1. Am I grateful? Gratitude is a great balancing force. It allows us to be kind to ourselves and have a greater perspective of where we REALLY stand. Find something to be grateful for and… More
The ART OF GOING TO BED is one of my mega posts (over 2,000 words) and it is one of your favorites! It’s also full of information on one of my favorite things and that of course is going to bed!
So, I decided to re-post it for those of you who might have missed it or for those that need a little reminder on how to get a good-nights’ sleep!
The lack of proper sleep can have an overwhelmingly negative effect your mental health, physical health, productivity and overall quality of life.
The Art of Going to Bed celebrates simple steps for investing in the most important part of the day, preparing to sleep!
Between our careers, families and other important things we care about, taking the time to care for ourselves often takes a back seat.
As a mom, wife and entrepreneur I had to find creative moments to nurture and sustain my mind, body and spirit and preparing to sleep has become a vital and sacred practice that I award myself with at the end of the day.
This practice helps me to resign the stresses of the day, submit to rest and rise better prepared to face the challenges of tomorrow!
We all know what it means to sleep. And because it’s so easy even a baby can do it, it can be extremely frustrating when we have to wrestle with it every night. And because it appears to be a simple concept, we can take for granted how important it is to our mental health, physical health, productivity and overall quality of life.
So before we go any further, let’s start by reminding ourselves of some simple sleeping basics.
- Go to bed at the same time every night.
- Pick a bedtime when you’re usually tired.
- Get 6 to 8 hours of sleep each night.
- Avoid caffeinated drinks before bed
- Stay away from big meals close to bedtime
- Avoid alcohol before bedtime.
- Minimize noise and light.
- Avoid late evening naps.
- Minimize the consumption of liquids close to bedtime.
- Exercise early.
- Some hot teas and warm milk are said to help you sleep better
The ability to manage everything on your mind is a major task when preparing to sleep. I used to have the habit of settling into bed, staring into the air and revisiting the events of the day. The quiet of bedtime became a trigger for my mind to wonder. I’d think about what happened during the day, what I did, what I didn’t do, what I should have done and how I’d fix everything tomorrow. And eventually, this became normal.
But what I didn’t realize was:
- This was becoming a bad habit and a regular unhealthy bedtime ritual.
- The themes and ideas of these late night thoughts would seep into my dreams.
- I was allowing my bed to be a place where I rehashed my worries and plans.
- Worry and planning was becoming the very last thing I did right before I’d close my eyes to sleep.
- The physical action of getting into bed was becoming a trigger for worry and planning.
All these things contributed to shallow and unsettled sleep while also causing me to wake up super conscious of the stresses of the day before.
Do this instead:
- Create a Mental Bedtime– a time when every thought & action thereafter is dedicated to preparing to sleep, nothing else!
- Assign a time prior to your mental bedtime to review the day and plan your actions for tomorrow.
- Create a trigger to remind you of your mental bedtime- an alarm, a TV show going off or coming on, after your usual phone call with your sister, etc.
- In the beginning, reward yourself every time you honor your mental bedtime- purchase an aroma candle, new comfy socks, your favorite tea etc…anything that encourages sleep and relaxation.
- Minimize phone calls, exposure to any electronics and social media that might disturb your mental bedtime.
- Let your family know your mental bedtime so they can help to support you.
This may be a little difficult at first, keep trying. Eventually it will become natural and effortless. Remember to use your triggers; they can be very powerful when trying to introduce new habits.
There has been many a day when I have gone to bed ready-road! Ready-road is an old fashioned term my parents would use when my brothers and sisters and I would fall asleep in the same clothes we had worn all day!
By not taking the time to honor your body with the proper thoughtfulness and care for what is going in and on your body prior to bedtime, makes it highly unlikely that it will consistently grant you the pleasure of a good nights’ sleep!
- When your mental bedtime has clicked, assess what your bodys’ needs based on the activities of your day.
- Cleanse your body. Consider a warm shower or bath or whatever you deemed necessary in order to eliminate the residue of the day so that you feel renewed and refreshed.
- Smell “nice” and feel good to the touch. The feel of clean skin against clean cotton bedding is amazing!
