The Sticky Space In Between

{Photo Credit :: picturesquotes.com}

{Photo Credit :: picturesquotes.com}

A few months ago the lovely Michelle taught a yoga class where she talked about “the sticky space in between.” The idea was something along these lines:

You’re not quite where you started, but you’re not yet to the next destination. Things are changing, it’s uncomfortable, and and you will likely feel inclined to rush through as quickly as possible … but consider fighting that urge. Instead you might linger, feel the unsettled feeling, surrender to the fact that you’re not entirely sure where you are headed next, be with what is.

It was one of those classes where I felt like the teacher was speaking directly to me. Like she was inside my head (and heart), saying exactly what I needed to hear in that moment. {Of course, I’m sure that at least half of the class felt the exact same way, but that’s beside the point!} And her words stuck with me.

Lately I’ve been struggling with the sticky space between wakefulness and sleep. Off and on, I’ve had trouble sleeping for years, but lately it’s been especially bad. Somewhere around 8pm I start to get antsy.

  • I wonder whether tonight I will be able to fall asleep.
  • I think about all of the things I needed to but didn’t get done that day.
  • I imagine what my life should be like right now.
  • I wonder what tomorrow will bring.

And I just get more and more antsy as the night wears on.

I try to will myself to be in the present. I try to focus my energy on positive thoughts. I try to have a plan — tonight I will write in my journal and read more of my new favorite book, or tonight I will practice yoga at home and work on teacher training homework. I take medication. I gave up caffeine almost a year ago. Yet I keep finding myself falling back on old destructive habits as I attempt to rush through the sticky in between, as I try to avoid feeling uncomfortable, as I struggle against surrendering to what is.

Friends, tonight I’m here to say that I don’t have all the answers. In fact, I am here to ask for your help … How do you work with the sticky space in between? How do you care for yourself in the evening so that you can get a good night’s rest? How do you surrender to what is when you don’t know what will come next? I would love to hear from you …

9 comments

  1. it’s the nights that kill me. I struggle. I don’t have any anwers either. I’m looking for peace. for love. for calmness. At night, i can’t even begin to find it. i panic. i worry. i think too much. i look for a kind word. i could use a hug. you’re not alone. i think there’s a lot of people just like you and me.

    1. Steve, thank you for sharing so honestly. Even when there are no answers, there is so much comfort to be found in knowing that you’re not alone. Sending a virtual hug your way.

  2. Really liked this post…its inspiring.

  3. the practical way i help myself when i’m struggling to fall asleep is to give my self permission not to sleep and to really practice self-care the next day.

    i make sure my room and bed are the most comfortable they can be and while trying to fall asleep (with my brain that won’t turn off) i make my body as comfortable as humanly possible with the thought that at least i can do is rest my body in a restorative nest. then i promise myself if i don’t get much sleep i will practice the most kindness and tender self care the next day because i won’t be at my best.

    making it “ok” not to sleep and being tender to myself has helped so much. beating myself up never works for anything, so doing the opposite must help some. i usually do fall asleep and i really do practice self care the next day: healthy food, no caffeine, gentle yoga.

    i wish you well. stressful times are definitely made worse without good self care.

  4. The sticky space in between where you were and where you want to be seems to me like the stuff of life. You’re not alone in this. Discontent is loudest when our ambitions are at rest, and I have lost sleep over it too; from time to time I still do until I remember my Father in Heaven. We may not see eye to eye on world views, but I hope at least you find peace knowing the worries about tomorrow, what our lives should be now, and what we don’t accomplish are really based on a false premise, namely that our worth is based on what we do. Our worth is really based on who we are. And for proof, your honesty is what truly impacts people in a positive way. It is exactly our relationships that testify for us. I hope this encourages you, and Steve, and anyone who still answers to that inner critic, as I call him. Remember Ratatouille!

  5. Oh, those darn sticky spaces! The chattery chatters in my mind plagued me (and still do sometimes) in the wee morning hours (3:30, 4:30). Lately, I’ve been doing one of two thing: writing all that “stuff I have to do” down in a notebook beside my bed. I just make a list and tell myself it will be waiting for me in the morning. Or, I simply count my blessings. I think of everything in my life that I am grateful for. As I watch little “gratitude sheep” jump over my head, I am able to relax and sleep a little longer. Good luck!

  6. Hi Bekah, I don’t have any answers but I can confirm that you are in good company. My last post was about something similar. For me, choosing to trust that the process of life has more wisdom than my ego is a start…. But that makes me so uncomfortable ! It’s a step toward growth anyway – and don’t they say every journey begins with a single step?

  7. I run away from the sticky spaces! But just long enough to calm myself, and sometimes that takes a few days. However long it takes, lately I’m trying to remind myself that it will be fine, things have a way of working themselves out, that it’s ok. Remind myself that I remember this feeling, this wanting to run away, and that it passes. I think of this now as self-care. Maybe write it down, how you feel in the sticky space – so that next time you find yourself there, you’ll see it as a familiar place, maybe even as a place where you’ll truly find yourself. Maybe you need to be there right now, maybe you even need to languish there. Sort of like when you first learn to swim, you think you’ll never be able to stay on top of the water, how is it possible? It’s certainly an uncomfortable feeling. But with practice…..with just taking it one little moment at a time because you’re so focused on staying afloat you can’t even think about swimming all the way to the other side of the pool…but with practice…..it happens. Trust yourself.

  8. Reblogged this on Some Thoughts In Time and commented:
    Sometimes things are best left said by others instead of trying to put them into other words that may not be so effective. This is one of those times. I hope everyone enjoys this Reblog.

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