Insomnia is horrible, but it taught me I have the right to use my time however I choose. I wrote a Hecate Goddess prayer to claim my power and sleep better.
Someone who’s never suffered from longterm sleep deprivation can easily think insomniacs are making a big deal about nothing. Lack of sleep can be hell, causing serious problems. E.g., at one point, it debilitated me to such an extent that a minor infection was able to grow into a major infection, and a hospital stay was avoided only by hours. Luckily, in those few hours, the infection finally turned around.
Sleeplessness is terribly misunderstood. An insomniac friend of mine was actually told, “If you just put in a good day’s work, you’d be tired enough at night to fall asleep right away.” My friend is one of the hardest workers I have ever met and, if anything, needs to take a lot more time off work, not less. Sometimes I wonder if he is running on pure adrenaline in order to get through his far-too-long workday, so at night is too amped up to sleep.
There’s a world of misinformation on the topic, which doesn’t help when someone is desperately asking, “Why can’t I sleep?” E.g., insomniacs are too often told that if they managed stress better, so had less anxiety, they could sleep. Argh! While tension and worry can ward off sleep, or be a partial cause, there are other common causes, some of which are purely physical. I’m grateful that, over a decade ago, a physician explained the physical reason for my insomnia (something about my kidneys, if memory serves), as opposed to there being a psychological component. The doctor treated the physical problem with herbs for nine months, and then the insomnia left for about 15 years.
But it returned. Badly. I am waiting for the herbal treatment I am again doing to kick in.
If you have experienced the nightmare of insomnia, I encourage you to find whatever gift insomnia can give you. The proposal that a hellish time can have a beneficial aspect is not meant to make light of a bad situation. I simply believe I have to find life’s gifts wherever they are.
Here’s a story about a gift sleeplessness gave me:
The Freedom of Being Awake All Night
November 2, 2019
Unremitting insomnia has necessitated late rising, whenever possible, so that I don’t become seriously ill from lack of sleep; Multiple Sclerosis symptoms are badly exacerbated by exhaustion.
However, last night’s rest was long and lovely. Then, I rose in the wee hours this morning.
It was still dark. I moved slowly and happily through the house, as I said morning prayers, tended to my feline familiar, planned my day, and made breakfast. A cozy, quiet, blessed time.
Then the sun started to come up.
At sunrise, my body began to leave itself—reaching out, energetically speaking, to go who knows where, with no decision on my part that departure should occur—as if I do not have a right to my own being. As if I have no right to remain within myself.
When awake throughout the night, I feel no obligations, am not accountable to anyone or anything, not even to my far-fetched ideas of what I owe myself. I use my sleepless hours as I please.
However, when sunlight returns, some part of me believes I must give myself away more than is healthy, leaving nothing within.
Self-ownership is a human right; I’m mine, to do with as I wish.
To be clear: my feeling free of obligations and accountability in middle of the night doesn’t mean I shirk responsibilities or forsake morals. Quite the opposite. I always go the last nine yards for my students and other friends. And morals are vital to me, not only for their own sake, but also because nonethical behavior can seriously hurt the person doing it. I’m light-years from perfect, but I have high moral ideals that I work hard to achieve.
I believe in giving all of myself away. However, only by owning all of self do I have all of self to give.
It is only in giving all of self that one finds all of self.
But, paradoxically, one must not give too much of oneself.
Addressing the physical, spiritual, and emotional aspects of a problem can be an effective combination. Along with the herbal treatment, I wrote an affirmation and a Hecate Goddess prayer to claim my power and sleep better.
I chose Hecate because She supports us to claim our power, stands at the crossroads where inner change can occur, and loves both the night and the day. Her love of both night and day is not commonly known, but She told me about it Herself.
Affirmation to Claim Sovereignty and Sleep
I have the right to use my time however I choose.
I have the right to control my own life.
Today, as the sun rises, I stay within my own being,
as much as I choose. I deserve to own my self.
Self-ownership is a human right;
I have a right to my—my!—being;
I am mine, to do with as I wish.
I indulge myself.
I take care of myself.
From self-ownership, self-sovereignty, and self-care
spring the perfect abilities to fulfill duties to community.
Maintaining full selfhood fosters choices that
most effectively serve community.
In owning all of self,
then I have all of self to give.
My days and my nights are my days and my nights.
I sleep well, in Hecate’s cozy, loving protection.
So mote it be!
Note: Hecate is known for dealing with the underworld. So someone might be surprised by my finding Hecate’s protection cozy. However, She’s too often portrayed as one-sided, as opposed to Her incredibly multifaceted Self. I can turn to Her for everything. Contrary to popular belief, She is not restricted to the underworld, nor to fierce behavior. She has power in all domains and is as gentle as She is fierce.
Hecate Prayer for Sleep and Control of My Own Life
Goddess Hecate, please keep me mindful that
daylight does not take away my rights.
Goddess, please keep reminding me
that my joy is important.
Teach me how to fall asleep.
Guide and protect my nights that I might sleep well.