Thursday, February 4, 2010
Body & Spirit: How to Start Your Day like a Real Spiritual Person
(More of Marcy's recent mural kitchen painting, Mr. Rooster. The top framed print is by Emily of the Black Apple and the bottom is one I bought in Paris 16 years ago...le sigh.)
I am a big believer in creating ritual to help you take action -- or making yourself a Pavlovian dog, as I wrote about here.
Right now, I am reading The Creative Habit by Twyla Tharp, and though she isn't saying anything new to me, really, she is saying it in a different way and it's making me think about how I start my own day.
Okay...okay...this is actually a minor obsession of mine. I think if I can just figure out the Perfect Morning that my whole life will radically change. I am not alone in this magical thinking, as I once read that Henry James (I think it was him) was constantly experimenting with routine, but good company aside, I have a point.
Whenever the whole Pavlov dog thing has worked for me -- like really worked...like had actual results -- it was because it evolved naturally. I didn't push it or work it out or impose it.
Listening to the same CD over and over and over and over, while I finished a novel, just happened. I did not sit down and say to my self, "Self, you will listen to the CD soundtrack from the movie Frida approximately 54,729 times and this will create a reaction in your brain, much like salivating, and you will thus finish a novel."
I just happened to listen to that CD and then like the results and then do it again and like the results and on and on.
Back to the Tharp book. I am reading the beginning where she talks about her morning ritual of getting up, hailing a cab, and going to the gym to work out for two hours, every single day. She says the ritual is not the gym but the hailing of the cab, which then puts the rest in motion.
A-ha! My OCD brain squeals with delight! I have found it! I have found the ingredient I was missing in My Morning Magic Potion -- the trigger! I just need a trigger and I will never ever miss doing yoga or ballet (can't decide which yet) first thing in the morning, every. single. morning. First thing. No computer or espresso beforehand. Nope. Ballet or yoga. But the trigger?
Will it perhaps be lighting a candle? Or maybe I just need some special leg warmers that I put on every day? Hmmm...
Enter Marcy. Laughing. But not too hard because she knows how seriously I take myself.
She gently tells me the Truth, "But you already have a routine. You just don't like it."
She is right. I judge my routine as not spiritual enough. That's what it comes down to. I think, "A REAL Spiritual Person (R.S.P.) does not handle their first hour that way. They get up, drink wheat grass, take a colonic, sit in meditation for two hours, drink water and a smoothie, if anything, and then go help the poor. That is what an R.S.P. does. Then maybe they get around to some sort of (dirty) work."
But that is not how I function, and I am a spiritual person. The most spiritual thing I can do is accept the fact that I like a hot shower, an espresso, and my Inbox first thing in the morning.
Then, maybe, I can actually focus on ballet or yoga and not be thinking that I've missed something.