Letting go

Our friends at the Global Awesomeness Report sent us this picture and we thought it was the perfect message to start the week.

It also coincides perfectly with today’s guest blog by Joe Barnes. He explains how to release control helped him overcome insomnia. 

My fist thumped into the soft mattress of my bed as I realized that, once again, I was wide-awake. What was the time? I didn’t know exactly, but because I had been waking at roughly 2am each morning for the last six weeks, I could guess it was around this hour. Frustrated, I tossed and turned and tried to force myself back to sleep.

As usual, this approach didn’t work and I grew increasingly angry with my inability to sleep.

Why the hell was this happening? I’d always experienced bouts of insomnia throughout my life but this one was by far the worst. Recently, I’d got into the pattern of waking at 2am and being unable to return to sleep. It was as if I had a subconscious alarm clock, rousing me at just the hour I should have been in a deep slumber.

At the time, my approach to getting the outcomes I desired was to try forcing things into existence. My sleeping habits were no different. I’d wake in the middle of the night and try to force myself back to sleep. I would repeat an affirmation over in my mind, telling myself, “I am falling asleep, I am falling asleep”, hoping it would have the desired effect.

If that didn’t work, I’d just lie there trying to make myself feel tired. Using my mind, I’d try to generate a heavy feeling throughout my body, attempting to trigger some kind of sleep response. Inevitably, this failed, so I also tried moving the position of my bed, buying lavender scented pillowcases (supposedly designed to induce sleep) and changing my bedtimes.

Nothing worked, but fortunately in my zombie like state, I had the sense to try something new.

Words Of Wisdom

I’d never have thought I’d find myself inside a hypnotherapist’s office (or later become one) but in my state of desperation, I was willing to try anything. This particular hypnotherapist hit me with a piece of wisdom so profound that it still guides my life to this day. What he told me was this:

“My failure to sleep, and to a larger extent, my failure to realize the conditions I desired in my life, was because of my need to control.”

It was as if a light switch had been turned on in my head! By trying to control my sleeping and constantly worrying about whether I would sleep properly, I was showing absolutely no faith in my ability to do so. I was sabotaging my attempts to get the conditions I desired, because I was working against the genie inside my mind.

The genie inside my mind? I knew hypnotherapy had a reputation for the mysterious but this seemed a little far-fetched. However, the hypnotherapist explained that this was simply a metaphor he used to describe the power of the subconscious mind.

There is a deeper wisdom that knows solutions to our problems beyond our conscious awareness. Like the genie in the tale of Aladdin, it can grant us anything we desire but we must play by its rules.

The Genie’s Three Rules

The hypnotherapist explained that the genie operated by three fundamental rules.

1. Let Go Of The Need To Control

You can’t directly control the circumstances, events and conditions of your life so don’t even try. In fact, control is an illusion. We can influence our thoughts and emotional state but beyond that there is little that we can directly control. Instead, we try by working in partnership with a higher power or subconscious (whatever you want to call it). Attempting to individually control the outcomes in your life breaks this connection. A relaxed belief is the best approach to take.

2. Operate Through Faith, Not Fear

The genie wants you to believe in him. He knows he is all-powerful and doesn’t like it when you question his ability. Therefore, the moment you start worrying about an outcome (in my case, fearing a bad night’s sleep), you’re on your own. The genie isn’t interested. In fact, he mocks your fear because he knows that all things are possible.

3. Don’t Think, Feel

The genie gets confused by over analysis. Mulling your problem over and over in your head just bores his creative mind. Give him a simple desire, with a passionate feeling, and he’ll get to work. Constantly worrying and thinking about when or how it will happen is unnecessary and counterproductive. Instead, feel it happening and the genie will soon be asking for your next wish.

Armed with these golden rules I left the hypnotherapists office in a much better frame of mind. It wasn’t long before I was sleeping peacefully and embarking on an adventure to see how far the help of my mysterious new friend could take me.

What’s your method for switching off and letting go of control when your mind doesn’t want you to? Tell us below how you manage to overcome any mental obstacles.


Joe is author of the book, Screw the System: A modern guide to greatness, and leader of the Screw the System movement – an online community breaking free from the influence of deadening conventional beliefs. He also works as a hypnotherapist, NLP Practitioner and coach. He has a passion for 'unplugging' people from the system's reality and connecting them with the life they were meant to live. To find out more information head over to http://know-joe.com/