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November 10, 2015

Awake again: Brighten your Day, Living your Way!

Flickr/Heath Cajandig

My secret to living well starts with my morning routine.

Beginning with this—I lie in bed longer than I “should.”

Sometimes, after a long night’s sleep, I struggle with how lazy I must look. But then I quiet my mind, give in to serenity and languish for awhile. This small habit gives me a moment of peace to meditate, and it creates a much healthier experience for my body, mind and soul.

Despite my chronic pain and serious illnesses, I used to start the day in a rush—laser-focused on my to-do list. A full tank of anxiety fueled the pistons of my mind. No matter what I accomplished, that tight, panicked feeling in my chest and the thoughts racing in my brain were never far off. I accepted this feeling as inevitable for far too long. Eventually I grew tired of feeling out of control. It was time for a conscientious change.

My morning practice is simple. As I lay in bed, I grab a pen and list 10 things I’m grateful for. They can be anything! Nothing is too simple or too deep. I believe each thing is brought to mind for a reason, and I embrace that. We don’t always understand our minds, but we should trust them—if we fill them with the love and attention they deserve, they’ll want to help.

When I finish, I re-read each thing I listed and say, “Thank you for being part of my experience.”

Sometimes I look in a mirror while I say them. After each point, I look into my own eyes and allow gratitude to take over my being. Then I fold my list and keep it with me throughout the day. I review it whenever I feel anxious, doubtful or ill.
Then I follow up with a good stretch. I breathe deeply, focusing on how thankful I am just for having woken up—something that’s easy to take for granted. I wake each body part and thank it for trying its best. When my body feels awake and alive, I close my morning practice.

Finally, I think of the infinite possibilities for myself today. I allow my childlike mind to wander, having thoughts like: “Will anything surprise me today? Will I meet people with stories to share? How many smiles will respond to mine? Will my heart ache? Will I be challenged?”

My final statement, before I ground my feet to the floor and begin my day is, “This Is It!”

We all need to remember that–-this is it! This moment is all that’s promised to us.

I’ve learned that every moment is a choice. Pain may be my reality, but suffering is a choice. So is gratitude! I start my day by cultivating positivity, and it has done more than I ever thought possible for my mental clarity. I believe in the power of intention and positive thought.

I have the same struggles as everyone else—wanting to give up and say, “Why me?” But the choice is the gift. So, I go one moment at a time, because sometimes one day feels like too much.

What gets me through most days is my morning routine. Self-care nurtures us, so we can take on what life hands us. It’s how we ensure we aren’t left depleted when we offer ourselves to the world. It’s not the body in which we are carried through life. Remember to love everything that happens and love hard.

Remember—this is it!  This moment is all that is promised to us—embrace it and love it.

Learn to use the pain—the hurt and the suffering—to propel you forward. Choose gratitude!

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Relephant:

13 Tips for More Joyful & Productive Mornings.

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Author: Katie Lasky

Editor: Yoli Ramazzina

Photo: Flickr/Heath Cajandig

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