I probably say this phrase ten or more times a night.  I say it with humor, with calm, with irritation, with comfort, with exhaustion, with resignation, with hope.  I have one child who holds tenaciously to her last waking moments, who feels the slip-slide into sleep not as a relief but as a frightening experience.  I have another child who kicks and tosses and turns and then all of a sudden falls asleep.

Recently I decided to bring in the dog as the children were going to sleep.  I figured she might be comforting.   Sure enough, the dog’s presence makes going to sleep much easier and less distressing for my sleep-fighter, and keeps the kicker happy while she’s kicking off to sleep.

I wonder sometimes when I look at these children what they are reflecting in me.  I know they are their own little people; and I know they are old enough not to catch every single vibe I give off in as transparent a way as they did when they were younger.  But because I spend so much time on bedtime, I just wonder.

Sometimes I think I fight release, I fight trust, I fight relief, because it implies a loss of control.  And sometimes I think I do go kicking and tossing and turning into new thought-patterns.

I’m just realizing that nothing ever changes on the outside, no matter how much it looks like it has changed, unless the inside has shifted in some way.  And I’m starting to see substantive shifts in my outer life that reflect inner changes.  The odd thing is that these changes do not appear dramatic (well, this is odd for ME anyway LOL).  They don’t call attention to themselves.  They simply flow.

And that flow, that right there can feel like a loss of control, like something I have to hold myself back from or force myself into.  It’s new just to be here, now, and to feel freedom inside as I experience it approach from the outside in truly surprising ways.

I wonder sometimes what it would feel like to be a person whose existence didn’t cause pain to those I love.  I wonder what it would be like to feel like I’m a blessing instead of a danger.  And so I hold off on allowing relief, believing I don’t deserve it yet.  I hold off on accepting caring, believing it’s a sign that I’m weak.  I hold off on flowing with my own life path, believing that it will bring me to a thorny or rocky end.

But then, at some point in every evening, the children drop peacefully off to sleep.  It happens every night.  At some point the fighting stops.  At some point the anxiety gets overtaken by peace.  At some point the body quiets.  And rest comes.

I feel this too, as I release myself into whatever peace is calling my name at the time I feel most anxious.  At some point rest comes.  At some point that THING that’s been stressing me, freaking me out, making me feel crazy, is just done.  And the energy dissipates and then peace remains.

And so I close my eyes, and go to sleep.

William-Adolphe Bouguereau (1825-1905) – Rest (1879) – Public Domain