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Monday, November 30, 2009

Anticipate Your Day

I hate waking up in the morning. Always have, probably always will.

But this reluctance to get vertical has brought about an interesting practice. I set the alarm a little bit earlier than necessary, then hit the "snooze" button. And in that liminal space, between the arms of Morpheus and the launch of the day, I like to go through previews of the coming attractions.

Who will I see today? What will I do? What is expected of me?

What am I looking forward to, and what am I dreading? And how can I maximize the one, and minimize the other?

Who can I help? Who can I call on to help me?

What and where will I eat? Is there something out of the ordinary that I need to take along today?

I find that "Forewarned is forearmed." The better prepared I am for the day ahead, the better my day goes.

Of course, there will be surprises; they're often the best part of the day. But if I'm ready for what I know will happen (or have strong reason to believe will happen), I'm better able to take the "glitches" in stride.

Try it tomorrow. Give yourself five or ten minutes to preview the day. Get ready. Get set. Then go.

You'll be happier.


  1. I like this and will try it - thanks!

    I'm interested in learning the many practices people have for the very first and last wakeful moments of their day. One I discovered for waking up is No Mind: without any thought but focus on the present, my body and my action, I rise and begin my morning routine. Meditatively no space is available for anything else, and in half the time and twice the joy, I'm on my way to work, and I almost always have a more peaceful, content day this way.

  2. Another practice that results in a more peaceful, rested and content waking up is loving-kindness meditation ("metta-tation") done the very last thing prior to falling asleep. As you you lay there on your bed, visualiZe yourself being surrounded by people in your life, in decreasing order of how much love you naturally have for them. For example, first imagine your parents sitting beside you and your sphere of metta expanding from you to encompass them. Then the same with your other family members, friends, coworkers, "enemies," and finally everybody .. Your sphere of metta expanding gradually to evelipe all of them. Drift off to sleep with that, and your sleep and waking up the following morning will be improved.

  3. Hi, Brian!

    Both of these are truly fine. In fact, you've kind of touched on an idea I've been working on. It involves four "focus points" during the day:

    Morning: Mindfulness (funny, opposite of "no-mind," or another way to the same result?)

    Midday: Compassion (metta) while "out in the world"

    Evening: Gratitude (for the day, the return home, etc. Parents and others come in here, too)

    Night: Peace

    There's a lot more to it, but that's the gist. You can see the groundwork laid out here:
    I still have to work up the actual texts, and the readings. Stay tuned--maybe in 2010!