Day One on the Path –
Where Do I Start?
I stagger out of bed – no sunrise this morning – brush teeth, wash face, pile my hair on top of my head, and don some sweats. Sorry, I’m not up for fitted yoga pants or leggings just yet, and it’s too bloody cold in the mornings to wear a tank top. Deal with it. I stroll to my sanctuary (aka my home office) and pull out the meditation cushion. Sitting still, cross-legged on the floor, I close my eyes, focus on my breath, and…promptly start snoring. Yeah, so mindfulness meditation isn’t really my best option first thing in the morning. Perhaps moving first is a better way to make sure I’m no longer comatose. Lesson learned.
I start with some simple stretches. Hey I’m already on the floor - why not work with that? I lay flat on the floor, resist the urge to pull a blanket over and close my eyes again, and stretch my arms over my head, reaching toward the wall behind me. I’ll admit, there was some groaning involved. Now I straighten my legs along the ground, point my toes, and stretch them towards the opposite wall. You see what I’m getting at here? Arms stretch one way, legs stretch the other…it’s like a modern version of the medieval torture device they called the rack…only slightly less torture and only for, like, 4 seconds at a time (Gratitude: I’m already grateful that I only have to go this far with a stretch). Now, I pull knees into my chest and hug them. If you’re really gung ho (which I am not today) you can lift your head and tuck in like a roly poly bug. Hold this for another 4 seconds or so, then it’s back to the rack and so on. Stretch to the walls, contract like a bug. Stretch and contract. I do 4 sets because, well, I like 4 – it’s a good number. And since I was already counting to 4, I’m keeping it simple for Day One. Now I manage to roll over onto my side and push up onto my knees. I could stand up, but…ummm…why? I’ll settle for knees today. I take a nice inhalation while I raise my hands over head, and lower my arms as I exhale. You’ve probably seen this move on every aerobics video ever made. Breathe in, arms go up. Breathe out, they come back down. I like to imagine I’m making snow angels, only without the biting cold of the snow or the snotty nose that inevitably accompanies it. I’m going for consistency this early in the program, so I’m taking – oh, I don’t know - say 4 breaths? I’m ready to stand now, so I make my way to my feet and get ready for exercise.
I’ve chosen to start with someone else leading my exercise for today, because I think somehow this will avoid that frozen moment when my brain realizes I have to make a decision before I’ve had my first cup of coffee. It works. Whew! I open my phone to Daily Om and pull up a “21 Day Tabata Yoga Challenge” by Sadie Nardini. It’s a pretty good course – I’ve done it before so I know the basic sequence, and that makes me relax and just enjoy. Plus Sadie is plucky – which can be annoying this early but somehow isn’t. It’s about a 20 minute workout with warm up and cool down, so manageable. And I feel awake and energized by the end. Sweet! Now is it safe to meditate?
I pull out the trusty zafu again, sit, close my eyes, focus my breathing, let my mind wander off…yeah, nope. Not gonna happen today. Let’s try something else instead.
In anticipation of this crazy ass adventure, I started searching through my vast library of self help tools and inspiration. Holy Schmoly! I got a lot of resources I haven’t used. So I dug out a series of meditation audios from Eddie Sergey. I’ll be honest, I have no idea where these came from, how I got them, if they were freebies I downloaded, bonuses from some other program I bought – no clue. But I listened to the first of the series today as my meditation. It’s called “1. Your Natural State.” Yes, I can relate to that. I sit on my futon, snuggled with a cat on each foot, looking out the window at my neighborhood and plug in the earbuds. The track is filled with nature sounds of frogs and a stream, which is already a win in my book, then add some ambient music and Tibetan sounding bells, and that’s pretty much what this audio is for 15 minutes. I enjoyed it as the simple start to my day.
If I had a regular day job – which I am trying once again to get – I’d be dressing in office casual, grabbing my coffee in a to-go cup, and heading off for the bulk of my day. Alas, I do not have said day job and usually work from home…with the cats…in my jammies. It would be perfect if only it paid a living wage. So, gratitude number two is to appreciate the time I have now with my furries and family before I get an office gig again.
I won’t bore you this early in the program with the details of my breakfast, or my errands, or that we’re just taking down the Christmas Tree and it’s already the 6th of January. What I will share with you is that starting my day focused on positivity, and focused on taking care of myself, does have an impact throughout the day. I feel lighter – not physically obviously, that’ll take time, but mentally I just feel a teensy-weensy bit less defeated. Gratitude three – voila!
To capitalize on this flow of positive thoughts, I set out to create my digital Vision Board for 2020. Now vision boards come in all different shapes, sizes, and media. Some folks write a thank you letter to the new year, as though all the grand good stuff has already happened. Others clip photos out of magazines –do those still exist? – and compile a collage of their goals and dreams. I prefer a digital format where I can stream photos and affirmations simultaneously. This way, I can personalize it to the Nth degree – whatever issues I’m struggling with, I can use affirmations that directly address them. I can pull ideal photos as well as pics from my real life that make me happy and grateful or determined and motivated. I think vision boards can be whatever you want or need them to be for you. Just make it something that you look at every single day, and that makes you feel positive about who you are, who you’re becoming, and where your life is headed. I use Movavi Slideshow Maker3, mainly because I have it on my computer and know how to use it. And I can add vocals or music to keep me entertained for the 3 minutes I watch every day. Did I mention you need to watch it every single day? Yep. Thought so.
About 3 hours into putting together this year’s spectacular board, I get a niggling for lunch. Now, I know I said I wouldn’t bog down with food pics or descriptors. The only exception to that is my healthy meal. Every day I get one super healthy meal - no matter what! That’s part of this 101 Day Program too, so here goes. My meal of choice today is lunch, and I opted for a smoothie. Actually a Matcha Latte with ChagIt added, to be more specific. It’s green tea matcha protein powder with concentrated chaga liquid and a little coconut creamer. It can be cold or hot, but it’s a blustery day here in sunny California, so I’m going for hot. I find that the secret is to pour in the hot water, ditch the spoon, and whip the daylights out of it with a whisk. Makes it frothy and yummy. You can find matcha latte mixes at your local grocery, but since I’m using this as a meal replacement, I opted for GotMatcha’s superfood protein meal. And it gives me enough energy to finish the vision board with more to spare. Gratitude Four: Finished my vision board and watched it …several times.
Just a quick note: I mention videos and products in some of this blog. I am not recommending anything, not paid to endorse them, just passing along my particulars so you can follow along if you want. I promised to share, didn’t I? And when you launch your 101 Days, you can use whatever you want!
Geez, I talk a lot. Okay, so aside from finishing my vision board, I actually did work today, but rather than launching into a description of how my rehearsal went for an upcoming play, I’ll just give ya the gratitude highlight. Gratitude five: I am grateful for an amazing community of actors to work with.
I think that’s more than enough for Day One. Trust me, my editor will kick in at some point and these will likely get shorter as we go. Right now, I’m just excited to share this craziness with you all! For now, I’m off to cook some dinner with the hubs, watch the Golden Globes, and call day one a success.
https://www.dailyom.com/ - “21 Day Tabata Yoga Body Challenge”