It would just be another one of those nights. I knew what I was in for. I have done it thousands of times. Another bill came in and I was still behind with the kids' school fees. I was also yet to do the grocery shopping for the week.
It has been years since I had a good night's sleep. Not for lack of trying though. Meditation, medication, breathing exercises, all sorts of bedtime routines. My GP suggested I start a sleep hygiene practice with solid set bedtimes and rituals.
Despite my best efforts, I still ended up doing sums in my head. If I pay this bill and that bill, I can only shave this much off that bill. I affectionately called it bill tetris to myself and I was playing it in my sleep.
And it wasn't just the bills. My problem solving brain sought out issues in my life as a way to cope and distract from the ones I couldn't solve in real time.
My physical and mental health was suffering and it was starting to affect those around me. On the bright side, I got really really good at adding up in my head.
Nothing was shifting this energy and my mind settled into this night time routine like it was set in concrete. Then someone suggested that I start a gratitude journal.
Hosh-posh gratitude! I scoffed. This is sooooo Oprah! Enter the eyerolls. Then someone random gave me a gratitude journal. It collected dust on my bedside table for a few months.
With the wisdom I have now, I knew it was just resistance.
Why would someone resist gratitude? Because as long as I could blame other "stuff" for not being able to get out of the hole I was in, I didn't have to lift a finger. I was comfortable in that hole because I knew every single micro inch of it.
One day, for some reason I picked it up and went, OK you MOFO, I'll try you just once and then be done with you.
I really didn't want to do that puke provoking (for me – before you get all defensive) gratitude list of family, house, job, blah blah, boring blah.
I had to come up with some other stuff for the list. I made it a game to get it more interesting and created kind of a challenge. I came up with a few things while lying awake in my bed. The next thing I knew it was morning and my alarm clock was going off.
It can't possibly be the effect of my gratitude list. I had to test the theory. So I did it again the next night and the night after.
After only a few days of practicing this, I actually started noticing the shift in the energy I was waking up with in the mornings.
Instead of that concentrated anxiety that hit me like a ton of bricks every morning as my mind was kicked into gear, I had calm and even clarity on some days.
So this was the start of my gratitude practice. From there on, I added forgiveness and eventually praise.
Gratitude for the service I was able to perform for others that day along with services others have performed for me.
Forgiveness for any mistakes I have made. Forgiveness for negative self-talk, for any fear, hesitation, loss of focus etc.
For all the things I have done right. Things I am proud of myself for achievng that day, challenges overcome.
I don't carry all three in my night time ritual usually but a combination of at least two.
I slip off to sleep, knowing that where my subconscious mind picks it up will be from that position of either gratitude, forgiveness or praise.
And those are very powerful motivators and drivers when it comes to power.
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