Good Morning Monday! Usually my least favorite day of the week. I tend to be mopey and mal-adjusted on Monday mornings as I am longing for the laziness of the weekend. Not very mindful of me, this living in the past of yesterday or only looking ahead to Saturday. Five whole days of new beginnings mindlessly lived in a day dream of “has beens” and “what ifs.”
This morning, as I sat watching the sun rise, it dawned on me (haha Pun intended) that I need to take a cue from my verdant companions. I watch my succulents and herbs reach for the sun each day, never tiring, never complaining; only reaching, striving for the light. They bend effortlessly as they are kissed by golden rays, reviving and strengthening their delicate green limbs.
What am I doing to strengthen my limbs this early in the morning? I know what I should be doing: Sun Salutations and morning meditation. So what happened to my practice?
Like so many, I get distracted by the barrage of responsibilities we are all burdened with. Mindlessly going about the day dealing with a job we aren’t into, chores we don’t feel like doing; tons of email and social media to further distract while fueling ourselves with coffee upon coffee- no wonder I already feel like taking a nap! By 7am I have showered, washed dishes, put laundry away, taken care of the dog, gotten my son off to school, drank 2 cups of coffee while scrolling through social media and started work at my full time job as a Chemist.
Honestly, I am, like so many of us, looking at my mornings all wrong. Instead of viewing mornings as a chore, we need to view mornings as they really are: endless possibility!
It’s sounds cliche, but the mindset we start the morning with can dictate our day. Notice I used the word BURDEN before. This was intentional to further show how certain words carry a feeling. When we say we are BURDENED with something it implies a tiresome, weighed down feeling both mentally and physically. Are mornings actually burdensome? For some people, possibly; but for most of us, we would only rather sleep a bit longer, comfy in bed. This isn’t a burden. It is actually a blessing.
We need to look deeply at our dis-content. Getting frustrated with the morning is like getting mad at the weather; pointless! The morning (or the weather) is not out to get us. These things just are. This is where we have to learn to stop doing and start being.
We begin with our breath. When we feel frustration arise, we return to our breath: Breathing in we feel the air into our nasal passage and flow into our lungs. We feel our chest rise. Breathing out we feel our chest fall and the air flow out of our mouth. When we can focus on our breath, we can return to our center. We can feel the emotion, in this case frustration, flow through our body. We are able to recognize that we are not our emotions.
The feeling of frustration is due to a chemical response in our thought patterns. If we associate morning tasks with frustration, then we will feel frustration arise when we have to perform our morning tasks. What happens if we replace the word task with ritual? This little shift in context can shift our entire perspective.
What if preparing your lunch before work in the morning is a ritual, a sacred process of conscious preparation of that which gives us sustenance? Instead of frustration, perhaps gratitude will arise as we are thankful to have food while so many go without.
When we take the time to be mindful of our daily tasks (rituals) and emotions, our perspective can shift. We allow for expansion and understanding as we begin to create space where we can rest in the moment peacefully, even when life seems chaotic. We stop doing and start BE-ing.