- Perform your usual beauty routine. Here a simple one. Thoroughly wash your face, tone & moisturize. Brush your teeth, Lotion the rest of your body, don’t forget your feet.
- Select sleepwear that is loose and comfortable and made of natural fabrics. Natural fabrics breathe and will keep your body cool. Include house slippers or socks
- Remove any unnecessary jewelry or accessories.
- Free your face from the imposition of your hair falling across it throughout the night by putting it back with a soft band or scrunchy.
- Eliminate anything tight or binding. If you prefer to sleep in a bra, it is suggested that it be light weight with no under-wire.
- Be sure to take your scheduled night time medication. Safely keep them at your bedside as a reminder.
- Make your bedtime bathroom run. Be sure to do this before you get into bed, there’s nothing more frustration than having to get up in the middle of the night to use the bathroom if you can help it.
If you treat your body well, it will respond to you likewise!
When I was a little girl, my Mom’s bed was the best place in the world to be! I felt safe, warm and protected there. And anytime I had a hard time sleeping, it was the first place I’d turn to for rest. I took note of practices my Mom used to make sure her bed was a haven for sleep.
- Make sure your bed is clean and free from crumbs and clutter.
- Choose colors that are calm and subtle.
- Only use your bed as a place for sleep and other pleasurable activities; so that when you enter, your body and mind knows only good things await!
- For optimal use update your mattress every 8 years.
- Use cotton sheets.
- Replace your pillows every two years. Those stuffed with buckwheat hulls, Japanese igusa grass and rubber are said to be the most comfortable for sleeping.
- Never place shoes at the head of the bed. (I’m not sure why, it’s something my Mom taught me)
- Keep the area around your bed free of unnecessary debris.
- Create a decompression space to sit and rest before you get into bed.
- Be careful who you let in! Your bed is your refuge and should only be accessible to those you love and those that love you!
What we see, feel, smell, touch and hear right before bedtime can influence your state of mind and stimulate you in a way that may make sleeping difficult. There was a time when I was so busy and distracted that my bedroom had become my dinner table, office, entertain room and a social space. It looked and smelled like a cross between my local office depot and pizza hut!
- If you must utilize your bedroom for multiple purposes, clean up behind yourself as soon as you’re finished.
- Store garbage and smelly trash in a more appropriate location.
- Dust regularly.
- Use cleaning products that are not too abrasive or heavily scented.
- Keep your favorite aroma candle lit from time to time.
- Try not to use this space for arguments or disagreements.
- Keep your bedroom cool even when you’re not there. It’s refreshing to come into a cool space at the end of a long day.
- Keep a live, small green plant where it can be easily seen in your bedroom.
- Let soft music/sounds play in the background from time to time.
- Open the curtains and let the sunshine in at times.
- Open the windows from time to time to clean the air.
This can get a little exhausting but if you make even the smallest effort, it will make a big difference in creating an environment that invites sleep.
When was the last time you jumped up in the middle of the night because you thought you forgot to do something important? Having kids and/or trying to manage all of your responsibilities can cause you to fall asleep where you are, as you are, without first making sure everything else is as it should be.
- Make a list of every important thing you need to do before you go to bed.
- Create a ceremony out of completing each item, keeping in mind that every task you complete brings you that much closer to sleep. Here are some bedtime reminders:
- Check on the kids
- Check the lights
- Check the stove
- Make sure the doors are locked and alarms are on.
- Set alarms.
- Set timer on the coffee maker
- Prepare any necessary outfits, lunches etc.
- Say goodnight
- Check on the kids one more time!
You don’t have to do all of these things yourself; you can assign some of them to someone else. But if you do them then you’ll know they’re done! Completing your bedtime ceremony helps to calm your mind, settle the house and lets everyone know the day has officially come to an end.
When I lived in my first apartment, I was in a very bad relationship and I learned early in my life to take the time before I went to bed to connect with my higher source. Reminding myself that I was not alone, that there was an omnipresent, omnipotent, omniscient force accessible to me, to guide me through my troubles and gave me the courage to close my eyes and rest. These days, my life is in a much better place, but nevertheless, no matter how tired I am, I never neglect to say my prayers.
