August 2017 Oasis Odyssey

by Leslie Ackles

Sweet Dreams?

How many of you have trouble getting to sleep at night?


How many of you wake up in the middle of the night with worries or thoughts flooding in and sleep becomes a distant memory?


OK – How many of you couldn’t sleep so got up with your partner to test drive your current car (the old Altima from last month!) to see if he can assess what is wrong? Oh, did I forget to mention that this was in the middle of the night (2am!), in your pajamas?


This has all happened to me. I notice it especially when my life is crazy busy and stressful. It seems as if I can’t sort things out during the day so when it gets quiet at night my brain decides to take that opportunity to gnaw through issues – over and over again – as if that will solve everything.


Do you find yourself doing this as well? Believing that you can solve something by going over and over it?


When I am ruminating instead of sleeping I believe that:


“Maybe if I could just figure out why this person did what they did I would understand and could respond?”


“Maybe if I could just figure out a solution where I don’t have to hurt anyone it will be okay?”


What to do?


I came up with this ‘brilliant’ idea: “What if I allowed quiet time during the day for these issues to percolate instead of waiting until bedtime?”


This idea was followed by some trial and error and culminated in my

Sleep Formula:

  • Write three pages in my journal (Morning Pages) each morning
  • Allow quiet time (even if only for 10 minutes) during the day
  • No computer/ no email after dinner
  • No “scream worthy” TV shows at night
  • Read a book before turning off the light
  • Calming breath


What do you do that works already or has worked in the past? What can you add to this list? What would you like to try?  How badly do you want to sleep and what are you willing to try in order to get that sleep?


“Think in the morning. Act in the noon. Eat in the evening. Sleep in the night.”

William Black



Other Possible Sleep Suggestions:

I recently co-taught a workshop series with a woman who created a segment on sleep. Here are a few of her recommendations:

  • Set a sleep schedule and stick with it
  • Exercise but not within 4 hours of sleeping
  • Cut caffeine after 2pm
  • Write down your woes
  • Take time to wind down
  • Do not drink alcohol within 2 hours of going to bed
  • Listen to relaxing music or meditations before bed
  • Take a hot bath or shower before bed
  • Stop watching TV or engaging in screen technology at least an hour before bed
  • Breathe deeply
  • Consider kicking our furry bedmates
  • Drink tart cherry juice or eat tart dried cherries or pumpkin seeds before bed
  • Aromatherapy: spritz lavender on your pillow

July 2017 Oasis Odyssey

by Leslie Ackles

A 'Good' Good-Bye


I found myself crying as I followed my car on its last trip. The memories started to flood in. It hit me hard. I felt as if I was saying good-bye to a friend who had faithfully stood by me for the past 13 years during life’s joys and trials.


My Nissan Altima, with 175,000 miles on it, had finally let go.


So I needed a new car, a year earlier than anticipated. I knew what I wanted. My husband and I test drove several cars and I loved one of them.  I couldn’t sign on the dotted line though. I needed the evening to think about it. Something didn’t feel right to me.


What I didn’t realize at the time was what was…. I hadn’t honored and said good-bye to my Altima.  Sounds crazy as I write these words.  The realization hit me as I followed my Altima on that final journey.  Seeing my car ahead of me is when the tears started to flow and the memories flooded in.  I pictured all of the monumental events in my life witnessed by this car. I pictured all of the places my family had been safely transported by this Altima.  This car was a part of huge changes in my life. I felt as if I was losing the memories and saying good-bye to a whole phase of my life. Who knew a car could bring up so much emotion!?


Monumental Events During this Time:


  • Dropping our kids off at college as they grew into the adults they were meant to be
  • Wandering and struggling in the wilderness to find new meaning within the empty nest
  • Lovingly carrying us to the joyous weddings of our children
  • Safely transporting my daughter to and from her doctor’s appointments for her first child
  • Carrying a shaky me to witness the births of two of my grandchildren
  • Folding me into a cocoon on Route 495 for the final six years at UMass through rain, snow and sleet
  • Accepting the Installation of a car seat for when I babysat our grandchildren
  • Launching me through the dream of my new business


What I realized is that sometimes we are drawn to an exciting new phase in our lives and we don’t always honor and say a ‘good’ good-bye to the place we are leaving. Whether it is:

  • A new car
  • A new home
  • A new stage for a child
  • A new business venture
  • A declining parent
  • A new, healthier you


There is a loss…..a loss that is crying out to be felt and acknowledged….


Consider taking the time to say good-bye and honor the phase of your life that you are leaving. Clear the path to step fully and openly into your next adventure.


“Memory…is the diary that we all carry about with us.”

-Oscar Wilde