Early to Bed, Early to Rise

I’ve been getting up extra early, nurturing my new baby habit of doing yoga AND meditation when I first wake up. I did both three days last week, and four days so far this week (I’m giving myself a break on my weekends, partly because my muscles need a rest).

I haven’t been going to sleep quite as early as I would like, and this video that I recorded this summer is a good reminder for me to make sure I get to bed early!

Are you getting enough sleep?

Blessings,
Mary

Short and Sweet Doesn’t Apply to Sleep

I spent most of the last two days at Dak-Kon, a local games convention that my husband helped organize. Since my boys all wanted to attend, I said I would run the concession.

My eldest wanted to play in several different games on Saturday. Unfortunately, the Magic: The Gathering draft tournament he played in started at 7:00 pm… and didn’t get done until about 12:30 am. Needless to say, I am exhausted after being up for 20 hours on Saturday!

I’m taking it easy today. I slept in, and took a bath. A real self-care day. And who knows, I might even take a nap! (Who am I kidding? Once the boys get home from school, naps are out of the question.)

Anyway, I know how important sleep is. Here’s a video I created this summer about some sleep myths.

 

How to Recover from Hell Week

Last week was particularly busy for my family. It seems the theater bug has bitten my whole family.

Missoula Children’s Theater came to town this past week. If you haven’t heard of them, they run a wonderful program for children. Two actor-directors travel around in a red F150. It carries the whole set, scripts, costumes and props to put on a one-hour play, usually a version of a well-known fairy tale. Children from all of the local schools are invited to audition after school on Monday. Those who are chosen rehearse all week, and perform twice on Saturday. At the end of the evening, the actor-directors pack up their truck and move on to the next community.

All three of my boys auditioned, and all three got parts in The Pied Piper!

A few weeks ago, my husband received a call and was asked to audition for a reader’s theater production of Norm Foster’s The Foursome. Reader’s Theater is where the actors read from scripts. They use limited sets, props and costumes, relying primarily on expression to convey the meaning of the play. His performances were also this week.

Stop. RelaxSo basically, because of other events scheduled for Sunday and Monday of last week, it has been a pretty crazy two weeks. My husband and I declared this Sunday a day of rest.

I slept in for the first time in…quite a while. I had a very strong desire to stay in my pajamas and not do anything all day, except maybe surf the net. And then the sun started shining through the front window, and it called me to move my body. So I compromised. I put on my yoga clothes and did yoga for the first time since sometime last fall. Or maybe even last summer.

I forget how much I enjoy the yoga DVD I have. (Jada Fire’s Expressive Yoga for the Soul if you are interested.) And I was truly amazed at how much stronger and more flexible I am since I have been working out on the Wave Vibration Fitness Machine at my chiropractor’s office. Some day I’m going to get one to use at home!

It felt so good to have a day with nothing really planned. It is so easy to get wrapped up in all the projects I am involved in. I sometimes forget that I need to schedule down time as well. Rest and relaxation are an important part of keeping balanced and maintaining positive mental health. When balance and mental health are not looked after, everything else becomes much more difficult.

The only thing I scheduled for the day was a phone call with a friend that I hadn’t talked to in ages. It was refreshing and energizing to catch up with her, and laugh with her. Again, it definitely helped with the balance and positive mental health.

I am very grateful that I, and my husband, took a day off, a day of nothing, a day of rest.

Blessings,

Mary

Paying the Sleep Mafia

Beauty SleepIt has been a solid week of me making the effort to get to sleep earlier, and I’m starting to feel the difference. A little.

It’s been quite an effort on my part this past week to have the lights out by 10:00 pm, my self-imposed bedtime.  I’ve had to re-think how much I can accomplish each night when I get home from work, and how many extra-curricular activities I am going to schedule for myself and my family. I’ve had to decide exactly what my priorities are – is it more important to me that I write in my journal, or watch the video I borrowed from the library so i can return it on time?

I’ve been diligent and conscious of each of these decisions all week and for the first few days, it just wasn’t enough.  In fact, after two days of going to bed earlier, it was even harder to get up the next morning! I felt like the sleep mafia had come and demanded payment all at once for all the sleep I had ever missed. I even moved my meditation time back 20 minutes so I could catch a few more zzzzz’s.

