Here’s a little thought work from my notebook since I couldn’t sleep last night. I hope it helps. By the time I got to the end of the page, I felt better (but it was time to wake up so I didn’t go to sleep):
I can’t sleep. I can’t sleep because my brain is going crazy over things I’m worried about.
What are you worried about?
I’m worried about time management, I’m worried about appearances, about singing a Joni Mitchell song, planning the women’s retreat, organizing Fun Day, making sure I’m responding to emails in a timely fashion, doing what I said I was going to do, the upcoming shows that need promoting, tour, Montreal, money, upcoming recording projects, devoting enough time to my family, fundraisers, fitness, healthy eating, booking and so on.
Why are you worried?
I’m worried that I will not meet expectations. I’m worried about judgment, I’m worried about missing details on the list of things to do.
Why are you worried about judgment, not meeting expectations or missing details?
Because I don’t like thinking about people thinking poorly of me and how I’m not doing a good job.
OK, so what if they do think poorly of you and what if you do a bad job?
Then I’ll be disappointing myself and others.
What if you disappoint yourself and others?
I’ll feel bad and I will have proven their criticism to be true.
What do you gain from feeling bad and being a disappointment to others?
I get to indulge in my habit of self-loathing and feeling sorry for myself. I get to excuse myself from hard work and prove to myself over and again that I don’t do a good job because my self-loathing and depression make it so I do nothing.
And what do you gain if you dismiss worry as counter-productive? What do you gain if you take worrying about other’s approval completely off the table?
Then I get the power I need to complete the job the best way I can and not get frozen in self-doubt. I get the power of working efficiently and productively free from the distraction of judgment and criticism. I get to see this day and this time as a gift to be appreciated instead of a day that needs survival mode. I get to look around and see the good things in abundance that God has blessed me with instead of fixating on the one thing that’s trying to make me believe I’m drowning. Because I’m not drowning. I’m actually totally fine. I’m beloved, I’m free, I’m being invited into a world of wonder. I am not a prisoner.
And this is how struggle doesn’t live here anymore even if I’m up at 3am. I do have quite a bit of work to do, that’s true. But I’m more than capable of doing it. I used to think that being OK was a luxury that no one really ever gets unless they’re on vacation, but it turns out being OK is an option for every damn day. Even on bad days, we can be OK. Even when we can’t sleep, we can turn on the flashlight, dust the corners, find the ghost lurking and tell it to get the hell out.