Male Announcer: You’re listening to From Pain to Possibility with Susi Hately. You will hear Susi’s best ideas on how to reduce or even eradicate your pain and learn how to listen to your body when it whispers so you don’t have to hear it scream. And now here’s your host, Susi Hately.
Welcome, and welcome back. I’m so delighted that you’re here because today’s episode is an R&R sleep meditation with a focus on the TMJ and sleep apnea. This is a really powerful practice, especially during this mini series on mechanics of breathing because it’s easy to be on the ground really trying to resolve and solve the issues that you’re having and sometimes we can get overly granular.
And this is a practice that can help us kind of expand outwards, zoom out a little bit, come out to like the 10,000 foot or even the 50,000 foot view of what’s going on. It can give us a bit of perspective, a bit of depth. And then when we get back to the granularity of the practice, of the work we’re doing, we can do so with just a slightly different lens, maybe with less of a grip.
I highlight this in terms of a story of a friend of mine who was on the waitlist for a liver transplant. He was quite unwell and he was doing a series of sleep meditations as well as some Ayurvedic work. And during one of his meditations he had a sudden very profound game-changing a-ha for him.
And that was, I am not my liver. I am not my liver issue. And for him, it changed everything to the point where he went back home, he was living his life, doing his thing and his numbers for his liver got so much better that they took him off the list. And he attributed it to, yes, the Ayurvedic work that he was doing, but to the fundamental change in his mindset, to the state of his brain and how he focused in on what was going on.
Now, I really want to emphasize something and this is something he shared with me. This was not about changing his mind, although his mind was changed. It was this process through meditation that just gave him the ability to see differently. There was a novel experience that was had, an experience that opened up the door to possibility and shifted up his belief. As he said, I am not my liver. I am not my liver issue.
So when our thoughts and beliefs change, then how we feel about ourselves changes. And when we feel differently about the way we are feeling, then our actions change as well. How we are doing something changes. So we might be doing the same thing as we were doing two days prior, but how we’re going about doing it becomes different.
That is one of the powerful pieces that sleep meditation can provide. It can provide those novel experiences. It’s a great way for a downregulation and of being able to be 10,000 foot view, 50,000 foot view, especially when you’ve been just slogging away at the granular ground level work of supporting yourself in getting better.
So with that, we are going to move into an R&R sleep meditation. So grab hold of your comfy stuff; a pillow, a blanket, perhaps something for underneath your legs, whatever you need to be comfortable. Now, what I just said may have assumed that you will be on the floor, but you can certainly be in sitting, you can be on your bed, you can be in standing. The only place I don’t recommend that you be is behind a wheel or operating heavy machinery. So with that, let’s enjoy the practice.
Welcome to this practice of sleep meditation. Everything that’s offered through this practice is an invitation. You have a choice at any moment to follow my invitation, or to move to something that’s more appropriate or interesting for you. So if my words do not resonate, then please ignore them or use your own words.
Take a moment and settle into a relaxed position. And scan your body to see if there’s anything you can do to be 5 to 10% more comfortable. Maybe it’s a blanket or a pillow. Anything that would enhance your comfort. Your eyes can be open or closed.
Now imagine that you could make a wish for anything right now. What would that be? What might be your best intention or outcome for this practice? Maybe it’s better breathing. Maybe it’s restored sleep. Maybe it’s ease or a meditative insight. Formulate your wish into a one sentence affirmation as if it’s already come to pass using the words I am or I live. I am experiencing. Maybe it’s I am breathing better or I’m breathing fully.
Once you’ve established your wish as a one sentence affirmation, affirm it silently to yourself now three times. Now take a moment to recall or imagine a place where you feel a sense of calm and ease or safety. It might be a room in your home or a place in nature. It might be with someone that you love or a beloved pet.
Imagine yourself here and notice how you feel. Perhaps a sense of soothing, calm or healing. Take some time now to feel the effects of this inner sanctuary. And with continued practice, you might come to sense this peace as an unwavering presence in your life. And you can come back to this inner sanctuary at any time throughout this practice. You might like to bring the feeling of it with you into the practice now.
So begin to become aware of the sensations of your whole body. Feeling the contact points with the surface beneath you, the fabric touching you, the air caressing your exposed skin. Bring your attention to your feet. Feeling your whole foot both sides and all of your toes. Feeling your legs, knees and hips. Feel the sensations in your pelvis. And then notice the whole lower part of your body from your pelvis, your legs, through your knees and into your feet and toes.
Notice your abdomen. Feel the sensations there. And through your rib cage. Now notice the sensations of your pelvis, abdomen and rib cage. And allow your awareness to move over toward your shoulders, feeling the sensations of your shoulders, your upper arms, elbows, forearms and hands. Feel each of your fingers and your thumbs.
Feeling your whole body from your shoulders, your rib cage, abdomen, pelvis and legs, all the way to your toes. Feel the sensations that are present. Notice the sensations in your neck. The front of your neck, sides, back of your neck.
Notice where your neck connects to your head, feeling the back of your head and around the top of your head. Feel the sensations around the top of your head, the back of your head and into your neck. Feel the sensations of your ears and your cheeks. The inner corners of your eyes, the outer corners of your eyes, your eyelids, your eyebrows and out to the temples.
