The Therapy Booth

resting, doodling and holding love signs

My Miracle Morning (s)

Hello! In this post I will be telling you about my experiences with exercises from a book called The Miracle Morning: The Not-So-Obvious Secret Guarantee to Transform Your Life (Before 8am) by Hal Elrod.

During an extremely challenging period of his life, Hal decided to learn the habits of the most successful people around. He created The Miracle Morning routine by combining the six most commonly used habits he came across. Turns out they are congruent with a lot of things that happen around The Therapy Booth, but I wasn’t doing them all in one sitting.

123 days ago, I started taking Hal’s advice. Here’s a look at Hal Elrod’s six “Life S.A.V.E.R.S.” and my first four months of using them:

December 31, 2017, I woke up in the morning sluggish and dragging, but I knew I had to get up and get going. I was about to clean a house where I’d been house sitting and move to a new location.

I went to YouTube looking for a certain book on audio to keep me company while I cleaned up and moved. The book I sought wasn’t available, but in a moment I can only describe as grace, The Miracle Morning by Hal Elrod popped up in the YouTube suggestions. (* Note: I just checked, and the book is no longer available on YouTube, but my library has both the audio and hard copy available to borrow, and yours probably does too. *)

I’d been struggling in the mornings. Not wanting to wake up. Feeling simultaneously overwhelmed by life’s circumstances and, at the same time, rudderless. I saw the book title and thought it was worth a go. I knew I could use a helpful shift.

Hal’s conversation resonated with me. He laid out the following activities with compelling arguments for doing all of them, first thing, each day. I’ll share with you here how I do my “Life S.A.V.E.R.S.” as Hal Elrod calls them.

Before I introduce the S.A.V.E.R.S., a note:

Unlike many in The Miracle Morning on-line community on Facebook (about 150,000 members and highly recommended), I do not set my alarm for 5 a.m. and get up in the dark. I sleep until I wake up. It varies each day. If I do have something specific to be up for, I’ll set my alarm early so I can do my Miracle Morning routine. But as my schedule is my own, I have stayed with my natural rhythms. This is neither advocating for or against that, I just don’t want to misrepresent as an early bird, as that has not happened as of this writing.

Now, here are the steps that Hal lays out in The Miracle Morning that I have been following for 123 days, with great benefit:

S is for SCRIBE
In my Miracle Morning:
I have been a loyal writer of Morning Pages for many years, maybe ten.

Prior to beginning TMM, I was writing Morning Pages most days. For a year or so, I have also been including a “visioning page” in which I write the day as if it’s already happened, enthusiastically imagining how well things went. Then I make a simple doodle of how I’d like the day to go and write a short list of what I’m grateful for in the present moment. That routine takes me about 40 minutes. I’m sure the folks doing TMM aren’t all doing this level of journaling. You could use this time to write your plans for the day, hopes and fears, gratitude, whatever you like.

A is for AFFIRMATIONS
In my Miracle Morning:
I’ve been having a really sweet time with this one since I started doing them while looking in the mirror. I’ve been doing mirror work for a handful of years, and I know from experience that looking myself in the eyes in the mirror and saying kind and genuinely supportive things has a surprisingly infinite return value. It’s hard to explain, but I do recommend it. There are some subtleties to mirror work, and once you work out the kinks, it’s a gorgeous practice.

Nowadays I usually stop and talk with myself in the mirror right after I brush my teeth, kicking of TMM with love and sweetness. Examples: I love you, Carin; life loves me; you’re doing so great; I’m so proud of you; I know you’re feeling concerned about ________; and you’re doing so great, and I’m here with you; you’re doing great; I love you, Carin, so much. This morning I noticed I was feeling tense, and I relaxed and said, There’s always time to breathe. A good note on which to start the day. You can say affirmations however and about whatever you like. The key is just that you believe what you’re saying to yourself. Otherwise, it’s like you’re driving with the breaks on.

This section lasts me 2 – 3 minutes. Or more or less. It’s more just that I do it long enough to feel the benefit.

V is for VISUALIZATION
In my Miracle Morning:
This has been a surprisingly fun section for me. Like affirmations, genuine visualization is a muscle and there are subtleties to it. I’m having a great time daydreaming — something I’ve done since I was a little girl — and lining my body and mind up with what I’m dreaming of. I’ve learned to relax into super simple visions if I’m uptight and can’t get into a complex fantasy. I’ve learned to notice when I’m not really feeling it and shifting over to something that comes more naturally. The longer I visualize, the more wild and fun my fantasies become. I love to open myself up and relax and see what comes. In one of my favorite spontaneous moments, just before my little timer went off, I was dreaming that I was giving meditation sessions (resting sessions) at the Metropolitan Museum of Art and Patti Smith had come; and when my timer went off, Patti and I were just talking about getting together at a coffee shop to do a little writing. OMG drool. I’m into it. 🙂 I visualize for up to 10 minutes, averaging about seven minutes daily.

E is for EXERCISE
In my Miracle Morning: Oh Hallelujah. I needed this.
A lot of times in my Morning Pages, especially leading up to starting TMM, I’d write that I needed to/should/even wanted to exercise and meditate, but I wouldn’t do it. Thanks now to The Miracle Morning, I’m doing all three! I do any of a vast variety of things for exercise. Today I only did about five minutes, but I did 100 sit ups! Many days, I move along with power walking videos on YouTube, or I put on a Dead and Company show and dance for 10 – 15 minutes.

Lots of times I take a walk. I was sick recently, and on the first few days, I just did legs-up-the-wall yoga pose. It felt great and was good for my immune system and counts as exercise, yes indeed. I’ve learned over the years that consistency beats quantity in establishing and keeping to a habit. Being flexible but consistent on the exercise has been super beneficial. I’ve definitely lost a few pounds and feel more confident, in general.

