What’s one of your biggest fears? Fear is an interesting thing. It is such an important instinctual force that keeps us alive, but when left unchecked can quickly grow out of control, like the weeds in your garden. Sleep deprivation has grown over the years into a big fear of mine. I would argue that I had good reasons to fear it. Nothing good would come out of it for me. Anxiety was always triggered by sleep deprivation, and I’m not talking about your normal everyday anxiety. I’m talking about an anxiety that is impossible to reason with. Completely irrational. This particular anxiety has been a big scary monster hiding in my closet for far too long now. After a bad nights sleep this monstrous anxiety would follow me around like a shadow, and I would find myself at its mercy that whole next day, possibly next couple of days. Sometimes I could get away with a few bad nights sleeps before anxiety would come busting through that closet door to pay me a visit, but it always came. Sleep was my tool, a key specifically. It was the way I was able to keep that closet door locked so that anxiety couldn’t come out. I avoided that monster at all costs. Even the possibility of sleep deprivation would send me into a panic. Fear coursing through me. This cycle has gone on for years. I have a good idea of when this weeds seed got planted years ago, but won’t go digging into that here. So, cut to Friday, October 18th. If your reading this in real time its Sunday October 27th, exactly eight sleeps ago sleep deprivation paid me a visit. From around 2:30 am to around 5:30 am I could not sleep, but not just that night; every night after it too. No matter what I tried I could not get myself to fall back asleep. It’s almost as if the Universe knows when your ready. Knows when to test you. This amount of sleep deprivation has never consistently happened to me for this long ever. The Universe conveniently misplaced my key and said, “lets see what happens.” Around three days in I felt fear creeping up on me. This is around the time I would, in the past, begin anticipating my monsters arrival in terror. Instead of letting fear consume me this time, I acknowledged its presence then shifted my focus from what I couldn’t control, falling back asleep, and I began focusing on what I could control, keeping a calm, relaxed, and positive mindset. Lack of sleep has always made these more challenging for me, but once I pushed the ball rolling in this direction it built momentum fast. Each day sleep deprivation returned and each day I met it with a smile on my face and accepted the challenge to find peace within. I upped my self care. Drank my teas, did restorative yoga, listened to my body, gave my imagination positive and creative outlets to focus on, etc… and everyday despite the sleep deprivation I woke up happy. Not panicked, not fearful, just happy. Content with exactly what was happening. Trusting I was doing my part and it would all work itself out. Last night while laying in bed I gave myself permission to surrender it all. Especially the need to control my sleep. And last night I had my best night yet! If you allow it, everything can be your teacher. A chance to learn and grow. I have a good feeling this lesson is almost over. And I have an even better feeling that since my closet has been left unlocked this whole week, the monster has slipped out of it, into the night in search of someone who won’t refuse to feed him. You can’t force or rush healing, its a long, slow journey, where you have to continually show up for yourself and put the work in. (And also forgive yourself when you don’t.) But eventually, one day the Universe just might recognize your readiness and present you with something you thought you might never overcome, and you will surprise yourself with the way you flow through it with a grace you forgot you had hidden deep inside you all along.