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With a Master of Fine Arts in Creative Nonfiction degree (Goucher College, August 2014), I am looking at a new phase in my life. From 1992 to 2009, I served as Founding Executive Director of Miriam's House, a residence for homeless women living with AIDS. I left this position when Chronic Migraine Disease overtook my ability to do my job. Now I hope that a writing career will both accommodate the migraines and give me a creative, productive outlet. And soon, September 4, I will launch my Inkshares author page in a bid to hit the 1,000 pre-order goal in 90  days. The book I want to publish is "Nowhere Else I Want to Be," a memoir of ten of my years at Miriam's House.

20 August 2012

"The Power of Now" and Pain: Dreamless Sleep

In my June 25 post, I began to write about Chapter Seven of Eckhart Tolle's book, "The Power of Now."  In this chapter, Tolle writes about what he calls "portals" that take us to the Unmanifested.  Today, I want to speak of the first portal, dreamless sleep, as it relates to those of us living with chronic pain.

Please refer to my June 25 post (link in first sentence, above) for a brief review of how Tolle talks about the Manifested and Unmanifested Worlds.

I don't know about you, but just the sound of the phrase, "dreamless sleep," can make me feel calmer: it's an attractive concept, evoking a quiet mind, a peaceful heart.  Yet, as someone whose chronic pain often keeps her from deep sleep, it also can make me feel frustrated.  Some nights, I'd be glad just to sleep, dreamless or not, and not be awakened by pain. 

I'm dealing with this "portal" first because it's the one over which I feel I have least control, and assume others with chronic pain may feel the same way.  Since I cannot control it, I have to let it go.  Otherwise, I add concern about missing a portal to the list of other things I might worry about when I cannot sleep. 

But I do have tools for dealing with sleeplessness.  There are plenty of places to find good advice on how to improve your sleep experience.  Here are a few:

Advice on "sleep hygiene": Mayo Clinic; and How to Sleep BetterPlease note that even a helpful list can be frustrating for someone dealing with chronic pain.  For example -- it's hard to follow advice about keeping a strict bedtime/arising routine when pain interrupts sleep several nights a week.  But other tips are useful, like avoiding heavy meals late in the evening.

Information on insomnia: WebMD.

I have cobbled together a set of practices for insomnia that accomodate the realities of the migraines.  Advice that is impossible to follow I just ignore.  Advice that I can follow, I add to my practice. 

If you have other resources, ideas and tips about sleep, please let me know. 

I would love to hear from you.  Please use the Comment link below, or email me at carold.marsh@gmail.com.  Thank you.


  1. I wanted to let you know that I have nominated you for the Sisterhood of the World Blogger Award. Please follow this link to see my nomination and the award rules: http://laborpain.wordpress.com/2012/10/24/sisterhood-of-the-world-bloggers-award/

  2. I am sorry it has taken me so long to thank you for this, gaiamom. I dropped out of the blogging world while I was in my first semester of grad school. But I'm back! And how good of you to make this nomination.