On Being Mindful First Thing in the Morning (Month 1)

On Being Mindful First Thing in the Morning (Month 1)

Thanks to a the whole neighbor dragging his garbage cans out to the road and past my bedroom window at 5am, I am now morning writing. My reward for waking early besides stealing Fritz’s blanket because it is about 55 degrees in the living room is a morning cup of coffee unrushed and delightful not to mention total darkness, peacefulness, and a curled up sleeping puppy who grabbed his squeaky Freddie did a few twirly butts when he saw me and then climbed up on his window perch and back to sleep. I love him so much.

I have gotten into this terrible habit of checking Trump’s Twitter first thing in the morning hoping beyond hope that today will finally be the day that he says or does something so outrageous that this whole awful thing will be over. I do this before anything. No greeting the day repeating morning gratitude mantras, stretching via a series of sun salutations, or visualizing the wonderful day ahead, I reach for my phone without first even reaching for my glasses, open up Twitter and almost immediately yell OMG!

Then I typically lay in bed for another hour mulling over the world’s problems and then for example today, thinking how I need to buy a lemon zester and I need to do so immediately. If I can’t deal with the world I will feed a sourdough starter and make limincello. If the world hands you lemons make sugary lemon infused vodka tastiness that reminds you of a faraway place.

David Whyte, is his moving book of meditations, What to Remember When Waking, said, “In that first hardly noticed moment in which you wake, coming back to this life from the other more secret, moveable and frighteningly honest world where everything began, there is a small opening into the new day which closes the moment you begin your plans.” And I have been wasting that moment on Twitter.

Before I even being to attempt anything in my so called mindfulness journey, I need to get a handle on this morning thing.

I’ve tried everything – writing morning pages, repeating gratefulness mantras, yoga and breathing meditations – but nothing ever sticks. Apparently it takes 66 days to form a habit, and well I’ve never gotten past day 3. Why does it take so long to develop good habits when bad ones seem to come on in a matter of seconds?

Leo Babuta in his post on Creating a Lovely Morning almost gloats, “When I wake in the morning, my mind slowly gathers, and I begin to move, the early morning light just starting to seep in. I have a glass of water, start the coffee, then meditate. Then I enjoy the coffee, a good book, and the quiet before the dust and din and steam of the day begins. Then I write.”

Well doesn’t that sound delightful? But seriously who has the time (and the self-discipline) for that? I will stick to my series of oh shit moments as I wake late, tear through the house in a frenzy trying to locate my keys, bus pass, pants, you name it just to arrive at the bus stop panting and then realizing I left my coffee on the counter, shit.

Well not really. I don’t actually want to spend every morning the rest of my life in a overwhelmed tizzy, but it is hard for me to imagine any another way.

Thankfully Leo Babuta is not actually perfect and admits that his mornings weren’t always that way. He was just as grumpy as the rest of us and so darned miserable that he was motivated to change. But how do we even begin to make such a change?

I’ve been experimenting with my mornings this past month. The idea of suddenly becoming a morning person and hitting the off switch to my morning chaos just isn’t realistic and research would suggest it wouldn’t work anyway. New habits begin with small steps; they most certainly don’t happen overnight.

For the last month, I’ve been rising earlier on occasion, packing my lunch or setting out my running clothes the night before, had a few successful morning writing sessions, and gotten a bit back into my morning running routine. It is amazing how much these more leisurely mornings sets the tone for the entire day and basically makes me much less of a pain in the ass.

The first of January kicks of the official beginning of my personal Mindfulness Project with a focus on morning mindfulness and I will definitely provided updates on my progress and what’s working and what’s not.

“Every morning was a cheerful invitation to make my life of equal simplicity, and I may say innocence, with Nature herself.” ~Henry David Thoreau

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