Episode 8: Eliminating Shame from Falling Asleep
Listen to the episode here.
Welcome to The Art of Falling Asleep. I'm Derek Lacey, an insomnia coach. I created this podcast so insomniacs could have a space to come and feel guided. I feel like I know and can share some concepts that I wish people had shared with me, concepts that integrate sleep with every aspect of your life: physically, emotionally, and spiritually. I believe sleep is an art, and that you, not me or any other sleep expert, are the artist. The Art of Falling Asleep is your canvas, and I want to help you express yourself using the insights from my sleep coaching practice and my own journey out of insomnia. And by sharing transmissions that help you bridge the way you experience life to better sleep.
Welcome to episode eight. I couldn't wait to record this episode because after listening back to the last episode, I just had this feeling of, 'uh oh, this was kind of gung ho.' Like, motivational and kind of masculine. Not a bad way, but in a way that I just wanted to get back to the delicate nature of falling asleep. And for those of you that may have felt maybe like it wasn't for you because I was talking about the mindset with insomnia.
When you start substituting things in that could be used for other mainstream purposes, you know, there's the money mindset, there's the 'have a better relationship' mindset, 'how to get a really good foam on your cappuccino' mindset. I mean, there are a million of these fricking mindsets, so it could feel like you're using a mainstream approach for a very fingerprinted, personalized situation. And even though I think the insomnia reversal mindset that I'm sharing is pretty personalized, it's not the same as other types of mindsets yet. I get how it may not feel nourishing or it could lose its charm. So I wanted to come back and really get back into what you might be experiencing on a subconscious level.
In my experience of insomnia, where things really made a difference for me is when I started to get some closure in that gap between what I'm experiencing subconsciously, and then what is real and subconsciously what's happening over and over and over again is you're going through this continuous process of trying and what feels like failing. And each time you do this, you experience fear and anxiety, which everybody resonates with, but the part that's unnoticed is the shame. And there are several reasons for this, for one with emotional insomnia, there is likely already a blockage coming from somewhere in your past that's being stored as stuck energy in your sacral chakra. So you may already be resonating in the frequency of shame while not being able to do something that other people are able to do as easily as like walking and talking. So shame is something that happens naturally from comparison.
The other day, I was listening to a podcast and the host was introducing his guest who had this extraordinary biography. He was the first person to fly solo across the Atlantic and also sail solo across the Atlantic. And he'd written a couple of books and just released an album and had a successful business and had an accent from a country that is like by invite only. And he just sounded like a really unbelievable person. And while I was trying to appreciate all that this person had done, all that I could tell myself was that I sucked. And this is me comparing myself to a very unique individual and feeling shame from that. Of course, this person, you know, was born in a different place, had a different upbringing, a different type of education, just a totally different fingerprint than me. So if I'm feeling shame from that, what is it like when I'm comparing myself to somebody, well, to everybody who is able to do the thing that's on page one of the human owner's manual?
I would say that it's probably impossible not to feel shame when you don't sleep as the world around you sleeps effortlessly. And yet so many people don't sleep, but you get the sense that most people could, if they want it to. There's just a very small percentage of people I've gathered that seemed to do everything possible to sleep, but still can't, some people don't sleep because they just don't follow the rules. And, you know, I talked to a lot of these people and after a short conversation, it's like, okay, you gotta get the espresso machine out of your bedroom, and sure enough, 'I'm getting the best sleep ever.' So you may have an underlying issue. You may have something somewhere on your timeline that's intense, and that you may not even be aware of. That's likely the case. You don't know where it comes from.
So there's this thing that you understand is your biggest source of resistance, but it's compounded over the years by the shame that you've gathered in the process of trying to sleep and then not being able to there's this layer of shame that is strictly related to sleep and nothing else. It has nothing to do with your big underlying issue. But the truth is that there is nothing to be shameful about because if what happened to you when it happened to you, or if somebody experienced life from the set of eyes that you couldn't help, but experience life, their experience of sleep would be no different. This stuff is personal. It would be impossible to compare you going to sleep to anybody else. It would absolutely be impossible. As a matter of fact, I think if you haven't been able to sleep, somebody should applaud you for that, for what you've gone through and survived and been able to manage, I think it's really impressive.
If insomnia is your story, it's very likely that shame is a huge part of that story. But look, shame is a sensitive word. I'm very mindful of the fact that nobody likes to be told that they're experiencing shame. I know it doesn't feel good to somebody to feel like they're being diagnosed with shame. So I'm not, I'm not doing that. I'm just bringing this up as a concept. This is what I love about concepts. Because if you contemplate the idea that you may be experiencing unrealized shame, and it feels better to address that, then it will register with you intuitively and that this way of thinking and approaching your bedtime routine could only help. And if it doesn't feel good, then this episode never happened. Nothing to see here. But if it feels nourishing, it's like the infomercial. But wait, there's more. If it does feel better, this is a real opportunity to heal because when you can address the shame that simply comes at the cost of trying to sleep better, sort of like the cost of doing business when you can dress that shame, it's only there because of something you have yet to identify and can't explain, then you can get to a place where you don't have to fix that big, mysterious problem that has always felt like it needed fixing for you to feel complete. So much of my life. I walked around thinking I had to figure something out if I ever wanted to sleep again. And not even, not even that, when you carry around what feels like a big shadow, it's like, no matter what you experience in life, you could be having the best day ever. When somebody asks, Hey, how's your day. And you're like, 'Oh, I'm having the best day ever.' And then like, you kind of mumbled to yourself. 'Yeah, it's a good day, but I still have this thing that's following me around.' So it's like, it never feels safe to just release and enjoy a moment.
