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Desmond Tutu Desmond Tutu archbishop. author. peaceful leader.

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deep

Abby Seixas Abby Seixas psychotherapist. author. life balancer

Abby Seixas is a psychotherapist, author, speaker, mother, calligrapher, gardener, life-long spiritual seeker, and work-in-progress. [www.deepriverwithin.com]

I slept well until I had children. I’ve tried many ways of dealing with being awake when I don’t want to be, from counting backward as I breathe deeply to taking prescription sleep medication. During wakeful times, my mind often spins anxiously forward to everything I need to do in the coming day and how tired I’ll feel if I can’t get back to sleep. For obvious reasons, that train of thought doesn’t soothe me back into a deep and restful sleep.

But occasionally I have a very different experience in the middle of the night. I get out of bed, go downstairs, wrap a blanket around myself, and sit on the living room couch. As I surrender to being awake, heavy eyelids and all, something shifts inside me. I find I’m no longer fighting myself or fighting the night. I relax and begin to notice how quiet it is. In that stillness, my body softens and I breathe more deeply. I feel as though I’m dropping down into myself, greeting an old, dear, trusted friend. Sometimes I think about my life, but more often I just feel grateful for having a life, for being alive. And sometimes I have an experience that’s not easy to describe. It feels as if I’m finding myself again, coming home to myself. I tap into a sense of fullness and wholeness that makes not getting enough sleep seem like a much smaller issue than it was an hour before. Whether or not I go back to sleep, I’m deeply renewed.

When I drop down into myself in those quiet hours of the night, it feels as though I’ve tapped into a deep river running strongly beneath the busyness of daily life. When I allow myself to fully experience that deep river within, I connect not only with myself and what matters most to me but also with a powerful stream of silence, mystery, clarity, aliveness – a universal source of deep nourishment that provides a healing balm when life on the surface is too much. That’s where meaning lies for me.

If I’m disconnected from myself and from that inner source, I can go through the motions of life, but there’s a sense of dryness and emptiness. When I tap down into the deep river realm and let those nourishing waters replenish me, I get more clear about how I do – and don’t –want to spend my time, and, in almost any activity I choose to do, including the ordinary everyday stuff, I experience more meaning and joy.

– Abby Seixas

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