Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Miracle Mornings

For many years, I've said, "I'm not a morning person."  But in the same breath of that, I will confess I'm not really a night owl either.  I stay up late watching tv, but I'm not productive or worthwhile in any way.  So instead, it's more accurate to say I've been a lazy night owl for many years. 

It's not that I'm grouchy when I wake up, or that I'm especially challenged to "get going" once I'm up, but I just love my bed.  Occasionally, I blame my dogs, Lucy and Ricky for being too cuddly. It's their fault I often get up too late to feel like I've got a chance for much of a productive morning.
See the problem?!

As soon as I do get up, I take each dog on a long walk.  Then I go to yoga most days. Then I take a shower-- Well, okay- If I'm being honest, often it's a bath.  If it's not a day I need to wash my hair, it's a bath.  And once I'm in the tub, suds-ing up, I feel like I deserve a little R&R so I end up laying in my tub and reading for about a half hour.  And then guess what?  It's time for lunch.

And the day is half gone.

This, I realize, is a little ridiculous.  And it bothers me.

Several months ago, I stumbled upon The Miracle Morning by Hal Elrod. He talks about the importance of positive morning rituals to start your day.  He's combined 6 good (and common) practices, just 10 minutes of each, and named it, "The Miracle Morning".  Basically it's this (and in no particular order):
10 minutes of meditation
10 minutes of writing in a journal
10 minutes of affirmations
10 minutes of positive affirmations
10 minutes of reading something inspiring/self-helpy
10 minutes of exercise like push ups, sit ups, and yoga stretches

And all of that, adds up to a miracle of sorts.  In just an hour!

He also gives some advice on how to get yourself up and at 'em at an early hour.  First of all, he suggests, don't ever hit snooze on the alarm clock.  Hitting snooze is telling the day, "I'm not excited about you." So get right up, he says.  Wash your face, put on your clothes, brush your teeth and drink a glass of water.  By the time you've done that, you're UP. And before you know it, you're AT 'EM.

Also, don't go to bed at night thinking, "Oh crap- I only have 6 hours to sleep before my alarm is going to sound.  I'm going to be so tired."  Instead, as you drift off, affirm, "I am getting the exact amount of sleep I need to feel energetic in the morning and throughout tomorrow."

Well, I've been doing "The Morning Miracle" stuff for months now- But, like Hal Elrod says is allowed, I've customized my Miracle Morning to suit me better so it looks like this(and this is the order I do it in):
6 minutes meditation (that's quite enough for me for now, thank you)
15 minutes of reading (because 10 isn't enough!)
10/sometimes 15 minutes of writing in my journal
3 minutes of combining affirmations and visualization (I need help on these- they feel a little off still)
10 minutes of sketching/doodling/zentangling (I make myself stop at 10 minutes, but like the reading, this could turn into at least an hour if I didn't time myself)
10 minutes exercise

That all adds up to just a little under an hour.  I keep telling myself I'll add in something music related- either songwriting time, or sight reading practice, or something.  And I will. 

I've experimented with different times I've set my alarm to wake me.  7am felt early at first, but by the time I was done performing all of my miracles, it was already 8.  I decided I wanted to get up before it was light outside.  So I was getting up at 6am.  But lately, 6:30am has been feeling much better.  I've decided I need to start going to bed earlier if I want to happily pull off a 6am wake up time, and not be begging for an afternoon nap.

As soon as my hour is up, I go on the long dog walks. Then, I'm showered (or bathed) and ready for the day by 9/9:30am- A couple days a week, I catch a yoga class, which tacks on about another hour.  But either way, I'm doing much better than before.

I feel like I've already been pretty productive with my version of a spiritual practice, and it sets a good tone for the whole day.  I wouldn't necessarily claim it to be a miracle morning, but it's a better than it was before I was doing this, for sure.

I take a day off, every now and then.  Usually, that would be a weekend morning- just because it's fun to lounge around on a Saturday and/or Sunday morning.

I've found that maybe I am a morning person after all.  These rituals all help get me in a great mood to approach the day.  That is ultimately what it's all about, I think. I'm set up pretty well for the day once I've completed my little set of fun rituals.  I'll admit, the affirming and visualizing is bogging me down a little.  But for now, I'm sticking with those- I can handle 3 minutes of just about anything!

So, you might try it.  You don't have to get up super early.  You can customize it however you feel it best suits you (once you roll through it the suggested way first a few times). If you want, you could even just spend a 5 minutes on each ritual, and get it all done in 30 minutes if you don't feel like you can get up an extra hour earlier. If you do try it, or if you're already in fact doing some version of it, please tell about it in the comment section below.  

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