"I'm rushing to find my livelihood," the man answered.
"And how do you know," the rabbi asked, "that your livelihood is running ahead of you? Maybe it's behind you, and all you need to do is stop running and it will catch up to you."
Early in my enlistment I was having a horrible go at it in the United States Coast Guard. Right after I finished telling my friend Mike how much I dreaded what punishment I might receive for my most recent drunken debacle, he asked me this question. “When was the last time you woke up in the morning and were kind and loving to yourself?”
“Never.” I said. I had no idea how much my life was about to change for the better. He continued and said that the most important thing I can do each day is to practice what he referred to as a “morning routine”. He suggested that I start immediately. Each morning upon awakening, before putting on my uniform, even before showering, I was to enjoy a few minutes with my morning coffee in positive contemplation. This was to be done by reading a few pages from inspirational books he recommended, saying a few familiar prayers, and mediating on all that’s good in my life at the moment.
“Life isn’t about jumping out of bed and racing into your miserable day. I promise that if you do this consistently for thirty days (and it only takes seven minutes, I timed it just for you), you will be amazed at how much your life will transform for the better. But if you can’t wake up just seven minutes earlier to be kind and loving to Darrell, there is nothing anybody can do to help you.” he said.
I wanted to believe what he said was true so I committed to it. That was over thirty years ago. Since I began the morning routine, what he said about my life transforming for the better was true, and continues to be true right up to this day. I’ve learned from personal experience that it's a psychological, spiritual, and material reality that how we feel about ourselves in the morning determines what we can expect to experience throughout our day.
Thanks to Mike, I enjoy all the fun without the struggle. My morning routine has made getting up in the morning something I look forward to. Begin each day being kind to yourself and enjoy how friendly life is. The good you seek is seeking you.
“For fast-acting relief, try slowing down.” –Lily Tomlin