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Episode 6: Just Passing Thru

Updated: Oct 14, 2020

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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 you and could share some concepts that I wish people had shared with me, concepts that integrate sleep with every aspect of your life. Physical, emotional, and spiritual. I believe sleep is an art and that you, not me or any other sleep specialists 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 and better sleep.

I hope it feels like fall because I find this to be such a beautiful sensation, the crispness in the air and just that inevitability that life is transforming, but I didn't always feel this way. I was always a summer person as a kid because, well, I hated school, but my birthday was in summer too. So, you know, I just loved being outside in summers. I would do things until the sun came down. And so I held on to summer so tightly, and this has carried on into adulthood too, but I would hold onto things so tightly and then start to get anxious around the 4th of July. That was always my marker for when I needed to start worrying about summer ending. So I literally stopped enjoying summer or started enjoying summer less starting like on July 5th because I couldn't help a focus on summer ending. It ended up that I never could quite fully enjoyed summer, much less, totally embrace the fall, but it kind of all shifted around the time that I started sleeping consistently. And so I think this is kind of special as I record this today, this wasn't by plan, but today is technically the first day of fall and right about now I'm always taken back to being a kid. And I really did not like fall it induced depression in me. I know this happens to a lot of people. So even though I embrace it now, I still go through a big inner environment shift of resistance. And I'm guessing you might go through this yourself with , with the seasons and , and obviously , uh, perhaps on a nightly basis, but this resistance makes sense to me.

There's this threshold that's created by the universe saying that certain things must end before others begin . And this makes sense because it's probably the most elemental understanding of life. So of course, it's going to pose challenges to people. Otherwise life would be first level of video game easy, and we'd all get bored. And this is why I think insomniacs are special. Not just because that's part of my story, but you know, I think your hero's journey has insomnia in there for a reason. The wisdom that's going to come from breaking through is going to be so immense. It's going to feel so good that as silly as it sounds, you'll be able to look back. Like I look back and say, yeah, I, I embrace what I went through, which is different than saying that was worth it, but I couldn't ever go back and change anything out. That would be terrible. It would , it would really be terrible. You know, I'm just, I'm so glad that I, I caught on to this , uh, this moment that was presented to me to record this episode on the first day of fall and then how to conceptualize what's happening here with falling asleep, the resistance of the seasons, perhaps the transition with the transition of the end of the day and, and going into the next one.

I noticed the other day, how I was resisting fall. Again, we got our first little cold front, which was refreshing because I live in a very hot place, but my initial response was, Ooh, I hope we get another little wave of heat. And I started thinking about how I wished I swam more and how it was the first summer in 20 years that I didn't set foot on a beach. And about some of the foods that my paleo diet wouldn't allow me to eat once fall was here, how I was going to , you know, miss mangoes and things like that. And it literally felt like insomnia. It was, it was so analogous to insomnia. And then suddenly the words came over me, just let go. So I found this ironic. I'm usually not a fan of the concept of letting go. The only reason that I'm not a fan of letting go is that I've just noticed from probably thousands of conversations with people that letting go is hard and the majority of people can't do it. So because of that, I blame letting go. I don't blame you in the case of sleep. It's even harder because of the conscious and subconscious partnership, because of the way the brain works.

Your subconscious mind needs a focal point. When you say, I need to let go. It says of what I'm getting a visual of cheerleaders from one of my high school pep rallies, where they're instructing the crowd, how to cheer with them, right? They're like, when I say this, you say that like, when I say go, you say, Longhorns, go, Longhorns, go Longhorns. That was my high school mascot, but maybe yours was tigers go tigers. Um, how's that four H cheerleader impersonation. One of the reasons that letting go is so hard is because it automatically connects you to an echoed response from the subconscious mind. They, they can't be separate. So as you try to let go, your subconscious mind thinks you are instructing it to hold on, right? Let go of what? And then you can't stop thinking about that thing. So the harder you try to let go, the harder it is to let go. There was a comedian, the late great Mitch Hedberg, one of my favorites of all time. And he had a line that said he was a , he was a one liner guy. And he said, the depressing thing about tennis is no matter how good I get, I'll never be as good as the wall. And I think this is the perfect visual for a bad sleep concept and what it feels like to go to sleep every night as an insomniac, right? The harder you try, the harder it gets, the better you think you're getting the harder it seems.

And so with that said, I'm going to do a bit of a one 80, because I was intuitively inspired to just let go. So I, I wanted to get to the bottom of letting go. I wanted to isolate the words, let go, in order to get a better understanding and doing this, you know, it's pretty simple. It's not like a fancy etymology to let means to allow and to go means to pass. That's a more constructive way of looking at it versus letting go of something that you're holding onto the concept of allowing something to pass feels like a river flowing by compared to letting go, which feels like you have a tennis ball in your hand with superglue attached to it, without thinking about it this way, without making this distinction, the connotation of letting go can trick you into thinking that you are trying to let go of a branch that's off of your tree. Like something that is inherently part of you. But when you allow something to pass, this creates an obvious distinction that in order for something to pass you, it means it's not you.

