The Wild Honey Buzz: Dancing through '22, February Edition
In celebration of the Feast Day of Saint Valentine that occurs this month, I offer you this dance video that feels like a valentine. I'm very grateful to PK Khota, a London-based energy healer and musician from my online spiritual and astrology community Rasa Lila Healing Community, for graciously allowing me to record the dance to her beautiful song. The language she is singing in is her personal (invented) language that she calls Wolambe. She describes the language as sounding as if it has African origins, She picked it up while in South Africa. This song appears at minute 9:50 of a YouTube video message she shared on the community page in January. You can see more of her videos on her YouTube Channel and find her on Facebook at Peekus Wolambekus. I love the sensual quality of the piece and her rhythm and voice, and believe it does offer sound healing to listeners. I really enjoyed dancing to it and appreciate my wonderful videographer, "Mr. Honey" for recording the dance.
My plan is to share with you a dance on or near every New Moon of 2022!
And my topic this month picks up on the theme of my January post about health practices. Something of huge importance is missing from the list of practices I shared in the previous blog: SLEEP and REST!
Re-reading last month's post made me feel exhausted - all of that working and doing, all of that activity! I felt like lying down and taking a nap! It takes a lot of energy to keep these body vessels of ours humming along! I didn't even mention the importance of regular medical checkups and doctor visits which also require a lot of work and effort. Even though I strongly advocate it, I also strongly dislike going to the doctor or being anywhere near medical facilities! My blood pressure rises whenever I'm in these situations. It's a phenomenon called "White Coat Effect." I manage it by getting as much care as I can through my naturopathic doctor whom I find less scary, ha...and regardless of how I dread it, I make myself get regular checkups.
In the spring of 2020, I experienced a terrible bout of insomnia. I had a very hard time falling asleep and staying asleep. There were many nights when I didn't sleep a wink or only 2 or 3 hours. This went on for about five to six months! I tried everything and nothing worked, including going through several kinds of sleeping pills. The situation was further complicated by an underlying medical condition that doctors were working to diagnose and treat. I was tested for sleep apnea which turned out not to be my problem. My naturopath referred me to a specialist who finally diagnosed my medical condition and prescribed treatment, along with a pill that slowly helped my body relearn how to sleep and which wasn't addictive. I rarely have to take the pill now, only occasionally.
My battle with the insomnia demon taught me the importance of vigilance when it comes to sleep hygiene. Since I'm sensitive to stimuli, I have to pay close attention to what I'm doing two hours prior to bedtime, and my bedroom has to be a completely dark and comfortable sanctuary. Meditating before going to sleep to empty my mind, and when I wake up during the night has been a real life saver! I highly recommend the book, "Restful Insomnia: How to Get the Benefits of Sleep Even When You Can't" by Sondra Kornblatt. I had a free consultation with Sondra and read her book which helped me immensely. All of the other sleep articles I read recommended getting out of bed and doing something else if unable to fall asleep after 20 minutes, and this strategy never worked for me. I would get up and be more wired than ever! Sondra argues against this practice and instead encourages people to remain in bed and focus on resting deeply instead of chasing sleep.
One of the things that harmed me in my battle with insomnia was my hesitancy to take sleeping pills. I was so afraid of developing a dependency on them. I spoke with a counselor who was trained in Cognitive Behavior Therapy for Insomnia (CBT-I) who was very reassuring that the particular medication I was prescribed would not lead to dependency which was a huge relief to me. It turns out that she was correct. I took it sparingly until my body was able to "re-set" itself and begin sleeping normally again. My ordeal taught me that what might work for one person may not work for another. Each of us has our own chemistry and tolerance, and it's truly a matter of finding out what works for us as individuals. Insomnia is a very common problem, especially for women. This is perhaps due to fluctuating hormone levels.
If you are suffering from insomnia or poor sleep, my number one recommendation is to find out if you have apnea or any other underlying medical condition and treat that first. Then familiarize yourself with good sleep hygiene practices (there is a long list of these, such as avoiding "blue light" emitted from cell phones and screens, keeping a dark and cool bedroom, avoiding heavy meals right before bedtime, etc.) You could also try out alternative treatments such as acupuncture, massage and energy healing, all of which I received and were helpful. Check out Sondra Kornblatt's book and perhaps talk with a mental health practitioner who specializes in Cognitive Behavior Therapy for Insomnia, and if you choose to take a sleeping pill, begin with one that has the lowest potential for dependency and side effects. For me this was an experimental process.
Another wonderful resource is the Nap Ministry which encourages the practice of resting as a means of resistance to the "grind" culture that we live in with it's heavy emphasis on materialism, capitalism and over-work. Many faith traditions urge followers to observe a Sabbath or day of rest. It's important for us to take frequent breaks and allow ourselves time to rest and recharge.
How about you? Do you feel overwhelmed by commitments and responsibilities and have little time to rest? How is your sleep? Have you ever suffered from insomnia and if so, how did you overcome it? Do you have any suggestions that might help someone who is having difficulty sleeping? What are your practices around rest and sabbath time?
I'll leave you with my best wishes for peaceful slumber and rest, and this favorite quote from the Dalai Lama: "Sleep is the best meditation."
~Wild Honey (aka...Marianne)