I start out each day with five things – and not one includes brushing my teeth – though I do get to that. The way I begin my day involves connecting with my mind, body and spirit. It is my daily practice.
If you want to live from a place of kindness and compassion, peace and gratitude, passion and enthusiasm, it helps to create an environment for those things to grow and develop and a daily practice can do this. With repetition and commitment and desire these qualities all get stronger. You get better at them, more skillful at invoking patience and peace instead of stress and strain. And, when these spiritual qualities take root in your every day experience, you keep practicing.
Michael Jordan didn’t stop shooting the basketball after he won his first championship, he kept practicing. A daily practice helps you build and strengthen what you do and what you know. And then, you stop living by default and start living close to your highest self.
Here’s how I start my day:
While still in bed, but waking up, I give thanks for three things. I pick different ones each day.
Then, I say a prayer or ask for a blessing. I keep it simple, short. I like this one from Wayne Dyer: “Thank You for all that I am and all that I have.”
Sometimes, I go with something like, “Guide me today God, to make choices and take actions that are loving and kind and for the highest good of all.”
Sometimes, it’s just: “Thank you for this day.”
Then, I sit up and stretch my shoulders and neck and legs and hands and body. I stay quiet and put my attention to the energy flowing into my body. Many days, I give thanks for my body, that it keeps holding me and moving me, despite the challenges it endures.
I start drinking water then, during the stretches and I drink about 20 ounces before I put anything else in my system. I started doing this recently after reading advice from nutrition coach Sherri Sacconaghi and life coach Christine Kane and I can literally feel my body balancing and regenerating after after I drink some fresh water.
And I begin to visualize the day ahead. I spend about five minutes (depends on the day and I don’t time myself I just do it until it’s done) visualizing how I want my day to go. I envision the people I’ll talk to, the outcomes of the work I’m doing, the good feelings I will experience and pass on and the patience (a big thing I’m working on) in which I treat others and myself. This is as much as a feeling thing as a imagination thing. I don’t always “see” pictures, it’s more just a sense of how I want things to go.
That’s how it goes most mornings. These practices can take five minutes – because I’ve done them so long now they come naturally, or they can take 20 minutes or longer.
It’s a peaceful way to begin, a quiet and personal routine, but, one that grounds me and helps me feel balanced. And that keeps me connected to myself, more aware and less reactive during the day.
I have other practices too. Some days I meditate. Often I exercise my body. Each day I listen or read something insightful or interesting or inspirational. I try to pause to breathe deeply at various times of the day.
And, at least three times a day I pause. I stare out the window. I take a break before lunch and I sit quietly reflecting on my feelings, noticing my environment, giving thanks for what is around and within in me. In these moments of quiet I find perspective. I practice mindfulness and become present. I breathe.
There are lots of practices – meditation, journaling, compassionate service, gratitude practice – that can help you uncover and develop your spiritual side. Most of them fit in easily between the seams of the day. They are part of how I experience the day, and not so much something I have to schedule or build in.Although, in the beginning I did plan and schedule them in until I was in the habit of the practices.
As my life shifts and grows so do my practices. I alter and add and try new things. I’ve spent a lot of time mediating (but now really only a few minutes a day) and believe it’s powerful and important. And, I can find a whole lot of value in the practice of silly play with my daughter.
The important thing is to explore your spiritual side and develop a routine that includes moments here and there to connect with your authentic, spiritual side. The more often you can do this, the sooner spiritual practices become part of living a whole life.
It’s that time again, time to remind you about my class with the Daily Om called Reframe the Tough Times. It shows how to roll with the punches both big and small and thrive during uncertainty. It’s a self-paced, affordable, on-line program so come as you are. Hope to see you in the discussion.
Photo by: Stock.xchng