Recently I was lucky enough to spend a week at Rancho La Puerta in Tecate, Baja California, Mexico as a presenter. I was there to talk about the importance of "Trusting Your Own Magnet" - how to sense where life is calling you, and how you might get there. My youngest daughter Lauren came with me, and every morning we were up early, sitting out on the veranda with our sacred first cups of French Press coffee and setting our intentions for the day. Not surprisingly, our days unfolded with a sense of ease, space and grace. It. Was. Glorious.
But when someone is serving you beautiful, organic meals made from vegetables just harvested from the Ranch garden and prepared by people who pray over and bless the food before serving it, making your bed in the morning and turning it down at night, leading you in quiet meditations, massaging and herbal wrapping your body, and serving you just made smoothies... well... if my day didn't go well.... #suckstobeme.
One afternoon fellow presenter Lindsay Sherry, a certified nutritionist and holistic health coach, was sharing 8 Tips for Creating Your Best and Healthiest Life!. Tip number one, numero uno, at the top of the heap? Take time in the morning just for you. Her words rang true. The ones that resonated even more? If we're going to win the day, we have to win the first hour. Period. End of sentence. It's as simple as that, and as hard as it gets. Especially when you're not at a world-class health spa with gracious people attending to your every need.
Back home, in the midst of the magic and the mess that is my real life, with meals to cook and beds to make, laundry to do and bills to pay, relationships to tend to and emails to write, it's a little tricker. And yet those morning hours set the table for the rest of the day. They really do. And if I let the table get set for me (hello depressing news, toxic tweets, social media rabbit holes, hitting the snooze button - again, and fake food for breakfast) I shouldn't be surprised if my daily bread tastes stale. Thankfully I came home from the Ranch committed to becoming committed to winning my first hour. Currently, this is what that looks like:
- Up at 5:30ish, hopefully after at least 7 hours of sleep
- Out on the porch sipping Sleepy Monk French Press coffee out of my favorite before 6:00
- 20 minutes of meditation (or at least pretending to meditate)
- A little inspirational reading (sometimes only time for a sentence or two)
- Off to the gym for a workout
I wish I could tell you that I got it right every day. But I don't. I wish I could tell you that I was up to an hour of meditation a day and have found inner peace unlike ever before. But I'm lucky to get in that 20 minutes, and inner peace is a total crap shoot. What I can tell you is that I am learning to trust the practice and just get up and do it. I am finding a tiny sliver of inner calm that I can access a wee bit easier. Rather than react, I'm a tiny bit more able to take a deep breath and a step back. With more time in the gym my energy is increasing as is my muscle tone. My morning practice to win the day is a work in progress, and comparing mine to that of anyone else doesn't help. I seem to be in pretty good company about that. In The Book of Joy, Archbishop Desmond Tutu dismisses his own morning meditation practice when compared to His Holiness the Dalai Lama's of arising at 3:00am for five hours of prayer and meditation. The Archbishop doesn't haul his sorry ass out of bed until 4:00am and then only manages to squeeze in three or four hours of prayer and meditation. Like Teddy Roosevelt said, "Comparison is the Thief of Joy."
I've been a morning person for as long as I can remember. Apparently I arrived on the planet wired to get up before the sun does. But being an early riser does not a good day make. What we do when our feet hit the floor does.