January 2016, I decided to take a break from my usual big and hairy New Year’s goals. Instead I set a New Year’s Intention: to learn to get to sleep by 10pm before the end of the year. Little did I know that the Universe was going to give me my wish in a big and hairy way.
All sorts of studies show that the amount of sleep you get can greatly impact your health, happiness, appearance, and relationships. Between being an autoimmune mom, having shingles, a major back injury, running a household and a business, I had accumulated a fairly large sleep debt.
My health, happiness, appearance, and relationships were definitely showing some wear and tear as a result. I craved the joy and relief that more sleep promised, and my loved ones craved a calmer woman in my body.
At the time, I was turning the light out around 1am, then woken throughout the night to sooth a child in pain. Finally thrust from bed by the alarm at 6am screaming, “Get up, make breakfast, make lunch, get kids dressed and out the door!”
Creating the new habit of a 10pm bedtime would totally change my life, but I was going to need to totally change my life to achieve it. I gave myself 12 months to make the project even seem doable.
The first wave wasn’t too challenging. By April, I was easily turning out the light by 11:30 and settling into bed. Next, I made it a point to be home by 9:30 each night, which was a bit more difficult, but I managed to make it a habit by mid September.
And that’s where I got stuck: home by 9:30, lights out at 11:30.
Household chores, work projects, adult TV, fantasy novels, and quality time with my husband created a huge wall to climb between me and my bed. As December began, I decided to accept that this was as good as it gets; I had made a nice effort and should just let myself off the hook.
However, the Universe is always on my side and wanted to do its part to help me achieve my goal. So, with its caring and supportive intention, the Universe orchestrated a fierce smashing of my head against tile. If there were chores, responsibilities, or desires, they had flown from my mind without a trace.
December 2nd 2016, I experienced a major concussion. (Read “SLAM! The Story of Hitting My Head”) Tada! Just weeks short of the end of the year, sleep effortlessly came upon me every night by 10pm. In fact, I was usually asleep by 9pm…and asleep again at 9am…and then again at 1:30pm. Sleep was about all I did for a while.
Wow, we are powerful! I set the intention, put forth action, and when I wasn’t able to get there on my own, the Universe jumped in to lend a helping hand.
Yes, careful what you ask for, it may show up in unexpected ways. But, looking at the bigger picture, I wanted more sleep because I was stressed, anxious, and feeling inadequate, and my health and relationships were suffering for it.
Hitting my head was awful and traumatic, and completely derailed my life for over a year, which forced me to say no to all stressors, to release all expectations, to take quiet time, to rest, to listen to my own body, and to learn how to experience the relief of total surrender.
The Universe’s dark sense of humor transformed my entire life. After the fog of 2017, I enter 2018 with clarity rooted in my deepest truth. I’m aware of what drains my energy and what preserves it, and am comfortable expressing those boundaries. It’s easy to turn out the light at 9:30, to take a nap, to say no to that social obligation without guilt, and yes to taking care of me.
How has your darkest hour delivered you into the sun?
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The following year, I went for not goal at all. Read “No New Year’s Goals Here”.
“I write to open up space for my heart and head to tumble, stumble, bounce, and roll. I write to explore the magic of our world and the power of words. I write to expose the tragic truth of life as well as the authentic abundance and joy. The stories are meant to inspire all of us facing the challenge of knowing and honoring our authentic self in a world of commands and demands.” – Jessica Sabatini