What to Do When the Pain of a Breakup Won’t Let You Sleep

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Can't Sleep

We operate primarily from our conscious mind during our normal waking hours. And then our subconscious mind takes over when we’re sleeping. Our subconscious is far more vast and powerful than the conscious mind. It is also the repository of the vast amount of memory, emotion and life history that we have failed to process.

The defensive armor that enables us to contain the backlog of emotion stored within our bodies softens whenever we consume alcohol and other substances, become physically ill or suffer as a result of an injury. We’re more likely to act out by doing things we wouldn’t normally do while sober when we are under the influence of alcohol and other substances. We tend to feel a greater sense of emotional vulnerability at times when we become physically ill or suffer from some form of injury.

The defensive armor that we construct also softens to some degree whenever we’re sleeping. Unpleasant feelings and memories that have been held within the body can more readily make their way to the surface during the times in our lives when we’re going through a breakup, having our abandonment issues triggered or faced with survival issues such as the loss of employment. These highly charged emotions can make it difficult for us to fall asleep. We may also find it difficult to stay asleep and wake up at times during the middle of the night or awaken too early in the morning.

MRI’s of people going through a breakup show increased in the areas of the brain associated with physical pain, reward, motivation, addiction and obsessive-compulsive disorder. Fears of abandonment as well as the painful emotions that arise in response to a breakup also trigger the release of adrenaline and cortisol which is a steroid hormone. Adrenaline and cortisol interfere with our ability to sleep. The resulting sleep deprivation adds to our sense of emotional instability.

There were periods in my mid-twenties and on up until my early forties where I repeatedly found myself attracting and attracted to women who were either uninterested or unavailable. In some instances these women would reenact the traumas of my childhood and adolescence. What made it worse is that these patterns kept replaying themselves over and over again. The pain of not having my basic needs for love met was excruciating. My sleep was very irregular during these episodes. I would often fall asleep at various times of the day to compensate.

I would experience all kinds of fear, pain, feelings of loss along with a vast range of other intense emotions. I would experience physical pain throughout my chest and sometimes my entire body would ache. The emotions and physical pain were also accompanied with a wide range of sensations. I would sometimes experience these sensations all throughout my body.

Losing about half of my income when the economy crashed in 2008 triggered the worst of my survival fears. It felt as though the bottom had fallen out from underneath me. I would sometimes lay in bed for hours consumed by an overwhelming fear and anxiety and wonder how I was going to make it. There were many nights when I couldn’t fall asleep until two, three or four in the morning. I would often wake up during the middle of the night and it would take me a long time to go back to sleep. At other times I would wake up too early. The lack of sleep left me feeling exhausted, but I felt I had no choice but to keep pushing on.

I didn’t fully understand the process taking place as I found myself flooded with all kinds of painful emotions, but I had an intuitive sense that it was something I needed to go through. I made a conscientious effort to be fully present to the overwhelming fear and anxiety by breathing into the feelings as they arose. Breathing with my awareness fully immersed within the painful feelings activated the innate healing intelligence residing within my body and mind. Working my way through the intensity of emotion facilitated a profound transformation within. I grew stronger, became far more resourceful and experienced the kinds of changes that eventually made it possible for me to attract and be attracted to healthier companions.

I will sometimes lie in bed for hours breathing into all the feelings and sensations that arise. At other times I will get out of bed and then sit up in a chair while breathing into the feelings and sensations. I have learned to see these episodes as an opening because it gives me the opportunity to access feelings that would not otherwise be readily accessible. The more I can open myself to the feelings and experience them fully, the greater the transformation I experience. I have gained lots of creative insights as a result of staying fully present to the feelings and physical sensations that arose.

The intensity of emotion combined with the flood of adrenaline and cortisol and lack of sleep can be very hard on the body. We feel fatigued, frustrated, irritable and moody when our bodies are not able to get the sleep they need. Our energy is diminished, we find it difficult to concentrate and have difficulty performing everyday tasks. Failure to get adequate rest also weakens our immune system and that makes us more susceptible to many other health concerns.

We need to do certain practices and make use of various resources to mitigate the effects upon our body and mind. I found going out for long slow walks late in the evening to be very grounding. Breathing into the feelings as they arose during these walks would diffuse the emotions so that I got a better quality of sleep.

