Again and again I read about the best ways to wake up in the morning. The practices include:
- Do a gratitude practice-ditty
- Deep breathe
- Swim (that's mine)
- Don't check Facebook and social media
And yet, my mornings often look like this:
- The alarm goes off.
- An internal swear word goes off.
- There's confusion. "What day is it?" I murmur to my husband. He knows to wait until I figure it out. I figure it out, then hit snooze.
- When I decide to wake up [AND HERE'S WHERE I GO WRONG] I pick my phone off the bedside table, check email, sneak onto Facebook. AAAARG! Note: It's 5:10 am; there's nothing I *need* to know.
And so it begins.
More news of a world in trouble. A shooting, a natural disaster, unstable leadership. People in pain, really suffering all over the place. It hurts, it scares the crap out of me.
The smell of my husband's coffee fills our house. The oak trees are turning a brilliant gold and red outside. The day has barely begun and I've already left myself. My first thoughts of the day are tangled around:
"What the hell is going on?"
"What will happen to me, my husband, my family?"
When my husband comes over for a morning cuddle and a sweet kiss I present him with my arms, my lips, but I am not there. I am gone, lost to images of a scorched earth, to the four horsemen kicking up dust. I pucker my lips and wonder if I should have a change of clothes under my bed just in case. Should I at least learn how to shoot a gun . . . just in case?
Fear has a way of stealing us from ourselves. So today, how about more of this:
BE THERE FOR YOURSELF.
Some people call this self-soothing, self compassion, self love. How about this:
Be a buddy to yourself. Be like a best friend--talk yourself out of a funk, coo to yourself, remember your wonderfulness, fill yourself with landscapes of hope and beauty. Being a good buddy also might look like:
- NOT checking your phone first thing in the morning.
- NOT putting yourself in a reactive position upon waking
- Whispering sweet nothings in your ear, even if you feel as knock-kneed weird as you can ever imagine.
- Writing yourself a thank-you note. Start it with, "Thanks for . . . " and then write line after line about all the times you showed up for yourself.
- Enjoy the morning cuddles and kisses that come first thing in the morning.
- Take your coffee outside, watch the birds hop from branch to branch. Could they be any cuter??
- Get off Facebook; give the news a break. Read a poem instead.
- Repeat the line "Iiittt's OK, Iiiitt's OK" over and over. This is how my 3 year old granddaughter Dyllan used to sooth her newborn baby sister, Ellie.
This isn't about turning your back on the world and on people who are suffering. But there's only so much a sensitive soul can take. Plus, you'll be a much more useful citizen of the world if you can be your own ally.
To be there for yourself--to self-sooth and turn compassion toward yourself--is a human tool that becomes the hands that hold you and support you during troubled times. And they're YOURS--they are there for you morning noon and night.
What could be better?
This month is dedicated to Feeling Better in a Troubled World: Simple daily life ways we can all catch a breath and remember a bit of beauty when the news is getting the best of us. If there's something you do to feel better and want to share, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org . Thanks!