The Warm Milk Journal

A nurturing place for people who can't sleep

An Evening Prayer (from the Jewish Faith)


I will be posting prayers on a regular basis from a variety of sources. The Warm Milk Journal does not promote one religion over the other. My spirituality is somewhat eclectic in that I find scripture and prayers from different faiths to be beautiful and supportive of my spiritual growth, peace of mind, and a restful night of sleep.

This one just happens to come from reformed Judaism (the religion of my childhood)

An evening prayer (from Gates Of The House: The New Union Home Prayer Book)

Lord, Your touch unseen brings sleep upon my eyes, You make

my lids grow heavy with the night. Grant that I may lie down

in peace, and rise up to life renewed. Let Your majesty and

beauty be in my thought at end of day, and at the moment of

my awakening!

Lord, Guardian of Israel, You neither slumber nor sleep.

Blessed are You by day, and blessed by night; blessed when

we lie down, blessed when we rise up. For in Your hands are

the souls of all living and the spirits of all flesh.

May angels’ wings caress me all through the night; let Your

good presence hover at my side. Lord, spread the shelter of

Your peace upon me, my dear ones, and all Your children.

Into Your hands I commend my body and my spirit, both when

I sleep and when I wake. In Your presence, I cast off fear and

lie down to restful sleep.

Amen

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April 29, 2010 Posted by | Prayers, Spirituality | , , , , | 1 Comment

A word listing activity for when you can’t sleep


In your journals, as fast as you can, write down as many words as you can that:

  1. start with “tr”
  2. start with “ch”
  3. start with “la”
  4. end in “le”
  5. end in “er”
  6. end in “ous”
  7. start with “dr”
  8. end in “ion”
  9. start with “z”
  10. start with “qu”

This exercise ought to tire that monkey mind right out and get you sleepy again.

Good night.

April 29, 2010 Posted by | insomnia, lists, puzzles, Tips to help insomnia | , , , , , | Leave a comment

What Are We Doing To Nurture Our Relationships?


Remember the old Barbara Streisand song: People (“People who need people”..) It may sound a bit cliche but we do need each other. There are scientific studies out there that show evidence that people who are more connected to others live longer, are less depressed, have more energy and purpose, bounce back from illness quicker, and are over all happier.

When we are younger there is more time to cultivate those special friendships and relationships. As we get older we take on more responsibilities and it is easy to neglect our social lives. Relationships are like gardens. They do need tending to in order to thrive.

I have certainly been guilty of not calling my parents as often as I should, losing touch with special friends over the years, forgetting to send birthday cards, etc.

Here are some ideas to feed and water and nurture our relationships:

With our kids, everyday:

  1. tell them we love them
  2. give them a hug
  3. read them a story
  4. give them our undivided attention (even if it is just for a few minutes) regularly
  5. turn off the tv or put the newspaper down
  6. get active together! take a family walk or bike ride
  7. play a game together
  8. sit down at the dinner table and eat together
  9. get to know our kids: ask them questions
  10. plan family outings, adventures, camping trips vacations

With our spouses or partners:

  1. tell them we love them
  2. give them hugs (sounding familiar?)
  3. go on date nights regularly
  4. plan occasional overnight trips even if you have young children
  5. take turns cooking a nice dinner for each other
  6. send little fun or sexy text messages to one another
  7. write notes to each other
  8. light candles and put on nice music for dining
  9. be playful! dance, do something out of the ordinary
  10. really listen to each other
  11. focus on what you appreciate about the other and let them know
  12. smile
  13. strive for understanding instead of “winning” when you have a disagreement
  14. plan fun adventures together
  15. go for walks
  16. turn off the tv
  17. pamper each other: making the coffee, back rubs, doing a household chore without being asked
  18. don’t take things personally
  19. read John Gray’s Mars and Venus book (a must for any couple!)
  20. laugh together
  21. use “I” statements instead of “you” statements when expressing feelings
  22. talk honestly when something comes up  instead of avoiding issues (long term resentment is an absolute love killer)
  23. practice forgiveness

With our colleagues:

  1. greet them warmly each day
  2. smile
  3. be respectful and courteous
  4. practice using “I” statements instead of “you” statements
  5. collaborate
  6. practice gratitude as much as possible
  7. be helpful
  8. get together for coffee or lunch once in a while
  9. ask them how they are doing and mean it
  10. be positive

With our parents:

  1. call them regularly
  2. thank them regularly
  3. ask them if there is anything we can do for them
  4. practice forgiveness knowing they did their best with what they had

With our friends:

  1. check in with someone you haven’t heard from in a while
  2. send  or email them a note of appreciation
  3. take them out for lunch or coffee and catch up
  4. find new ways to have fun together
  5. make time for the friendship

With strangers: the world is smaller than we think. How we treat the person checking out our groceries or the person in the vehicle in front of us on the highway does make a difference in the quality of our lives.