When I think of allowing things to pass, I think of, of a parade or an ambulance, things that are independent of me, that I see approaching that I do not want to impede their momentum things that would yell at me so that I wouldn't get run over. But when I think of letting those things go, it's like, I need to let go of the parade at , am I in the parade? Am I being honored for something? Did I do something incredible? And if I have to let it go, then I let it go. Like, like it's mine or I have sovereignty over it. Or I'm handing out permission slips, like I'm the County clerk or something. Right. And I'm making all of these judgments of what stays, what goes like I'm the control tower. And this is the first stage of resistance thinking that you have the power of having discretion over something that really isn't up to you to begin with your body wants to sleep badly. And you are in a position of power. You can deny it that sleep, or you can support it in getting that sleep. And of course, you're not trying to deny it. You just probably haven't thought about sleep as something that you were working on behalf of, or that you are separate from. This is just a concept I'm introducing to you so that it could, it could be more helpful.

You know, as a kid, let's look at it this way as a kid who was I to not let the fall season pass through. I love summer. I love summer. Therefore everybody must experience summer, all year round. I can't handle summer ending. I want it to continue. So everybody please enjoy the summer with me. That would have been great for me, but that's not how life works. I, I don't get to choose the Earth's relationship to the sun. Therefore I would be better served to abide by the laws of the universe and the planet earth in particular. I don't know what the seasons are like on other planets, but on earth we have no choice, but to let things pass.

Yes. So how is this any different for me when I'm falling asleep? If I'm in partnership with sleep, just like I'm in partnership with the rest of the people on the planet.

If I'm in partnership with sleep to deprive sleep of what it needs, because I am personally resisting something is out of concept with earth and all the laws that are governing our time here. But when I shift from the concept of letting go to allowing something to pass, all of a sudden, I'm not the possessor of my stresses, my name isn't on the title. Instead, they are just an ambulance that's coming through. And then out of respect for sleep, I just have to get out of the way so that these things can pass. At this point, allowing these things to pass is almost like using basic manners, manners to your stressors, getting out of the way of them and manners towards your sleep. Just like it's not up to me to let go of summer. I don't have the Liberty of deciding to let go of my stress or not.

Because according to the laws of circadian rhythm and the universe, I have no choice, but to allow everything to pass, it is bad manners to stand in the way of these things. Instead of just stepping aside and allowing them to pass like, like a good Samaritan, letting an ambulance by when you hear the sirens, right? Your instinct is just to pull over. When I allow my day to pass, it's just me being a good Samaritan towards sleep. So it's helpful. I think when you think of sleep as something that you were being held accountable to now, there's motivation, right? With accountability, there's more motivation. And then when there is motivation, there's an automatic distribution of emotions. In fact, I would even argue that not being able to let go of something, not being able to let go of something is the result of no accountability. Because you think that there's nothing to be accountable to. You actually think that you have extreme privacy, right?

It's like your little private moment where you get to think whatever you want. And nobody notices. You can think anything you want. And there's nobody to say, Oh my God, I can't believe, I can't believe you're thinking about that right now. So if you are brooding over a particular topic and felt like you couldn't stop doing that, but I put a microphone to your thoughts or gathered like the close captioning of your thinking. And I put it on YouTube. Like if you knew that I was going to do that, I guarantee you, you would be able to let that thing go immediately. When you realized that your thoughts would be broadcast publicly, you would be extremely motivated to think of anything else, allowing something to pass makes letting go easier. But thinking about being accountable to sleep brings in motivation, which makes letting go are really easy. So if you think about the thoughts circulating around your mind, just remember that you are not by yourself. Sleep is in the back seat. Will you please move out of the way and let those things pass?

The reason that we like the phrase let go is because it feels actionable. And this is, this is actually important. And this is why I prefer the concept of releasing and why release is step three in the art of falling asleep, because releasing marries the two concepts of letting go and allowing while still leaving you in a state of action, releasing gives the mind and the body control over the situation while conceptually it's also more accurate. And then metaphorically, it gives you more options because releasing anything, releases everything. If I release a little bird from my hands, I can't help but release any emotion. I'm also holding onto that. Isn't helping me, but I also get how being in bed feeling like it's an uphill battle just to get to sleep. May not feel like the time to recall some fancy concepts. So I wanted to simplify this and just introduce you to the, the feeling of allowing something to pass, because it was never yours.

Once you realized these things were never yours, then you can allow them to pass. And this just makes it a hell of a lot. Easier to the subconscious. When you were holding onto something, that's keeping you awake. It's just like being in an antique shop where you pick up a vase and then the owner of the shop screams at you because you're not supposed to touch it. You wouldn't argue with them, but I want to , um , no , you're, you're gonna , you're going to put that thing down. You're gonna let go of it because it's just good manners. Right? I realize that sometimes it's just a matter of letting go, letting go does make sense sometimes. But by acknowledging that you need to let go. You are also acknowledging that this thought or feeling is in yours. And to me it makes sense and it feels really good. It feels like the relief of getting a Weinstein out of my white couch.

I hope you feel this way too. And I hope you enjoy the fall season and as always have great sleep, falling asleep podcast has been brought to you by dorms glasses . Better sleep starts with blocking blue light and nothing better than the unnatural light coming from your electronic devices tells your brain that it's daytime and the pineal gland doesn't release the melatonin. You need to sleep . In some cases, this is the only thing preventing people from falling asleep to learn more and start blocking blue light the media , go to dorm this dot I use the discount code for more information on how to sleep better, please visit Derek Lacey

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