I had the opportunity to go through Pancha Karma with an Ayurvedic Physician when I lived in New Mexico. The combination of Ayurvedic diet and herbal remedies helped to balance my constitution. The emotions became more manageable, I felt more balanced and that made it easier to sleep. I also found that receiving acupuncture helped by balancing and restoring the healthy flow of the body’s chi or vital life force and the various organs and systems.

We need to be especially mindful of the foods we’re consuming while we’re in the midst of a breakup. We need to avoid foods or substances that contain caffeine and refined sugar as they tend to exacerbate our anxiety and confusion. Green leafy vegetables like kale contain folate, which produces dopamine, a neurotransmitter that helps to keep us calm. Tryptophan found in turkey, nuts, seeds and eggs helps to produce serotonin, a neurotransmitter associated with feelings of happiness and well-being. Omega-3 fatty acids found in salmon have anti-inflammatory properties that counteract the negative effects of cortisol. Antioxidants and phytonutrients found in berries improve our body’s response to stress by reversing or limiting damage resulting from free radicals. Pistachio nuts contain crucial phytonutrients that provide antioxidant support for the heart. Dark chocolate can help to reduce stress hormones such as cortisol. The antioxidants found in cocoa cause the walls of the blood vessels to relax, lowering blood pressure and increasing circulation. The vitamin D contained in milk can reduce the risk of panic disorder. Flax, pumpkin and sunflower seeds contain magnesium which can help to alleviate depression, fatigue and irritability. Zinc found in cashews has been found to reduce anxiety. And probiotics have been shown to reduce activity in the parts of the brain associated with stress responses.

I do want to offer a word of caution here. Acupuncture, Ayurvedic Medicine and diet are important components to our physiological and psychological health and yet there is no substitute for doing the deep level processing that we need to be doing to heal the deep emotional wounds. We still have to feel the feelings.

The various forms of therapeutic massage such as deep tissue body work can bring a lot of emotion to the surface. Having all these intense emotions flooding my awareness wasn’t at all pleasant. But having all these feelings brought to the surface so that I could access them made it easier for me to do the emotional processing that accelerated my healing.

The work I have done with a number of powerful healers and the vision quest, a traditional Native American healing practice that involves going out alone into the mountains to fast for four days and nights without food or water, has done more than anything to diffuse the intensity of emotion and heal the traumas of my own childhood and adolescence. I have become more resilient and have developed more of the resources I need to handle whatever comes along in life and process any subsequent emotions.

I generally sleep much better, but there are still nights every now and then where I have trouble falling asleep or wake up at some point during the night. It can definitely be an inconvenience, but I see it as an opportunity to heal the underlying disturbances operating within my own psyche.

Many of the people I work with tell me that they sleep better as a result of the individual healing sessions. The presence working through me during this process facilitates the digestion of past traumas and any subsequent emotions such as fear, grief, hurt and anger. The triggers associated with traumatic events are dismantled while building a much stronger and more stable foundation. Those who have the opportunity to work with me experience a greater sense of wellbeing as the body and mind becomes more physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually resilient.

©Copyright 2015 Ben Oofana. All Rights Reserved. This content may be copied in full, with copyright, creation and contact information intact, without specific permission.

Ben Oofana is a healer who began his training with Horace Daukei, one of the last surviving traditional doctors among the Kiowa Indian tribe. Call (913) 927-4281 to learn more or to schedule an individual session.

Why Isn’t the Law of Attraction Working For Me?

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The Law of Attraction has gained popularity in recent years and yet it is nothing new. Various Christian and esoteric traditions have been practicing some versions of this philosophy for thousands of years.

Simon, the minister at the church I went to as an adolescent was very charismatic. He manifested a large congregation and sanctuary to hold services in along with cars and a nice home. He and other Evangelical Christians pointed to numerous scriptural examples claiming that one could manifested whatever it is they desired as long as they were in alignment with the word of God. Rather than calling it the Law of Manifestation, Christian Evangelicals referred to it as “living by faith.” I made a very concerted effort to follow these teachings in my teens and a more metaphysical version as an adult, but despite my best effort I often felt as though something were standing in my way.

