comments of others on news feeds. I can see it is a way to avoid going deeper.
Yes.. when we avoid resting and winding down in repose we’re avoiding connecting to ourselves on a much deeper level, letting go and surrendering. Preparing for sleep is preparing our foundation for the next day.
Your words feel like a warm hug Gabriele. I love the way you holded yourself, even though you discovered this coldness and disconnection you didn’t react to it. How amazing life would be if we live it in this way? Instead of judging what we feel we can just stay with us with no expectations, just as observers of the truth that our body reveals step by step. Very awesome.
‘I wasn’t telling myself off for having lost the connection and I certainly didn’t try to re-connect.’ – this is so simple but brilliant. When we give ourselves a hard time, even in the subtlest of ways, it’s like we’re slowly but steadily wearing away, eroding our self-worth, especially if this is an old pattern. Reading this reminds me that there’s no need to try or strive: we are already enough, just as we are. No need to ‘do’ anything to reconnect, we can just be, and allow ourselves to feel whatever is there to be felt.
‘there’s no need to try or strive: we are already enough, just as we are. No need to ‘do’ anything to reconnect, we can just be, and allow ourselves to feel whatever is there to be felt.’ simply beautiful and supportive Bryony. It’s our right to have the space to feel us just as we are.
If we let the mind sit in the drivers seat, our body has no say. Unless we realise that our mind actually should have never got the drivers lisence in the first place.
I like that and will make space to question who is driving my body more often when I come to the end of the day, as a foundation for the rest of my day because I am certain that this is a question we should be asking all the time!!
Every sleep is a session with God. Very interesting to look at who else and what we invite beforehand., which either lets us profit from the session or not.
When we allow truth to come through so much can happen.
In the last few days I realised that I was not truly honouring my body to rest and allow deeper level of sleep and support. This was reflected in my body going into reaction as it was tired and brought up a moment of stop, where I had to just take time out to rest and allow the body to heal. As I allowed myself to sleep with the knowing that this will support my body to heal, I felt amazing after a 6hr rest.