For many years I started and ended my day with work. I also filled my days with work. I loved work. And I loved it more than anything else in my life. It brought me joy. It gave me purpose. It made me feel alive. I never wanted to stop.
But as you know, life (via my body) forced me to stop. To slow down and reassess. To find a new and better way. To make self-love and self-care the top priority. To shake up my beliefs. To show me I was more than what I do. To dissolve the outdated. To line me up with the life of my dreams.
Thank you, life.
Today I started my day the way I have always wanted to. Always. Well, for most of my adult years at least.
I woke up well rested at 5am and went for an hour long affirmation walk (I recite 3 core affirmations in rhythm with my steps). Came home and did 24 rounds of sun salutations (more on that in a minute), meditated for 15 minutes and did a mix of gratitude and visualization for another 15 minutes.
It's not that I haven't done all of these things before at various times in life or in my day - but I have never started my day with all of them and that's what I've always dreamed of but never seemed to make it happen.
It's not that I didn't have time. We all have the same 24 hours in a day. It's not that I didn't know how beneficial this would be for me, my day and my life. We all know what would most benefit us. And it's not that I lack discipline or motivation. We are all motivated to do the things that matter the most to us.
It's that I needed to get to the point of loving myself enough to invest this kind of time and commitment into caring for myself. Period. Until then, I'd put it off. I'd try again tomorrow. I'd find other things more worthy of my time and energy.
I'd keep saying no to me.
But today I said yes. A really big yes. I said, "Mandy, you're awesome and I love you and I'm going to show you just how much. I'm going to make you my sole focus for the first 2 hours of today and every day. Even if it means getting up early. Even when you don't feel up to it. Even on the days you don't feel worthy of that level of dedication. I'm going to give you my undivided attention every single morning to make sure that you have exactly what you need to get through each day. Whatever follows that will just be a bonus. But my ultimate priority is quality time with you. I want you abundantly taken care of."
Thank you, Self.
I've had this morning vision for years and I'm finally ready to step into it. I didn't get to this point overnight. It's taken years of replacing my self-hate tapes with ones of self-love, and that continues to be a daily practice. I imagine I'll never be done. None of us are or will ever be for that matter.
We are all in a continual state of becoming and we can begin anew in every moment. We aren't who we were. We are who we decide we are.
Who do you wish to be?
I wish to be the woman who makes time for herself each morning. Who takes loving care of her body. Who loves herself more and more each day. And day by day I've become that.
This morning I reached a personal goal of 24 rounds of sun salutations (self high-five!). I've been working up to that number for a little while and it's the exact number I've always wanted to start my day with.
I used shells to keep track of my rounds (note all the holes in my mat from kitty claws). With each round I moved one shell up on my mat until all 12 were up, and then one by one I brought them back down.
I felt SO proud at the end of my yoga practice! I DID IT! My body did it! My heart is so happy! It was only months ago that I could hold an elbow plank, and just two weeks ago when I brought sun salutations into my practice again (see my pipes and read my gloating here) which include full planks. Lots of 'em. My last round did hurt on my right side so I did a variation as to not put more pressure on my limbs, but overall my body felt A-OK with the flow.
More good news: yesterday I did 10 wall-supported handstands!
I'm having so much fun rebuilding the strength in my hands, wrists and arms and I've been adding new goodies each week. I just LOVE seeing and feeling my body's transformation! I haven't been in a handstand in about 2 years and it will be a while before I can ditch the wall, and a while longer still until I can do a one-arm handstand (my goal) but bit by bit.
My body lets me know each moment of every day when it's ready for more and when it's time to pull back, and over the past number of months I've become a very good listener.
Although it's only day one of what I hope will be a daily morning commitment to myself, I felt the need to mark this magical day with a post.
I also wanted to remind you, in case you needed to hear it, that whatever challenge you might be facing right now, there IS a way through. And once you commit to making it through, the path will be made clear for you.
I didn't go from 2 years of chronic pain to being relatively pain-free in one jump (although I believe that's possible to do), I did it bit by bit, day in and day out until one day I noticed I hadn't had significant pain for a few weeks and things just got better from there.
That process took time and it took inserting new habits into my life that supported my vision of being pain-free. I had to stop many old things and start many new things if I was to change my current experience, and I think that's true for all of us.
If something in our life is no longer working, it's time for change. And if we ignore the whispers of life that are urging us to move in a different direction, we'll end up getting yelled at through unfortunate circumstances - through pain and struggle and crisis. And who wants that?
Challenges in life and in our bodies are invitations to try a new way. To refine our goals. To let something go. To learn self-love. And I believe the more adept we become at loving ourselves, the less we'll need to learn and grow through pain.
Wishing you and I oodles of joy-filled transitions, my friend.
All my love,
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