Now, a full week in, it is a little easier to wake up, though on Sunday when I didn’t have to be awake at a certain time, inertia tied me to the bed extra long. 🙂

We don’t always realize how important something like sleep is until it starts making a noticeable effect on our daily life. For me that amounted to increased difficulty getting up in the morning, and low energy throughout the day. Then, what really triggered me to take action: I could not focus during my daily meditation.  My mind flitted from one thing to another, or I fell back to sleep.

I’m going to continue this week to get to bed as close to 10:00 pm as i can, though it will be interesting with the conference I am going to this weekend for work. I’m determined to keep the sleep mafia, and more importantly, my body, happy though.

Some good advice that a friend once gave me, and that has not always been easy to follow: “Listen to your body.  And then do what it says!”

Blessings,

Mary

Who Needs Sleep?

I have this song from the Barenaked Ladies going through my head:

The lyrics of the chorus are:

Who needs sleep? Well, you’re never gonna get it.
Who needs sleep? Tell me what’s that for?
Who needs sleep? Be happy with what you’re gettin’
There’s a guy who’s been awake since the Second World War.

For the past couple of weeks, I’ve been falling behind on my sleep.  Not lots, just a little bit each night.  It adds up fast, though.  And then, Daylight Savings Time hit.  And I chose to stay up that night watching movies. Now I am paying the price.

Each morning it has been getting more and more challenging to get myself out of bed.  I want to sleep a little bit longer. And now I am starting to notice the effects it is having on my meditation.

I’m having trouble focusing.  I always start my meditation session by grounding and connecting with the earth.  The past couple of days, I have had a really hard time even doing that much without my mind interrupting me for something.  It’s wandering all over the place chattering on about this or that, visualizing what happened in the book I read or the movie I saw, playing the same songs over and over and playing the “What If” game.

This last one is particularly frustrating.  Because the mind’s job is protection, when my mind starts playing the What If game, it usually comes up with disasters.  What if I don’t have money to pay that bill?  What if I can’t get the time off I want?  What if my alarm doesn’t go off?  What if an earthquake happens here? What if…well, you get the idea.

Logically, I know that many of these things are never going to come to pass.  And energetically, I know the What If game is sabotaging me manifesting what I want to create in my life.

So this week, the request my coach made of me is to GET MORE SLEEP!  Getting the proper amount of sleep is a way of honoring myself, one I have not been taking seriously.  I certainly haven’t made it a priority.  This week, it is my priority.  Only an emergency is going to keep me from getting a good night’s sleep.

That’s the plan anyway.  Wish me luck, and I’ll let you know how it goes!

Blessings,

Mary

From Nightmares to Sweet Dreams

A couple of weeks ago, my eldest son, who is 11, went for a sleepover at a friend’s house. At midnight, he phoned asking to come home.  This is very unusual for him, as he is very independent. My husband went to pick him up, and when they got home, he was completely freaked out (his words), and ended up sleeping rather restlessly in my bed the rest of the night.

The next night, he did not want to go to sleep at all. He was still too freaked.  He finally told me that there was another boy at the sleepover, and he had been talking about zombies, which is the one monster that really scares him.  And he couldn’t get past it whenever he closed his eyes.

After talking to him, and giving him all sorts of tools to try, I finally suggested that he listen to one of my meditations.  I started him with Protection Shield, to help him keep the bad energies out.  It helped him a little bit, but he was still scared.

He asked to listen to another one, so I had him listen to Meeting Your Spirit Guides, so that he could know that he is not alone.  So he could feel the comfort of his guardian angels surrounding him with their love and light.  By the end of the meditation, he was smiling.  I asked him how he was feeling, and he said he was much better.

“Can I listen to one more, though?”  He had my iPhone, that has all my guided meditations on it, and he wanted to listen to Playing With Fairies.  He was sitting next to me as I journalled, and I saw him totally relax, and the smile on his face got bigger and bigger.  After that, he was finally able to go to sleep.Cottingley Fairies

A few nights later, all three boys were arguing about what music (or no music) to listen to before bed.  The eldest asked if they could listen to Playing With Fairies.  They all agreed (finally!) and listened quietly to the whole meditation.  A little while later, the youngest walked down the hall and asked me, “Do you have one about dragons?”

I guess I know what my next meditation is going to be about!

Blessings,

Mary

Rough Re-entry

I’ve been home from Maui for a week now, after leading two Peaceful Woman retreats back to back.  I don’t believe I will ever facilitate back to back retreats again.  Re-entry into my other life has been challenging for me.