- Create a space ideally in your bedroom that you designate specifically for prayer, meditation, etc.
- This should be the very last thing you do before you get into bed.
- Here are some suggestions on prayer & meditation
- Get comfortable so that you’re not distracted by any physical aches or pains.
- Take a few deep breathes, in through your nose and out of your mouth.
- Before you begin to pray, concentrate on your breath, the rise and fall of your abdomen.
- Think on your higher source.
- First, speak/think of everything that you’re grateful for that day.
- Think/speak on the things that are challenging you and those you love.
- Ask for forgiveness
- Promise to do better
- Ask for what you need.
- Pray for the needs of those you know and those you don’t know
- Taking this time to connect to Spirit;
- Settles the mind
- Helps to elevate stress and worry
- Gives you a renewed sense of hope
There are the moments between the time you get in the bed, the time you close your eyes and the time when you actually drift off to sleep. Sometimes sleep can come on before you know it but sometimes it can take a while. There are a few little things you can do between these moments to encourage sleep in.
- With each sleepy bat of your eyes;
- Think on good thoughts
- Think of gratitude & gratefulness
- Notice the in and out of your breathes
- Notice the comfort you’re feeling as your body gives way to the warmth and protection of your bed.
- Note that at this very moment all is well.
It used to be a time when I would jolted myself out my bed with a sense of urgency to start my day; like I was already behind even before my day got started! I was neglectful of the moment. I simply got up and got started! Over the years, I realized that the way I rose in the morning was indicative of the way I went about the rest of my day.
- Be slow to open your eyes once you know that you’re awake, make a moment of it! You’re alive and that’s a good thing!
- Look for the sunshine. Guide your eyes to where the sunlight is coming through; this will help to establish a more hopeful spirit for the new day.
- Be slow to get up just in case there are any cramps, aches or pans that manifested over night.
- Make a statement of gratitude for the day before you let your feet touch the ground.
- Say a simple prayer for guidance as you go about your day.
- Get out of bed, take a deep breath and stretch.
- Take in some water & morning sunshine to wake-up your digestion and collect a little Vitamin D
The Art of Going to Bed…the end
Practicing the art of going to bed may seem a little overwhelming at first but eventually you’ll realize that these are really just some common sense habits. And when you can do even some of these things consistently, they can make a noticeable change in your sleeping habits and your ability to accomplish other really important stuff!
Good Night…Sleep Well.
Disclaimer: Please be aware that the information provided in The Art of Going to Bed should not substitute for or be considered as a medical or mental health tool. I don’t dispense medical advice of any kind. The information provided is general in nature, given with the intent of assisting you in your quest to get a good night’s sleep.
You’ll receive over 2300 words laid out in a 24 page beautifully created pdf!
Do me a favor let me know you’ve got your copy in the comments below!
How to Build a Dream is my first major ebook you guys! And I can’t tell you how excited and nervous and happy I am to have been blessed with the responsibility of getting it out into the world!
But I need your help!
I’m looking for a few reviewers/draft readers to give me their input and opinions good, bad or indifferent. It’s a first draft and approximately 12,000 words/70 pages, it’s short but powerful!
Some of you have been with me for awhile and some of you are new to the family and I trust you all! So if you would like to be a part of this journey, please let me know by leaving a little note along with your email in the comment section or you can contact me directly here.
Thank you all so, so much!
Focus, Hard Work, Believing & Grace
Pick one and start there; to get anything done successfully you will need to engage them all!
I started with grace. Grace has been defined as unmerited favor; goodness or gifts that are bestowed upon us that we have no reason to expect.
The challenge lies not in the lack of grace in our lives but lies in our inability to recognize and acknowledge it. Acts of grace are abundant and are all around us. Here are a few gifts of grace that you may have lost sight of;
It is by God’s grace that:
- We can ponder the idea of a life of greater purpose.
- We desire right and not wrong.
- We have this day, this moment, right now!
There are many, many people who work really hard to make great things happen but when you can walk in a spirit that is conscious of the grace factor, aware that even if you fall short, grace can not only make its way in and carry you over but it can bring you to the door of divine possibilities!
