The Warm Milk Journal

A nurturing place for people who can't sleep

Expect The Unexpected


When things go better than planned, rejoice!

When you get an unexpected gift or break, thank your lucky stars.

Expect the unexpected. Hopefully more good unexpected things will come to you.

The universe is abundant. Let us receive our good (even unexpected good!)

Debra : )

May 11, 2010 Posted by | anxiety, Prosperity, Self-empowerment | , , , , | Leave a comment

Eating That Elephant One Little Bite At A Time


Vegetarians out there: please pardon this metaphor- but truly, how would you eat an elephant? One little bite at a time. Often we take on way more than we can chew. We get overwhelmed. Stressed. Our brains shut down. The answer? One small bite at a time.

It goes back to those baby steps we have talked about. I figure, so long as I am moving forward and taking some kind of action on my goals, I am going to achieve success. Action is important. If our ideas and goals are solely in our heads, we are dreamers and that’s about it.We don’t, however, want to take on too much at once- put too much  pressure on ourselves- and then have it all backfire because we get overwhelmed, discouraged, and quit.

Like all things in life- there needs to be balance. Small steps or bites, if you will.

I am continually reminding myself of this. The Warm Milk Journal, for instance, is a big project. Starting a new endeavor like this is a lot of work. There is a huge learning curve. There are parts of this project that come easier for me than others. I find the creative side a lot of fun and easier: the writing of the posts, reaching out and helping others, coming up with ideas for the Warm Milk Journal (because this is something I care and feel so passionately about). The more challenging areas for me are more the technical and business end of things that come with writing a blog. There is so much for me to learn and really I have just started. So I tell myself: baby steps, Debra. Small elephant bites.

I think if we enjoy the journey we will be happy with where we end up!

Debra : )

May 10, 2010 Posted by | anxiety, Self-empowerment, The Warm Milk Journal | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Finding Our Voice: Speaking Up For Ourselves


For many of who have anxiety issues, often a source of it is being shy and unsure of ourselves. I spent many years of my life not really speaking up: as a child with my family or at school, at work, in my marriage, etc. I think a lot of us have that “nice person” syndrome. We are afraid to really be ourselves because we want everyone to like us.

As a child and young adult I had a lot of sore throats and strep throat infections.  When I was very small, my parents took me to many doctors in Honolulu (where we were living at the time). My parents wanted the doctors to take my tonsils out. They did not and told my folks that I would eventually outgrow these infections. For the most part I did, but was still prone to strep throat well into my twenties. Even now if I am under a lot of stress or overly tired, a sore throat tends to be my first symptom.

Louise Hay in her book, Heal your Body, describes a sore throat as: “the inability to speak up for one’s self. Swallowed anger. Stifled creativity. Refusal to change.”

The affirmation for this condition Ms. Hay prescribes is this:

“It’s okay to make noise. I express myself freely and joyously.  I speak up for myself with ease. I express my creativity. I am willing to change.”

If we don’t speak up for ourselves, who will? I am a second grade school teacher. Little children at my school are expected to be quiet a lot of the time (no talking unless called on, no talking in hallways, in the lunchroom etc.). I was one of those well-behaved little children at school. I never acted up. Never got in trouble.

It is important to have a safe learning environment for kids. I understand the need to have order in the classroom. I sometimes wonder, however, if we discourage our young people from talking too much. It is easy to do this at home too when we are busy cooking dinner or reading the paper, doing emails etc. We need quiet and ask the kids to go play outside or tell them”not now, we will talk later”.

Some of us may have been born introverts. Perhaps though we have been conditioned to not speak up. It’s something to think about. We can work on reconditioning our old programming.

May 10, 2010 Posted by | Affirmations, anxiety, insomnia, Self-empowerment | , , , , | 1 Comment

Feeling Overwhelmed On Our “Low” Days


We all have high level energy days and low energy level days. When we feel good and have a lot of energy it is easier to tackle whatever life has for us. We feel more competent and confident. We feel more “on top” of things!

What happens to us though on our low days? We still have the same life, same circumstances, responsibilities, goals, etc. Somehow it all feels more overwhelming when we don’t feel our best, doesn’t it? When I feel low (from lack of sleep, being sick, time of the month, or just in a low mood), I feel daunted by things which on better days I am feeling great about. It is strange. It is almost like I am two different people. On these low days, my brain almost wants to shut down because I feel like I just can’t do it all or really any of it (if I feel bad enough).

Here are some thoughts about how to handle these low days:

  1. Low energy days are a part of life. They will come and go like clouds passing. They won’t last forever.
  2. Just be easier on ourselves on these days. Our perceptions are a bit clouded right now. We don’t feel our best. Accept that and be easy.
  3. Tomorrow is another day. Not getting anything accomplished on your to-do list today? Well, so be it. Who says we have to constantly work on a dead line anyway?
  4. Do something that is nurturing for you: nice cup of coffee or tea, read something relaxing, take an easy stroll, nap
  5. The world is not going to stop revolving on its axis just because we are not our super dynamo selves today.
  6. Listen to your body. If it is telling you to take it easy then do so. Our bodies have intelligence. Perhaps we just need to recharge. When we come back from this low period we will have lots more energy and creativity for the tasks we put on hold.

