If you’ve taken yoga you might have heard the saying “stop before you begin.”
Before my yoga days, I learned this lesson from taking piano lessons.
I hated recitals.
Under stress, I freak out, forget things and make mistakes even as a kid.
So instead of memorizing my recital songs, I would use the sheet music as a safety net.
But even with sheet music, my style was to start playing before my butt hit the bench so I could get it over with which never turned out well.
My wise, old piano teacher told me to pause and take a deep breath before I started playing.
So, I took her advice and it worked! I made fewer mistakes, I was calmer, and played the song at normal tempo verse rushing through it.
My piano lesson days are over but I use the wisdom she gave every morning when I wake up.
How do you start your day?
I’m guessing you wake up to an alarm or a kid pulling on you.
Then a mad dash to get out of the door.
You guzzle your coffee on the go, eat breakfast on the fly and go through the motions of the day without checking in with what you need, how you feel, or if what’s on your to-do list is actually aligned with your priorities for the month or season.
At the end of the day, you order in or try to throw a semi-healthy meal together, prep for the next day, and collapse of the couch in front of the tv because you’re too tired to read, stretch, or connect with your partner.
How’s that routine working for you?
Odds are not good. You forgot things, you feel stressed, and are beyond tired.
Here is a simple shift that will impact the rest of your day.
Spend 5-15 minutes before anything else to breathe, check-in with how you feel, and to set an intention for the day.
Yes, this means you’re getting up 5-15 minutes earlier but what you’ll find it’s easier to get out of bed in the morning if you know you’re starting with something that fills you up.
I’ve been getting up at 6:15 am (surprisingly without an alarm!) so I have 30-minutes before my 2-year-old gets up and it’s been glorious.
This time is for you.
Light a candle, sit (or lay), and breathe.
Notice the quality of your thoughts with curiosity.
- What are you thinking about?
- What’s the pace of your thoughts?
- Are your thoughts evoking emotions or are they neutral?
Then take your attention to your body.
- Feel the breath move in and out of your belly.
- Lengthen your breath: 4 counts on the inhale, 4 counts on the exhale.
Then connect to how you what to feel as you move throughout your day.
Try a word like JOY, EASE, TRUST, CALM or PATIENT.
See if word rises up as you sit watching your breath come in and out. Your mind will want to chatter but come back to your breath.
I choose a word on each new moon (there is one today) for the next 29 days (this same time as a month and the average menstrual cycle).
Do what feels the easiest for you. It can be one a month, each new moon, or a new one each day. The goal is to set an anchor for your day so that you can call it back anytime you need it throughout the day.
Let your intention settle into your bones and when you’re ready, begin the rest of your day.
Try it out for a moonth (one moon cycle) – the next new moon is Dec. 26.
If you’d like a guided 6:3:6:3 audio and other short, simple practices get my free CALM THE CRAZY TOOLKIT here.
I’d love to hear your word of the day or moonth. Send me an email and let me know!