Somatic/Somnus Exercise

I have a bad habit.  Well, I have many.  But, the one I’m willing to write about publicly at this particular moment is that I read in bed.  I have been advised by 2 sleep specialists not to do this, but it seems to switch my racing brain off so I can fall asleep.

Friday night, I started a book on how our cultural expectation of work has shifted over the last 100 years and how we now have the lowest job satisfaction rate of all time.  It’s a book about finding fulfillment in your job.  However, I had only downloaded the free sample and had trouble getting the rest of the book to download, so I switched to a book I had started long ago, but never finished called “Finding Your Own North Star” by the irrepressible Martha Beck.  I would enjoy this book just because of Martha’s sense of humor, but it’s a practical approach to looking at what we do because we think we’re supposed to vs what we really want to do.

Interestingly, as much as I feel like Martha has an exciting (and entertaining) approach, I tend to fall asleep very quickly when I read this book.  Many years ago, I discovered that at times of the greatest stress–which for me meant painful feelings–I would start to nod off.  I have the sneaking suspicion that the same self-preservation mechanism kicks in when I read Martha’s book–perhaps I don’t really want to know what my true feelings are?

But, first thing Saturday morning, I checked Facebook and a friend had coincidentally posted an article about a book by someone else on the same topic.  I took this as a sign that I really needed to push forward.  I decided to try an exercise from Martha’s book.  The exercise is designed to reconnect you with physical responses that can clue you in to your true feelings about things.

I started to do this exercise at 9AM.  But, then I thought I should take the dog out first.  And then feed him.  And then play a game of Sudoku.  And then shower.  And then eat something.  And then help my husband hang a light fixture.  And then vacuum.  Finally, I sat down to give it a try at 2PM, which happens to be about my lowest energy time of the day.

The exercise starts with deep breathing and then you start mentally working your way from your left big toe through each part of your body, checking in and making sure you can actually sense it and focusing on areas where you have no sensation.  This is supposed to help determine if you are ignoring/repressing physical and/or emotional responses that are lurking in your body, waiting for you to pay attention.

I made it through my toes before I fell asleep.  Martha says falling asleep means my next step is to get more rest.  I think this is where I started?

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