Last week we talked about James Allen’s recommendation that we get up when our alarm clock first rings. He claimed that this simple act strengthens our will, leading to self-mastery, which is the cornerstone of a successful and fulfilling life.
This got me to thinking a little deeper about morning routines. We all have one, whether it’s something regimented or if it’s a fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants, we all have certain things we do in the morning to get us up and going and out the door, reasonably on time.
When we think of the phrase “morning routine” it conjures up serious activities such as meditating and exercising. These are great activities and they certainly are worthy of being included in our morning routine, but what if we also included some “fun stuff”?
How would it make us feel to give ourselves enough time to sit quietly outside with our morning coffee or tea and watch the sunrise? What kind of a boost would it give our spirits?
How about scheduling in time for us to do something that’s totally indulgent and even frivolous for ourselves: practicing magic tricks, learning how to juggle, playing the kazoo, learning how to do handstands, or my favorite activity of practicing our bubble blowing technique?
Do you think this would put a spring in our steps and get us off to a happy start in our day?
I think so! I also think it’s worth a shot!
Let me know what totally indulgent and frivolous things you like to do. No worries if you can’t think of anything. Tomorrow we’ll talk about a few things you can do.
Here’s what the ancients thought about rising early:
First thing every morning before you arise say out loud, ‘I believe,’ three times .–Ovid
It is well to be up before daybreak, for such habits contribute to health, wealth, and wisdom. -Aristotle
When you arise in the morning, think of what a precious privilege it is to be alive – to breathe, to think, to enjoy, to love. –Marcus Aurelius
The sun is new each day. -Heraclitus
When you wake up in the morning, tell yourself: The people I deal with today will be meddling, ungrateful, arrogant, dishonest, jealous, and surly. They are like this because they can’t tell good from evil. But I have seen the beauty of good, and the ugliness of evil, and have recognized that the wrongdoer has a nature related to my own — not of the same blood or birth, but of the same mind, and possessing a share of the divine. And so none of them can hurt me. No one can implicate me in ugliness. Nor can I feel angry at my relative, or hate him. We were born to work together like feet, hands, and eyes, like the two rows of teeth, upper and lower. To obstruct each other is unnatural. To feel anger at someone, to turn your back on him: these are obstructions.–Marcus Aurelius
Please enjoy this post. I hope it helps you take the next step!
Your Friend and Pep Pal,
Here’s another benefit of sitting in silence: it helps you clarify you’re thinking.
Not only does it help you hear and feel the Still Small Voice within—or the whisperings and urgings of your heart and soul, if you will—but the results of a practice of Silence will help you discern the difference between that which is yours to address versus what belongs to other people.
Once you’re able to clarify your thinking then you’ve taken a huge step toward self-forgiveness.
It’s one thing to recognize you’ve fallen short of your ideal and that you need to make amends and corrections. It’s a whole different thing to take the blame for something someone else has done (or not done) or for something that was beyond your control.
Taking the blame when it isn’t yours leads to unresolved and unchecked guilt which oftentimes then turns into shame. These are devastating.
They’ll cause you to lead a life that’s far, far below your potential. To compound this, you probably won’t fulfill your Destiny.
If you don’t have a daily practice of Sitting in Silence even for a few minutes—it could be as little as 5 minutes because it does add up over time—then I urge you to begin one today. Ideally, sit for 15 to 20 minutes first thing in the morning and the last thing before you go to bed. But if that’s too overwhelming, then start with 15 minutes in the morning, the very first thing in the morning. It’s a great way to start your day!
To err is human, to forgive divine. ~Alexander Pope
I don’t know about you but when I read this quote I’m dismayed. I have no problem with the erring part and the human part—I can do that quite well sometimes!—but the forgiving and the divine part…yeah…that can be another story at times.
Especially when I’m supposed to forgive someone who isn’t sorry at all. In fact, they can’t understand what’s the problem because in their mind they didn’t do anything wrong. And, to add insult to injury, some people are adept at twisting things so that I start to believe I am the one who has to apologize!
We’ll talk about forgiveness all week. This is an important topic because oftentimes it’s unforgiveness that’s holding us back. I’ll be sharing techniques and resources with you so visit this blog each day.
