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Sweet Dreams

I’m a big fan of Jennifer Piercy, a yoga nidra specialist with some excellent sleep-inducing meditations on the Insight Timer app. I tune into Jennifer if I feel like I might have trouble dropping off to sleep. Between her soothing voice and her gentle invitations to sense what’s happening in my body, I usually conk out long before the meditation ends.

A couple of nights ago, I was listening to one of her meditations and she said something that helped me realize why her meditations work for me and shifted how I approach falling asleep. Here’s what she said:

“Please remember that contrary to what mainstream culture tends to be obsessed with, sleep is not a performance.

“Sleep is a form of grace. You don’t have to earn grace. It’s simply bestowed upon you.

“No performance pressure, no attachment to outcome, nothing you need to prove or do or get. . . .

“So no matter what happens let that be something that holds and supports you. Remember that grace.

“You never need to try to go to sleep.

“Let it come to you.”


So obvious.

So true.

Let it come to you.

Let sleep come to you.

Of course, you have to be ready and receptive to it. Right?

And it makes me wonder if that isn’t true for all kinds of things in life. Don’t you find that sometimes when you pursue something really hard, you just can’t capture it. And then later, when you’ve given up –– it somehow arrives?

Perhaps the secret is being open and receptive and what we’re looking for may come to us. Sleep, as Jennifer reminds us, is not an achievement, it’s grace. And grace is bestowed.

Which brings to mind a book I’ve been reading in preparation for this Sunday’s micro-retreat on silence, In Pursuit of Silence: Listening for Meaning in a World of Noise, by George Prochnik. It’s a great book, but the title has got me wondering, is silence something we can pursue? I know sometimes when I feel like I need some peace and quiet and I go looking for silence, the noise around me drowns it out. I wonder if I could just pause, still my body, stop trying so hard, and if, like sleep, silence might just show up.

You know, I think that’s at least a part of what we hope our retreats do. They’re invitations to pause, to stop crashing around looking for answers. When we stop doing, settle a bit and listen, we may just find the answers come.

We love creating this space for people who find their way to us. If you are in the mood to ponder a bit more about silence, you could join us on Sunday.

If silence is not your thing, we’ve got another micro-retreat coming up in April on Wonder. More about that later.

And if you’re feeling like you want to get some insight into how to be in a world that seems be changing moment by moment, we’ve got a really special weekly evening retreat starting March 28. You can learn more about that here.

Oh! And if you’re intrigued about Jennifer Piercy and her pretty much magical yoga nidra sessions on Insight Timer, you can check her out here.

I’ll leave you with one final, falling asleep tip I learned from my son Greg when he was a teenager. He said he never had trouble falling asleep. If he felt like he couldn’t fall asleep he would just pretend he was asleep . . . and he was.

Contact Us

We are settlers on Treaty 13 Land, the traditional territories of many Indigenous Nations including the Mississaugas of the Credit, the Anishnabeg, the Chippewa, the Haudenosaunee and the Wendat peoples, and home to many diverse First Nations, Inuit, and Métis Peoples from across Turtle Island. We are committed to honouring the history this land bears witness to, responding to the 94 Calls to Action of the  Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada, and walking lightly on the Earth. A portion of proceeds from all our offerings are sent to:  The National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation and The Nii’kinaaganaa Foundation.

The Inside Outside Retreat Centre, Centre for Social Innovation (CSI), 720 Bathurst St., Toronto, ON, M5S2R4