Friday, April 29, 2016

The Miracle Morning (Why I Don't Practice It & Why You Should Craft Your Own)

I've been wanting to chat about this new personal development strategy that my husband stumbled on, because to be completely honest with you - I'm not entirely sure how I feel about it.

It's called The Miracle Morning, (affiliate) and it has the potential to be an amazing, life-altering experience.

It also has the potential to make you very angry at your alarm clock and needing a second (or third) coffee by the afternoon.

You see - I'm a morning person. I like to be up early - I like to witness the sunrise, hear the intensity of the birds at dawn, slowly sip my first coffee of the day, and get prepared for whatever lies ahead. But, that said, I'm more of a 6:30am girl than a 5:30am. The Miracle Morning book says something about transforming your life before 8am, but what about time for showering and eating and all of that? You have to get up well before 7 to fit it all in. And when you have young kids, the miracle morning most likely requires you to be of the 5:30 persuasion.

That's certainly what it means for my husband. His alarm goes off at 5:15 everyday. I'm still in such a deep sleep at that point that I don't even hear it, or notice him leaving. (It's usually the smell of his coffee brewing that stirs me.) He gleefully pops out of bed, and sets to work on his "SAVERS."

SAVERS is an acronym for the practices explained in The Miracle Morning. They stand for:

Silence (Meditation)
Scribing (Journaling)

These practices are meant to be given ten minutes of attention each, adding up to an hour of varied personal development practices. The author of The Miracle Morning book, Hal Elrod, researched what the most successful people do to start their day, and discovered that they all did at least one of these six things. He decided to try them all, and couldn't find one that stood out more than the others as being the most useful. So he thought -- why not do them all?

The Miracle Morning

I have actually not read the book (my husband has), though I did listen to a lengthy podcast in which Elrod was interviewed about both his process and his book, so I have a pretty good grasp on the concept. Not to mention, I've witnessed it in action through my husband for the last two months.

And here's the thing.

It's a great idea in theory. But my resistance to it was two-fold.

One: I have four human beings and three animals to look after in my day (one of them being myself) and I end up fully exhausted by the time I'm allowed to hole up in my cozy bed. Despite being a morning person, I have absolutely zero desire to give up one of my hours dedicated to sleeping.

Two: I have no big aspirations on the horizon. I am not trying to grow in a career, nor do I have any business pursuits on my radar. I can see how the benefits aren't necessarily tied to professional quests, but it was bad timing for me. I was going through a phase of identity crisis, and I couldn't possibly imagine what I should visualize or affirm myself over.

I'd been either gestating or nursing tiny humans, or trying to do those things, for the past eight years. Suddenly I found myself with my family feeling complete and no new phase of continuing my purpose on the horizon. What will be my next step? What should I be focusing on so in a couple years, when all my kids are in school full time, I will be prepared for whatever hat I'll be wearing next?

Matt tried to tell me that maybe the point wasn't identifying my goal, but rather working on myself in little bits each day to develop a clarity about where I'd be headed next. That's a great idea in theory, but I felt totally lost and ungrounded, and how can I start from a place of no-where-ness? The point was that a part of my identity was missing (a part that I'm okay with being fluid, as long as I know what's going on), and I felt like I needed to define that before I could spend time developing it every morning while also loosing an hour of precious sleep. It didn't feel like time wisely spent. I was unprepared, and to be honest - felt a little left behind.

I didn't (don't) need set plans, but I at least needed a sense of what path I was on - which direction I was heading in. What my priorities and passions were. What would be worth my time.

Between The Fringe Hours, and the next book I've been reading - The Desire Map - I've started to uncover those ideas and feelings, and so I'm now wondering how the miracle morning process could work in my favor. I gave it a shot while we were on vacation and I was out of my normal element. But even then - all I really did was get out of bed earlier, make the time to enjoy my coffee from start to finish, watch the sunrise, chat with my husband, and do something I enjoyed like read, or paint my nails. I wasn't exercising or chanting affirmations to myself by any means.

But maybe that's okay?

My husband is classically type A. He thrives and feels good when he's accomplishing something, has firm goals, and a sense that he is expanding professionally, personally, and physically. I am the extreme opposite. The things that feed my soul are taking life slowly enough to see it with gratitude, appreciating beauty (especially in nature), feeling connected to nature and in my personal relationships, and being creative (both in the process and the reward of a completed project.)

So my miracle morning looks strikingly different from most everyone else's.

I tried to make my own list of things I would focus on if I tried to practice the miracle morning in my every day life (though since there are zero vowels involved, I couldn't create a fancy acronym.)

Morning Appreciation
(basically sitting on my patio swing to watch the sunrise, breathe fresh air & hear the birds sing)

Having fewer things to do (and a couple of them being multi-taskers) meant that I had more time for each of them, too. Yet, when I tried to get up and do those things? Big fat fail. I kept thinking of that entry I wrote about saying goodbye to morning routines because as much as I try to get up and knock things out, I'm useless in the morning. Anything beyond sitting on my patio swing (or my rocking chair inside when it's cold) with a mug of hot coffee and a book is going to fail.

It was easy enough to say goodbye to journaling, because I write in some capacity daily. I'm either blogging, or jotting down notes from books I'm reading, or writing sprawling or witty Instagram captions many times a day. But Yoga? That one was getting me. I'd recently decided that Yoga is not only my exercise of choice, but something that I desperately want to focus on and be identified by. I thought the best first step would be to practice it every morning, but I can't seem to get myself to do it more than a couple times a week. In the moment, I don't want to do it, but then I later feel regret over not doing it.

I'm still figuring that one out - but for now, it's more of an optional component to my miracle morning. When I don't feel like doing a full workout, I try to do 2-3 sun salutations and a couple balancing poses (tree pose is my very favorite Yoga pose!), but I even skip those on days when I'm really not feeling it.

I think my point is simply that the SAVERS don't suit everyone - nor do 5:15am alarms. My husband seems to be thriving with all of it, though, so I think it's worth a shot. Whether you do it the prescribed way, or create your own beautiful morning - maybe give a shot if you're feeling the need for a little shake-up in your life?

Right now, the best I can muster is getting up somewhere between 5:45-6:15, and enjoying my morning with my coffee and 20-30 minutes of reading. I'm happy with that for now, and I'm sure it will change as the seasons of our lives change.

So tell me:
Have you read The Miracle Morning?
Do you stick to a morning routine?
When do you pencil in your personal development?

PS -- if you're interested, you can get a Kindle copy of The Miracle Morning for $1.99 right now!

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