The retreats were spiritually exhilarating and fulfilling, and at the same time, physically exhausting.  If I lived on my own, and had another week off work, I might have paid off  my sleep debt by now! 🙂

So I appreciate your patience as I gather myself back together, become accustomed to the new vibration I came home with, and integrate everything I learned about myself into my day-to-day being.

Mahalo (thanks) and Blessings,

Mary

Project Meditation LifeFlow Sample

My recommendation for this week: Project Meditation’s free LifeFlow sample.

LifeFlow is a product designed by Michael Mackenzie to increase relaxation and help you move into a meditative state faster and easier.

LifeFlow® has been specifically designed using extremely precise frequencies that resonate and impact the body at a cellular level. You can truly feel your deep relaxation or meditation on a physical level, in surges of positive energy and a flow of deep heartfelt emotions.

I listened to it the other night before bed, and I had a good night’s sleep.  And I turned it on underneath my yoga DVD this morning, and it was wonderful, especially for the meditation at the end. I was able to stay more focused.

Listening to it sounds like pleasant nature sounds, but underneath the sounds are Isochronic, Monaural and Binaural tones that lead to brainwave entrainment.  What exactly does all that mean?  Stay tuned for next week’s post, as I’m doing the research to break it down.

For now, give the sample a try.  You will need to enter your name and email address, which will sign you up for another list.  The whole system is a bit pricey, but he gives away other freebies from time to time!

Blessings,

Mary

If you haven’t tried it yet, you can download Creating Sacred Space for free!
And keep your eyes out for another meditation available for download soon!

The Pain of Discipline vs. the Pain of Regret

I have several practices that I do on a regular basis: yoga, journal writing, and meditation. Over the holidays, and the time leading up to the holidays, my discipline at maintaining these practices has been slipping. As someone with a history of procrastination, I have had any number of reasons (read: excuses) as to why I cannot do any or all of them. Since I practice first thing in the morning, and right before bed, many of my excuses revolve around sleep.

“I stayed up too late last night, so I ‘m going to sleep a little later this morning.”

“I feel a cold coming on, so I am going to rest more to fight it off.”

“I have to finish reading this book so I can get it back to the library.”

Thinking of these three practices (yoga, meditation and journal writing), it can be difficult to measure the effects of doing or not doing them.  If I don’t brush my teeth before bed, it’s easy to relate that to furry teeth and horrible morning breath when I wake up.  If I don’t put my raw breakfast on to soak before I go to bed, I have to have something else to eat in the morning. But is the late afternoon headache coming on because I didn’t do yoga, or because I didn’t drink enough water today?  And am I irritable because I didn’t write in my journal or meditate last night, or because my hormones are changing with the onset of my moon time?

And then there is the guilt.  I made a commitment to myself to practice yoga at least three times a week, and to journal and meditate before bed at least 5 times a week.  If I can’t keep my commitments to myself, how trustworthy am I?  And if I am not keeping my commitments, I am not in alignment, and I am not attracting the things I want into my life.

Why did I make these commitments in the first place?  Yoga helps keep me flexible and is a good way of combating chronic plain.  Writing in my journal and meditating help me stay balanced emotionally, and help me feel calm and peaceful.  I am able to stay focused longer and accomplish more.  And frankly, I don’t like what I become when I am not practicing.

So while it may always seem easier to follow an excuse and not get up for yoga, or short myself on meditation time so I can get back into whatever book I am reading, I almost always end up regretting the decision.  Discipline is much more challenging to maintain, but it is so much easier to live with than the regret of not following the discipline.

Keep this in mind as you make your New Year’s Resolutions, if you partake in that ritual.  Will you be self-disciplined enough to keep your commitment?

Blessings,

Mary

PS. How do I best impart this lesson, which has taken me over 30 years to understand (and I still haven’t gotten it perfect!), to my young sons? 🙂

Can’t Sleep? Try Meditation

Article by William Bodri on The Chase Carter Method Tones for Healing

Many people cannot sleep at night. They try wearing socks, drink relaxing herbal teas or take tryptophan or melatonin, read a book, keep a stress journal, and try all sorts of other expedients to help them fall asleep and get a good nights rest. What if I were to tell you that you could use this downtime as a chance to practice meditation?

Continue reading…

Blessings,

Mary

Get your free full-length guided meditation here.