Monday, April 27, 2009

InnerBliss: 5 Rules for the First Hour of Your Day

I came across a new blog recently that is comprised of writings from a different author every day. It's called 5 Rules for Life. I thought about submitting, but I realized I wanted to get more specific with my 5 Rules.

I've written, very early on, about how important the first moments of your day are in terms of what you listen to, watch, and read. I asked, specifically, how you create your morning?

Do you jump out of bed and get right to it, creating a feeling of being rushed from the very first minute? Do you turn on the news and start your day with anxiety and fear? Do you get right into your car and begin with aggression?

These are all quite violent ways to start your day, and it's no wonder that we end our days feeling drained, exhausted, attacked, and flattened. It's no wonder that all we can do is sit like zombies in front of the TV and shovel food into our mouths.

What would a nonviolent day begin like? How could we start our days to create more personal and therefore communal peace...and bliss?

Taking my evening salt bath a couple of nights ago, I came up with my 5 Rules for the First Hour of Your Day.

Rule Number One: Do Not Rush Out of Your Bed

When you awaken, whether it be by sunlight or the necessity of an alarm clock, lie still. Just breathe. Perhaps stretch like a baby. Breathe deeply into your lower abdomen and down into your wiggling toes. Breathe deeply to oxygenate your awakening brain.

Breathe in the idea of the day.

Start to envision what you want to look like as you go through your day. Do not think about the details of what you will be doing -- just envision your peaceful, relaxed, and happy self. And envision staying that way no matter what.

Rule Number Two: Treat Your Bathroom Time as the Ablution It is

As you make your way to the bathroom, think about the miracle that is running, indoor, clean water. Be thankful.

As you go through your routine, be thankful that your body functions as well as it does. Be thankful that you walked into the bathroom on your own, that you can do this all for yourself.

As you wash your body in the shower or just your face at the sink, wash away any leftover anxiety or negative emotions from the previous day or from your dreams. See this as a cleansing and a preparation.

You are fresh and new every single morning!

Rule Number Three: Connect to Your Body...Slowly

This only takes ten minutes. Or you could take an hour. Whatever you need or whatever you are capable of. Do not judge.

Start moving. T'ai chi first thing is amazing. Restorative Yoga is the way I now begin.

Or take a walk outdoors. No matter the weather. Observe the natural world. Notice whatever is happening on each day during each season. Connect to your body and to the world. Connecting to both is the same thing, really.

Rule Number Four: Watch What You Put in Your Brain via Your Ears and Eyes

Ideally, start your day -- this first hour -- with as little modern and technological input as possible.

Do not get right on the computer. Do not turn on the news -- radio or television. Do not unfold the newspaper.

Instead, listen to the birds outside. Listen to soothing music. Listen to some chant. Read some poetry or something else you find equally inspirational.

It is difficult
to get the news from poems
yet men die miserably everyday
for lack
of what is found there.

--William Carlos Williams

Rule Number Five: Gratitude

Perhaps the most important rule: Say "Thank You" and "Yes" before you begin the main part of your day

Thank you for all the gifts and lessons and matter what they are.

Yes to life. Yes to breath. Yes to it all.

Five Rules for the last hour of your day? Just reverse and repeat.

(Photo Credit: Christine Reed, Narcissus, Backyard, 2009)


Val said...

This is a great post and such a good reminder for everyone to take it slow and easy...

I've got a pretty good handle on all of these "rules" except for number 3. With 3 little ones running around, waking up before me and then waking me up (I never need an alarm clock for anything!), I do NOT get to connect to body first thing in the morning. In fact, I'm doing good if I connect to it all during the day.

This is something I know would be good for me... I just need to find the motivation to set the alarm clock for 4:45 in the morning so I can get up before the kids. Either that or I need to just tell myself that this one "rule" can continue to be broken for awhile longer. If I'm honest, I lean towards the latter...
; )

Nerdy Renegade said...

Excellent post! Much good advice and guidance here!

I'm glad to so that I already do most of these ~ of course slipping up over and over again, falling back into the 'woe is me' funk. Gratitude and mindfulness are such powerful ways to reframe my perspective. They can change the entire trajectory of my day.

Thank you for these gentle, yet profound reminders of small things we can do to make a big difference ~ one life ~ one precious soul ~ at a time.

Awesome photo, too!!!

Tracy said...

Wonderful "rules" to start the day. I'm going to give it a try. :)

Bohemian Single Mom said...

