Morning Practice

I’ve been studying qigong for four years now, and through it I’ve developed an ever evolving morning practice.  The first hour of my day is devoted to me (after I’ve fed the cats and let the dog out — peace and quiet is important, too).  I’ve learned that if I’m not aligned and in touch with my inner being, my spiritual core, then I struggle and stumble through the day.  I’ve even changed my work hours and sleeping times to accommodate that.  When I’m at my best I can reach out and offer myself to others.  But I have to come first.

I have six things that I plan to do in my hour.  Some days I do all of them, other days some of them.  I let how I’m feeling dictate how I spend my hour.

Here’s what my morning practice has evolved to:

1455807272_img_0442Meditation and mindfulness:  So very important to clear my mind and focus on what is important to me and my day.  Mediation is getting quiet and clearing your mind so that you have room to expand your love and your thinking.  Mindfulness is taking that practice and living it through the day.  I usually meditate for 15 – 20 minutes first thing in the morning, so it takes up a large amount of my practice.

For learning mediation and mindfulness, there is no better place than Headspace.  The first ten lessons are free, and you can continue with a monthly subscription after that.  It’s absolutely the best and most sensible practice you can create for yourself.  If you’ve tried mediation and it didn’t work for you, give Headspace a try.  Andy brings the best of a lot of mediation techniques to bear on the study, and it works.  1451849021_img_0191

Journaling:  I started by doing Julia Cameron’s three morning pages (read “The Artist’s Way”) but I don’t stay strictly to three pages any more.  I write what feels good and then add to it during the day, finishing up the day with a list of things to celebrate and a list of things I’m grateful for.  The celebration list is fun, since I put down all the things I accomplished that day.  I like to challenge myself to do more each day.  These are all small things like cleaning a room or finishing a book, but they give me a sense of accomplishment that makes sleeping easy.  I capture a lot of my life In my journal and I’ll write more about that later.

img_0986Affirmations:  Every year I choose a word to focus on through the year.  My word for 2017 is Simplify.  From that word I create a positive affirmation.  I’ll write the affirmation in my journal every morning, and repeat it a couple of times so that it stays in focus.  The affirmation is always positive.  It can change through the year as I grow and change.  My current affirmation is, “I simplify my life to give my dreams room to grow”.

img_0528Sunshine Slideshow:  I’ve been calling this a vision or inspiration board, but it’s a slide show I created for my iPad that is filled with images that make me feel good.  The pictures can be inspiring, funny, or sweet but they all set my day going in the right direction.  It doesn’t take me long to flip through them, but it pays off with a huge reward of feeling good.  I’ve featured many of them in the Daily Sunshine blog posts.

img_1473Exercise:  It’s good to take a couple of minutes to get some blood flowing.  I might do a little qigong or get on the treadmill for a few minutes.  A treadmill is handy because I start my day at 4:30 in the morning when it’s too dark and often raining to walk outside.

When I practice qigong, I’ll do this YouTube tapping session that my teacher, Master Liu He, has done, or do one of these quick sessions with Don Fiore.  I do longer qigong sessions, too, but these are just quick routines I can do quickly as part of my morning practice.

img_1476Reading:  I spend a little time reading something inspirational.  There are many books available.  Right now, I’m reading the Tao Te Ching in five different translations.  My morning reading time isn’t study time.  It’s just a quick, inspirational couple of paragraphs that serve to align and inspire me.