December 31, 2010
Good days are WAY too important to make them an accident. Here’s how to guarantee them…
Rule of thumb: Don’t check your email/phone/facebook first thing in the morning.
This puts you in reactionary mode. You’re responding to other people’s worlds, rather than creating your own. That means you let the forces around you dictate your entire day, and that’s a big gamble. You may not even notice the effects until you take a good look at your mild annoyances, never-ending to-do list, interruptions from co-workers… and see how much power they have over you.
There are many morning rituals to follow, but after years of experimentation here’s what works best for me. I often vary up the order of these things, depending on my mood:
1. 15 minutes of mediation
I set a timer and sit there for 15 minutes, and just breathe and observe. No judgments at all. I am watching my own thoughts but sometimes I become the thoughts. When I realize I’m doing this, I re-center, and notice again. Freedom from thought does not mean NO thoughts. It means realizing I am NOT my thoughts. My thoughts are a residue of memories, fantasies, worries, and all kinds of other things. They are not ME. The more I get in touch with the observer, the more I am free.
2. Theme song
I pick a theme song for the day, and often jump around on my rebounder while listening (and singing) to it. It’s like a natural form of coffee, and it’s great for the lymphatic system.
3. Program my brain
I like to proactively put thoughts I want into my brain. Inspiring books are great for this. I’m particularly inspired by A Course in Miracles. I find it mind-blowing. I read one section (2 pages) and one workbook exercise every morning. Per Tim Ferriss’ recommendation, I now read with the Philips Blu-light, a remarkable device that helps me get my sunlight, and generally lifts moods, especially in the winter.
4. Get into motion
I like to run around for 10 minutes or more. Gets the blood going. Sometimes I will either mix in the theme song, or I will run silently and think about that for which I’m grateful. Gratitude immediately replaces most negative emotions. I find that the more specific I am, the better it works. So rather than think about being thankful for my parents, I think about specific things I appreciate about them.
5. A good breakfast
I can’t believe how many people skip this. After years of playing with different approaches to food, I find that the slow carb diet works phenomenally well. All you have to do is read this short plan for the slow food diet, and that’s all you really need to know. I like to mix this with green smoothies during the day, popularized in Green for Life. Amazing way to get your veggies and greens in a drink.
I do all of this before touching the computer. Try it. The cosmic joke is that freedom comes through constraints.