Mindfulness is Rarely Perfect
Morning routines are tricky. I can't figure them out, and I've been trying. Over the last three months I've been trying a little bit of everything to see if it would work... and I'm not even entirely sure what I mean by “work.”
I've woken up ridiculously early (5:30am early), meditated, journaled, practiced gratitude, drank way too much water, oil pulled, etc.
Some have made me feel great (journalling and the gratitude habit. I still do both of these habits daily), some have felt like a nuisance (oil pulling), and some have felt good temporarily... and then started to feel horrible (getting up at 5:30am).
Here's what I've learned from my forays into discovering the perfect morning ritual for me.
There is no perfect morning ritual.
While there is definitely something to be said for consistency and being accountable to yourself, I think it's even more important to listen to your body.
What do I actually feel moment-to-moment? It's SO easy to shake off our feelings as being unimportant or irrelevant.
'I'm going to be strong and power through.'
I've been there and done that. But we can't always do it all. At least I can't. Eventually I'm going to crash and burn - maybe even get myself sick.
Sometimes following through on our routine is the wrong thing to do. Sometimes we actually do need that extra little bit of time to sleep.
But then sometimes we don't. Sometimes we're just avoiding what we know we should do in favour of what's comfortable.
How do you tell the difference between a gut instinct and an impulsive idea? How do you tell the difference between your body telling you to slow down, and your fear telling you to slow down? And what's the difference even? I don't know. I don't know!
I guess we just have to get really good at listening and understanding our internal worlds. Maybe it starts with getting specific about what we want to have, experience and accomplish in our lives, and then choreographing our days around that.
Maybe life is sort of like a dance? Sometimes we nail the routine, and sometimes we trip and end up with a bruised butt and a bruised ego. But it's our passion and desire that helps us to get up and try again. So we do. Sometimes we'll have good days, and sometimes we'll have bad days. Sometimes our technique – our routine – will work and sometimes it won't. Maybe it's even the wrong routine. Maybe the foot work needs to be revisited.
Maybe I'm stretching this metaphor just a little bit too far.
But here's what I know for sure: failure is part of the human experience, so maybe it's okay if we're imperfect. I know that I'm certainly in favour of being a little bit easier on myself.
Christine received her B.A. in English, creative writing and Theatre from the University of New Brunswick and moved to Vancouver, British Columbia in 2011 to pursue a career as an actor and writer. Her recently launched Creative Life Blog follows the journeys of eight vastly different artists as they work toward their goals.