Spiritual materialism

Many of the people that are into the Law of Attraction are placing a great deal of, if not too much, emphasis on acquiring material possessions. Some of the more prominent teachers are showing off their Mc Mansions, their very expensive cars and their beautiful spouses. It’s important for us to consider the implications of our actions upon other people and the planet. A great deal of pollution is created in the process of extracting natural resources and manufacturing all of these material goods. So much of what we consume has a very limited live expectancy. Before long we end up discarding our cars, electronics and most of the other goods we accumulate. And many of us are continually repeating this cycle of consumption over and over again.

I have at times felt grossed out to see the excessive amount of consumption and waste that occurs here in the United States after returning from India and Sri Lanka. There’s nothing wrong with having basic comforts, but no one really needs the massive amount of stuff that many of us are accumulating. And if we’re such wonderful and spiritually evolved people, then why don’t we take some of our excess and use it to feed, shelter and educate children in need or even adopt one or a few of the millions of children that do not have homes or parents to love and care for them. Or we can donate some of that wealth to combat human trafficking.

Manifesting within the context that we find ourselves

The circumstances of our lives vary hugely according to where we live, the families we were born into, the innate resources we each possess as individuals and a wide range of other factors. The majority of us who reside in the United States live a very sheltered existence in a land of opportunity. We have opportunities in terms of career and education that are seldom, if ever, made available to most people living in developing nations. We enjoy a quality of life in terms of material comforts that much of the world’s population cannot even conceive of. We can manifest all kinds of cool stuff this context, but that’s not going to happen for the majority of those living in developing nations that are struggling just to pay for clothing, shelter, their children’s education or even to have enough food to eat.

You’re just not doing it right!

Many people into the Law of Attraction operate with the absurd notion that bad things don’t happen to people that are spiritually evolved. The Tibetan Buddhists were highly developed spiritually and yet thousands of them were imprisoned, tortured and killed by the Chinese. A large percentage of the Tibetan population fled over the mountains to India where they now reside. American Indians lived in harmony with the forces of forces of nature. Some possessed powers that would enable them to bring the rain or even divert a tornado. And yet over ninety percent of the native people living in what is now the United States died as a result of disease and the genocidal practices of the European settlers and United States Government.

One of the most annoying tendencies among certain individuals within the Law of Attraction community is the smugness and pretension that they have their shit together by virtue of the fact that they’re doing well financially or that they’re able to manifest the nice house, car and other toys. Everything about this world we live in is transitory. We are all vulnerable and it’s just a matter of time we grow old, our bodies break down and we lose many of the freedoms and capabilities that we’ve grown so accustomed to. We, along with everyone we know and love will eventually die. That’s why it’s so important for us to live fully, enjoying life while we can, but to do so with humility.

My own personal experience varies tremendously according to where I’m at, the cultural context I find myself in and the people with whom I interact. I find it very easy to connect with people when I’m in India and Sri Lanka, but I’ve experienced extended periods of being very alone in New York City.

People that I’ve worked with in India really value and appreciate the healing gifts that I work with. I do find people here in the United States that truly value and appreciate the healing gifts I possess, but I encounter more people who are so resistant to being present that they run as soon as their feelings and issues make their way to the surface. It’s even worse now that people are spending so much time staring into the screens of their computers and smartphones. Many have become so disconnected from their core self as a result of being so distracted that I have to now work four times harder just to hold people’s attention and connect the dots for those who are not capable of doing so on their own. People that I worked with while I was staying in Germany seemed to be a bit lost in the beginning, but they tended to catch on quickly. I have found many of the people that I’ve worked with from Germany to be the most committed to doing whatever it took to facilitate healing within their own bodies and minds.

My mentor Horace was one of the last surviving traditional doctors among the Kiowa tribe. He often had to hide whatever car he was driving at the time in someone’s garage or behind their home, because the word would get out and his own native people would line up to see him once they learned of his whereabouts. It is true that he was exceptionally powerful in his day, but he also had the advantage that his own people understood and valued the healing gifts that he possessed.

Why does it seem to work so well for some and not for others?

