By Keri Nola, LMHC
Throughout our days we are fielding the energy of numerous people, places and experiences. Whether we are consciously aware of it or not, we are either choosing to honor ourselves or abandon ourselves to meet the needs of others while hoping to avoid potential disagreement and gain external approval. The residual effects of frequent self-abandonment can show up in the quality of our sleep as the psyche continues to process and attempt to heal misalignments.
When we mindfully engage in an emotionally based bedtime ritual, we can assist ourselves in holding space for unfinished business without having it interfere with getting a peaceful night’s rest. Did you know it’s even possible to encourage your psyche to use dreamtime productively to resolve inner struggles? Read on for some suggestions on creating a healing bedtime ritual that honors all aspects of your mind, body and spirit, and has the potential to support you in moving from restless to rejuvenating sleep.
Bedtime Intention – Before getting into bed, it’s helpful to establish an intention for welcoming forward the parts of you that experienced struggle during the day and may be in need of healing. You may try taking a deep breath and saying something like, “I now welcome awareness of my day’s events and the parts of me influenced by them, and I choose to hold space for myself now.” Let your intuition guide you. This can take 10 seconds or several minutes depending on what it takes for you to feel grounded and centered with your intention. Trust that you will know when to move forward.
Burden Basket – After establishing your intention, be prepared with some small rocks or crystals that will be used to hold your burdens. Choose one or more burdens you wish to identify and release before bed. Now holding each rock, acknowledge what you are asking it to hold for you while you sleep, i.e. “I now release the burden of the fear I felt during the conflict with my boss today, and I welcome peace in my heart about this situation.” Repeat this step for as many burdens as you wish to consciously identify and release and then place the rocks in a container you wish to use as your “Burden Basket.” The basket will hold your burdens while you sleep. It is important to cleanse and clear the rocks regularly to release the energy they are holding for you —y ou can do this by putting them in water, salt or salt water, or putting them outside in the sun or moonlight.
Blessing – To seal the ritual, you may consider a blessing, mantra or prayer. My favorite is: “I now call back home all parts of me that I knowingly or unknowingly abandoned today. I apologize and forgive myself for the ways I struggled to take gentle care of myself the way I deserve to be taken care of, and I offer these parts love and healing. I also collect and release the parts of others I knowingly or unknowingly took responsibility for that do not belong to me, and I send them back to their owners with love. I ask for Divine support and healing in my dreamtime as I continue embracing my wholeness one day at a time. And so it is!”
Remember these are just suggestions. It’s important you personalize your own bedtime healing ritual that resonates with you rather than adding something to your to-do list that feels like a chore. Follow your intuition and honor your unique needs. Be open to trying new approaches if something doesn’t give you your desired result the first time around. Sweet dreams!
To learn how to create the perfect atmosphere for sleep, read Nolan’s article “Creating a Sacred Sleep Space.”
Keri Nola is author of “A Year on Your Path to Growth: Daily Inspirations to Reconnect with Your Soul,” and founder of Path to Growth LLC, a Central Florida-based integrative healing center that blends traditional and holistic techniques for journeys to peace. As a Licensed Mental Health Counselor, Nola provides psychotherapy and facilitates therapeutic retreats for those seeking to reconnect with their inner wisdom, particularly after trauma or loss. She also offers heart-inspired business consultations for healthcare professionals. For more information visit www.pathtogrowth.com, on Facebook and Twitter @pathtogrowth.
NOTE: Picture of Keri Nola by Monica Alfonso
Wow, I love this article. Creating intention and ritual are so important. Very well written. Thank you
You’re welcome, Meg! And thank YOU for reading and sharing your thoughtful comment. Sweet dreams,
Thank you for this lovely suggestion. After a very restless night processing many bits and pieces from yesterday, I am ready to try setting an intention. I need my sleep for more creative dreaming. Your idea of deliberately doing a brief review sounds very practical to me!
You’re welcome, Karen! I’m glad my suggestion resonated with you and I wish you well as you gather all parts of you in preparation for a restful and productive nights rest. ~Keri