It was my third night in a row of insomnia. My brain was latched onto a problem that had persisted over months of back and forth, leaving me feeling out of control, overwhelmed, and unable to let go. In my view, it was taking too long to resolve and I had very little control over the issue. It felt like the slow, painful removal of a bandaid.
The “witching hour” seemed to always be 3 a.m. Each night I tried concentrating on my breathing, changing my focus, practicing conscious relaxation, but none of those worked. I couldn’t release the buzz in my brain or my limbs.
It is suggested that when you can’t fall back to sleep, you should get out of bed and do something with low-lighting that avoids looking at screens. I went downstairs to listen to a guided relaxation, but that didn’t help either. I came back upstairs feeling out of control. I begged my Spirit Guides for help. Please show me a sign that you are listening.
Distraught, I lay on the couch with my cat on the floor next to me. Ah! Petting animals is supposed to lower blood pressure. I reached down and pet him for a bit, still feeling lost.
On the coffee table was a book that I had gotten off the shelf a few weeks back: How to Be an Adult. I picked it up thinking it might be a useful distraction. Or, there’s a message in here for me somehow. With both thumbs, I randomly opened to a page that I sensed was what I was supposed to read. On the right side was a new chapter about adult relationships. Whatever, I thought. That’s not where the problem is. That’s where I get the most support.
On the opposite side, was a quote that exactly matched where I was at emotionally. Therein was my answer and the sign I had asked for:
What is hard to appreciate, when terror shapes a catastrophic gap, is that blankness can be a Fertile Void. The Fertile Void is the existential metaphor for giving up the familiar supports of the present and trusting the momentum of life to produce new opportunities and vistas.
The acrobat who swings from one trapeze to the next knows just when he must let go. He gauges his release exquisitely and for a moment he has nothing going for him but his own momentum.
Erving and Miriam Polster, Gestalt Therapy Integrated
My stress was immediately calmed with the reminder that I was not going at the speed of Life. I wanted an end to the pain immediately. I also had distrusted the Universe that things were being orchestrated to work out in due time.