Insomnia, Anyone?

Not Again!

Lately I’ve developed a pattern of waking up at odd times of the morning. This morning it was 4:48. It’s advised not to check the time, but my curiosity overcomes my adherence to rules. 

I don’t know why I do this. I’m almost always disappointed. It never says 7:00, and if it was 7:00 I’d know because the sun would be up. Instead, I stumble into the bathroom, stare at my iphone, work up the courage to look at the time, and grumble on my way back to bed, facing another night of interrupted sleep.

Can anyone relate? 

Now comes the fun part…getting back to sleep. After all, it’s only 4:48. I have time for at least two more hours of sleep… if I can get back to sleep. That’s a big “if”.

I can’t put all the blame on my bladder. Often, the culprit is my thoughts. I can’t shut them up. It’s like there’s another person inside my head who’s desperate for company, saying “Can we talk?”

My Strategies

I try to head off this chatterbox by saying the Rosary. That way, I’m in charge of my thoughts. Since I can’t find my real Rosary, I use my fingers instead of beads. I’ve managed to silence the chatterbox and enter the spiritual realm all at the same time. 

I once timed how long it took me to say the Rosary. That’s my competitive side rearing its ugly head. 

Timing the Rosary, really…is this a 5K?

Hello, Pema

iI this doesn’t work, I always have Pema.

Pema Chodron is a Buddhist nun who teaches about meditation. She has a very soothing voice as well as a sense of humor, so her CD’s are more interesting and entertaining to listen to than my own thoughts at 5:00 am. 

Each time I listen, I hear new bits of wisdom I hadn’t heard before. Last night, or should I say this morning, she told listeners to “keep coming back” whenever their own thoughts interrupted their meditation. So, that advice isn’t only for AA members. It’s for me. It’s for all of us.

That’s my toolbox…Prayer and Pema.

What’s in yours?


Spiritual Musings

My Beliefs

It’s that time of year, Easter, and being so, I find myself thinking about spirituality. 

I’m not a churchgoer per se, but since I grew up Catholic and attended Mass at least six days a week, I’ve accumulated a quorum of prayers, incense, and sore knees.

At the ripe age of 11, I decided that reincarnation made more sense to me than any other explanation. 

In my mind, one life wasn’t enough. I could see the disparity between rich and poor, intelligent and not-so, and the many other differences between people.

 Why did some people suffer while others seem to skate through life untouched? Even at 11, I could sense the intrinsic unfairness of this. If kids care about anything, it’s about fairness. What child hasn’t shouted, “But that’s not fair!”.  

Many religious scholars claim there’s just one life. We live. We die. That’s it.

 But, if one life is all there is, where did original sin originate…in the womb? This wasn’t rocket science, just a simple if-then statement.

What Happened Next

As I grew older, I became interested in world religions. As a therapist, I was drawn to the practice of meditation. This is where I noticed a correlation between the Virgin Mary and meditation.

Interestingly, when the Virgin Mary appears to people, usually children, she requests people say the Rosary each day.

One day it dawned on me that the Rosary is actually a meditation, much like Transcendental Meditation.

Around that time, I attended a workshop in Santa Fe NM, and to my surprise, during one of the sessions, in walks the Dalai Lama with his entourage.

I quickly realized this was a once in a lifetime event for me, so I became ultra -attentive. I regarded this as a synchronistic event.

 His message was about compassion. I started taking the practice of meditation more seriously. If it was good enough for Mother Mary and the Dalai Lama, who was I not to hold it in high esteem?

But what was in it for me? 

The Remedy

Meditation is a balm for anxiety. I have always had a moderate degree of anxiety. My childhood was marked by a high degree of unpredictability, which acts like fertilizer for the development of anxiety. My counseling practice should be called Anxiety-R-Us.

 I’ve been drawn to any practice, no matter how conventional or “out there”, that relieves anxiety. Trust me, I’ve tried all I deliver on myself first. I consider this the acid test. I’m like Mikey. If it works for me, I’ll share the secrets.

I’ve run into people who don’t know their blood type, but I learned mine during physiology class in high school. I’m Type A. The other day I read that people with Type A blood are more likely to have higher levels of cortisol, and therefore, higher levels of anxiety. I’ve also read having Type A blood increases your risk of getting Covid. I know I SOUND like someone with anxiety.

All to say, I don’t think it was an accident that I ran into the Dalai Lama, and heard his message. God must have said, “Send in the big guns for this one.”

So, it’s Easter, the celebration of Christ’s resurrection…for us, a reminder that every day is a Resurrection. Every day is a new chance. 

That’s good enough for me.