  1. smile and greet everyone we encounter
  2. volunteer our time at a school, senior citizen organization, hospital, food bank, etc.
  3. help a neighbor
  4. pay for the vehicle’s coffee behind us the next time we drive through Starbucks
  5. be happy, positive, and enthusiastic ourselves and our good energy will benefit others

Yes, Facebook, texting, email, twitter, and all forms of new social media are wonderful for staying connected with each other. But let’s not totally rely on these methods of communicating and relating. I just read this week in the newspapers that teenagers’ preferred way of communicating is texting. I believe talking with each other on the phone or in person(even better!), and even an old fashioned hand written letter are still very important and more meaningful interpersonal interactions than electronic media.

Yes, we are busy. Some of us are naturally extroverted. Some us have more introverted natures and tend to hole up in our caves. We do need each other. We benefit greatly if we making tending to the relationships in our lives a priority. What we give we do get back.

April 29, 2010 Posted by | Self-empowerment | , , , | Leave a comment

Five Journal Prompt Ideas


Here are some prompts for your journal writing time:

  1. What is a fear you have always had? How would it feel to just be free of it?
  2. What did you used to want to do when you were in third grade?
  3. What are you thankful for this very moment?
  4. Go to a bookshelf in your home. Close your eyes. Pick out a book and randomly open it. Write down something about that page. Reflect.
  5. When was the last time you laughed? What caused you to laugh? How did it feel to laugh?

April 29, 2010 Posted by | Benefits of Journal Writing, Journal Prompts, journal writing | , , , | Leave a comment

Awareness the Mew Way


Mew is my wonderful, adorable long haired black cat. Like any cat, Mew recognizes the need to be aware and conscious of his surroundings. It always amazes me how fast a cat’s reflexes are when they hear something. Cats can leap and spring into action faster than anything. However, when there is no loud noise to react to, Mew is chilling. He may continue to be aware but he is relaxed and can stay in this totally relaxed, napping state for an incredibly long time. I don’t think Mew is going to age prematurely due to undue stress he is putting on himself. Nor do I think he is lying there on the foot of the bed worrying about much of anything.

In summary, what can I learn from Mew? For safety’s sake and my survival I should be aware of my surroundings and be ready to take action when (and only if and when) immediate circumstances warrant it (a loud noise, someone much bigger than me about ready to step on me, etc.) Otherwise, just chill. Relax. No worries. Stress? What’s that? Problems? Are you kidding me? Fuhgettabout it…I am too busy taking my nap, ok?

April 29, 2010 Posted by | The Mew Way | , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Joys Of An Evening Stroll


One of my favorite activities in all the world is going for an evening stroll. I love: the fresh air, smells of something good cooking in neighbor’s homes, appreciating well-landscaped yards accentuated with pretty lights, the quiet, the crickets or frogs playing their chorus, the pitch dark on moonless nights, the gorgeous moon and its light on other nights, Jasmine and other sweet smelling flowers, the movement of my body, the feel of the breeze on my skin… oh the joys of my evening walk.

It is a lovely ritual: whether alone or with my partner. I simply love it. It is truly one of life’s pleasures. A stroll after dinner aids digestion and will help us have a more restful night of sleep. It is good for our fitness, overall health and weight. It helps create peace of mind and a sense of well-being. Often I might feel stressed or agitated about something, go for my walk, and come back feeling all balanced again. Walking helps get the creative juices flowing too and I often come up with some of my best ideas while on a walk.

Give it a try. Just don’t exercise too close to bedtime.

Debra : )

April 29, 2010 Posted by | Physical Exercises, Tips to help insomnia, walking | , , , , | Leave a comment

Winding Down


Many of us after a day of work, getting the family fed, catching up on a few household chores, paying the bills, bathing kids etc. are ready for some down time before going to bed. What kind of activities do we choose? Watching the evening news? Watching movies with a lot of excitement and violence in them? Playing video games? Catching up on emails?

