It's not the writing every day for 40 days that I am actually practicing as my habit-- it is getting out of bed by 6:30 every morning to have time for myself to practice some self-care.
Of course while pondering what habit I would choose for my project, during our workshop, I first went to . . . I want to start being able to get my yoga and exercise and writing and meditation in every day (ahem, reach for the sky), but when I peeled those layers back in the workshop, the main thing was that I get into the routine of getting up in time to accomplish some self-care before the rest of my day takes off with me.
I actually want to be up at 5:30 am, but to be gentle on myself I have stated by 6:30 am as my "official" goal. Then 6:30 am can actually feel like sleeping in on the mornings that it is really difficult to get out of bed (wink, wink).
I had my alarm set for 5:45 am this morning, morning #1, and I was awake of my own accord at 5:27 am.
And here I am.
Last night I had draped my robe over the heated towel rack, because being chilly is a reason that I might keep myself in bed longer-- even if I am awake. It is winter in New Zealand. I'm in the the Northland which is the "winterless North" but the chill can still settle in very deeply in the mornings.
As I start this habit, I've actually put no concrete expectation out for the exercise portion. It is there if I find I have the time and want to do it-- and yes-- I would love that to be an outcome of this daily practice, but for now? I'm pampering myself on these early adventures.
Right now I am sitting under the toasty heat pump, a warm cup of java by my side with a three-wick candle glowing just beyond the top of my computer screen and low mood lighting whispering, "hey, you are special enough to use electricity even before the sun is up and we have to actually pay for it vs being solar generated" (long story, that's my inner extremely frugal child speaking-- but suffice it to say, and Kiwis will get it, paying for my electricity is a pamper) as I'm wrapped up in my warm robe with a thick pair of wool socks on.
It's as if I've received myself into loving mother-arms for getting out of bed early.
Rewarded with what I love to do, but haven't made much time for-- free writing. All is feeling really well right at this moment.
As I find myself writing "out of bed" I want to remind myself, this goal isn't in response to the fact that I have been a righteous lazy goose.
Since the move into our new bedroom which is totally open to the outdoors, I generally do awaken with the sunrise. It is the act of getting out of bed as soon as I awaken that I want to add to the process.
Most mornings I do a meditative welcoming of the day and intention setting and then look at emails and FaceBook to see if my U.S. family, who have been up half the day already, have any news for me (or cute photos to look at).
As I really unfolded my reasoning about my reluctance to hop out of bed first thing in the morning while in the workshop process, I realised that as a child, being in my bed and controlling the time I could get out of it (when I was able to) was a great source of autonomy for me-- an act that probably helped me develop a sense of self. On my bed I would read and write stories and letters-- some of the primary forms of escape for me-- that is the time and place I read Tom Sawyer, Huckleberry Finn and To Kill A Mockingbird ad nauseam in my pre-teen years.
So I believe there was an inherent underlying belief that having some sacred time "in my bed" as often as possible was a supplement act of self-care.
And that is beautiful. And I honour that I have continued to subconsciously take care of myself in that way. But now I want to develop a new way that feels more in line with where I am now and what I want my self-care to look like.
I think it is important to acknowledge that when "self-care" starts leaving you with feelings of guilt, it isn't really the optimal way to be caring for yourself, you have your cue to further explore if the act is actually meeting your self-care needs. (ahem, that extra glass of wine and other indulgences could fall into that column)
So here I go . . . this is feeling really good. My husband just woke up-- it is 6:20 am now and said, "Hmmm, what are you doing up?" "Writing." "Oh, nice."
One pattern I am mindfully breaking here is announcing that I am doing this to get up and exercise as he sees a need for him to be doing that as well and soon, a less than mature competition or prodding can start to ensue-- cue sarcastic tone here-- "well I didn't see you on the elliptical this morning" returned with same tone, "yeah, well I'll get on after you . . ."
That well-intentioned, supposedly light-hearted teasing game has never felt good to me. And, I realised it could trigger me to self sabotage in an effort of, "I'm doing this or NOT doing this for me, not you."
Proactive vs reactive is something I have always tried to preach to clients and myself. And by keeping that an overarching guiding principal when choosing my habit to begin, it led me to carefully pull back the layers to make more room for this practice to be surrounded by warmth and self-compassion.
And just now?
Here comes the sun, barely showing the first hint of its waking self.
Thank you friend.
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Kara-Leah Grant's Habit Hacking Workshop. Check out her work. She's an excellent presenter, full of knowledge and heart. This blog post is to honour her & the work she is putting into the Universe to facilitate meaningful change in people's lives. You can find her here at Yoga Lunchbox.
Mind you this isn't (necessarily) about yoga, Kara has packaged the "secrets" of mental and emotional shifts and wellbeing into her workshop. And stay tuned for when it comes out as a book!
Addendum: This didn't start out to be a blog post-- just free writing, but here I am at 7:00 am and posting this. I think I'm going to like this new habit.