The Gift of Peace
Far above the earth he soars,
circling the clear sky,
flying over forests dim,
peering in shadows,
seeking far and wide his children,
to give them peace.
Nancy Van Laan, from In a Circle Long Ago
Upon a June Day the grass said to the shadow of an elm tree, “You move to right and left over-often,
and you disturb my peace.”
And the shadow answered and said, “Not I, not I. Look skyward. There is a tree that moves in the wind to the east
and to the west between the sun and the earth.”
And the grass looked up, and for the first time beheld the tree. And it said in its heart,
“Why, behold, there is a larger grass than myself.”
And the grass was silent.
-Kahlil Gibran, from The Wanderer
Both passages found in the Book Of Love A Treasury By The Greatest Of Virtues
Edited, with commentary, by Andrew M. Greeley and Mary G. Durkin
Famous advice, (author unknown): “At night, I give up all my worries and fears to God. He’s going to be up all night anyway.”
Let him have all your worries and cares, for he is always thinking bout you and watching everything that concerns you.
1 Peter 5:7 TLB (from believe you can the power of a positive attitude by John Mason)
What we sleep on and in is obviously very important to our comfort and quality of sleep we get at night. I picked up the May Issue of Consumer Reports and they tested and rated sheets and mattresses.
For sheets, Consumer Reports experts looked at features like: the fit, shrinkability, likeliness to pill, softness and crispness, and cost. These sheets stood out in three different categories. ( *Please note I am not getting paid in any way to recommend these products. I am simply reporting the Consumer Reports results).
100 percent cotton sateen or twill weave
100 Percent Cotton Percale Weave:
Rayon or Rayon Blend Sateen or Twill Weave:
Mattresses(rated for most comfortable) :
For more information on this ratings survey, go to www.consumerreports.org
Pillows are also important! Not having a good pillow can result in our waking up with back or neck discomfort, even if we have excellent mattresses. It is important that your pillow holds your head in the same relation to your shoulders and spine as if you were standing straight up. The industry’s Better Sleep Council recommends a fairly firm pillow for side sleepers, medium-firm for back sleepers, and soft for people who sleep on their stomach.
Consumer Reports recommended:
(Polyester) Primaloft Deluxe Pillow PM90 (The Company Store)
(Feather/Down) The Seasons Collection Pinnacle (Bed Bath & Beyond)
(Memory-Foam) Temper-Pedic Symphony
This month’s issue of Body & Soul Magazine (wholeliving.com) did an article and review on natural, healthy pillows. they recommend choosing one with chemical-free filling. They rated pillows and picked one best for different sleeping positions.
Here are their top picks:
(Natural Latex) Earthsake Latex Contour Pillow. Best for side sleepers. (earthsake.com)
(Buckwheat) Gaiam Organic Buckwheat Pillow. Best for floppers. (gaiam.com)
(Memory Foam) Keetsa Tea Leaf Contour Pillow. Best for side or back sleepers. (shop.keetsa.com)
(Kapok) Earthsake Natural Kapok Filled Pillow. Best for back sleepers. (earthsake.com)
(Organic Wool) Heart of Vermont Soft Wool Pillow. Best for side sleepers. (heartofvermont.com)
(Organic Cotton) Purerest Organic Cotton Pillow. Best for stomach sleepers. (purerest.com)
During times of my life when I have tossed and turned during the night, my mind often has been plagued with thoughts of regret. I was doing this even as a much younger woman in my twenties, possibly even my teens. What I have learned now is that if we are stuck in this kind of “woulda, coulda, shoulda” game with ourselves, we are not in the present. We are not being very kind to ourselves if we are torturing ourselves with regret.
I recommend we be mindful of two things:
1. Be present
2. Live our lives fully so that we never need to wonder “what might have been”
Just this awareness of being in the Now has helped me so much whenever I am stressed about anything – but particularly when I am having fearful thinking about my past or future. Feelings of regret are based from fear or shame about the past. The kindest thing that we can do for ourselves is to forgive the past: ourselves, others, and any circumstances associated with any bad memories. Let it go. Poof! It is a done deal. The past and memories we associate with it need never have power and control over us again.
Whenever I find myself thinking and feeling regretful about the past I tell myself “cancel” and turn my thinking into something I am feeling thankful for in my present life. Gratitude really works wonders here.
There are times that we are for whatever reason, feeling sad and melancholy (the weather, hormones, the anniversary of a sad event, etc.). When this happens to me I just have a good cry. There is something very therapeutic about crying. I will sometimes cry, not really even knowing why I am crying. But like a cloud passing by, the cry comes and goes. And then it is done. Then I breathe deeply and tap into what I am thankful for in my present life.