One thing I noticed as I developed the ability to read the human aura is that people vary significantly according to their constitutional makeup. The people I’ve seen that do best with the Law of Attraction tend to have a very strong dynamic presence along with a power that enables them to attract more of what they want. Some have a greater ability to compartmentalize their suffering as opposed to having it take over them, and that makes it easier for them to keep moving forward. Sometimes the aura has a very Teflon quality about it. Stress just seems to roll off of them. Not everyone can be like that.

One of the negative psychological consequences of the Law of Attraction is that it tends to induce shame in people when they fail to manifest what it is they think they want. I’ve heard many people say things to indicate that they feel as though they have somehow failed because things are not manifesting the way they expected them to.

Many of us have been subjected to some form of emotional, physical or sexual trauma at various times in our lives. Traumatic experiences can elicit overwhelming emotional responses that trigger biochemical reactions within the brain. The vast majority of us never fully process these traumas. Many of us continue to hold much of the painful feelings and impressions within our bodies.

The conscious mind of an individual that has suffered extensively as a result of having been deeply traumatized may want to attract a good job, a safe and comfortable home and a loving companion. But our bodies, which contain the vastly more powerful subconscious mind, continue to hold onto all kinds of painful feelings and impressions associated with past traumatic experience. The horrible pain and suffering that we hold within often causes us to attract more people and circumstances that reinforce our suffering. Sad thing is that most people do not possess the tools or resources to completely heal that trauma on their own. That’s why many are locked in a cycle of repeated victimization and suffering.

I know from personal experience what it’s like to attract more people and circumstances and have that reinforce the trauma of my childhood and adolescence. I felt helpless to do anything about it for quite some time. My experience only began to change as I began to heal from within. I developed a series of practices that enabled me to “digest” my past and all of the subsequent emotions attached to it. I then started working with a number of exceptionally powerful healers and going on the vision quest, a traditional Native American healing practice that involves fasting alone in the mountains for four days and nights without food or water.

I have worked with many deeply traumatized people over the years and I could see how they continued to attract many of the same kinds of individuals and recreate the suffering of past traumas. I’ve watched many of these individuals began to attract people and experiences that nourished them and facilitated growth as a result of the healing taking place within their bodies and minds.

A split in consciousness

I’ve heard a number of popular teachers say that the Law of Attraction always works. That may be true to some extent, but it obviously doesn’t work the way that many of us want it to. We tend to operate primarily from our conscious mind in our attempts to manifest. The problem many of us run into is that our conscious mind is not congruent with the subconscious mind which is vastly more powerful in comparison.

Attempting to attract the things we want in life is not inherently bad. It’s just that many of us have a tendency to go up into our heads in our attempt to manifest what we want, but in the process of doing so we disconnect from our feelings and physical bodies. That creates massive incongruencies in our body-mind consciousness. In other words, parts of us are affirming, seeing and believing while other parts of us are forced to hold onto all of the fear, pain, anger, doubt, unworthiness and other feelings that we’re not allowing ourselves to experience. Painful or unpleasant feelings and other stresses that we fail to process can remain trapped within our bodies indefinitely.

Unprocessed emotions, the impressions of what we have experienced in our life and the thought processes attached to them continue to accumulate within our bodies. We may eventually find ourselves overwhelmed by the backlog of painful emotion and other stresses that consume us. The parts of us that are hurting, fearful, confused and conflicted cause us to attract more of what we don’t want into our lives. They also have a negative impact upon our relationships. And in many instances they manifest in the body as some form of pathology.

I’ve been very fortunate to have the opportunity to spend time with individuals who have attained mastery in a number of different spiritual traditions as a result of many years of intensive discipline. I have been training for twelve years at the time of this writing with Chinese Master Li Tai Liang in Xin Yi Quan, Baguazhang, Tai Chi and Chi Gong. I have also trained with a traditional Native American doctor (medicine man) and have gone through numerous vision quests that involve going out alone in the mountains to fast for four days and nights without food or water.

One encounters people nowadays with no real training or discipline, but they’ve attended lectures and workshops and have read “The Secret.” Many are in absolutely horrible shape. Their emotions and lives are a total mess. Despite the obvious, we have now have lots of people who possess no real power or substance that have somehow delude themselves into thinking that they have evolved spiritually.

