The Warm Milk Journal

A nurturing place for people who can't sleep

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.

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

“Tension is who you think you should be. Relaxation is who you are. Breathe”- Japanese Saying


When you are afraid of something, breathe.

When you are angry, breathe.

When you are feeling impatient, breathe.

When you are tense, breathe.

When you are irritated, breathe.

When you are feeling panicked, breathe.

When you are restless, breathe.

When you can’t sleep at night, breathe.

Breathe

May 10, 2010 Posted by | anxiety, Meditations, Physical Exercises, Spirituality, Tips to help insomnia | , , | Leave a comment

“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

For All You Mothers Out There


For the new mothers: You are losing sleep right now feeding and nursing and soothing your babies throughout the night. You are chasing toddlers and arranging play dates and countless other activities for your families and households.

As your kids get older there will be school issues and different life issues as the years pass. Kids grow up. Moms remain moms.

I am 43 years old and I still need my mom. I am thankful for the talks, the cheering up during times I am down, the candles and clothes from Kohls sales she likes to send me, and her just being there.

There are moms out there who may still have children at home and are also dealing with the strain of aging parents. God bless you.

There are moms out there adjusting to life with empty nests. Kids in college or out on their own working , marrying and raising families of their own.

I am thankful for my two kids, Stephen and Aimee, ages 15 and 12. They are getting older but still need me. The best thing that ever happened to me was when my son was born (almost 16 years ago now). I can still remember those early days with that new baby and thinking: now what do I do? I don’t know how to be a mom. Here was this most exquisite little creature completely dependent on me. The days of being home with him, nursing him, holding him, watching every little development…it was a magical, miraculous time and I really felt like I was hanging out with God.

I am thankful to know what it is to love something greater than myself and learn to give so much of myself. There were times during those earlier years that I didn’t think I would make it. Lonely days as a young stay at home Seattle area mom. Sleepless nights. Tears like the rain that so often fell. Older moms would tell me that they are little for such a brief time. Enjoy the time with them. I would nod my head, but back then not really understanding. Back then, it would seem I would always be the mom of little kids: immersed in the world of plastic toys, baby board books, mommy-toddler story times at the library, play dates with other kids and their moms ….., intricately planned themed birthday parties, camps, girl scout troop meetings, etc.

Now, they are older. Instead of trips to Toys r Us for presents during the holidays or for birthdays, it is gift cards or cash. They want to do their own shopping. We still have family time but what they really want is  time with their friends. They are older. They still need me. But it is different.

I remember when I first found out I was pregnant. A coworker of mine excitedly exclaimed: “Oh, Debra, you are going to have a little boo-boo! Children are such a blessing!”

Children are a blessing. And so are their mothers.

Happy Mothers Day

Debra : )

F

May 8, 2010 Posted by | Heartwarming Stories, insomnia, Parenthood, Spirituality | , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

An Affirmation For Patience


Affirmation:

Today, I catch moments of impatience and turn them into opportunities to quiet my mind and feelings, and fully engage in co-creation with Spirit. I appreciate the power of divine right timing in my life.

(from May’s issue of Science of Mind Magazine)

May 6, 2010 Posted by | Affirmations, Meditations, Spirituality | , , , | Leave a comment

A Bedtime Prayer: “Instrument of your Peace” by St. Francis of Assisi


One of my favorite prayers of all time:

Lord, make me an instrument of your Peace.

Where there is hatred, let me sow love;

Where there is injury, pardon;

Where there is doubt, faith;

Where there is despair, hope;

Where there is darkness, light;

And where there is sadness, joy.

O Divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek

To be consoled as to console;

To be understood as to understand;

To be loved as to love;

For it is in giving that we receive;

It is in pardoning that we are pardoned;

And it is in dying that we are born to eternal light.

St. Francis of Assisi (1182-1226)

May 5, 2010 Posted by | Prayers | , , , | Leave a comment

Affirmations for Calming The Monkey Mind


One of the most frustrating experiences for many of us with anxiety and insomnia is dealing with our “monkey minds”. This refers to when our minds are  endlessly chattering on irritating worries, replays of the day or interactions with others, analyzing and agonizing over something over and over again. You know what I am talking about here. During the day I am so busy that I usually can keep that monkey mind dormant while I am taking care of the tasks of the day. It gets more challenging at night, however, as the house quiets down and it is time to retire.

Many of the posts here at The Warm Milk Journal in some way address the issue of quieting our mind enough so that we can  sleep well at night and live a healthy balanced life during the day. Ways to quiet the monkey mind are: meditations, diversions and distractions, affirmations, taking walks, getting support from family, friends, or counselors if something serious really is causing these anxious thoughts. Often, though, there isn’t really anything “wrong” with us or our lives. We are just in the habit of thinking  non stop in this way.

Sue Patton Thoele in her wonderful book, The Woman’s Book of Courage, likens our monkey thoughts to dwelling on fleas. They bug, irritate, pick, scratch, and bite at our minds until our feelings fester and they are kind of making us crazy (right?)

She advises us that if we notice our monkey mind concentrating on” fleas”, we can distract it with thoughts of “bananas, love, or thankfulness”. She reminds us that we need to be gentle with ourselves as we calm our monkey mind, because doing so is a life-long process.

Some affirmations to try:

I am in charge of my mind

I choose to think healing, loving,

and thankful thoughts.

I have the power to create peaceful thoughts

even in stressful situations.

May 3, 2010 Posted by | anxiety, insomnia, Meditations, Self-empowerment, Spirituality, Tips to help insomnia | , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Power Of Music


There are certain kinds of music that I play when I want to relax. Here are some that I have enjoyed over the years when I am relaxing with a glass of wine, want to soothe babies to sleep, soothe myself after a long day…

  1. Classical Music
  2. Hawaiian music
  3. Gregorian Chants
  4. Hebrew Music by Debbie Friedman
  5. Jazz

What is some music that relaxes you?

May 3, 2010 Posted by | Music, Spirituality | , , , , , | 2 Comments

Being Silent


Being silent at times is very good for us. It calms our nervous systems down. Calms the mind.  Soothes the soul. Helps us to connect to our higher power. After a busy day with my second graders I really need that time. If I get it, I sleep much better at night.

How can we fit in times to be silent and be still in our busy lives? Here are a few suggestions:

  1. If you commute, turn off the car stereo once in a while
  2. Sit and meditate during work and lunch breaks
  3. Set up times at home when you intend to be quiet and then communicate with family members not to interrupt you
  4. Take a walk without your music
  5. Spend time outdoors alone
  6. Go on a silent retreat
  7. Unplug: turn off phones, computers, all electronics!

When you do emerge from your time of silence you will be much more refreshed and have more to give.  You will be more centered and will sleep better at night.

May 3, 2010 Posted by | insomnia, Meditations, Self-empowerment, Spirituality, Tips to help insomnia, walking | , , , , | Leave a comment