"Kindness - that simple word. To be kind - it covers everything, to my mind. If you`re kind, that`s it."
After my exhilarating post on a strong morning routine yesterday, I want to share the other side of the routines - the side if you miss a routine, fail to do it as planned, or if your routine seems to be more annoying than nourishing. We often hear the positive part only, how a routine can boost our productivity, increase our wellbeing, or bring more meaning to our lives (I was one of those advocates yesterday (and still am)). And while this still can be all true - we also need to discuss the human side, esp. if we want it to work for people as best as it can. With human side I mean, our inner judgments, our emotions of failure, disappointment, or stress, and our change in body that is still getting used to the new rhythm.
Routines have become a common word nowadays, observing my friends, who, after a period of stress, often ask themselves whether a routine would help. Whether a journal of gratitude, more exercise, more meditation would make a difference. While I personally love these revelations, it is key to avoid that this endeavor does not lead to another "tick off" or "to do" list. That this is not another trend that one follows just because everyone else does. Also I personally want to avoid that we understand a topic with our head only, and that we focus more on doing the routines to be more effective, more productive, and more satisfied in life. This is not about more and more, this is more about deeper and deeper. About connecting with life, with us, and our inner resources. About diverting our incessant focus on the exernal world to our limitless internal world. About gaining back our power to lead and create our lives.
But back to today`s blog post about when you miss a routine. After celebrating my victory of waking up at 7am yesterday, somehow I woke up today at 8.30am despite my alarm clock. I know for some it sounds like "ok, so you woke up just about one hour later, what`s the issue, it is still early on a Saturday". And I get this. But I also noticed a judgmental thought, that I introduced yesterday, that came almost immediately when I saw "8.30am" on my mobile clamoring "what?! so late already?! Linh, your family will think again you`re lazy and just sleeping, now everything shifts back by one hour. You lost one precious hour, that you could have used so productively for your work. Now you will be behind. Congratulations, you cannot even manage waking up one hour earlier. Why did you fall back? You were so disciplined in the past, I can`t believe it" and so and so on. My "Saboteur" just couldn`t stop lamenting since I opened my eyes, clouding my morning mood. As a result, I felt down, demotivated, and angry at myself (or my "Saboteur" voice).
The first thing I could do was to be aware of my Saboteur in my mind. I often depict her as a little child crying and complaining, as if I just took her favorite toy. But I knew I couldn`t travel back in time, so the best I could do was to move ahead with my day, thus, my morning routine. I tried to tell myself (or the Saboteur) that at least, I got up when the sun was rising (tick off for ayurveda), but this small argument didn`t do much against my Saboteur`s torrent of words. To start my morning routine, I remembered a great meditation I once tried with a German coach named Christian Bischoff. It is a 16min meditation to accept and transform all negative thoughts and emotions, and I thought this is exactly what was needed right now (here it is in German).
And I loved it. The meditation guides you to connect with your root chakra, to then open your heart, remembering your happiest moments. Then once you have opened your heart, you think of all the negative thoughts, events, emotions, people, to - surprise! - let this all arrive in your heart. When I did this first, my mind (or Saboteur) instantly thought "wait, what? we are going to let all this negative energy in our sacred and fragile heart?". But I did it anyway, and was amazed how easy and smooth it was to let it all happen. Our heart can be vast and limitless, so full of love, that this negative energy cannot do much to your heart. It was a great exercise to accept (not only the current circumstances, but also parts of yourself) and surrender to what is. As a result, I soon felt relaxed, lighter, and more loving (towards myself).
Now, I know that meditations can have very different experiences, effects, and results to every one of us. If you feel your heart somehow does not let the negative energy in, then this is fine, too. Maybe then you may focus on strengthening and nourishing your heart as you currently need. You may also imagine all the negative events as clouds that are flying by, or as visitors in your house - in this case, what would you do? There are many possible meditations and ways - so feel free to find the right one for you.
All in all, it means if you miss a routine or feel disappointed, frustrated if a routine doesn`t go as planned:
Observe what is going on - what thoughts are you noticing? What sensations in your body? How are you feeling?
Move ahead with one next thing - be it starting your morning routine anyway or writing all your observations of the curent moment down in your notebook
Do what is nourishing you to counterbalance the effect of your Saboteur - come back to this present moment, practice acceptance, or just do your favorite activity or visualization that makes you smile
Be kind to yourself - choose a voice that encourages and supports you. What would your mother, best friend, or Inner Mentor have told you in this moment? It could be something like "so you woke up today late, so what? I`m glad your body took what it needed - at the end, it is the weekend, my dear. And yes, you are waking up with the sun, so your body knew what the natural rhythm was. I understand that your Saboteur child was afraid of your family`s judgments or work that may not be get done, but let`s tell her that all is fine. Your family loves you for being you, not for waking up early. Work always finds the right time, and I know you have always been disciplined and productive. You have also the permission to take it slowly, from time to time. Let`s re-start the day fresh, with love, compassion, and anticipation for another precious day on Earth! :)" You see, how different and game-changing this narrative can be? How you feel and what is now possible? Also, when you think of my first narrative from the Saboteur child at the beginning - you would have never talked that judgmental to a friend, not to imagine even a stranger.
So observe and choose kindness, for yourself, always!
Who is the most dominant voice in your head? Let me know by sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org – I would very look forward to hearing from you! :) PS: Subscribe to my Newsletter to stay in touch for upcoming posts and news :)
This week`s ...
Inspiration: Christina Bernadette von Dreien - Twins Born as Light
Reflection: When does my Inner Critic show up?
Intention: Whenever I observe my Inner Critic, I choose acts of kindness towards myself.