Many people tell me they have trouble sleeping, or staying asleep, or they have upsetting dreams. In an earlier post I presented ways to work with feeling more grounded and more sense of purpose. This is very important to do in the morning. Yet it is also really important at night, as we get ready to go to sleep. Here I will share some strategies for helping us get a better and safer night’s sleep.
SAFETY IN DREAMS EXERCISE: In preparing ahead of time for dealing with upsetting dreams, sit down either alone or with a supportive friend or loved one, and practice the following chant: “I’m a dream body and I cannot be hurt.” Say it many many times so you memorize it. It really helps to practice it with a friend or loved one or just someone willing to help. Our objective is to commit it so deeply to memory that when we find ourselves having an upsetting dream, we can say it right in the middle of the dream while we are still asleep. It will help us turn the dream in a better direction toward safety. When you’ve practiced it for a while, stop and notice what you are feeling in your body. You can share that with you friend or loved one, and if they practice it, they can share with you as well.
Many people have asked, “what is the Gratitude Way?” It is an attitude and daily practice that I learned from native ancestors and that is practiced in many indigenous cultures. It is often called the 5 to 1 practice, five statements of gratitude, praise, thanks, blessing for every one of constructive feedback.
There’s a kind of work that I do and recommend to others that I call Tree Work.
Daily Tree Practice: Sit quietly and visualize yourself as a tree. Visualize your roots going deep into the soil, into the Earth. Visualize yourself grounded and rooted–nourished by the Earth. Visualize your branches as reaching out all around you and to the sky, taking in nutrients, perspectives, beauty, rain, sunlight, sounds, the breeze, the footsteps of birds, animals and children in your branches. Visualize yourself as one with all the rest of the Earth, not separate or apart, but rather a part of.
Some people tell me they feel discouraged and worried about our uncertain future, drifting along and having a hard time finding their “Mojo”, their (sense of purpose) and figuring out what to do with themselves. This is a common problem and one that sages, saints and teachers from many traditions have worked on. I will share below some of the methods I’ve found helpful. I didn’t make these up and I fully give credit and thanks to all the many teachers who have so generously shared their knowledge.
This is a follow on to my previous blog posts on Membrane/Boundary Work Parts One through Four.
I find that it is more effective with younger children to use play, stories, and games to get across key teachings rather than a cognitive approach. In part three I presented the Rope Circle Exercise version for Respecting & Supporting Other People’s Membranes/Boundaries. Then I introduced the Start/Stop exercise. These can be very effective with children.
In my previous blog post titled Membrane/Boundary Work Part Three I talked about how human boundaries/membranes are a two-sided issue–establishing good boundaries for ourselves, and learning to respect and support other people’s boundaries. If you haven’t read that post, I suggest you do that now and do the exercises, then come back here.
In the previous post I offered the Rope Circle Exercise version for Respecting & Supporting Other People’s Membranes/Boundaries. Then I introduced the Start/Stop exercise. Now I want to focus on how we treat the Earth.