Feel the sensations in your forehead, the bridge of your nose, your nostrils, the space between your nostrils and your upper lip, the lower lip. And then inside the mouth, feeling the sensations on your tongue, on your right side of the mouth, on the left side of your mouth, your teeth and your gums.
Notice the sensations in your lower jaw. And feel the lower jaw with the whole face; cheeks, nose, eyes, ears, temples, forehead, top of the head, back of the head and your neck.
Feel the sensations now through to your rib cage and your arms, hands, abdomen, pelvis, legs, feet, toes. Now bring your attention to your breath, noticing the inhale and the exhale. Notice how your breathing feels and where you feel your breath being open. Where does it move in your body?
Feel the openness of your breath moving in your body. Take a moment and gently fist your hands. Notice if that changes the openness of your breath in your body. Open your hands, relaxing them. And notice if there’s a difference or a change of sensation in the openness of the breath in your body.
Close your hands. Notice your breath. Open your hands and notice your breath. Allow your hands to be relaxed however they are and notice your breath again. Now count five cycles of breath, with a cycle of finishing on your exhale. Inhaling and exhaling is one. You may notice yourself more relaxed as a result of this breathing practice. What do you notice?
Now become aware of what’s outside of you. Maybe the air caressing your skin or fabric on your skin, or the sounds in another room. Feeling what’s outside of you. And then feel what’s inside of you. Maybe stomach gurgling or your pulse. Feeling what’s inside of you. Now feel outside of you again. And then feel inside of you again.
Now feel both outside and inside at once. The mind can’t do both at once. You can’t think your way into feeling what’s outside and inside. It’s a feeling inquiry, widening the aperture of your awareness to feeling what’s outside and inside at once.
Now choose two opposites of emotions that you would like to explore, perhaps content and discontent. When we work with the opposites of emotions, we create an integration and wholeness and build an inner resilience.
Feel the first emotion by recalling a time when you felt it and any accompanying images or memories that evoke the emotion. Picture and feel this emotion. Notice where you feel it and what it feels like. And when you’re ready, feel the opposite of this emotion.
Picture and feel this emotion, noticing where you feel it and what it feels like. Go back and forth a few times between one and then the other. Notice what you feel when you identify and feel one emotion, and what you feel when you identify with and feel the other.
When you are ready, feel both opposites at once. Feeling your way, widening the aperture of your awareness to feel both of these opposites at once. Become aware of any thoughts that are present or the absence of thought.
If you notice thoughts, you might also notice that they will dissolve or disappear if you don’t engage them. Letting thoughts come and go and then feel and enjoy the absence of thought. When your next thought arises, as soon as you sense it, it dissolves again. And by observing your thoughts, you’re free from them.
Now think of a thought or a belief that you would like to work with. Perhaps one that is related to your sleep apnea or breathing or TMJ or neck. And notice what a common thought is that you have about the sleep apnea or breathing or TMJ or neck. And then consider what the opposite of that thought is.
Now notice when you’re thinking the first thought, the predominant thought, where do you feel that in your body? And now notice the opposite thought and notice how you feel as a result of identifying with that. Notice where you feel it in your body. Now go back and forth a few times between these opposites, noticing what you feel as you identify with one and where you feel that in your body. And notice what you feel when you identify with the opposite and where you feel that in your body.
Now feel both opposites at once. This is a feeling exercise. Notice how you feel when you’re open to both at once. You might feel the opposites dissolve and open into a sense of neutrality, expansion, wholeness. Notice what you feel with both at once.
You might be aware of a deepening sense of inner peace or calm, a sense of openness or expansion. Let your attention rest here for a while, experiencing yourself as peaceful, open, expansive. This is deeply soothing and nourishing for your body, mind and soul.
You might also notice the inner peace that may have been in the background of this practice since the beginning; relaxed, peaceful, calm. Continue to feel this inner peace. Now allow for your wish for this practice to bubble back up into your awareness from this place of physical and mental relaxation.
Imagine and feel your wish as it is true now. Imagine your wish is true. And take a moment to imagine your life with it as true. How does it change the way you live your life? What behavior changes do you notice? How does it affect the way you relate to yourself and others? What else do you notice as you imagine your life with your intention as already true? And most importantly, how do you feel with your wish come true?
Now, as we move toward completion, feel your body resting here in this room, still aware of your wish come true as a feeling in your heart. You might like to set an intention to take this feeling with you into the balance of your day, along with the feeling of inner peace that pervaded the practice.
Gradually now begin to deepen your breath, bringing gentle movement into your fingers and toes, slowly opening your eyes. Perhaps bringing a stretch into your whole body. And when you’re ready, rolling to one side, eventually finding your way into a seated position, taking this practice into your life
If this episode has resonated and you’re looking to deepen this idea of getting your body back on board, of listening deeply to your symptoms, of listening to the whispers so you don’t have to hear the screams, and you’re looking for one to one support or professional training, then reach out to us at [email protected]
where we can customize your learning path. That’s [email protected]
. Looking forward to hearing from you.