For most of my life, I've believed I was someone who didn't sleep well. In fact, that belief was so strong I often found myself awake in the middle of the night, sitting up and wishing I could be asleep. When social media became a thing, I noticed something curious; there were lots of other people who were sitting up in the middle of the night all over the world feeling exactly as I did - that sleep would never be something they did well.
Then, I started to pay attention to how I thought and spoke about sleep, and what my expectations were surrounding sleep. I noticed I frequently told people I suffered from insomnia. I also noticed my thoughts before bed each night included things like, "Oh gosh - I hope I don't have insomnia tonight," or, "Hopefully tonight my sleep won't be disturbed."
The universe supported the thoughts by making them creations. I tossed and turned. I suffered hip pain that woke me frequently. The universe even sent me a little dog (who I dearly love) that woke me up several times a night for seven years. The universe wasn't being perverse or mean. It was supporting what I believed about my sleep. Once I understood this and noticed my own thoughts, beliefs, and behaviors, I was already halfway to a better night of sleep.
First came the behavioral issue with the little dog. I consulted with animal communicator Karen Anderson who reminded me my beliefs about what my dog, Monkey, was going to do each night (wake me up multiple times) was part of the reason for Monkey's behavior, and she kindly suggested I change that expectation. She also communicated with Monkey and gave me some tools for dealing with behavioral slips and within a few days, the behavior had ended. It has not returned, nor do I expect it will because once I realized that behavior was in large part driven by my expectations, I was able to change the way I thought about it until my expectations changed, and then I was able to change my experience.
I also started to change my thoughts about the quality of my sleep, which also led to a change in my expectations. Every time I noticed myself slipping into my beliefs about insomnia or hoping I didn't sleep poorly, I paused for a moment, visualized myself sleeping well and waking refreshed, and repeated the affirmation, "I sleep peacefully and comfortably and wake refreshed." I now use this affirmation every night before I go to sleep, as well as throughout the day if I notice any of my old thought patterns about sleep creeping in. One of the things I've found is along with sleeping better in general, I've noticed I am less likely to be awakened by aches and pains (such as persistent hip pain I've experienced for several years) throughout the night. Now I'm working on changing my thoughts, beliefs, and the story I tell about that hip pain, but that's another blog for another day. Right now we're focusing on sleep.
Other Solutions (Metaphysical & Physical)
I also implemented some metaphysical solutions, which serve as a reminder that the focus of my thoughts need to be on peaceful sleep. They also create an energetic vibration that is more supportive of peaceful and restful sleep.
Your Better Sleep Program
With some attention to your thoughts, habits, and environments, it's possible to reprogram yourself to sleep peacefully so you won't have to sit up all night with other insomniacs on social media.
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Have you ever felt really good emotionally and thought, I wish I could bottle this feeling and access it whenever I want? Good news - there's a tool for that, and it's one I use frequently to help me maintain a positive mind space regardless of what's going on around me.
The tool is called anchoring, and it comes from a technique called Neuro-Linguistic Programming, or NLP. It is deceptively simple, but it works really well.
When you are in a positive headspace - feeling something like joy, peace, well-being, etc. - focus your full attention on that feeling and create a gesture. It can be any gesture (you'll want different gestures for different feelings), but make sure it isn't something you'd typically perform. For example, one of my gestures is touching the tip of my index finger of my left hand to the thumb of my left hand. Do this several times over a few days, focusing on the positive emotion you are feeling as you perform the gesture. Then, the next time you are in a negative space and want to access that positive feeling again, perform your gesture. It's that simple.
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Some days and some moments are more difficult than others, but unconditional love is always is a choice. Here's the good news. If you're not choosing it right this moment, you have another moment and another so as soon as you recognize you're not choosing unconditional love, you can make the choice anew.
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Have you ever truly paid attention to the stories you tell yourself and your world about your life? How you think about things and how you communicate them with others has a profound effect on your experience of reality.
For example, suppose you have been having some trouble sleeping. You spend a lot of time worrying whether you will sleep well that night, and you tell people, "I don't know why, but I just don't sleep well." As try to go to sleep, you lie there and worry about whether you will be able to. Then, if something wakes you in the middle of the night, your first thought is, "Now I'll never get back to sleep."