Make a list of moments of grace in your day to day life, while also making note of those moments when your reward far exceeded your expectations. Make it a practice to acknowledge these moments. This habit will humble your heart and make you more worthy than you will ever realize.
.. that ability to center our minds on the manifestation of one thing. Some of us are blessed with many gifts and it becomes difficult to choose what to solely commit ourselves to. But know that if you are truly in line with your gift, no matter what you do, you will always return to it in some way.
Look for this!
Look for whatever that thing is that consistently appears in your life, that thing that you are always being told you’re good at. When people tell you you’re in the wrong business, what are they referring to? Yeah, that!
Work to begin to narrow your energy and effort to this thing. When you’re in line with your gift, focusing on it will be something you look forward to and you do gladly! You just need to create a system that allows you to focus on it consistently and effectively.
Begin with these steps:
- Create your plan of action. It should have a small and doable end goal, one with easy action steps that will be easy to commit to. Once you’ve completed it, you will be more encouraged and have the confidence to move forward to something bigger and get even closer to where you’re headed.
- Decide when you have uninterrupted time to devote consistently to manifesting your plan of action. The important thing here is consistency; stopping and starting won’t get you there!
- Write it down. Keep a journal and pen ready for expected and unexpected ideas and inspiration.
- Stay organized.
- Find reliable support & resources.
I think the concept of hard work is relative. On the outside, it may look like you are making tremendous sacrifices, laboring hours upon hours and YOU ARE. But what’s happening inside, is a spirit of excitement, eagerness and purpose! You love it and in fact you lose all track of time.
Don’t be disillusioned, there will be times when you will want to stop, give up or question whether or not you’re on the right course. These moments are the hardest. These are the times when what you believe for yourself will either pick up and move you forward or have you to pack it up and call it a day…more on this later.
So, how do you ensure that your hard work is effective and that you’re not just running around chasing your tail?!
One of the most important keys to making sure your hard work pays off is a well thought out plan. The last thing you want to do is to jump out there and wing it. You will waste a lot of time and energy and open the door to failure and doubt. Know exactly what you’re going to do every time. When you take the time to plan your hard work effectively, it will always yield good fruit, even if it’s not what you expected.
Five major components of a well thought out plan include:
- Goals- Long & Short Term
- Doable & Realistic Action Steps
- Reasonable Timetables
- Reliable Resources & Support Sources
- An Dependable Accountability System
Note the use of the words, doable, realistic, reasonable, reliable and dependable. Don’t get so carried away with getting it done that you sabotage your efforts with unrealistic ideas and expectations.
This is where the magic is! Your belief is what will sustain you when times get tough. Believing has the power to move barriers and can cause the universe to lean in your favor!
Believing in yourself is that part of your Spirit that speaks to what your true purpose is. Either we listen to it and have the courage to act on it or we close our minds to it because we have yet to recognize and accept our God given potential, our gift!
Your belief system is nurtured and fortified every time you get it right! When you are in line with your gift, you will begin to experience successes. They may be small at first, but that’s ok, that’s all you need for now. These successes will validate that you are indeed on the right track.
They may not appear as you expect so be prepared to accepted them however they come.
So, I guess your question now is, what if I’m not getting it right? Suppose I’m not having any success at all?
My answer is to give it some time, only you will know how much. If your allotted time has passed with no validation or confirmation that you’re headed the right way, slow down or stop all together. Review all that you have done. Reconsider your purpose and intention. Be sure that what you’re setting out to do has a broad and generous purpose and that your intentions are not purely self-serving.Take the best of what you’ve done and learned and redesign/revise your strategy and your vision and start again.
Time For Prayer & Gratitude:
Thank You for renewing my spirit of hope and encouragement. Sometimes I get tired and it gets hard to stay on the path. These words of direction have strengthen me and I’m ready to go a little farther. Allow me to also be a source of encouragement to someone else along my way.
My Little Sacred Secrets for Staying Divinely Guided!– I was talking with a young beautiful woman so full of energy and passion to make change in the world that she could hardly contain herself!
There was so much that she wanted to do and she felt like she had finally decided how she would go about it!
