A morning stillness practice: 9 incredible benefits
Day 26/366 days Towards Self-Mastery. Status: satisfied
There are so many reasons to love a peaceful start to the day. Spending some time in stillness is the perfect preparation if your a parent, a business woman, an entrepreneur, a labourer, a professional business person, whatever. It's for everyone.
Whatever you do, begin with stillness.
Stillness, means to still the mind. You might like to think of it as mindfulness practice. To put it simply, it's choosing a range of calming activities that give you an opportunity to start your day off quietly , without effort.
Today's inspiration is about your/my morning practice.
Choose one or more activities to start your day well.
Plan some time each day for a least 1 hour of time for quiet contemplation.
My morning routine looks something like this.
Wake about 4.00 - 4.30am, just before the first kookaburra laughs the morning in.
Wake slowly to the sounds of the dawn chorus as it begins to fill the morning silence.
Make a hot drink and make myself comfy again in my bed, accompanied by my cat Tabasca as she snuggles in at the foot of the bed.
Spend time in stillness, in meditation or simply listening to the world around me for about an hour.
Greet the morning, journal in whichever junk journal or altered book captures my attention if I feel inspired, then
walk around my garden checking in on, and greeting all the plants and trees,
followed by a brief, 20 minutes or so, Qi Gong practice
It's true, I'm at a time in my life when I don't have any responsibilities for anyone else, a place I've earned, and a place I am enjoying.
The benefits that I experience from this calm start to the day, and especially that time in stillness include:
It quiets my mind. My mind loves to be busy so we have an agreement that there's a time for active thinking and planning and anticipating, and there's a time for quiet.
It maintains the integrity of my nervous system. There was a time in my life when I was chronically anxious,and that means my nervous system was "on" all the time. That anxiety would play itself out each night with clenched teeth, a painful jaw and tense muscles. I've worked hard to find the solutions to relieve that, and so it's important to preserve my nervous system's relaxed mode consciously.
I'm reminded to breathe deeply and slowly. That is life giving! As a person who has struggled with breathing all my life, retraining my respiratory system has improved my health exponentially.
Because I wake in Lung Meridian time, I use this time to capture my inspirations each and every day. It's how I am nurturing my creativity, something that has been MIA in my life until I worked through the embodied trauma of earlier years.
Beginning my stillness practice during lung meridian time is the perfect time to let things go as well. Over night the meridian energy cycles have been sifting through the information from the previous day, and the body is ready to release what is not useful to you. Those deep breathes help to sigh out and let go of any concerns that you don't need to take into the new day.
In this way I begin my day with a clear mind. It's a rare day that I begin without clarity. Without clarity I have no direction and may as well spend the day in bed!
It supports my deepening awareness of myself, my direction, my approach to life in general and to any current concerns in particular.
And of course starting the day off stress-free means that I can carry that calmness into my work or whatever the day presents.
Finally it helps me to connect with that source of life, that energetic life force, or as some people prefer, that higher source that it is so easy to lose contact with when the day gets busy.
And let me tell you that the very best thing I ever did was train my body to wake when I wanted it to. Alarm clocks were a huge irritation in my life. I had to learn to wake without them, and I did, decades ago. Pure bliss!
Practice stillness. I can't recommend it highly enough. If you practice it daily, for at least 1 hour, you will realise things you couldn't imagine, and no body can tell you about. They will be unique to you and your life and experiences and you will be delighted with each new realisation.
Start with less time, or maybe split the time between the morning and evening. Start with 10 minutes if that works for you.
Lean into the benefits of stillness. That is what will build your motivation.
366 days Towards Self-Mastery
When I considered my New Year's intentions for 2020 I had just one: To allow my heart to love what it loved...and let it lead me. (If not now, then when?)
I've spent months working on integrating my life. To live life more fully with my home life, my interests, my work, my responsibilities, all coming together, all connected. I want to give each the attention that they desire and need, and still have time and energy for the others. That means living and working from the heart.
As I was clearing out my bookshelf over the Christmas break I discovered Simple Abundance. I set it aside to explore it on New Year's Day as I lazed through another delicious day of nothingness. Sarah, the author, says this book is about living in grace. Living in grace I realised, is about Self-Mastery.
My thirst for understanding the human condition has driven me all my life, and hand-in-hand with self-mastery it has been a life-long goal. And seeing as I love to write, that living in grace is about self-mastery, and I love a bit of a challenge, then if I am truly going to let my heart lead, I really don't have any other choice. So scary as it feels, I'm starting out on a daily mission of leaning into the suggestions of this daybook and making a daily post to keep me accountable. If not now, then when?
I'm Josie. You can find out a little more about me here.
Simple Abundance: A Daybook of Comfort and Joy: by Sarah Ban Breathnach
This book is written for the Australian and NZ market because it refers to seasonal changes. It's available on Amazon here if you'd like to follow along.