Instead of participating in anxiety inducing activities, we can try activities such as these instead:

  1. reading something heartwarming or inspirational
  2. reading something fairly mindless and relaxing like a magazine
  3. do a puzzle
  4. play scrabble
  5. crochet, knit, scrapbook
  6. write: creative writing, writing in a journal, writing letters
  7. meditate
  8. gentle yoga
  9. easy evening stroll
  10. take a bath
  11. listen to soothing music
  12. play with your cat or dog
  13. draw, color, or paint
  14. play an instrument
  15. slow dance with your spouse or partner
  16. give and receive a massage with your partner
  17. make love

April 29, 2010 Posted by | Tips to help insomnia | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Two Bible Verses Good For Sleep


“In vain you rise early and stay up late, toiling for food to eat- for he grants sleep to those he loves” psalm 127:2

“I will lie down and sleep in peace, for you alone, o lord, make me dwell in safety” psalm 4:8

(found in comments on http://www.selfhelpmagazine.com/article/insomnia)

April 29, 2010 Posted by | Prayers, Spirituality | , , , , | 2 Comments

The Who, What, and Why of The Warm Milk Journal


Who am I?

I am a 43 year old mother, second grade teacher, and enthusiast of many passions such as: working out, the beach, the outdoors, yoga, reading, writing, cooking, gardening, and travel. For many years I was challenged with anxiety for a variety of reasons:raising an autistic child, financial and health challenges, living in Seattle’s climate for 15 years, having a people pleaser personality etc.

This anxiety was pretty well contained during my waking hours. At night, however, it was a whole other story. Panic attacks and sleeplessness were common night time experiences. For a few years I was on a low dosage of Clonazapem (an anti anxiety drug) just so I could sleep at night. I have been off this drug almost three years now.

Currently I reside in sunny Florida, am happily employed, sleeping well, and enjoying life. I have worked hard these past few years to learn how to break some old habits of behavior, change negative ways of thinking, and stopped doing things that were no longer serving me. I read many excellent spiritual and self help books, went to empowerment seminars such as Tony Robbins’ Finding the Power Within, and did everything I could to actually put these new life skill tools I learned to use. I am still a work in progress but I can tell you that I have never been happier in my life. I am relatively anxiety free now, very rarely have a panic attack,  am drug free, and only occasionally wake up in the middle of the night (usually because my precious partner is snoring).

Who I am not: It is probably important for me at this point to state that I am not a doctor, therapist, or any kind of medical or mental health professional. Always, of course, seek the advice of your health care professional for any medical condition you have. I am not going to promote or discourage the use of sleep or any other kind of medication. That is between you and your doctor.

What is The Warm Milk Journal?

The Warm Milk Journal is a place for people to visit who are having anxiety and insomnia issues. Here, people will hopefully find a distraction when they can’t sleep, ideas for getting better sleep, ideas to become the most centered and healthiest people we can be,  diversions such as journal prompt ideas to get the mind on something else,  community, and  support.

Why The Warm Milk Journal?

I know what it is like to have anxiety and not be able to get a good night’s sleep. It can be very miserable. When I was in that state I did not feel very good about myself or my life. I feel so good now thanks to some new tools I have learned in recent years. It is my goal to help people and for people to know that they are not alone. There is a good many of us out there with these issues and we can get better and be there for each other.

Debra : )

April 28, 2010 Posted by | anxiety, insomnia, journal writing, Self-empowerment, The Warm Milk Journal | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Getting in the habit of setting good intentions


Setting intentions can move our lives in a more positive direction. It gets us moving forward, purposefully. We are more conscious about the kind of day we are going to have, what we want to accomplish the next year, five years out etc. I find that when I set a positive intention, say for my day, I am more positive and complain less- and guess what, I tend to have a happier day. I think others around me pick up that positive energy as well and they seem to be more cheerful and friendly.

How do we set an intention? We could certainly write one in our journals, mention it in our prayers or meditation, or share it with someone in our life. I find I do very well when I share an intention with someone close to me. There is kind of an accountability factor in sharing intentions with another person.

So give it a try! What is one good intention that you can set for the day?

I, Debra, am setting an intention for this day, Wednesday April 28, 2010 to be present with every person I encounter today.

Have a wonderful day!

April 28, 2010 Posted by | Self-empowerment | , , | 4 Comments