How did you start your day? Were you grumpy and groggy until you had your coffee? Did you jump out of bed full of joy? Did you hit the snooze button? Did you snuggle in with your partner for a few precious moments before getting out of bed? Did you awaken from a dream with a start, only to realize you’d overslept, then rush around getting ready for work and forget what you dreamed about?
Did you rush through breakfast or spend some quiet time in meditation before you got ready for the day? Did you listen to some calming music or yell at your kids to hurry up? Did you have an argument with your mate or did you take the time to give your beloved a hug before facing the day?
There are a hundred ways to start the day, and hopefully you don’t start the day exactly the same way every morning, like the main character in the movie Groundhog Day. Even if things don’t go the very same way every day, if you think about your morning routine, you can probably identify some patterns. Think about your pattern for a moment. Now, consider today’s quote.
Zen teaches that our approach to today determines our whole approach to life. –Phillip Toshio Sudo
What if this is true? What might your morning routines say about your approach to life?
If you feel out of it before you had your coffee, it’s possible that you believe you get your energy and clarity from something outside of yourself, rather than from within.
If you bound out of bed with a feeling of joy, I’m guessing you are an optimist, and in general good health, to boot.
If you go back to sleep, it may be that you prefer to live your life in sleep mode, running along on a treadmill without asking yourself why.
If you spend a few moments appreciating your partner, you are probably the type who sets a high value on human relationships.
If you oversleep because of a dream, perhaps your dream life is desperately trying to send you a message, and you’re ignoring it, or you think you are too busy to spend the time analyzing your dreams.
If you rush through your morning routine, you may feel pressured for time because you tend to over-schedule yourself, then you no doubt wonder why you never seem to get any rest.
If you spend quiet time in prayer, contemplation, meditation or reflective journaling in the morning, (or even in the evening), you obviously value your inner life and consider it a necessary counterpart to your outer life in the physical world.
If you listen to beautiful music before leaving home or on the way to work, you are likely to value inner peace and calm, and you are willing to take the time to do whatever it takes to achieve this mindset.
If you nag your loved ones or have arguments in the morning, it’s a good bet that you feel tense, under pressure, or dissatisfied with life in general.
If any of the above rings a bell for you or raises a red flag, you may wish to re-consider how you start your day. The good news is that who you are and your approach to life are not set in stone, and certainly not limited by your behavior in the past (even if it is the very recent past). You can change. You can start fresh. You can turn over a new leaf.
How do you really want to approach life? Don’t just think of how you “should” approach it or compare your approach with someone else’s. How do you want to approach life? What approach is comfortable for you? Once you have decided, write down your statement and keep it somewhere safe where you can access it a few weeks or months from now. Decide on ways that you can structure your morning routine to reflect your true approach. Then set up an appointment with yourself on your calendar to review your approach in a given amount of time. Is your new morning routine having the desired effect? If not, make some course corrections. Good luck! 🙂