Morning Mindfulness Progress Measured in Small Steps

Morning Mindfulness Progress Measured in Small Steps

January is nearly half over and I am happy to report that I am making some progress with this waking earlier in the morning and trying to be mindful about it thing albeit inch by inch. I love the following quote by Wendell Berry, which reassures me that every journey should be measured in small and most likely laborious steps:

“And the world cannot be discovered by a journey of miles, no matter how long, but only by a spiritual journey, a journey of one inch, very arduous and humbling and joyful, by which we arrive at the ground at our own feet, and learn to be at home.”

The other day I woke at 5:15 am, enjoyed a cup of coffee, and wrote for an entire hour. I had packed my lunch and set out my workout clothes the evening before and after showering I had another 15 minutes of writing before I had to be out the door. I was so proud of myself. Then as I am heading out the door CRAP where is my work badge son of a… as I tore through the house eventually finding it and then sprinting the quarter mile to the bus stop arriving totally out of breath having left a wave of destruction in my house.

I laughed totally amused at the fact that I woke at 5:15 and still ended up sprinting to the bus stop at 7:30, but progress nonetheless. I can’t expect twenty plus years of chaotic morning habits to go away overnight or even over the course of one month.

I’ve often envied my runner friend who wakes early enough to enjoy a cup of coffee and read the morning news before we meet for a morning trail run and now I am turning into her! The idea of getting up any earlier than the last minute possible for a 6am run seemed totally impossible to me and well now it feels possible… and I might even like it.

So far I have noticed that I wake easier if I set a morning intention the night before whether it be a few minutes of meditation before setting out for a run or a specific writing task to focus on. If I don’t set an intention I will try to do everything like meditate, write, and clean the kitchen, which leaves me feeling like I didn’t do enough or accomplish anything and I should have just stayed in bed.

It is no secret that I struggle with anxiety so I am trying to be mindful of when the first feelings of anxiety start creeping into my bones in the morning. Is it the moment I start compiling the never-ending to-do list in my head or the minute I start thinking about the day job or perhaps I am subconsciously thinking too much about my life and where I am headed? I am hoping by approaching my mornings a little more mindfully, I can become more aware of when I start to feel rushed and stressed and figure out some strategies for slowing down and feeling less stress.

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