Here's the thing. I wake up in the morning. I stumble out of bed. A sleepy sensation lingers. My dreams start to recede as I reach for the kettle to make tea. (I don't always want them to.) I keep moving forward, forward into my day with each reach, step and sip.
The trouble begins when I move forward too fast. I get on my BlackBerry and read emails, happily deleting the ones that seem superfluous to me - happy because it gives me a sense of accomplishing something. (Strange that that sense of accomplishment is perked and eager to activate even at 6am.)
What this forward motion doesn't allow for is the time to create space between me and my work. Space is so critical.
Yesterday, I read about What Successful People Do With The First Hour Of Their Work Day. They don't read emails in the first hour. They practice gratitude and a sense of awareness, do the big work first and ask themselves if they're doing what they really want to be doing.
Are you doing what you really want to be doing?
What I love about a yoga practice, or any movement practice (that includes running, playing with your dog, going for a walk, etc.), is that the body doesn't lie. The body will tell you if you're doing what you really want to be doing. If you're not, it hurts, doesn't feel good, is too exhausting.
Sometimes the wisdom of the body isn't as fast and the pain, discomfort, fatigue emerge later. I've been there.
But that's even more to my point of why a yoga practice is so important in the morning, at least for me. It creates the space for me to take my time, be patient, set an intention for the day and process my dreams from the night before. I do some cat/cow and one goal for the day comes to me. I move into sun salutes and another goal comes to me. I don't set the goals and intentions beforehand. I move, let the asana do its thing and write stuff down.
My mind unpacks past from present. I process a thread from my dream and desires for the day. I generate a list of goals. I take stock, and in the looking back, looking forward I create sacred space between me, work and my expectations for the day.
I had every intention of sitting down to write this blog post right after my yoga practice this morning. The minute I sat down at my desk, it felt as if I'd been caught in a big wave. I wanted to have a day of rest (I've been battling a cold), but I started one task and got a little greedy accomplishing work and the sense of satisfaction that comes with it, so I took on more. Phone calls. Twitter. My Mom wanting to have lunch at the last minute. Seeing a friend at the restaurant. Making plans for the evening. A swirl. A total swirl.
I would not have been able to swirl in such an stable way had I not created space this morning for my center. Setting my mind and body in that first hour to the task of cultivating a quiet listening had a ripple effect. My inky goals on the paper weighted me down; little anchors set across the waves of my day, they were.
I crossed off some goals. Some goals I did not cross off. But I have tomorrow. And I have my list - an ongoing trajectory of desires written by and for the body.
And you? How do you cultivate space for the mind and body in the morning before you enter your world of work?