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Up in the Night

Melli O'Brien






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Up in the Night

In this meditation, we'll use breathing strategies and body relaxation to rest deeply and settle back into sleep.

Hi there.

If you're listening to this

meditation, you're most likely awake

in the middle of the night and I

know that this can be frustrating.

So we're going to use this meditation

as an opportunity to help settle

the mind and relax the body.

And it's important to first acknowledge

that, you know, trying to force

ourselves to fall asleep really

just ends up creating more tension.

And so notice your relationship

to being awake right now.

Is there any sense of frustration,

tension, stress, or maybe

rumination about tomorrow?

Or just rumination about sleep in general?

Let's start by noticing these thoughts

and just giving them space to move

through this sky of your mind,

recognizing that they're just thoughts.

They're not necessarily true

and not necessarily helpful.

And see if you can invite your

awareness away from those thoughts

and back into the breath in your body.

Just the simplicity of

one breath, one moment.

So not focusing on the breath for the

sake of falling asleep, but just meeting

the breath with a curious awareness.

Any sort of forcing or trying to

manipulate yourself into sleep,

will just create more tension.

So instead we meet this moment as we would

meet any other moment of wakefulness,

just giving it presence and allowing that

presence to be a little bit more relaxed.

And if we happen to fall asleep,

then we'll allow that to happen too.

So let's just take a few breaths

together here as a way to lower the

heart rate and relax more deeply.

So we'll just start by breathing

in slowly through the nose.

And then exhaling slowly

out through the mouth.

And breathing in again through the nose.

And breathing out again through the mouth.

And letting the whole

body relax on the exhale.

Just releasing all the air in your lungs.

And just inviting you now to take a few

more breaths like that at your own pace.

Each time you notice the mind wandering

off into thoughts, just try to

observe it with a spacious awareness.

Just meeting it with a complete ease,

just a soft acknowledgement, Oh, the mind

is thinking, as if you were watching the

mind dreaming and then just return that

attention gently back to this breath.

And you're welcome to continue the deep

breathing if you find it helpful or

you can now just let the breath just

settle back into its own natural rhythm.

So we'll do a body

relaxation practice now.

Just scanning our awareness from the

head all the way down to the toes.

And just remember, even though we might

have the desire to fall back to sleep, any

sort of strong intention to fall asleep

can often create more tension in the body.

And so we approach this moment with

the recognition that we're awake right

now and trusting that maybe there's

some wisdom to the mind and the body

wanting to be awake in this moment.

And since we can't force

ourselves to sleep, we can

meet this moment with presence.

Just inviting the mind and body to relax a

little, inviting them to settle a little.

And maybe we fall asleep, and if

not, we're practicing relaxation,

presence and meditation.

And that in itself is restorative.

So see if you can bring that

sort of relationship into this

moment and into this practice.

So as we begin, just bringing all

of your awareness and inviting it

to the face, the head and the neck.

And just inviting all of the

muscles of the face to relax.

Allowing the forehead to relax.

And the eyebrows.

And then just bringing

awareness to the nose.

And the cheeks.

And the mouth.



And then really having a sense

of letting your whole head get

heavy as it rests on the pillow.

And sliding your awareness down into

the neck and shoulders and just notice

how the shoulders are right now.

Is there some tension?

And inviting the shoulders to relax.

If it's helpful, you can feel as if

you're breathing into and out from

these different parts of the body.

You might even like to visualize the

breath moving in and then touching any

tension that might be there, enveloping

it with presence, care and kindness.

And imagining that on the exhale,

just imagining that tension

softening and melting a bit.

And then sliding awareness

down into the arms.

The whole length of the arms,

including the hands and fingers.

And notice if there's any clenching

in the hands and fingers, and

invite the hands to be soft.

Sometimes when we're awake, it's

because there's a little bit of

excess energy in the body and we

can't always force that to relax.

Sometimes it just needs to run

its own course, but we can meet

it with a relaxed awareness.

We can give it a grounded,

peaceful container to move through

so that it can run its course.

And so that can feel really restorative.

It can really give us a sense

of ease, even when the body

has a lot of energy in it.

So let's just bring awareness

into the chest region now.

Maybe you can feel that gentle

rhythm of your heart beating here.

And then sliding awareness

down into the belly.

And feeling the breath here and

letting each exhale soften your body

deeper into the mattress beneath you.

And letting each breath that you feel

through the belly and through the body

be an invitation for a gentle gratitude

that you're alive right now and that

you're awake to experience that aliveness.

And sliding the awareness

now to your back.

And feeling the breath as it

expands some of those muscles

on the back on the inhale.

And feeling the back relax

a little on the exhale.

So if you notice maybe any sense of

tightness or holding here, you can bring

your awareness there and invite those

parts of the body that are tense to gently

soften, even if it's just a little bit.

And then moving the focus of awareness

down to the pelvic region, and just

relaxing this part of the body And

sometimes when we're stressed, we can

get a lot of tension in this area.

And so we're just giving it

the invitation to be at ease.

And then beginning to

tune into the thighs.

And just feeling into the thighs,

the hamstrings and the quadriceps.

Maybe even just feeling the

coziness of your legs under

the blanket or in your pajamas.

So just noticing what it's like

to feel cozy in your body and to

feel the stillness of the night.

And then just continuing to slide your

awareness down, down through the knees

and into the calf muscles and the shins.

And each time your awareness touches

the body, it's like a soft hand

on the back saying, It's okay.

You can relax.

You're safe.

And then coming all the

way down into the feet.

And now as you take your next breath,

see if you can feel the breath moving

through the entire physical body.

Just being aware of the whole body

now, enveloping it with presence,

with compassion and with love.

Just seeing what that would feel like.

Holding the whole body

in a loving awareness.

And then on the next exhale,

feeling the whole body surrender

just a little bit more.

The body is always present.

So just tuning into the body

and letting the body and mind

settle and soften abd relax.

So as we come to the end of this

meditation now, just remember

that you can replay this or

listen to it again at any point.

And if you'd like to stay in the silence,

you can continue to practice being

with your breathing, scanning through

your body and inviting it to relax.

And at the very least just taking

this time to appreciate this moment of

stillness, of aliveness, remembering

that we can't fight being awake,

it'll just really create more tension.

So we might as well appreciate it.

If that leads to deeper

asleep and ease, that's great.

And if not, we've restored

ourself through presence.

So I wish you deep rest.

Thank you for your practice and take care.

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