Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Life Remedy: Add One Hour of Good Habits to Your Day

Photo: Adrian Alvarez (Creative Commons)
Life is a series of routines, a repetition of patterns that come to define who we are. For most of us who are tied to a job or to school, does one week really look all that different from the next. Sure, there are crunch times, times when we are really expected to rev up our engines and perform, but those periods come and go like storms. The day-to-day for many of us, is about cruise control and stability, about becoming one the rhythm of the waves, nothing more. If that's the day-to-day, then would it be outrageous to define those patterns, that adapting, with such grandiose vocabulary as "identity" or "worth"?

For us creative types it is common to fight the urge to be systematic, to kick and scream against formulas for living, against timelines and trajectories, against recipes for vitality. We know that a rich life lies within us all. We know that fulfillment occurs outside the box and from within the kindled spirit. We know that too much lulling with the tide makes us soft, stale. It is vividly clear to us that a choppy dose of salt and foam right to the kisser is an experience that can jut us off the rails and onto a newly discovered path.

We know these things, so why would we want to develop more habits, more ways of cruising down a nerfed bike path, destination death?

Why? Because some habits can break us away from thought patterns that are linked to the parts of our identity that may be bland, tired, and in need of an upgrade. Why? Because some routines may jolt our bodies awake, grounding us to the present moment a bit more consistently, tapping that vein that mainlines to the Spirit itself.

I propose a re-examination of our behavior patterns.

How many hours of your day are spent mindlessly scanning through the internet like a Roomba over a vast floor of graham cracker crumbs? How many hours have you heard the same podcaster ramble on about the same drawn-out points, but offering no solutions? How many hours have you turned off completely only to dwell on the past or the future, in turn shooting your self in the foot for not taking ownership of your own personal growth, a growth that can impact the lives of the people around you?

These are the questions that I've grappled with over the past few years, and for the longest time I was searching for a giant answer, a course of action akin to the elixir of life. Little did I know how much of a left turn I had taken when I first started searching. And although I have a long way to go, I am beginning to steer my vessel in the right direction, to alter my course to seas that are rough, yes, but manageable, and good teachers to boot.

Let's Get Practical.

One way to steer your life off into more aware and present-minded waters is to determine the routines that you have which are thoughtless and scrub them off the graffiti wall of your life, replacing them with habit that are thoughtful and present. For me, I found two times of day to attend to. First, I was sleeping longer than necessary. I now wake up at 5:15 every day and do 20 minutes of floor exercises or yoga (I can send you some great Youtube links if you're interested) followed by 10 minutes of breath meditation. Second, I found that the podcasts I listened to each morning were becoming harder and harder to focus on. If anything, they were more a way to block out the commuters around me than a way to learn and be inspired. So, for the 30 minute commute I decided to start reading a book instead, which has turned into about 100 pages per week that I wasn't reading before (that's 1 to 2 more books per month than before, 12 to 24 more per year, so much fuel to fuel the Muse's fire!). Third, instead of complaining abou
t the lack of time to edit part 2 of my novel, I spend the train ride home editing by hand.

Sorry Duncan, Joe, Jad and Robert, Ira, Chris, Danielli, and Lorenzo. I have less time for your shows, but life is better than, well, maybe ever.

There are a few ways you can be a hero and support AJ. Free things are: try Audible or AmazonPrime for 30 days, link us to a social network like TwitterFacebook or Reddit, or download and rate the podcast in iTunesIf you have a little spare money you can send a Paypal donation to ajsnookauthor@gmail.com, buy one of AJ's Kindle eBooks, or buy anything on Amazon by going through the Amazon links on the site. Thanks so much for your support, AJ

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