The morning is such an important part of the day and it often sets the tone for the rest to follow.
Ever wondered why some people jump out of bed fresh and spritely in the mornings, feeling alive and bubbling with exuberance, while others don’t even want to get out of bed and life for them seems unwelcoming and bleak? I’ve been both at different times of my life, but one thing that is worth noting is that it is not necessarily dependent on your life situation. Sometimes it seems as though everything is going your way, yet you still don’t have much life in you in the mornings. Other times life is tragic or tough and yet you still have some pizazz in you for your sunrise welcome into the world. I have come to realize in more than one way this is more about my internal processes and happenings and not automatically about whether or not life is going my way!
Here’s my process for a b-e-a-utiful and alive start to the day!
Whatever I have found to be unacceptable, I practice to accept… and love.
1. Scouts Motto “Be Prepared!”
Okay troopers, it’s the night before, you’ve been hanging out with friends but now you’re all alone. You feel a bit groggy and you just want to go to sleep, what do you do? DON’T GO TO SLEEP! Trust me on this, it might sound counter intuitive but there is method in the madness. I jump straight into a cold shower. This helps to clear out the fuzzy energy you are carrying, whether you picked it up from your friends or you have been thinking badly today, you don’t want to go to sleep on that kind of energy and wake up with it. This is bad preparation, and you are not being your own best friend to do it. Shock that sleepy energy out of your body – you can always have a warm shower straight after to get some warmth back.
We are not done yet though, there is more self-loving to go. Now I am clear enough, I hold my hand over my heart and love myself unconditionally. Whatever I have found to be unacceptable, I practice to accept… and love. The failure, the weak, the fat, the lazy, the anxious, the aggressive, whatever part of ‘you’ that you don’t accept, you accept in warm embrace. Now you are ready to go to sleep.
2. Good Morning Vietnam
Welcome to a new day! Put that hand back over your heart and hug yourself lovingly, straight away. You’re maybe kinda groggy again (and don’t pretend you aren’t even a bit, we both know.) Jump into that cold shower again, or a swimming pool if you have one. I head straight into my pool, I don’t care it’s winter (well, maybe I care a bit, but, you know) and then I hop under the cold shower to get that chlorine off me. Having cold water on my skin first thing shocks the groggy energy right off me so I can begin my morning feeling fresh and clear.
3. Wax on, wax off
I get dressed and head down to the olive grove at the bottom of my property with Prema. She dances wildly for 25 – 30 minutes while I wander off into nature and ‘walk in Zen’. Walking in Zen goes like this: I walk very slowly with my hands in Shashu position (my left balled up into a fist over my heart and my thumb inside it. My right sits over the top with my knuckles roughly in line and my elbows out). I watch my breath at the lip and have my awareness also on my footfalls – heel, flat, ball, toes, heel, flat, ball, toes. If any thought comes into my head then I simply bring my awareness back onto reality – my breath and my footfalls. If your awareness is on your breath and your feet then you may even start to notice sounds around you, such as birds chirping or even feel the wind or sun on your skin. This practice aims to bring awareness to reality – anything other than listening to your thoughts.
4. Vipassana and/or God
The next half hour goes one of two ways:
- Vippassana Meditation: I sit in half lotus position, hands in the meditation mudra of the Buddha, and stay motionless while watching the breath at the lip. This is such good practice for clarity and learning equanimity, learning to overcome the knee-jerk addictive reactions of the monkey mind and finding a clearer peace to live from. People are carrying so much pain inside themselves, Vipassana allows me to practice being with myself… well to practice actually just BEING! This is wise and healthy and will benefit you and everyone that comes into contact with you.
- Self-enquiry: Instead of Vippassana meditation, the next half an hour involves Prema and I self-enquiring together. We sit in front of each other with crossed-legs and ask the other to ‘describe the emptiness that we are’. If you don’t experience the background, this one may be a little more difficult for you so go back to Vippassana meditation. Personally, I love self-enquiry as it brings me so intimately to beingness, awareness, consciousness, I leave this one feeling expansive, bright and serene – such a beautiful way to start each day.
5. Aaaaannnnddd…. Breakfast!
This one I leave to the culinary experts to elaborate on, but for me most days it’s cacoa powder, rice porridge, stevia and rice milk! Light, simple and healthy. Love it!
This is my pattern almost every morning and you may have seen my meditation walk path worn into the ground of the olive grove on Instagram or facebook. This is a b-e-a-utiful way to start the day and there are not many better ways of saying to yourself ‘I Love You!’ and assisting to ensure you have the best possible day, for you and for everyone who is lucky enough to meet you.