We are honored to have Tanmeet Sethi, MD as our guest on our newsletter. Dr. Tanmeet Sethi is on the faculty of The Center for Mind Body Medicine, where I received my certification in mind body medicine. I have been inspired by many of the faculty @cmbm.org. I hope you enjoy her wisdom and insights as much as I do. -Patti
The one morning ritual you need to take out of your day
By: Tanmeet Sethi, MD
Have you ever had that feeling like your day got away from you before you even had a chance to eat breakfast? It seems like chaos can set in so fast. Or at least that's what I thought. Until I realized I was the one inviting chaos in. I and you have a choice each morning and now I choose differently.
This commitment is so simple that I hesitated blogging about it. And many of you are likely already doing it. But the truth is that we are all Human and I am guessing that some other humans were as harried as I was. So just for fun, I will share the simplicity of this healing ritual.
I often find answers to life in other's words. I was re-reading some poetry by David Whyte and came across this passage in "What to Remember When Waking"
In that first hardly noticed moment in which you wake, coming back to this life from the other more secret, moveable and frighteningly honest world where everything began, there is a small opening into the new day which closes the moment you begin your plans.
The moment we are awakening is thought in many mystical teachings to be one of the most sacred times there is. We are hovering between a dream, otherworldly state in which it is thought we may convene with spirits into this material world in which we must execute our human tasks. That is why meditation is encouraged in this time, so that we may capture the essence of the stillness that permeates the wee morning hours.
But what do we do? (or what did I find myself doing at least...) We check email, we start checking to-do's, we start winding ourselves up in some chaotic web spinning of expectations both of ourselves and of the day which sadly has not even had the chance to announce itself. And so it is critical to do breath work and/or meditation in the morning but that is not what this blog post is about. It is about the one concrete thing I have committed to doing (or not doing I should say) so that I can honor the sacredness of this time of day.
I don't check email. I don't surf the web. I don't read articles on the internet. I cannot do any of this in the morning. My only tasks are already enough. I meditate/I say some gratefuls/I get the kids and myself ready to go where we need to go/I make sure the dog is taken care of/I have some nourishing food/I usually try to find my keys for the millionth time!...It's all enough to make the morning busy enough! I don't need to add to it by imposing the complexity of the world around us, the never ending to dos and checking email that can well wait for me a few hours. Nothing will change, nothing will fall apart. I do receive a text or call in the morning if needed. This can easily happen regarding one of my three children and the complex carpools it takes a village to get three kids and myself where we need to go. But those are messages I need about the people in front of me. Not about the world outside of my home.
Mornings are sacred...if we make them so. I am not saying my mornings are never hectic. That is life sometimes. But what I am saying is I was adding to the chaos with the illusion that I was getting things done to make the day less chaotic later. That's a delusion really. I was only adding to the fire. Now I make sure my phone is not in my bedroom at night so that I am not tempted to reach for it in the morning. Instead my feet touch the ground out of bed with no encumberment of a device calling out to me.
And I feel way more productive in the day by leaving all that aside.
The antidote to complexity is simplicity.
The author, Cal Newport, speaks to this in his concept of Deep Work which is his solution to staying focused in a distracted world. It includes having periods of time during which you commit to not checking email or social media so you can get the "deep work" of life done. That can mean professional work as well as spiritual work. This simple morning commitment speaks to that need.
Make a vow to be device free in the morning. Take out distraction.
I promise you it will be the best vow you have made in a long time.
Live well, Tanmeet
To experience more of Tanmeet's inspirational, uplifting writing please visit her at her website http://tanmeetsethimd.com/blog/