Your thoughts are creating your sleep situation. The more attention and belief you give to the thought, "I don't sleep well," the more it becomes your experience.
What if you changed your story? What if, instead, every time you caught yourself thinking about your poor sleep, you changed your thought to, "I sleep peacefully and wake up refreshed?" What if, instead of talking to others about how poorly you sleep, you found other positive things to talk about? What if, as you were drifting off to sleep, you affirmed, "I sleep peacefully and awake rested and refreshed," and then paid attention to all of the positive things in that moment: you are warm, you are comfortable, your pillow supports you well, etc. Then, if something did wake you in the middle of the night, what if you restated your affirmation and again paid attention to the positives of the moment? Chances are, you would sleep better.
I speak from experience. This is what I did when I was struggling with regular insomnia. Nothing changed except the story I told myself about sleep, but the effects were profound.
Pay attention to the story you tell. With every story, you can tell it from a negative standpoint discussing what you don't want, or you can tell about it from a positive standpoint about the things that are good. Changing your point of view from positive to negative and focusing on what you want instead of what you don't want can make a world of difference.
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If you've ever heard me speak (or had a conversation with me), you've probably heard me say, "Intention is everything."
Your intentions are what set the wheels of creation into motion. What you intend and give attention to (in other words, think about), you create.
So why do people wind up with so many unintended consequences in their lives? Because they don't deliberately set their intention and if they do, they don't follow it up with positive thought about what they desire. If your intention, for example, is good health, but the focus of your thoughts (and words you speak) is on how poorly you feel, then your focus is on poor health, and your thoughts and words have overridden your intention. If, however, even when you are feeling poorly, you set your intention for good health, find things about your health for which you can express joy (my body breathes beautifully, my legs support me, my body uses the nutrients I give it efficiently, etc.) and then change the story you tell about your health to one that is positive, joyful, and supportive of good health, then your body will respond.
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Every tool I share and teach is about intention and focus. Whether I'm talking about crystals, aromatherapy, your chakras, affirmations and visualization, mudras, sound healing, or any of the multitude of other topics I share, they are there to serve as a way to set your intention and guide your focus so you can begin to vibrate at the same frequency of that which you wish to attract. The tools I teach are there to remind you who you truly are (you are Divine; you are love) and how powerful you are when you set your intention and focus your attention. While the tools can serve as a catalyst for change, they aren't the true source of power. You are. You have the power to have the exact life you visualize and desire, and it starts with your intention. Set your intention. Let your focus, thoughts, words, and actions flow from that intention. That is the essence of the creative being you were born to be.
I write about the power of affirmations quite a lot, and in many of my metaphysical columns, you’ll find I recommend affirmations right alongside other forms of energy work to help people create positive change in their lives. That’s because affirmations are powerful statements to the universe about the things you’d like to have become realities in your physical existence. While there’s no “magic” to affirmations, they do help you set intention and communicate clearly to the universe the life you’d like to live.
So, if you want your affirmations to work, you need to speak, write, or think them once a day, right? Actually, there’s a bit more to it than that. Let’s take a look at some of the things that may serve as roadblocks to affirmations.
1. Continuing to think negatively.
You’ve probably heard the old axe, “Thoughts become things.” This is true whether you are consciously making positive statements and affirmations, or if you continuously have negative words flit through your mind without giving them much of a thought at all. Whether you know it or not, you’re constantly sending affirmations out into the universe, even when you’re not making a conscious effort to do so. For example, every time you say, “I’m so broke,” or, “I can never catch a break,” you’re sending a specific request into the universe, which has no choice but to respond. These subconscious or barely conscious thoughts and statements are just as powerful as consciously spoken, written, or thought affirmations. In some cases, they may be even more powerful because they become the running dialogue you have with yourself without even thinking about it.
