What Patterns Keep You Awake At Night?


My 11-year-old son Ian doesn’t speak and with my husband and younger son out for the evening, a quiet peaceful state spread through the house. I settled in to read a book I’ve wanted to read for oh, about a year! The fireplace radiated delicious warmth on a freezing cold December night.

Ian sat down on the couch next to me and his sweet little hand pushed my book away several times until I put it down and gave him my full attention.

“What do you want Love?” I asked.

He looked at me and said (not with actual words) "Thanks, that's all I want, for you to be here with me." 

We sat together for a few minutes. My hand rested on his chest over his heart and he gazed at me with his big green eyes, open and present saying, “There you are, I see you.”

He relaxed and sank lower into the couch with his head resting on one of end and I started to feel sleepy. I decided to lay down too with my head on the opposite side facing him. He’s now over five feet tall and it’s not a huge couch so it took a few minutes with our legs stretched out to find a comfortable position. Once comfortable we dropped into a deep, peaceful state.

I listened and became more aware of all my senses. His breathing slowed down. I observed his angelic face, with his almond shaped eyes closed, resting peacefully; his little turned up nose that he uses to express his affection by touching his nose to yours. I heard high-pitched hum in my ears (that wasn't the refrigerator) and noticed where my body ended and his began.

Then at some point I lost the sensation of my body, the couch, his legs and it felt as if everything melted and dissolved. It was a sensation of oneness and several times I felt an electrical buzzing sensation that’s hard to describe. It felt like a surge of energy and when the sensation would pass, Ian would take a big breath and let out a sigh then return to slow, rhythmic breathing. The stillness expanded out everywhere. Nowhere else existed in that moment of peace.

I had no idea how much time passed in this deep meditative state when Ian shifted into an awake state and sat up, then stood up and I felt he wanted something. He looked at me and in my head I heard, “I need to use the toilet.”

I walked with him and helped him sit down and for the first time, when he began to pee he looked down at the water as if to make the connection that his body was making that sound in the water. He stopped and looked at me. Then started again and looked down to check it out again. I’d never seen him look down to see what was happening.

For the past year, I have asked Ian to show me the way he experiences the world around him. For many years, I’ve also been inviting him to join me in this world of physical density, people and movement and have promised to support his journey to feel comfortable and safe in his body.

When I chose to put my book down and connect with the present moment, he was right there with me ready to show me his experience. It felt like connecting with Ian in his world (the unseen) created a connection for him in this world (the seen) and we were creating new energetic patterns of connection together. Wise teacher, he is. My little Yoda.

What is an energetic pattern?

Energetic patterns form the foundation of our relationships with the world. We live and express ourselves in patterns. You will find patterns in your thought, feelings, beliefs, behaviors and actions. A pattern is the energetic expression that informs the way you show up and communicate with the world around you on a non-verbal level.

From the moment you entered this world, you are conditioned through what you repeatedly observe and experience. As you experience different events and conditions in your life, you make choices and take action based on your perceptions and interpretations and what you make an event or circumstance mean.

Why might this be interesting?

When you’re suffering and hurting, of course make appropriate efforts to improve the situation and consider this may be a sign you’re cycling in a pattern. A common response when in pain is to point fingers at the external world to find someone or something else to blame, which creates issues in relationships and makes it hard to identify the pattern and take action.

You may spend many cycles in a pattern before you notice and it doesn’t mean you’re doing anything wrong. You likely haven’t discovered the pattern yet. Without labels of good or bad, right or wrong, fixed or broken, perfect or not, there is no judgment, only observation, exploration, connection, honesty, integration and peace.

What I’ve learned about patterns is they will hang out playing their role waiting for you to notice them. And once you identify a pattern that creates disharmony and discomfort, the nice thing is if you choose to, you have the ability to actively create new patterns.

Example of one of my old patterns

The condition: Ian does not use verbal language. Thought pattern, what I made it mean: We didn’t have a meaningful way to communicate because my patterning included a heavy emphasis on verbal language for communication. Emotional pattern, my feeling state: sad, frustrated, confused Behavior pattern:  Exhaustive, focused search for answers and solutions to fix him. Not being present with him and missing what was right in front of me; my beautiful son wanting to connect and communicate.

Then in 2009, I began working with horses and explored the world of non-verbal communication. I learned that only 10% of what we communicate is through verbal language with the other 90%, non-verbal.I focused so much attention on him talking that I missed the other channels he used all the time. Not anymore.

What I’ve discovered is he’s always communicating and when I tune in to listen with all of my senses, I “hear” what he’s expressing. Would it be great if one day he started talking? You bet! I would celebrate in a big way. And if he never speaks, I’m grateful for the expanded awareness of what’s available for all of us.

New thought pattern: There are so many ways to explore with communication and listening beyond words. New emotional pattern: Curious, playful, joyful New behavior pattern: Relaxed, slower pace, present, engaged, kinder and patient with myself.

A way to create a new pattern

  • Set the intention to be a pattern explorer.
  • Get curious. Life is a big, giant relationship and once you start exploring you will discover patterns everywhere.
  • Identify any pattern that creates discomfort or where you feel stuck.
  • Explore the origin of the pattern. See if you can identify a thought pattern.
  • Use The Work on the thought and if you don't find the thought, move to emotion.
  • Observe and be with whatever emotion comes up without trying to stop it, change it or fix it.
  • Allow the emotion to move through you. Imagine the sensation moving through your body and out valves at your fingertips and toes.
  • Explore what new pattern wants to be created and integrated. Ask yourself “What do I want.”
  • Define a practice to integrate the new pattern.

Some resources for you

Neuroscience shows that you can consciously use the mind to re-pattern the brain. Dr. Rick Hanson wrote the book “Hardwiring Happiness” that goes into great detail about this and he makes it very easy to understand. He shows how to use your mind to rewire your brain and create new neural pathways. You create new neural pathways, you feel differently, your energetic pattern shifts and you express yourself differently. Very cool material!

For the areas where you feel stuck in your thought patterns, The Work of Byron Katie is my favorite tool to get unstuck and her book, “Loving What Is” goes into great detail how to use her method.

For stuck emotional patterns, I recommend exploring "The Presence Process" by Michael Brown. It’s a 10-week process that supports emotional and energetic re-patterning. I also like Karla McLaren’s book, “Language of Emotions: What Your Feelings Are Trying to Tell You” as a reference guide to understanding the messages from your emotions.

If you have a child with autism, I highly recommend exploring the work of neuro-psychologist, Dr. Svetlana Masgutova. Fundamental to the MNRI (Masgutova Neurosensorimotor Reflex Integration) Method is the understanding that automatic primary motor reflex patterns do not disappear, they integrate. Her method focuses on re-patterning primary motor reflex patterns which serve as the foundation for motor and cognitive development.

What I share with you comes from my own personal journey exploring and integrating new patterns. At times when my journey gets challenging, I reach out and ask for support. If you're struggling and feel stuck, I encourage you reach out and ask for support. And if you're willing, please share your perspective and experience with patterns in the comments below.

With love, Your fellow pattern explorer