R is for READING
In my Miracle Morning:
This is a section I can say definitely wouldn’t have been happening without TMM. This s the section in which we read — for a few minutes each morning — something inspiring or in the realm of personal development. It so happened that I’d checked out such a book from the library right before I started TMM

. I can tell you with certainty that I would not have read past the first chapter of that book had I not had time set aside for it each day. I read the whole thing (Ask for It by Linda Babcock and Sara Laschever) and have even found it coming in handy already, as, for example, I just sold my car and negotiated for more than I was offered. That was a pretty good win, I’d say, considering I’m still new at this sort of stuff.

I’m currently reading Walking in This World by Julia Cameron, and I feel so grateful each day when I get to read a little and do some of the exercises. Also, reading has led me to listening to more audio books, and I’ve listened to several lately that have been making a difference for me. I’m a stickler for reading with my eyes, so even if I listen to an audiobook, I still do my R section of the S.A.V.E.R.S. on paper (or on occasion, Kindle). Many people listen to audiobooks while doing their exercise. I read for 5 – 20 minutes.

S is for SILENCE
In my Miracle Morning:
I couldn’t be more thankful for a daily assignment than this! Anywhere from a few minutes up to a half hour, or more if I’m doing inquiry, I get this gift every day. And I get to radiate it into the world. There are few things that I feel more confident in than resting the mind. I wrote about it for a year straight and continue to throw that hashtag around on the regular.

Even one or two quiet moments are doorways to infinity. If something’s really picking at me, I take my time and self-facilitate Living Inquiries; a better use of my time, I do not know. Maybe playing music, or maybe it’s a tie. Either way, the gift is in the pause. As with each of these S.A.V.E.R.S. — the gift is the pattern interrupt, indeed a new-pattern-created, that is fully supportive of our individual well-being so that we may show up in the world fully ourselves and bring our gifts.

I could talk lots more about this topic, so if you have questions or would like clarification, make a comment! Also, as above, I recommend The Miracle Morning Community Facebook group! It’s one of the most genuinely positive spaces I’ve seen on Facebook, and I get lots of inspiration there.

Let me know if you decide to give it a try! It’s like creating your own Therapy Booth around you to take with you throughout the day. Awe yeah.

 

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5 Ways to Love Yourself Today

Taking a moment for a cup of herbal tea on the patio. Self Love FTW.

There are infinite ways to love yourself. Starting helps.

You may get stopped by any number of beliefs. Some of the most popular ones are that self-love is selfish and that you should only be looking out for others; and if you’re an enlightenment-seeker, you may be hung up on the thought that there is “no self” and so self-love doesn’t make sense, or it’s against what you think you’ve been seeking.

I call bullshit on both of those ideas. And I call it from direct experience.

If all you’re doing is giving outwardly, there is nothing left to give, eventually. Watch out for burn-out in the form of fatigue, resentment, or depression. And if you’re seeking enlightenment, and you want to experience, directly, what we call oneness, then I’m telling you: all-inclusive self-love is a doorway.

Here are five things you can try. Try all in one day. Try one a day for five days. Try one each day a week for five weeks. Do whatever is fun for you. Start small. Go easy. Take your time with it. Little bits of self-love have exponential results if you stick with it.

  1. Look in the mirror and talk about it. Take a breath. Look yourself in the eyes. And just start laying it on: I love you. I love you so much. You’re doing great. I know you’re doing your best, and I can see it. I love you so much, exactly as you are. I see your puffy eyes, and I love you! I know you’re nervous and don’t know what to do. And I love you so much! I’m with you! I love you. I love you. I love you. Stay there until you relax and really feel something open.
  2. Take a walk, 10 – 20 minutes. Go alone. Let your mind rest, and let it wander.
    * If you are unable to take a walk, don’t let the love stop there! Try 5 – 10 minutes of gentle stretching. Roll your shoulders and neck. Take some deep breaths. Stretch your legs out in front of you if you are able. Stretch your hands and wrists. Keep is simple, easy, and loving. Be loving with your body. *
  3. Let your mind & body rest. Set a timer for 10 – 15 minutes, maybe 20, and rest. Let your attention gently return, again and again, to the space under your nose where your breath passes in and out. Don’t force any thoughts away. Let them come to completion and return your attention to your breath. Notice where your body feels tense, and breathe space into there. Letting go, opening, letting go, opening, relaxing.
  4. Make something simple. Simple creativity can offer great love, presence, and relief. And you don’t have to be good at it! Draw a stick figure of yourself or someone you love. Play half of a song on a guitar. Having fun? Play the rest of the song. Cut your sandwich into fun shapes. Be easy about it; just express yourself.

    Here are some samples from a daily doodle exercise that I do. Following my Morning Pages, I write a visioning page for the day. I next make a simple doodle based on that vision, and then I make a short gratitude list. No matter what space I was in when I started writing, these simple pictures always make me aware of a sweet smile on my face when I finish.


    This one was actually at a restaurant where I went to see a band. I saw crayons and fun ensued.

  5. Go back to the mirror. Thank yourself for the self-loving gestures. Let yourself know how much you’re kicking ass & how great you’re doing.

And you are [doing great]. What a gift. Relax, breathe, look yourself in your own eyes. Self-love is the recognition of infinity.

These exercises may seem dorky, and your mind may tell you they are useless. But if your mind is also telling you mean things about yourself and your life, you might as well infuse it with some kind ideas as well.

And did I mention, IT’S ALL FREE!? It doesn’t cost any money to do any of these things. Even if you want to draw and don’t have a crayon, find a stick and drawn in the dirt. Just honor yourself, and show the precious being you are some love.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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