May 10, 2010 Posted by | Self-empowerment | , , , | 3 Comments

“In peace I will both lie down and sleep; for you alone, O Lord, make me dwell in safety”-Psalm 4:8


If feeling a bit restless when it is time to sleep:

repeat something to yourself that brings peace to you.

Try:

“I AM safe”

“God Loves me”

“I AM love”

“I AM peace”

May 9, 2010 Posted by | Affirmations, anxiety, insomnia, Meditations, Prayers, Self-empowerment, Spirituality, Tips to help insomnia | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Journal Writing: the benefits of keeping different kinds of journals


The benefits of journal writing are many. The ways to use  journal vary. Here are some ideas.

The Recording Journal: This kind of journal is where you chronicle your daily life. I kept this kind of “dear diary” journal most of my life (starting at about age 10). It is really interesting to look back on some of these journals you wrote as a younger version of yourself. You may find that some things don’t change much and you are still anguishing over the same  issues you did as a teenager (finding the right mate, your weight, etc.) You may also see all of the growth that life experience has given you. That is most satisfying. You may find patterns from your life that can give you some kind of insight for your present life. I look back on many of my journals and just feel thankful for the rich life I have had thus far.

The Travel Journal: This is a kind of recording journal but warrants a special book of its own. There is something truly expansive and wondrous about adventure and visiting new places. Your senses come to life as you take in these new experiences. You are taking photos most likely with your camera- so why not record your experiences in writing as well? It will be a wonderful souvenir of your journeys years from now.

The Gratitude Journal: We mention this kind of journal quite a bit here at The Warm Milk Journal. What we appreciate appreciates. It is hard to stay in a negative state of mind if we are focused on the many things we are blessed with in our life. On a daily basis write down things you are thankful for. I started doing this many years ago on my own and also with the guidance of Sarah Ban Breathnach’s The Simple Abundance Journal of Gratitude (which is never too far from my bedside) . Giving thanks is a wonderful habit and practice to get into.

The Worry Journal: This is another kind journal that comes up a bit here at The Warm Milk Journal. Many of us are losing sleep at night because our minds just won’t shut off the worries. The idea here is to give our minds a place and time to get all the worries out. List the worries. Then perhaps next to each worry write down a solution for it. This can then get us out of that hopeless feeling state. If our minds go back to worrying, gently remind ourselves that we had our “worry time” for now. We can also remind ourselves in this journal that 99% of what we worry about doesn’t happen. We can also play out the “worst case scenario”: if  what we are worrying about really happened, then what? Write it out. Would it really be as bad as our fearful minds have imagined it? On the top of each page of our worry journals we can write: This Too Shall Pass . Whatever is going on in our lives (good or bad) will pass. Life is dynamic. Is does not stand still. That idea alone has given me much comfort.

The Ideas Journal: You never know when you are going to get inspired and have a terrific idea. It is always a good idea to have a little notebook at hand to write down your ideas. I am using some notebooks  I have kept to develop some business ideas. Some of these ideas are quite good and they would have been lost if I had not jotted them down.

The Spiritual Journal: inspirational quotes, affirmations etc. I believe that journal writing helps us connect to our higher power. I often feel the closest to God when I take some quiet alone time with my journal and write. I sometimes write to God or the universe and ask for guidance. Our intuition and inner voice really comes out with this practice.

The Creative Journal: poetry, doodling, stories, anything fun, wacky. No censoring here. Just let your creative and playful spirit come out. This is a really fun kind of journalling experience. To get inspired, check out any of Sark’s books.

The Dream Journal: This can be fun. Have a journal by your bedside and when you first wake up, write down any dreams that you remember. Our dream world is pretty fascinating. Many  common recurring dreams that we have have been interpreted and it is interesting. There are may books on dreams. One good one  I currently have is the second edition of The Dream Encyclopedia by James R Lewis and Evelyn Dorothy Oliver.

May 9, 2010 Posted by | Benefits of Journal Writing, creative writing, journal writing, Self-empowerment, Spirituality, The Warm Milk Journal, Tips to help insomnia | , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Looking Forward To A Good Night Sleep Tonight


I am looking forward to a good night sleep tonight and this is why:

  1. I am happy
  2. I feel good about my life
  3. My daughter is happy
  4. I am in love with the most wonderful man in the world
  5. I ate a healthy delicious dinner tonight (portabello mushroom sandwiches, couscous with greek olives and feta cheese, and brocoli) with a Robert Mondavi Cabernet Sauvignon
  6. I am getting ready to go for my evening walk (my Ipod shuffle is charging as I write this)
  7. I am looking forward to Mothers Day tomorrow
  8. I am in The Now

I wish for all of us a good night sleep. Be safe. Be well. Know that you are not alone. You are loved.