I love it!
I usually start the day by hopping up with the alarm, putting the coffee on, getting my hatchling ready for school, then parking my butt at the computer. Blech!!!

Thanks for this. I'm printing it out and sticking it on my affirmation wall. I am changing my ways!

lynette said...

Lovely, thank you.

Emma said...

I love this post!

And it reminded me of this article I read a while ago:

My favorite part of that article was "touch the ground (or floor) with your right hand as you step out of bed, then touch your hand to your forehead, remembering your love and respect for Mother Earth."

Reading this post, I realized how much I love going outside to walk in the morning. I almost never, ever do this. Maybe I could try that tomorrow.

As you know, part of my 100 day vow was to spend time resting, reading, or looking out the window in the morning before turning on the computer or doing anything else like that. I have stuck with that and am loving it. Some mornings (like this morning) I don't use the computer at all before heading off to work! I'll write more about that soon.

Anyway, great post!

Sydney said...

Aaaaah Blisschick. I would just love to meet you and have some tea and chat up a storm and just be in the company of someone who comes up with THIS MUCH GOOD SH*T EVERY DAY!!!! Lol

I thank you -- one of the benefits of starting my day going straight to my computer ( a habit I am trying to break), was to read your post today. I promptly stopped everything and sat at my alter, went through basically these steps and am starting my day fresh. And I did fulfill my 100 day challenge thing we started last week at the same time. Can Bliss be multi-taksed ????? :-D

positively present said...

This is GREAT advice. The way you start your day is so important and it really can impact the entire day. I love the last rule - gratitude - because I think it really starts off the day on the right foot to think about how grateful you for things in your life.

Grace said...

Another great way to start your day is to cuddle with the one you love. Also a great way to end the day:)

lucy said...

wonderful post. #1 held the most resonance for me both in terms of order and connection. i found myself mentally clicking through my morning routine and found myself in most of the other #'s too.

last week i stayed in a small apartment with some friends. they got up first thing and turned on the news...also finished with it at night. i was a bit surprised by how assaulting to my system it was.

my other luxury/necessity of the morning is spending time with "morning pages"...writing what comes to me first thing. this both allows me to see where i need to let go of something before i can begin well and also where my heart is calling me for the day. what is my intention? today it is to flow.

thanks for sharing your wisdom!

Steve Doyne said...

As always, a wonderful, thought provoking post re: life. My only addition, to watch the sun rise whenever possible...

Rebekah said...

I already do some of these, but I'm going to try to do all five. They're beautiful ideas, though sometimes, when one lives with others, it can be hard to control #4. (I do, and they get up before me and are news watchers.) I'm going to do my best, though! Haha. Thank you for sharing this! :)

Naturally Jules said...

Thank you so much for the reminder of how to start the day!

blisschick said...

Oh, happy happy that this hit home for so many of you!

And so happy to see people making other suggestions.

I love the touching the ground/touching your forehead. That is wonderful.

And OF COURSE -- MORNING did I forget that?!? :)

Also, I am so sorry for any of you who are rather involuntarily exposed to the blaring of news first thing. I know there are certain people whom I visit and they are TV watchers...and wow, by the second day I am feeling pretty raw.

Sydney -- You are ON for tea and chat. Your compliment is so appreciated. I think of you as someone with such an amazing life so, well, thank you! :)

Ellen said...

I've been taking my decaf in a travel mug and walking a few minutes up the street to a park. I sit on a bench in the sun, see what's up in the park, and hopefully soak up some sun before work!

I also try to say hello to whoever i might meet at that time - not a usual thing for me to do.

Someday, I'll get to doing yoga or meditation first thing. But I do enjoy my tiny morning outing.

J.D. said...

Thank you for mentioning my site. I love your "Five Rules", and the focus of them being how you start your day.


Sydney said...

I'm delighted we can have tea sometime! We will figure out how to make that happen. Right now, it's back to my paper-- graduation is mid June and I am jamming on these last few papers and projects. After that, I will have a life.

PS: ever make it in to NYC?

differenceayearmakes said...

Beautful post - it is so easy to forget how the start of your day can determine the quality of the rest of your day. I read this book Savoring The Day which had some great rituals for beginning your day at the library and I finally found a copy and bought it several years later - it remained in my memory that long. I think I'll have to dig it out.

tinkerbell the bipolar faery said...

a wonderful post! and yes, i'd say these are my 5 rules, too.

earthmother said...

LOVE it! Worth hanging on the fridge as a daily reminder. Hmmm, maybe Marcy could help us out here and design something...