To deny a truth is to give it strength beyond all endurance

The Law of Attraction can easily become another form of New Age escapism for people that are not willing to be present to their feelings, physical bodies and the realities of their everyday lives. People that follow the Law of Attraction are constantly censoring their thoughts and the words coming out of their mouths. They’re so afraid to think or say anything that would be considered negative.

Tracy told me when we first spoke by phone that she had been following the law of attraction for some time, but that she was experiencing a sense of heaviness as many of the old feelings she had struggled to move beyond kept resurfacing. She said that she was experiencing a sense of unworthiness and shame over not having succeeded to the extent that she thought she should.

I could see that Tracy had disconnected from her feelings and physical body. Lots of old stagnant emotional content had backed up in her abdomen. She told me that she was feeling better when I spoke with her by phone afterwards and yet she never returned for a follow up sessions. Tracy’s problems are only going to get worse as the gap between her conscious mind and sub-conscious widens.

The woman that initially referred Tracy to me suffered terribly as a child as a result of having been severely neglected by a mother suffering from mental illness that didn’t have the capacity to care for her. Alicia was not fully inhabiting the lower portion of her body. Her abdominal region had a very deadened quality about it. The presence working through me enabled Alicia to process huge amounts of old hurtful stagnant emotion while drawing more of her spirit into the abdominal region, which then began to feel more fluid and alive.

Alicia began to talk to me about the Law of Attraction at one point. I responded by telling her that it hadn’t helped her to attract anyone into her life. I then reminded Alicia that it was the changes that took place as a result of the healing sessions that enabled her to let go of the man who had been jerking her around emotionally that she had been strung out on for quite some time.

I have spoken for a number of Law of Attraction groups. I would start out the evening by asking those in attendance if they wanted me to lecture or take them through practices that would enable them to become more firmly rooted in their bodies. Not a single person in attendance at any of these groups was well integrated with their feelings and physical bodies. In fact, many of them were holding all kinds of hurt, anger, resentment and a backlog of other toxic emotional residue bottled up on the inside. None of them had the courage or commitment needed take the steps that would have facilitated the healing of these deep emotional wounds.

Developing greater congruence

The bottom fell out from under me when the economy crashed in 2008. People were afraid of making any investment in themselves, the phone stopped ringing and I had no idea of know how I was even going to survive. There were many nights when I couldn’t fall asleep until two or three in the morning or I would wake up during that time feeling overwhelmed with anxiety. I would lay there in bed breathing into all of that horrible anxiety and ask myself “What can I do? How am I going to make it?” It took some time, but creative insights began to emerge as I continued to breathe into all that fear. And that gave me the inspiration to offer classes to help people heal the loss of a love and learn how to attract healthier people into their lives.

The practices of affirming what we want, seeing it in our mind and believing we have it can work very powerfully in some instances. Numerous athletes have used these practices to improve their performance. The danger here is that many our tendency to disconnect from our feelings and physical bodies as we attempt to affirm, see and believe what we want into existence.

The practice of focusing my attention on what I want and following up by taking constructive steps to make it happen has helped me in many ways. I take it a step further by breathing softly and deeply while focusing my attention on any corresponding feelings of desire that I experience within my body. The challenges I face on a daily basis can sometimes elicit anxiety, fear, pain, self-doubt or any number of other feelings. Breathing with my attention immersed in these feelings initiates a digestive process that transforms them so that they become fuel for growth.

I make a daily practice of breathing with my attention fully immersed in the stuck places within my body and mind that are bound or constricted. After some time I can feel these parts of me beginning to flow. The world feels more responsive as life takes on a more fluid quality. I become more responsive to people and circumstances. That makes it easier for me to adapt to the challenges of my everyday life.

Digesting all the charged emotions and other forms internal resistance creates an opening for change. New opportunities do have a way of presenting themselves. Sometimes it’s more of a matter of being able to let go of what’s not working so that I can embrace what does. And in many instances I’m able to recognize and respond to opportunities that I had previously overlooked.

©Copyright 2014 Ben Oofana. All Rights Reserved. This content may be copied in full, with copyright, creation and contact information intact, without specific permission.

Ben Oofana is a healer who began his training with Horace Daukei, one of the last surviving traditional doctors among the Kiowa Indian tribe. Call (913) 927-4281 to learn more or to schedule an individual session.