But somehow, she was still a little unsure about the direction she was taking. So I shared with her how I ensured that my decisions, especially major decisions are divinely guided!
Stop Getting Stuck in the Hurt! – We have all had our fair share of hurtful moments; moments of fear, loss, disappointment, heartbreak etc.
Sometimes these moments are small and pass quickly but sometimes they don’t; sometimes we get stuck in the hurt!
I’ve been stuck in the hurt a few times.
Like the time when….
A Lily in the Valley-The End– As most of you know, over the past couple of months, I have been sharing with you the time in my life when I live with domestic violence.
I want to thank all of you for reading along and supporting me throughout this very emotional but empowering process.
I’m finally bringing my story to a prayerful end!
During the month of October, I will be hosting A Lily in the Valley- “The Conversation”; where I invite all of you to have a conversation with me about not only the impact of domestic violence but the impact of any great pain, loss or disappointment on our lives and how these experiences can hold us back from being our greater selves. I will discuss and share more about my experience with domestic violence and how I not only survived but emerged clear in my purpose. I will be using my eBook A Lily in the Valley as a starting point and center of conversation.
If you would like to join us and I do hope you will!:
- Subscribe to begintobelieve.com so you will be notified of the date and times
- Follow me on Periscope @begintobelieve which is where I’ll be hosting- A Lily in the Valley- “The Conversation”.
- Purchase “A Lily in the Valley ” here so that you can follow along!
National Domestic Violence Hotline-1-800-799-7233
I hope you all are having a wonderfully long an relaxing weekend!
Until next time my loves!
Sometimes these moments are small and pass quickly but sometimes they don’t; sometimes we get stuck in the hurt!
I’ve been stuck in the hurt a few times.
Like the time when my first crush broke my heart because I just wasn’t his type. I spent a lot of time, wishing I had shiny, wavy hair like the girl he chose instead of me. It took me a while to get back to embracing my brown skin and kinky hair.
Like the time when I told my parents I was pregnant and they shunned me and told me what a disgrace I was. And for nine months I felt alone and ashamed, missing out on what should have been a beautiful experience.
Like when the love of my life hit me for the first time. After that, I spent the next several years lost not knowing who I was and what my life would be like from one moment to the next.
But it was through these moment and others that I realized that when we’re hurting, there are some steps we can take to help ensure that we don’t get so rooted in the pain that we lose ourselves and our place in our life journey.
So, here you go…
• Realize that despite what was probably a best effort, what’s done is done. Don’t spend too much time reliving the moment wishing it had been different. Yes, it’s only human to wonder how things could have been but the sooner you can accept things as they are the better!
• Cry! Cry hard and tell yourself that this time is the last time and hold to it!
• Spend more time around people that think you’re fucking fabulous!
• Spend less time with people who honestly think you suck!
• Even if all of it was totally your fault, it’s ok! Own up to it! Accept responsibility for all of it! It’s like taking a big dose of bad tasting medicine, it’s pretty horrible but you’ll be better for it!
• Filter out all the good shit! This may take some effort but there is some good that came out of the all mess.
• Make intentional efforts to get better. Whether you need emotional support, counseling, etc., take some practical steps to help you rise above it all.
• Solicit the advice of someone you trust to be that person to tell you where you went wrong.
• Solicit the advice of someone you trust to slap you out of it when they see you re-living it all over again!
• Watch for signs that you’re repeating some of the same things that landed you in all this hurt in the first place.
• Pray and meditate. Knowing that there is a power that is there to guide, heal and comfort you will give you hope that things can and will get better!
• Know that you’re not alone. There are tons of us who have experience that same type of hurt that you have. Reach out to them, connect and help each other!
I recently wrote a short ebook about my story of how I was stuck in the hurt; it nearly cost me my life. You can check it out here!
Getting and staying stuck in the hurt will steal your joy, rob you of your potential and deceive you into thinking that your life won’t ever be any different than it is at that moment!
The bottom line my loves is… FIGHT! Fight every way you know how to free yourself!
There is so much for you to do; so much goodness and happiness to be had…Go Get It!
I want to thank all of you for reading along and supporting me throughout this very emotional but empowering process.
I’m finally bringing my story to an end!