Good Night

Debra : )

May 9, 2010 Posted by | anxiety, Self-empowerment, Tips to help insomnia | , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Let’s Stop Putting Ourselves Down or why I almost didn’t buy that bathing suit


I bought a real pretty two piece bathing suit today at a nearby surf shop. It fits me perfectly and I feel very good in it.  I had put off buying a new suit for this season for weeks because I kept thinking that I wasn’t thin enough yet and hence, did not “deserve” a new bathing suit. Never mind the fact that I take pretty good care of myself by working out regularly and eating well. I am fit and am at a healthy weight. I still have this weight on my, ahem, backside, that I wish was less than it is. It is just how my body is built and if I let it I can be pretty self-conscious in a bikini.

Why do we do this to ourselves? I could choose to focus on my flat toned stomach and arms and tell myself that “Debra, you go out and get a pretty new suit for your beautiful body. You work hard for your  body and you deserve it”. Instead, I almost did not buy this bathing suit today because I was focusing on my perceived “flaws”.

Remember, what we appreciate appreciates. What we focus on grows. It is up to us whether we talk ourselves up or talk ourselves down.

Hopefully we are choosing to be around people who support us and help us to see  our best in ourselves. My partner was that person for me this morning. He said I look great and encouraged me to get that new bathing suit I’ve been wanting.

Perfection is a tough standard to live by. It would be freeing and a great relief to learn how to be easier and gentler on ourselves. I am learning to do that. As a result, I am sleeping better at night. All those years of sleeplessness and anxiety were greatly attributed to that perfect image of myself that I thought I had to attain.

It is no fun to beat yourself up at night and not sleep just because you are being yourself. No, you are not perfect. Nobody is.

The sooner we can accept that, the sooner we can have peace of mind and a more restful night of sleep.

If you are awake with your journal, go ahead and write down all of the many wonderful qualities that you have:

  1. What do you like about your appearance?
  2. What are some of your abilities that you are naturally good at?
  3. What were some of your best subjects at school?
  4. Think of all the compliments people have given you. Write them down.
  5. How have you helped or made the world a brighter place for someone else today?
  6. What are some achievements that you are most proud of?
  7. Think of all the wonderful, miraculous things that your healthy body does for you

Smile, and know that you are wonderful.

(This post inspired by a chapter called “don’t put yourself down” in Richard Carlson’s book: Don’t Sweat The Small Stuff With Your Family, p.70)

Debra : )

May 8, 2010 Posted by | anxiety, Benefits of Journal Writing, Journal Prompts, journal writing, lists, Self-empowerment, Tips to help insomnia | , , , , | Leave a comment

Be a laser beam: the power of focus and purpose


Being focused on something that has meaning and value in our lives gives us a sense of purpose. I know that I am so much healthier mentally and emotionally when I have this focus going on. I coincidentally, have very little anxiety and sleep much better at night when I am focused. Direction is a good thing. We hear hear so often of people (men particular) who die of heart attacks soon after they retire.  I think it is because they lost their sense of purpose for their lives.  Play and relaxation is very important for a balanced life but we do need some kind of aim and goals to strive for.

What is one good thing in your life that you can really focus on? A healthy “obsession” that can inspire and drive you? If you have many ideas- write them down. then choose one. Make a decision to focus on one thing. Once you decide to focus and commit to a project or task it is amazing what happens: ideas pop up when you least expect them, people will come into your life that can mentor or support your idea, things just kind of galvanize.

Decide on one of your ideas and commit to giving it your all for 30 days- and then see what happens.

Debra : )

May 7, 2010 Posted by | anxiety, insomnia, Self-empowerment | , , , , , , | 1 Comment

What is working in your life and what is not?


I am at a point in my life (I am 43 years old) where I just don’t feel like I have the time to mess with things, people, or circumstances that are not working for me.

What is working for you? What is not? This is a great journal writing activity.

Ask yourself:

  1. What is important to me?
  2. What is in my life or happening in my life that lines up with my most important values?

These are the things we need to appreciate, thank God and the universe for, and focus on. What we appreciate appreciates! What we focus on grows.

We can then ask ourselves this question for our journal writing:

  1. What is in our lives that is not serving our greater good? (this can be people, things, places, circumstances)
  2. What is toxic?
  3. What is holding us back?
  4. What is not supporting us?

Once we have identified these negative influences in our lives we can choose to let them go. Write these things down on a separate page in your journal. Then tear it out and burn it in your fireplace. Have a nice letting go ceremony and be done with them already.

Then go back to the page where you wrote about what is working in your life. Ahhh..the stuff that is truly deserving of your time, energy, and attention. Look at that. Focus on those good things , appreciate them and they will be what dominate your life experience. Pretty nice, huh?

Debra : )

May 7, 2010 Posted by | Benefits of Journal Writing, Journal Prompts, journal writing, Self-empowerment | , , , | Leave a comment