There’s a quote by Gandhi: “Each night, when I go to sleep, I die. And the next morning, when I wake up, I am reborn.” This mantra awakened my entire frontier.
My childhood was a rigged valley with crooks and turns, but I knew that my tribulations we’re a sacrifice for a higher tribute– to the “Above.” It was a stolen childhood, but looking back now, I only see the gift that came from it. When I spent my seminal years in Korea between the ages of 3 and 7, it definitely wasn’t a family visit to the motherland, but rather a traumatic rift that sculpted the rest of life from that day forward. As a victim of child molestation and abuse, there are still glitches and daunting triggers that tackle me.
It all came to fruition when I was sent to Korea to spend time with my aunt when I was 5 years old. My uncle was a Vietnam War veteran and had serious cases of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), alcoholism, and rage. Every night, he would go out, get drunk off of soju, come home, and start his routine domestic abuse against my aunt and I. Those nights terrorized me as a child. I was too young then, my consciousness immature, and my biology still developing. What was this fear I felt every night? Why couldn’t I ever have a peaceful night’s sleep?
It wasn’t that I refused to sleep or that I wanted to stay awake to play with my toys. It was simply because I was so afraid of my uncle coming home that staying alert and awake through the night was my only form of protection. I thought that the only way to escape my uncle was to stay up the entire night, or leave. So I would climb out of the window, hop over to the neighbor’s rooftop, run around the village through secret alleys and pathways, and sit and stare at the moon, praying to God.
The only thing that helped me sleep at that age was Disney’s Fantasia. I wanted to watch it until my eyes burned with tears. The extreme color therapy, the dramatic score, the chills I felt when I saw the layers of visuals, the language, and power of light and sound — sparked my attention. I couldn’t sleep without it; It was my private escape, my only way to dive deep into a surrealistic world. Fantasia let me know that the reality of my trauma wasn’t going to define my freedom.
At 26 years old, I recognize now that this childhood was the formative arrow that guided me to the life I live today. I suffered through a lot of recoveries since returning from Korea to my hometown of New York City. It was a very slow process. It required a reversal of my biological nature, formed through years of childhood trauma.
It wasn’t until I turned 15 and started my first semester at Juilliard School that I discovered many different forms of insomnia. While I was almost too afraid to sleep at night, my schoolmates welcome the nights spent wide awake. Juilliard was a high-pressure institution, hailed to be one of the most prolific arts foundations in the world. Needless to say, the atmosphere was chaotic. My peers took drugs A-Z for two simple reasons: to keep themselves awake, or to black-out sleep. I remember friends showing off all the sleeping medications they took, from Xanax to black market street drugs. You were almost considered uncool if you didn’t have a cabinet full of prescription drugs. It was a testament to your genius, your willingness to maintain a certain status at Juilliard by either proactively working harder than anyone else (cocaine) or retroactively trying to fall asleep because you’ve already worked all night (Xanax). I saw classmates fall deep into depression, social anxiety, frantic behavior, and bouts of anger. I vowed to myself that if I was going to survive Juilliard, I was going to do it through my own substance and self-worth. I vowed not to surrender to any form of substance abuse in order to feel temporary pleasure or gain. But I was always overanalyzing. I was always all about the second-after-second mentality, the rush of blood to the head concept, and thinking that not doing something was the equivalent of wasting my time.
But why is it that we immediately think that way? This is not from us; this is from the environment we’re in. The setting we placed ourselves. Your health should not be a competition. A sad number of people are easily swayed by this thought and live off of working constantly, thinking that their diligence is perseverance, but find themselves struggling through insomnia, staying up at night looking at a screen of blue light, not realizing or understanding how that blue light interrupts our own body frequency receptors.
We forget that our human biology will always remind us what is real, harmful, and safe. We carry a dynamic, genetic science in our human system that naturally guides us to know what we exactly need, and don’t need.
I’ll never forget the crystal rawness of my mentor, Gio, when he looked straight into my eyes and said, “It’s not always about waking up to a new day– waking up to just live, but to be awakened.” He taught me the art of practicing compartmentalization, to truly organize my priorities versus necessities, the differences between creative flow and personal flow, and balancing it all out with routines that best served me. I became diligent to really commit myself to heal my insomnia, discover why I stayed up and what made me stay awake, observe every movement, and break unhealthy routines.
The human body is designed to be receptors of light and sound. We’re made up of matter, atoms, and molecules that we commonly share with the Universal galaxy. We only have to look at the five fingers and five toes we have on each side of our body to see that our entire biology is made up of sensual parts. Our five senses are communal in this makeup. We have natural human power, made up entirely of water, light, and sound, just like the system we live in: our Earth, the sun, the moon and the tidal movement of gravity that we take from it.
But when Tesla pioneered the electrical revolution, he probably didn’t realize how toxic it would become for humanity. The natural state of our Earth never dealt with electrical panels, power lines, cable lines, internet lines, or electrical pipes wrapping around the entire planet. Our inherent frequency now encounters a human-made tool that gives us an electromagnetic field (EMF) poisoning, disrupting and compromising the natural state of our anatomy. All the ecosystems of our planet have had to adjust to these EMFs with the growing pace of technology: Bluetooth, Wifi, the Internet, etc. And given that all living organisms have their own frequency channels that respond to either energy or light, even animals, our co-existers with nature, and all living species, deal with EMF disturbances.