And I want it to serve as a example of how your life can feel completely hopeless at one point but then serve as a divine example of deliverance and purpose at another!
I am so grateful!
If you like, you can purchase the complete story here or at the link below!
All of God’s Blessings to You!
A Lily in the Valley- The End!
After I had filed the restraining order, I waited.
Every day I waited for the police to come and serve him. But every day when I got in from work, he was still there!
I guess he felt regretful for all things he had done because he tried desperately to do all the right things now.
But it was too late. T here was nothing he could do now to fix things.
When the day arrived to go to court, he tried to make me promises that things would better. He begged me to not go through with it. He even asked me to marry him.
I just ignored him.
But I did ask him why he didn’t leave after he was served the restraining order. He said that the police said that he just had to watch him leave and so he left and simply came back.
When we entered the courtroom, he tried to sit next to me but the officer told him he had to sit on the other side of the room.
That felt good!
We were called up before the judge, each of us at our respective table.
I told the judge about the night he put the phone cord around my neck and about the years of domestic violence that I had experienced with him over the years.
It all happened pretty quickly.
The judge was no nonsense and to the point. He had 48 hours to remove himself and all of his belongings from the house.
And just like that, 10 years of fighting, fear and tears had ended!
Before I knew it I was back home.
The kids were at Mama’s.
I don’t think I had ever heard the house so quiet.
I went over to the window and at that time I couldn’t afford curtains or blinds so I used white sheets for curtains.
And there on the floor was my old faithful tape player and inside was my only tape, “Lily in the Valley!”
I pressed play and drew open the curtains.
As the song played, the sun flooded over me and through the house as if to wash away all the pain and hurt that used to live there.
I cried and cried but this time because I was overjoyed.
I was free!
By no means do I want to minimize all the events that occurred during this time.
For example, I didn’t mention how this life affected my ability to manage a healthy relationship.
I didn’t mention the long term affects it had on my son.
I made no mention of the nightmares or
how it fed my own aggression and insecurities.
I didn’t mention the affect it had on my mental and physical health.
I didn’t mention its affect on my ability to trust in people.
I didn’t mention its affect on my ability to make sound decisions.
I didn’t mention the impact it had on my family’s faith in me.
And I didn’t mention how it affected my ability to forgive.
This is list could go on indefinitely.
Suffice it to say, these years were long, hard and dangerous. And even today, I can sometimes see the residue of this experience appear and fade.
And it is important to note that I would not and do not recommend that anyone take the steps I took under these circumstances because I failed at what was most important.
I failed to protect myself and my children at the first sign of danger.
But I thank God!
I thank God that He kept me and my children despite my weaknesses and fears.
I thank God that I found my faith which continues to sustain me.
I thank God that I now know that hope combined with a plan and prayers are the tools for positive change.
I thank God that real strength does not lie in fists but in the undying determination to make life better for the ones you love.
And I thank God that true love/real love, heals.
I am so grateful to be able to share this part of my life in this way in hopes that it serves as a small light on the path of those who need it.
The National Abuse Hotline-1-800-799-7233
Purchase the complete story at the link below!
And share it with someone you think should read it.
The month of July was full of change and re-focus. I hope these posts provide some light for you and your journey!
When the Heart, Mind and Spirit Can Agree, Failure is Almost Impossible!– There is no fool-proof way to avoid failure completely but I’ve learned how to minimize the impact and likelihood of it! So, it used to be that when I thought I had a great idea or goal, my mind would get overwhelmed with trying to figure out…
A Lily in the Valley – Chapter 14-Daddy Had Something to Say – It was the next morning. He had already left for work I guess. We had been sleeping in separate rooms for months. I stayed in bed for awhile thinking over everything that had happened the night before.
How to Know When to Redirect Your Focus-As most of you know, I am writing my first major ebook…Yay ! I am using a course I purchased called BookBoss-an ebook writing course created by Abby & Donnie Lawson…
Lord, Lord…Prayers to Pray When Everything’s a Mess! Hi My Loves; So, a few weeks ago, I started working out and basically recommitting myself to feeling better. And I remembered that I wrote a prayer about Health in my prayer book…