Bad choices, mistakes, and plain old stupidity. Nobody wants to acknowledge these, much less talk about them. People want to hear success stories, find the keys to success, and learn the 3 steps or 7 steps or 12 steps–or however many steps are in vogue at this moment–to success. The media and our culture glorify it, making us feel envious and less-than, which Madison Avenue loves because then they can sell us something to “solve” it.
However, failure is one of the most important things you can do, as long as you don’t let it defeat you and as long as you don’t quit!
In spite of how discouraged–or ridiculous or stupid–you may feel and no matter how hard it is, take the next step!
Moving forward, even if it’s only by an infinitesimally small increment, is the only way to get through (around, under, or over) what seems like failure and defeat. In reality, it’s a stepping-stone to a breakthrough for you.
So, in the words of Winston Churchill, “When you’re going through hell, keep going!”
Here are a few other quotes that might inspire and motivate you:
Failure is the condiment that gives success its flavor.
– Truman Capote
Being defeated is only a temporary condition; giving up is what makes it permanent.
– Marilyn vos Savant,
Fall down seven times, get up eight.
-Â Japanese Proverb
I’ve missed more than 9000 shots in my career. I’ve lost almost 300 games. 26 times, I’ve been trusted to take the game winning shot and missed. I’ve failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed.
– Michael Jordan
Jot down any of the quotes that resonated with you and keep them handy so you can refer to them often. I’m so proud of you for not giving in, for finding the steel and the fire within, and for moving forward.
I came across this essay and poem in a Project Gutenberg ebook entitled It Can Be Done compiled by Joseph Morris. Here are his thoughts on being the best of whatever you are:
We all dream of great deeds and high positions, away from the pettiness and humdrum of ordinary life. Yet success is not occupying a lofty place or doing conspicuous work; it is being the best that is in you. Rattling around in too big a job is much worse than filling a small one to overflowing. Dream, aspire by all means; but do not ruin the life you must lead by dreaming pipe-dreams of the one you would like to lead. Make the most of what you have and are. Perhaps your trivial, immediate task is your one sure way of proving your mettle. Do the thing near at hand, and great things will come to your hand to be done. ~Joseph Morris
There’s a line in Joseph Morris’ essay that I think is perhaps even more true now than it was one hundred years ago when he penned it: Dream, aspire by all means; but do not ruin the life you must lead by dreaming pipe-dreams of the one you would like to lead.
Every time we turn around we are bombarded with the notions that we should have had a different life. We’re told—and we believe—we should have had another life, something much different than the one we are now living; it’s because of our gender, body shape, size, skin color, belief system, last name, where we grew up, etc., that we don’t have it.
It may be true that Life seems to deal more harshly with some people than it does with others. It’s true, too, that unfair and unjust events happen to us all diverting us from something else.
We’re right here, though, and it’s right now. We aren’t in that other life or living in another time.
Nothing we can do can restore something that we never had. Stop thinking and pining over the life the opportunities we should have or could have or would have had if only things turned out differently.
Let’s look at where we are right now and, to the very best of our abilities, let’s do what we can to help ourselves into a better life and a brighter future.
Now here’s the poem that I hope will help us all remember to put forth our best efforts because we can never tell where one small, seemingly insignificant, thing is going to lead. It may turn out to be the start of our Big Break!
BE THE BEST OF WHATEVER YOU ARE
If you can’t be a pine on the top of the hill
Be a scrub in the valley–but be
The best little scrub by the side of the rill;
Be a bush if you can’t be a tree.
If you can’t be a bush be a bit of the grass,
And some highway some happier make;
If you can’t be a muskie then just be a bass–
But the liveliest bass in the lake!
We can’t all be captains, we’ve got to be crew,
There’s something for all of us here.
There’s big work to do and there’s lesser to do,
And the task we must do is the near.
If you can’t be a highway then just be a trail,
If you can’t be the sun be a star;
It isn’t by size that you win or you fail–
Be the best of whatever you are!
Enjoy the poem and let me know what you think of it in the comments below! Thanks!
Your Friend and Pep Pal,
Crafting a deeply meaningful, soul-prospering life