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 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.


Linnea said...

Oh, thank goodness. I just KNEW when I saw the intro to this in my Reader that being an RSP was going to involve wheat grass, colonics, and two hours of meditation ... none of which I can do first thing in the a.m. (and I'm not too sure about those first two, anyway).

Feeling much better about my chai, quick Internet check, and morning rush boogaloo this a.m. Thanks!

Bohemian Single Mom said...

Haha - *great minds and all that!
I'm right there with you and wrote a similar "routine" post yesterday.
Trying desperately to bring some order and structure to my mornings.
I like the bit about the trigger. I guess mine is the alarm clock? ;)

Tess said...

Personally, I think there's something deeply untrustworthy about someone who gets up and goes to the gym for two hours every day...

Ketzirah said...

I do say prayers every morning and generally do a 20 minute yoga session (missed it this morning, body cranky), but remember I spend the rest of my day as a corporate priestess. I NEED to find a centering practice for my morning because the rest of my day is spent in corporate America.

You spend most of your day dancing, doing Yoga, and writing. I'm sure there's a host of mundane things too, but it doesn't seem like it. It seems like you need to start your day by grounding and centering in the mundane world.

Christine Claire Reed said...

Ketzirah, Yep. That's a good summation with reasons. I like it. :)

The main point being that we all just have to accept that we need is what we need and there is no "right" or "more" spiritual.

Christine Claire Reed said...

Well, the main point really is consciousness. Yes. :)

alisha said...

love this post because i have been mulling over the effectiveness of my morning routine as well. because what i am doing right now isn't serving me.

i loved "the creative habit" by the way.

differenceayearmakes said...

WWRSPD - whatever their hearts call for them to do I expect. For now I think I'll aim for a 'real live person' - she loves what she loves - and hey figuring that out is hard enough.

I think I already mentioned that if I want to exercise every single day I have to roll out of bed, stumble into the living room, turn on a program or a video and begin before my brain wakes up. I did that for 365 solid. Once my brain wakes up wooboy anything goes. The only other time I've been successful on a daily basis was working out at the Y five days a week after work - obtaining some relief from stress drove me there, oh, and having a trainer who was really good at guilt. I did this for over 3 years.

Meanwhile, this morning I got up, hit the computer, made some coffee and now anything goes....

Although I am itching to practice that Kundalini yoga again - what is it that I love so much about it?

And I'm itching to get outdoors, the weather may hold today - so since my lunch plans have been postponed I think I'll head to the park with my camera and book.

And my art? I want to practice that everyday - and I don't think the stumble out of bed is going to work - or the relieve stress thing. I need to make time every day...I don't keep a day planner anymore (nor do I want to)...hmmm, are there art trainers good at guilt?

Rowena said...

I hate those R_P shoulds. It could be about being spiritual, or an artist, or a dancer, or a mom, or whatever profession, calling or hobby you have.

What it comes down to is that we have a picture about what a REAL PERSON should do and be, and it's almost never us. Or not for long, anyway.

What if we're that RSP just the way we are?

I'm working on it. It's hard work.

Eco Yogini said...

hahaha. i KNEW i wasn't alone! I was thinking, no TRIGGER on this planet would ever get me up and moving enough to do yoga...

i usually blunder around and am lucky if i make it out the door on time.

for myself, my RSP is my walk to work in the morning.... but really even that can go terribly wrong... lol

Barbara O'Neal said...

I am insanely in love with the photo of the wall. It makes me want to paint everything in my kitchen and dining room bright colors.

Thanks for this post. I think about it all the time, too.

Rachelle Mee-Chapman said...

I've been totally thinking about Pavlov lately. And now ... serendipty!...2 Pavlov posts from one of my favorite bloggers in one week!

So of course, I made a play-a-long. :-)

Thanks for connecting the dots for me!

Bethany said...

Thanks for the smile.
I LOVE Marcy's Rooster. If I saw that every morning I would be a RSP.
Great post.

Val said...

Ohhhh Christine, this made me smile bigtime!!!

Jeanne Klaver said...

SO glad you finally figured out—YOU ARE A "REAL" SPIRITUAL PERSON!