I’m going to start by telling you a tale.
Long ago, in a tiny castle in suburban Australia, there lived a young princess called Beth. Beth wasn’t your typical princess; she wandered around the house in the nude WAY too much, ate fruit salad in bed and was proud to actually work for a living, spending many hours slaving away in a stressful corporate environment.
After many years of adulting Princess Beth found herself starting to struggle under the pressures of her work and personal life and in her twenty-eighth year decided to embark on a quest to seek the means through which she could reduce her anxiety, learn a little about herself and lead a more authentic and enlightened life.
After several months studying books, seeking inspiration and drinking a shitload of kombucha, Princess Beth had begun to develop a well-rounded morning “well-th” routine. Every day when she awoke she would exercise, meditate on her chakras and recite mantras, review her goals and express gratitude for the things that she had. Sure she had to wake up early to get all of it done, but she was finally getting her shit together and she was killing it.
Then one day on one of her regular bushwalks Princess Beth was happened upon by a young prince – Prince Aaron – who faked a strained calf whilst running to strike up a conversation with her. After several hours of wooing he had swept her off her feet and up into his Ford Falcon, off to breakfast.
They courted for only a few short weeks before Prince Aaron persuaded Princess Beth to get her chastity belt off and she allowed him the privilege of staying the night at her castle. He stayed again the next night and then the next, until eventually he was spending most of the working week there.
This whirlwind fairy tale romance was bound for a happy ending, until Prince Aaron started waking Princess Beth just a tad too early every morning. He began convincing her that morning sex is a type of exercise and to skip the gym, he started having a shower and a loud sing-song whilst she was trying to meditate and then eventually he exploded two eggs in her microwave.
Princess Beth lost her sh*t. He had thrown her off of her meticulously planned morning routine; the one she had spent months perfecting and refining to ensure that she reached that wonderful state of enlightenment on the daily. Her energy was getting messed up and her head was getting cluttered. Her balance was gone.
So she did what any rational woman would do and promptly threw him out of the castle. She carried on with her week, got back into her morning routine and it wasn’t too long before she once again found herself back in that clear and mindful head space.
And from that more enlightened place she came to realise that she may have been a little too hasty to throw Prince Aaron out on his ear. He had a right to his morning rituals as much as she did to hers and maybe shedding the weight of a complex and rigid routine was actually the most important part of living an enlightened life.
So armed with this new perspective Princess Beth broke her morning routine down to the basics – the three key rituals that would set her up for her best possible day. Rituals that she could practise at any time of the morning, in any place and no matter what the distraction.
And, because Princess Beth is a bit of a sharer and carer, she has included them here for you to try too.
From the moment you open your eyes in the morning you have something to be grateful for.
This is something we absolutely take for granted in our culture – the simple blessing that comes just from being alive.
Take a moment as you lie in bed to savour it. And don’t tell yourself you don’t have the time to do that. If you have time for everything else in your life you have time to take this moment to just be. To appreciate the first cool breaths of the morning and look about at the world around you. To laugh that you have woken up with a cat on your face or a child squashed between you and your husband.
After getting out of bed wander out from your bedroom and observe that pile of dishes in the sink, the laundry that is still in the machine, the kid’s sports gear that has been slung around the living room. And be grateful. You have dishes to eat from and food to actually eat. You have clothes to cover yourself and keep you warm in winter. You have a family who are fit and healthy and who love you. These are privileges that not every person can afford. Acknowledge them and say thank you.
As you regularly practise expressing gratitude you will find yourself starting to bring those grateful attitudes into your daily life. First world problems – burpees at the gym, clients yelling at you down the phone, standing in a 20 minute line at the supermarket – will stop feeling like a punishment, like a grind. You will be grateful that you are able to experience them, you will drop your negative connotations with them and you will move on.
Introduce a gratitude box or jar into your home as part of your practise. When you are particularly overwhelmed by a feeling of gratitude for something in your life one morning, write it down and pop it in that box or jar. On a rainy day there is nothing more uplifting or humbling than reading through all of those entries and reminding yourself of all of your many blessings.
Meditate and take note.
There is truly no more important practice than daily meditation to quieten the chatter of your mind, to see yourself more clearly, to note how you are feeling and to set your intentions for the day ahead.
Meditation is a daunting task as it requires us to sit quietly with ourselves and our thoughts; something we tend to shy away from and mask with everyday distractions. Deadlines, picking up dog poop, a gynaecologist’s appointment – anything, ANYTHING is better than sitting with our own thoughts.
So start out gently with 5 minutes every morning after you have showered. Set a determination to be kind and patient with yourself during this process. Sit yourself in a comfortable upright position, close your eyes down and try to focus on your breath. Count your breaths if that helps – one on the inhale, two on the exhale and so on. Don’t try and force the thoughts that come up out of your mind, just attempt to re-focus them onto your breathing and your breathing alone.
And at some point during that meditation take a moment to recognise how you are feeling. What is your underlying mood this morning? Are you happy? Sad, content, anxious? Take note of that feeling and store it away as a reference point for the remainder of your day.
Remember that meditation is a practice, so you have to practise at it. Some days will be easy and some days will be very hard. As long as you show up for those five minutes every day you are setting yourself up for a more conscious and enlightened day.
Decide how you want to love yourself that day.
There are five basic forms of love in any relationship: Appreciation, Affection, Attention, Acceptance and Acknowledgement.
There is no relationship more important than the one you have with yourself and consciously deciding how you feel that you should love yourself each day is fundamental to living a nurtured life.
After completing your meditation practice and making note of how you feel each morning, take a moment to decide how you think you should love yourself that day:
- APPRECIATION – Are you thankful for the person that you are and all of the many blessings that you have?
- AFFECTION – Are you craving the physical touch or embrace of another person? Or is it time to treat yourself to a hair masque, a massage?
- ATTENTION – Is there something missing in your life that you need to pay attention to? Do you need to look inward today to find what that is?
- ACCEPTANCE – Are you satisfied that no matter what you do and achieve today you have done your absolute best?
- ACKNOWLEDGEMENT – Is today the day you should be praising yourself for where you are at in your personal journey and how far you have come?
The decision as to how you will love yourself that day may come on instinctively or you may need to draw it out from what you felt in your morning meditation. Once you have made your decision, write it down and make an effort to consciously remind yourself to love yourself that way throughout the course of the day.
Oh – and Prince Aaron and Princess Beth did end up living happily ever after. In two separate castles.
For more enlightenment and self-care, don’t forget to check out our Truth or Dare Self-Discovery + Happiness Game!
A student of yoga, meditation, Buddhism and Ayurveda, Beth hasn’t quite figured out whether she should just bite the bullet, stop shaving her pits and go full hippy.
Her mother doesn’t approve.