6am. What are you doing?
A lot of you are sleeping. Some of you are getting up for work. I’ve been up for an hour already, contemplating what I am going to do to make a change in the world today. I am gathering my thoughts, charging “my power” for the rest of the day. I haven’t had my cup of coffee yet — but it is brewing. The wife hasn’t yet cracked her eyes open, and neither has the dog. I’m about to do my yoga and breathing exercises so I can carry the weight of the world today.
Good morning, familiar faces. Good morning, strangers. You don’t know about me, but I care about you almost as much as I care about myself. I care about you and I am thinking about you maybe because someone else won’t. Maybe it is because you feel like everyone else doesn’t. Perhaps you feel like there isn’t anyone out there who can or will. Well, you’re wrong, because I am right here and we just haven’t met yet.
It is sad that the majority of you out there will wake up and immediately have a bad day. “Getting up on the wrong side of bed” is such a cliche! There is that moment when you are in the bed, warm and cozy, and you have the choice of which side of the bed to wake up on. If you find yourself grumpy, stay in bed a little longer. Wait for the wife and dog to get up first if you need to. Train yourself to get up a little earlier each day so that you create enough time in your day to complete the things you need to do. If you’re in a good mood, hop out of bed immediately and put that good mood to work!
My world demands my time be used for its own purposes from 9am to 6pm. I kind of have a choice, I kind of don’t. Until I have a better choice, I am going to make the best of the choices I do have. Should I take the opportunity to stay up really late at night and sleep in until 8am? Nah, I take the higher road and get up three hours earlier to carve more time into my life.
Sleep? Sleep is like a tax. We have an utterly finite amount of time on this planet, and we are burning both ends of the candle at the same rate. We all have to pay the tax of sleep. However, during military training, I found that when pushed to the limits we humans really only need about 2 hours of sleep a day. I am sure that isn’t good for you, but I seriously have to laugh at this 8 hours a night requirement. If we really slept 8 hours a night, we LOSE 56 hours in a week! 224 hours a month! 2,688 hours lost in a year!! 9 days a month, and almost FOUR months in a year we are literally wasting time, letting opportunity pass us by.
Therefore, we can “have more time” by reducing the time we sleep by any amount. Let us say we sleep only 6 hours a night. By saving an extra 2 hours a night, we create 14 extra hours a week, 56 additional hours per month — 672 more hours per year. Translating those numbers into days, we roughly save 2 extra days a month and add almost an entire month in a year. If you find yourself saying, “I just don’t have time…” it is most likely because you’re sleeping that time away.
Want to be so successful in your endeavors that you want it so badly that you cannot wait to wake up at 4am to get your day started. That’s the price you have to pay. As Eric Thomas says, “some of you want to sleep more than you want to succeed.” Maybe it isn’t a waking thought. Maybe you just think you have to sleep a lot more than you really need to because you have allowed yourself to fall under the spell that a teacher, doctor, or late night infomercial had cast upon you some many years ago. There is no credible information that humans really need any sleep at all to “recharge” ourselves or to maintain health. My hypothesis is this: If we were to set out 4-6 hours of our day to contemplative meditation, we would be consciously devoting time to our subconscious in the same manner that sleep does. All in all, when we sleep isn’t it just to “shut our brains off?”
Meditation is hard. Sleeping is easy. I’d say that’s why we take the sleep route. Then again, there are people who can easily meditate and yet there are those who have to take pharmaceutical drugs to fall asleep. There’s that cost again. Even I have trouble meditating sometimes, but i see it as the price I must pay to get where I want to. You have to see the end in mind. You have to see where you want to go. Then you have to plan how to make that happen. I want to meditate more in my day, but my busy workday has yet to allow time to meditate during daylight hours and I have had to chisel in my “fun” later in the day. I personally desire to meditate and do yoga in the mornings after I rise and at night before i lay down in bed.
Of course it’s hard! When I first started doing yoga, it was nearly impossible. I couldn’t touch my hands to the ground. My leg muscles are huge and bulky and are not really made for yoga it seems. So I pushed myself beyond my limits and experienced the sheer torment of over stretching my Gracilis and Sartorius muscles. I had to stop any amount of exertion for more than a month. Then when I could stretch my legs, I went beyond my limits again. And again. And again. And again. Pain? If pain wants to come into my life, I will choose what pain I use to motivate that unwelcome pain to leave. Sounds complicated. It really isn’t. Now, I surprise everyone with how limber I am and the range of motion I can manipulate my body in.
Pain is definitely a motivator of change. It can be a purely negative motivator, like someone lashing your back with a whip to coerce you into doing something. It can also be a negative environmental motivator, such as poor economic conditions that motivate you to push your boundaries and learn new skills. It could be a positive motivator, in that you might have asthma and can’t breathe while running but the pain of not being able to breathe motivates you to run harder to force those bronchial tubes open. While pain might be a motivator, it isn’t the only one. Why do we HAVE to experience pain to motivate us to make the biggest changes in our lives? We have the power of choice!
Right now, the pain for me is getting out of bed in the morning before my muscles have agreed to workout. Before my skin, warm under the covers, decides that the ambient household air is too cold for it’s liking, I hop out of bed and turn on that bath water. I don’t merely take a shower, I soak in hot water to free my muscles from their cryogenic slumber. I loosen myself up by practicing conscious breathing exercises. I thank the world for everything it has given me and for what I will receive in the hours and days to come. I say a little prayer, mostly about gratitude and thankfulness.
Then I make the coffee, walk the dog if applicable, and sit down to reflect or write. Not all days are like this, nor have I come to expect it every day. If I do not take a flexible approach, I’m sure I would be disappointed with the variables life chooses for me. I know there is a power of choice in the space between action and reaction. Take a look at what things motivate you in life, and the things that frustrate you. Are you allowing yourself a bigger or smaller space in between action and reaction? Are you impulsive? Are you always caught up in the many decisions you have to make? Are you overwhelmed? Slow things down a bit with contemplation. Add more time to your day by sleeping less. Do more while being as conscious of the entire situation as you can. Not just the bad stuff.
Observe yourself with a stranger’s eyes. What would you think of yourself if you were not you? What would you change based on YOUR beliefs? Do you get up in the morning immediately worried about bills? How about enjoying that coffee first before you center your life around worry? Instead of worrying about that bill, after you have a coffee take a walk around the block while counting your breaths in and out on the count of seven. Think about the bills when you get back. Is there something you can change? No? Well then you don’t need to worry about it. Don’t even worry about the things you CAN change. Just change them. Do it.
It’s important to have a good day, but you can’t really start a good day without having a good morning!
So, GOOD MORNING!