I studied this religiously to understand and define the healing process. I needed to know what I could really do to help my body back to its natural state. My first trip to Mexico was senior year in high school, and upon my return, after experiencing the tenacity of how powerful the Mayans studied light to dictate their daily habit, this changed it all.
In the ancient periods, civilians never had a sense of numerical time. They had a “time” of the day dictated by the sun and the light phases from day to night. People had to study astronomy, astrology, and the galaxy to understand it. I looked at how the ancient people lived in accordance with sundials, how the sun dictated “morning” and “evening,” and I found my healing here.
Like the Mayans, I was highly engaged in all matters of time, the body, and how they both interacted with each other. I drew near to the studies of lucid dreaming, a state of dreaming in which the dreamer realizes that he or she is dreaming, and researched sacred geometry, light therapy, music therapy, and transcendental natural medicine with cannabis and mushrooms. I would shut off all electronic devices in my house and turn off the clock for an entire weekend just to see what time I would naturally wake up and what time I would naturally start to feel a “deep sleep” mode. It was 10 years of researching, personal trials, and testing myself to see how much further I could go with lucid dreaming. Now, I have a ritual: always wake up in “odd” numbers, which is a spiritual, numerology-based
study. I only schedule meetings and calls in the 5-interval clock system (5, 10, 15, 20, etc) because I know that it connects symmetrically with the planet’s orbit.
Lucid dreaming, specifically, has helped me consciously control my negative or dark moods and place them in the dream realm where they can’t enter my reality. Slowly and eventually, my insomnia healed. After years of trial and error, after living through and internalizing my experiences, I wake up with a pleasurable feeling, like that high you feel when you’re immaculately inspired. And now I always make sure to sleep before 10 PM, because I saw the power it gave me to wake up with this transcendent feeling– with motivated energy. That feeling is a blessing to wake up to every day. It helps me trust sleep. Now, seeing the sun first thing in the morning to pray and meditate, is a gift.
Through my studies and trials and errors, I learned to embrace everything about sleep. Without sleep, your bodies would not understand you. With sleep, you are only giving it the freedom to help you live a stronger life. Restoring your body rather than reloading it– not sleeping because you’re sleepy, but to regenerate your energy for the morning and respect your body desires to help you heal. When sleeping, your cells are active; they are their most supreme power, helping us with digestion and immunity and feeding our brain with protein liquids. With sleep, you’re not just sleeping to sleep. You are also sleeping away your spirit, to cleanse yourself.
I even noticed life changes immediately after using spiritual methods like sound bath, sound meditation, electric acupuncture, aromatherapy, herbal remedies, using non-toxic products for my home, personal care, and even my cooking tools. It all matters.
Listen to your mind. Listen to your eyes. Listen with your body. Pay attention to the things around you, the noise, the pollution of negativity surrounding us. Do your best to discover the natural power of healing. Don’t be fooled by the tactics of the system. You’re not a product. You’re not a third party to help companies who want to make money out of the problems that they originally caused. You have to see yourself as a higher being, in control of your life. Other living organisms are automatic; they naturally follow the Sun and the Moon to tell them when it’s time to “go” and when it’s time to “stop.” They don’t have their own will. Animals, for instance, don’t adjust their sleep schedules, they are designed naturally to respect their habitat and biology. Humans created time, but that doesn’t mean that time can tell us what is right or wrong, to sleep or wake up.
Time is our way to calculate and to keep a record of how things come about, but sleep is actually your time to grow and exist. Like Gandhi said right? “Each night, when I go to sleep, I die. And the next morning, when I wake up, I am reborn.” I see every morning the same way, resurrecting, reincarnate. Every day I wake up different. I see a new wrinkle forming, I see my hands growing older, I hear my stomach cry differently when it’s hungry, I notice my scab turning into new skin.
I find this the pivot of all the things I routinely do: To always unveil the inner truth. I recently found the epitome of my faith through my current practice of Sufism. It was always the return to focusing on nature, how Earth acts and reacts, and how we as Humans can further ourselves by activating our own actions to connect to our natural self.
When the sun drops, our brain collects the sensual imagery of the shift between sunlight to moonlight. Naturally, we begin to refocus our bodies downward, indicating a need to rest and restore. Without rest, we suffer deeply-rooted consequences like mental disarray, migraines, depression, anxiety, shortened attention span, anger management, and reduced tolerance levels. Your mind and body become off balance and while your mind tries to “catch up” to your body, your body has literally lost the energy to benefit from the heightened speed of your brain. The power we find within sleep is not just rest, but an allowance of the cosmic forces to really enter the galaxy and into the Earth. Our human frequency wants this. We need to respect our biology, otherwise, we’re not just wasting time, but wasting the potential to witness our body’s full capacity. Don’t count the nights that you slept through. Count the nights that you have left. That’s true potential.
I look back to that small girl in Korea, escaping her abusive uncle. The way he turned the engine off, walked up the stairs, and made that cringeful sound while turning the key to the front door. I remembered every signal. Now, I look at his tombstone and thank him. I thank him for showing me a deeper meaning to the way I chose to live. My body was tired, but my mind was a machine, overloaded with thoughts that haunted my peace. I am thankful for having found Fantasia. How the colors gave me comfort, how the music gave me pleasure, how the story was all about establishing an interconnectivity with ourselves. The colors that attracted me to study color therapy not only allowed me to incorporate color changing lamps in my house, but to wear clothes that symbolized my energy. My Fantasia was the kaleidoscope of the natural gifts that are on our Earth already: sleep, reincarnation, ritual, and acceptance.
WRITER: Grace Lee