Actually, I should call these ‘Nightly Doodles’. When I have trouble with insomnia, I find that engaging in gently intuitive, creative activities can be the most helpful, rather than letting my obsessive, list-oriented brain run round and round with me in tow. In this case, I chose to use Doodle Buddy, a free iPhone app, which made it fun and easy for me to virtually finger-paint my way to droopy-eyed, calm relaxation. (These doodles in this slide show were drawn over the course of several years, at about 1-3 in a given night).
I have also found it helpful to quietly and slowly eat a small and light snack, some crackers for instance. Somehow the act of eating helps me ground the energy back into my body, back from the world of thoughts and ideas, problems and solutions…
If none of that works, I have two other tactics. The first is to count my blessings…I know it sounds cliché, but gratitude is very comforting. When I focus my mind, one by one, of the things I’m most thankful for, starting with the comfortable bed I’m lying it, I just naturally start to calm down.
My second tactic is to focus on the reality of me. Another cliché, but it works. I close my eyes and take a moment to acknowledge the core, the broader perspective of my worries/emotions, instead of focusing on all the external minutia (although as you can see, the subconscious shows itself in the artwork). Often, just the act of really listening to and acknowledging myself, is a form of self-soothing which I find beneficial (even when used in the light of day!). Most of our internal demons — of not wanting to face ourselves — show up loudly at night, a time when we can feel vulnerable, or when we perceive things as much more daunting that they have to be.
This also makes nighttime a very fertile ground for new ideas and creativity. I have had many wonderful breakthroughs, when that veil is lifted. No one around to get in my way, the time is mine all mine (can you tell I’m single, and not a mother?). I am so grateful for all those productively inspiring times…My affair with Mr. Good Night has definitely been a mixed bag of treats, a ‘love/hate’ relationship as they say…
Dear Mr. Good Night,
Won’t you please put a spell on me put me to sleep? Give me some creative dreams, with a memory to recreate them once the sun has risen and I’m well-rested?!
Thank you, Maggie
(For more information and suggestions regarding insomnia, from an Ayurvedic perspective, click here).