When we wake up to a new day we make several important choices. We choose to live, we choose to face the day and, usually, we choose to get out of bed. Some days these hardly feel like choices at all. We wake up and robotically go through a morning routine that just gets the job done.
Over the years, I've decided it's better for my spirit to greet the day more conscientiously. What I'm not talking about is exercising in the morning or eating a good breakfast. This post is about what happens from the moment our brain comes into awareness from sleep to when we place our feet on the floor.
- Say thank you for the new day. As soon as my brain can form a sentence I silently express gratitude for the new day then read an excerpt from a little book of very short daily meditations. If you are spiritual, you might say a simple morning prayer. If not, you can still acknowledge gladness for the opportunity inherent in the new day. My favorite guided meditation begins: Thank you for this new day. Thank you for my self, thank you for my consciousness in this day. Today let me be fully awake. Let me breathe, let me relax, let me feel my sensations and emotions, let me watch and observe and let me allow and give permission.
- Stretch and body check. This habit developed in my twenties while recovering from a bout of kidney problems. People with chronic illness and those of us who have reached a certain age do not take our bodies' cooperation for granted. While still lying in bed I like to pull my body up through my fingers and down through my toes, like I'm on the rack but in a good way.
- Breathe. Thoughtful, deep, slow, lung-filling breaths. Oxygenate!
- Make the first thing you see is something beautiful. My bed is arranged so that it faces a large window revealing a lovely view of trees and sky. In the summer it's wonderful. In winter, well… Some years ago a client recovering from depression still hated getting up in the morning. Dark winter mornings were the worst. I asked her what kept her going. Her grandchildren, she said. Did she have any pictures of her grandchildren on her bedside table? No. At my suggestion she cleaned up her cluttered table, set up photos of her kids, grandkids, arranged some silk flowers in a favorite vase, added a bowl of dried lavender. Later she said that one change, waking up everyday to her grandchildrens' sweet faces, made all the difference to her.
- Get up thoughtfully. A yoga instructor of mine said people traumatize their bodies daily just by moving about thoughtlessly. Getting up suddenly from a reclining position could be especially jarring, not good for your chakras! She suggested rolling over onto your side, then pushing up slowly by pressing your hands down and lifting your torso up. Once your sitting, swing your legs over the edge of the bed and place your feet on the floor.
Editor's Note: In the spirit of better serving Explore What's Next readers, Mondays at Explore What's Next will be 'Just For You' days. Just For You will focus on self-esteem building, inspiring self-care and ideas for finding balance in our lives. I hope you enjoy this change. Feel free to provide helpful feedback and suggestions for what you would like to hear or learn more about in future EWN posts.