Morning Routine

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I recently realized that I have a great opportunity, one that I am not sure how long it might last and not sure if it would happen again. Essentially, I do not have an alarm clock. My day and my life is not terrible structured or dictated by a clock. In part, I can pretty much craft my days how I want. Don’t get me wrong, if you know me at all you know that I am a pretty busy guy, but at least I have some measure of flexibility in my life. I didn’t want to end up at a desk with a 9 – 5 and looking back, wishing I had done more with the free time or schedule I had. So, I realized I had a chance and a choice of how I want to start my day and set the tone of things. I have in a short time developed a morning routine that I do six out of seven days a week on average.

  • Coffee.
    Duh.
  • Read Awakening the Buddha Within.
    I saw this book at the end of last year, eventually picked it up and finally have gotten around to reading it. I’m not actively working on or writing on an 11th Step, but you never really “finish” a step, right? The parallels between Buddhism and recovery are almost cliche at this point, but reading this and getting another perspective and insight into approaching meditation and a set of values and principles has been really helpful. There are things I disregard or that don’t “fit,” while there are other things that I incorporate and benefit from immediately.
  • Pray
    A constantly evolving practice.
  • Meditate
    A constantly evolving practice.
  • Read Living Clean.
    After having read a chapter or two from Awakening, started with prayer which slips into meditation, I am in the headspace to try and take in some recovery literature. I was a HUGE fan of this book when I first saw it in the CAR, but I don’t think I fully appreciated it until it came out. Reading it in preparation of voting on it was a different frame of mind than reading it as a resource and as our literature. This thing is gold. I have hated most of the new literature we have put out, but this is the gift that keeps giving. Unofficially, it seems geared toward people with time. Its tone is pitch perfect, somewhere between clear and direct, while also allowing people their process. There is also a respect that comes along with, “Well, you have made it this far..,” while not allowing that for justification or rationalizing of not challenging yourself to keep going. As I read, I also wonder which lines will be future NA cliches, but the literature is so fresh it hasn’t had time to evolve into that. Yet. My favorite so far might be in the Growing Pains sections where it says, “Our lives are full of moments when we are faced with the difficult decision to grow or go.” Grow or go.
  • Read The Elements of Grammar.
    Ever hear how English is the most difficult language? Think it’s not because you speak it so well? Try reading a book like this about the basics and fundamentals and see if you still think it is easy. Being an adjunct and having to grade students has force me to not only know when something is wrong, but to know why, so that I can explain it. “It just isn’t correct because it just doesn’t sound right” isn’t very faculty editor-y.
  • Look over my goals.
    I do a good job of coming up wit goals. I do a poor job of remembering them. 20 seconds each day to review them seems to keep it fresh and keep me focused.
  • Journal.
    This is something I am finding helpful. With all these pieces of my morning routine, I am not really rigid with each element. Maybe prayer is 20 seconds. Maybe I read one page of Elements. Maybe I spend an hour reading Awakening. And with the journal, it seems to vary in tone and length. Sometimes it is short and sweet, other days clearly I am trying to work things out in my head on the paper. I start by putting three things at the top I want to do each day. The first two are always the same: meditate and read goals. I come up with a third thing each day and the following morning I check off the day before which of the three I did. It is part 10th Step, part journal, part free flowing thoughts.

The result of doing this seems to be that I just seem more centered and more focused. Less bullshit in my life. There is a clarity, an awareness. I have no idea why I posted this. It is something I have been sharing about recently and people seemed to respond. Maybe there are parts of this that someone can use or they might try doing their own thing. Granted, I have the luxury of time right now and not everyone does, but it doesn’t have to be that involved or happen in the morning.

Whatever. There it is.