When I tell people that they can have what they want without figuring out what's at the root of their problem. They're so amazed that they don't even know what to think because most people with chronic emotional insomnia are walking around like I was for years thinking 'I've got to figure out this big thing, or I'm going to deal with insomnia forever.' But you don't. I mean, you may, you may have to where you may want to deal with it. Healing is beautiful and your life is probably going to feel more meaningful.
If you are in constant rapport and building intimacy with this thing that you might be experiencing as a block, it just doesn't have to deprive you of sleep. It doesn't have to be part of that formula. So again, I'm not knocking the healing of the root problem. It's just that the more time that goes by the more open I am about not needing to know what's been at the root of my insomnia so that I can sleep. And I'm pretty open about, about this now that I have no idea. I have a million guesses as to what was there all my life that still likes to peek its head out every once in a while. And as I'm going to sleep, you know, it says I wouldn't go to sleep.
If I were you, I'm aware that there is something unresolved, but I have learned how to become more intimate with that thing and live with it through the concept of companionship and with the idea of being in the process of resolving it and not needing to figure it out so that I'm not paralyzed by it. And that I would say is the, is the concept that is at the foundation of my emotional relationship to sleep is that my sleep can co-exist with a part of me that is unresolved and that begs me not to sleep. And that there's no shame for that. With this concept, nothing has more influence over my sleep than my conscious mind and my subconscious mind, even though it wants to be a nuisance, once in a while, doesn't have control over me.
But I'm also getting to the point. I want to be really open about this where yeah, personal growth is fun and there's always growth to be had you never stop growing, but maybe there's a more existential process that I'm going to need to go through in order to come face to face with what I don't understand. I really crave coming face to face with that. I'm ready for it. I may need to go through some kind of ceremony, you know, a plant medicine ceremony to really feel like I'm resolved in a way that the corporation of my mind, body, and soul craves resolving. But in the meantime, I know who I am. I know what I want, what I value. These are really important. Things that have been really satisfying and that's enough for me to sleep. That's enough for me to put the 'I can't sleep' part of shame to rest, even though all the other shame that might linger in my body, energetically has not been resolved. So what I want to leave you with after that share is the concept that you can get better at your sleep too, by surrendering to the fact that you haven't done anything wrong and that your experience of sleep shouldn't be anything but exactly what it is. And that's it. Point blank.
If trying to sleep better feels like your full-time job and you still can't do it, it's not because you're doing something wrong. It's just that there's this thing, whatever it is, there's this thing that happened somewhere sometime. And if it weren't for that thing or the combination of things, then you would be asleep. Have you ever done something and then picked it apart to see how it could have been different had it gone another way? Like if you make really good time on the highway and then you're like, 'Oh, I would have beat my personal world record if not getting pulled over by that cop and getting a ticket like', or 'I would have slept eight hours straight, but the neighbor's car alarm went off.'
There are some things that you just can't control, so you kind of inherently understand when you call those out that you shouldn't take responsibility for not accomplishing what you would have accomplished. If not, for that thing, the shame that you might be collecting from not being able to sleep, it's kind of like opening up your mailbox and finding a bill sent to your address, right? But it's got somebody else's name on it. It's got the name of the person who lived in your house before you moved in. But instead of forwarding that bill, you might take it inside the house and start stressing out about how you're going to pay it off. When in reality, that's not your bill. It was not meant for you. And it's only there because of some misunderstanding. When I get that thing, when I get that bill in the mail, that little nudge that says 'don't sleep, you really shouldn't sleep right now'. Like, I'm a sleep coach and I can't sleep. And I start feeling shame from that. I remember I would be asleep right now if it wasn't for that thing. So I'm actually doing this perfectly right now. And then I can call out that thing, whatever you are, whoever you are, whatever year or lifetime you came from, you live in the subconscious world and I pay your bills. I feed you. You're dependent on me. So good night. I'll see you in the morning, quit jumping on the bed, brush your teeth, close your eyes, go to bed. And that's the way life works. That's the way the human experience works.
There's a hierarchy between the minds. There's the conscious mind and the subconscious mind. And that's why you can sleep despite your big thing. So the concept here is you can still sleep despite whatever may have happened on your timeline, and in the meantime, just understand that if you aren't asleep and you want to be asleep and you're doing everything else correctly, that you would be asleep if not for that thing. So any shame that's hanging out after the last call, it doesn't have to be there and you can exercise it energetically out of your body. Find that new frequency and without realizing it, the next day will come.
I hope that happens for you soon and often, and as always, have a great sleep.