Living our lives fully:
I sure don’t want to be an old lady on my deathbed regretting anything about my life! The only way I can my preventing that from happening is to live my life authentically. Live the life of my dreams.
This would be a wonderful journal exercise. Get out your journal and think about how you want to live your life here on out.
There is a saying out there that goes something like: “Hapiness means never having to say you are sorry .” I would add, or ever regretting anything and thinking or sighing to yourself “what might have been”.
If we are in the now as much as possible and taking steps to create the lives we really are intended to live, I do believe we will have more peaceful minds and better sleep at night.
Debra : )
Many of us can fall asleep initially at night. Much of our insomnia challenges arise (myself included) when something wakes us up in the middle of the night. Wouldn’t it be just great to be able to fall right back to sleep after going to the bathroom, getting woken up by a noise, a light etc. ? Often what happens is that instead of going back to sleep, our minds start coming to life. Thoughts begin to churn. Once this thinking process takes root, we are doomed. The monkey mind has got us and sleep eludes us.
One technique to try before our minds take over is called dream remembrance. The idea is that whenever we wake up we are coming out of a dream (whether we realize it or not). If we can remember any details, we need to try to remember them. If we can cling to our dream, we greatly increase our chances of going back to sleep and the next REM cycle.
So simply put: if you wake up, focus on any dream you were having. Focus on your dream state. If you can’t remember any dreams, then just focus on your breathing until you fall back asleep. The main thing is we do not want our minds to start thinking conscious thoughts. In the middle of the night- in that semi-conscious state- they are most certainly going to be anxious, negative monkey mind thoughts. We want to keep the monkey away!
I personally do dream remembrance and it truly does work. With practice, it gets easier. I have gotten to a point now where I can access my dream state even when I am still awake, but getting sleepy, and going into that semi-conscious state…it is really neat. I sometimes remember dreams I had many years ago. Give it a try.
Resource: idea for this post was inspired by a short interview with Woodsen Merrell, M.D., Chairman of Integrative Medicine at Beth Israel Medical Center and co-author of Power Up: Unleash Your Natural Energy, Power Up Your Health, and Feel 10 Years Younger (May 2010 issue of Body and Soul Magazine http://www.wholeliving.com)
Sleep deprivation doesn’t necessarily happen overnight. Gradually over time, our bodies can go into a sleep debt situation. Our bodies give us some signals.
What can we do to erase this sleep debt?
To read more: check out March 2010 Prevention.com
Dear Warm Milk Journal Reader,
My five wishes for you right now is that:
Debra : )
Any activity we do that nurtures our creative side is very good for us. It empowers us, lifts our spirits, connects us with our higher power, keeps us mentally active in a positive way, and gets us in “the flow”.
Any kind of writing including journal writing and blogging will get our creative juices flowing. It is very satisfying to get our thoughts on paper (or the computer screen). I think it is truly good for the soul. Anything good for the soul is good for our sleep!
So I recommend writing. Write on!
Debra : )
Stress isn’t necessarily a bad thing for us. It keeps us alert, gives our day a sense of purpose and energy. It can drive us to do wonderful things in our lives. How much stress we have and how well we are reacting to it will affect us, however. For our purposes here at The Warm Milk Journal , we will focus on the kinds of stress that could put our minds into overdrive and keep us up at night.
So here goes:
From time to time I will post prayers for bedtime. They will be from a variety of religions (The Warm Milk Journal does not promote one particular religion). Tonight’s prayer is a christian one.
Prayer for Peace of Mind
O heart of Jesus, I place all my trust in You,
hoping for all things from Your goodness. You make a root flourish beneath the soil;
You can make fruitful the darkness in which I find myself today. I adore You in all Your purposes even
without knowing them; Your will be done, not mine.
May I be patient! It is so difficult to realize these trials, heartbreaking as they are, can be turned into
blessings. Lord, give me peace of mind, peace of heart, and peace of soul,
as I offer You my thoughts, my words, and my action, and yes, Lord my sufferings.
May they all be for Your greater glory, Amen.
Our lifestyles may be affecting our sleep tonight.
Things to ask ourselves:
Asking ourselves questions is a good practice. It can bring awareness to an area in our lives that is not serving us well.
Start with questions. Write some things that come to mind in your journal. One change in our daily lifestyle could really make a difference to our sleep at night. For instance, cutting back on our afternoon coffee or napping less.
Some things to consider.