Sounds like a recipe for life doesn’t it? Ever since I read Miracle Morning by Hal Elrod, I’ve been striving to create my own list of six practices. Elrod’s six miracle morning habits are
At first I had trouble fitting all six into a single flow, especially when you have a household and family to take care of in the morning. If there is a will, there is a way though, and I discovered that as long as I can somehow integrate all of them into the first part of the day, not necessarily in this order, it works. Some items I substitute, depending on the situation. Lately, however, this is the list I have been applying:
It is essentially the same list, since I pray / meditate in silence, do my affirmations in the shower under a stream of hot cleansing water, visualise my goals through the lens of a camera, walk as much as I can, especially now that I am tied to the desk for such long hours, listen to meditative or spiritual music on the train, and write from my morning cafe during weekdays.
One of the things I never fail to do, and is part of the miracle morning routine, is to stretch while still in bed and then get up and make the bed. Never walk away from the bed without fixing it! Not only is it a good habit but establishes a sense of purpose but more importantly it kicks your focus into gear. Of course I will admit to wanting to skip the stretching altogether and leave the messy bedcovers as is, but then I end up in the bathroom feeling unsettled, knowing I skipped two integral steps to waking up. It is the combination of physical and mental discipline that prepare me for prayer and visualisation, making the experience more profound.
Trust me when I say that none of this happens overnight and it has taken me three years to work my way up to this list, with a ton of trials and errors along the way. Getting on the treadmill first thing in the morning, for example, was not sustainable, and I ended up ditching it more than I followed through! You can’t rush this “project”, first of all because you are confronted by a lot of truths and demons along the way, and when your mind is open enough to allow all the thoughts in and then force yourself to empty your mind, it is sometimes gut wrenching. I have lost count of the number of times I found myself in deep crisis and despair at odd hours of the morning.
The visualisation is the hardest part because you have to be able to draw the line between intention and fantasy. You visualise what you want out of the day – not your entire life! – and have to be careful not to daydream. This is where photography helps me most, and for some it is sketching or painting. Use whatever comes most naturally to you, cooking or gardening for example, and channel your thoughts and goals into that activity.
A word about driving – some of you will tend to think that you can knock off several steps on the list with or while driving. I disagree. First of all you need all your wits about you when sitting in that driver’s seat. Second, note the common denominator among all the items on the list (regardless of whether you choose mine or Elrod’s), your body is the anchor and the fulcrum. With driving, the car takes over and you are no longer focused on your inner core but the car’s. If you are a passenger that is an entirely matter, but as a driver, I don’t recommend it.
To wrap everything up, let me share my shots of the day. I’ve been wanting to photograph from this particular vantage point but was never really sure whether I was trespassing or not. Well today I braved the enthusiastic guard dog (a chunky black lab whom I suspect was looking for a game or a snack) and simply marched up to the spot I wanted. Sometimes you simply have to say “fuck it, let’s do this”!