So what’s the solution? It’s important to monitor your thoughts and catch yourself thinking negative things when they arise. Every time you catch yourself thinking a negative thought, stop immediately and say in your head or aloud, “Cancel that….I am…..” and make a positive statement instead. For example if you catch yourself thinking, “I am always broke,” immediately think or say, “Cancel that. I have all the money I need to live the life I desire.”
2. Doing your affirmations only once a day.
Affirmations are an active process, and they require concentrated effort to overcome the volume of negative thoughts you are thinking. I believe in active affirmation, or using affirmations not only as a meditative ritual once or twice a day, but also using them throughout the day as negative thoughts arise.
Let’s look at an example. Say you want to lose weight, but every time you put on clothing, catch a glimpse of yourself in the mirror, or eat something you know isn’t conducive to weight loss, you think something like, “I’m so fat,” “I’m never going to lose weight,” or, “even if I do lose weight, I’m just going to gain it back.” Even if once a day, you’re closing your eyes and uttering with conviction, “I am losing weight,” or “I am thin and healthy,” the sheer volume of your negative thoughts about being overweight will outweigh the once per day you think or speak your affirmation.
The solution here is the same as the previous one. Monitor your thoughts, catch negativity, and immediately cancel it out with a positive statement. You can also take a few moments several times a day to re-set your affirmations in your mind. For example, you can carry them in a document on your smartphone and read them whenever you have a break.
3. Making statements of want or need.
The combination of the word “I” plus whatever statement you make about it afterward, such as “I want,” “I am,” or “I need,” is a very powerful combination, and the universe responds in kind. So, if you say to yourself, “I want more money,” the universe will very literally give you what you just said – the experience of wanting more money. Likewise, if your affirmation is, “I need to find a significant other,” the universe will give you the experience of needing a significant other.
What should you do instead? Remember the combination of I plus the second word is powerfully creative. Instead of saying, “I want,” or “I need,” make a statement as if you already have that which you desire. Let’s look at the significant other affirmation as an example. Instead of saying, “I need to find a significant other,” use the affirmation, “I am in a loving and joyful relationship with my significant other.” While this may not be true at the moment, know that the universe has already set the wheels in motion.
4. Failing to express gratitude.
I make gratitude part of my affirmations, because it strengthens them and is an important component of what I like to call, “acting as if.” When you act as if you already have that which you desire, including thanking the universe for something, it strengthens the power of the affirmation. Therefore, all of my affirmations either start or end with gratitude. For example, you might want to say, “I am grateful I am in vibrant health,” if your affirmation is about your health and well-being.
5. Not visualizing.
Visualization is another tool that combines powerfully with affirmation. Visualization helps you see and experience yourself after you’ve achieved what it is you desire. I recommend closing your eyes for a five-minute visualization session as part of your meditation after you’ve done your affirmations. When visualizing, try to picture yourself already having achieved that which you seek, and allow yourself to bask in the emotions of how it would feel to be, do, or have those things.
There is no magic to affirmations. It’s abut setting intention and maintaining focus on that which you choose while expressing gratitude to the universe for providing it. Thoughts are creative, and focusing them more carefully can help shorten the time before you put something out in the universe and when you receive it.
Send a little Light everyday. Just for a few moments, before you go to sleep and/or when you first get up, put your hands over your heart chakra, close your eyes, and visualize Light. Then, visualize sending it to the darkest corners of the world.
Don't send it where there's already an abundance of Light, but to places where darkness appears to have taken over. Send it to the Middle East. Or to the Oval Office. Or to Congress. Or to the greediest of Corporations. Send it to terrorist cells. Send it to people in your life who have treated you unkindly. Send it to where people are dying, and where human rights don't seem to matter. Send it to fascist dictators and to war-torn and poverty-ridden regions.
Beam that Light to places where darkness appears to live, because you can't fight darkness with more darkness. You can only combat it by turning on the Light.
And as you visualize, affirm. Affirm that the Light you are sending will bring peace. That it will bring prosperity. That it will bring wisdom and compassion. That it will bring Love. That it will bring wise and compassionate leadership. That it will bring healing and joy. If enough people make this tiny effort every day, eventually even the darkest places on earth will be filled with the essence of who we truly are - Light.