January is the start of the ‘expand your knowledge’ series I’d like to share with you. First up is Liz, I met Liz at the Penninghame Process and she’s been a fantastic support to me. I asked Liz if she would like to write a guest post on a morning routine because to be perfectly honest with you I am very bad at keeping up my own one and at the moment I don’t even have one! Enjoy!
As someone who has sat on both sides of the circle when it comes to personal growth and self-development courses, I have often asked myself the unaskable question – I wonder what their morning routine is really like?! Do they really get up that early every day to do x y and z mediations, practices, rituals? Does it really make the difference in their life they say it does? If I’m going to get on board with all of this, I want to know if it really works! If I am asking these questions of my teachers, I’m equally sure that many people have asked themselves those same questions of me when I’m sitting up there teaching them the most fantastic of morning meditations that is going to change their life! So let’s get it all out there, here is my honest expose of what my morning routine is really like, and what difference it has made to me.
Do I really get up at 6 am to do my morning routine every day? – NO, of course not, I am human! BUT after having a regular morning practice for many years, taking that time to do something that nurtures me before my day begins has become very special to me. I yearn for it when I don’t do it. I feel called to doing it because I know it is something that is good for me, it helps me to feel connected and grounded in myself, to create more of what I want to experience in life, and it is good for those around me.
It’s like an old friend, a safe, healthy, homely place. It’s not always a happy place when you meet what is, but it always rewards me with insights, shifts, or just simply a feeling of connectedness in myself that sets me up in a better place to meet the day. If I don’t manage to do my daily routine some days, I don’t beat myself up and feel bad about it, I simply remember what it gives me, say yes to giving myself that, and get back to it with joy as soon as I possibly can.
What is my morning routine, have I stuck with the same practices that work all of the time? My morning practice flexes and flows. There are many rewarding and useful practices I have been lucky enough to have been shown over the years, and sometimes some work for me more than others. It is important to listen to yourself and what you need, but some of the best I have picked up that have remained a feature in my routine are:
• Meditating on a vision for my inner wellbeing it works a bit like affirmations, or an inner GPS. Literally reminding myself every day of what I want my inner experience of life to be, visualising and feeling what that experience is, has been hugely powerful in shifting my life to be in alignment with that. The great thing is it happens without me even being conscious! It’s not like something happens in my day and I suddenly consciously remember how I want to feel/think/respond just because I recited my inner vision that morning. Sometimes it does happen like that, but most of the time I just manage to find my alignment because the ground work has been done, that seed has been planted in my consciousness and is guiding my actions without effort simply because I put it there. I found that the inner vision gifted to me by the Penninghame Process has given me everything I’ve needed to come back to when facing any challenge that has come up in life.
• Soul sync – This is another deceptively simple yet powerful technique, created by O&O Academy, a wisdom school in India. It is very carefully and specifically designed to lead you to a place of connection with a greater consciousness, which is a place of clarity and possibility from where you set your intentions for the day. It’s great for me because each stage naturally leads me more towards that place, and because it is short, and has very specific steps my mind can relax into it because it is given something to do rather than being asked to sit still!
• Hatha, vinyasa, kundalini yoga – sometimes I need a more physical route back to my alignment. My mind or my system feels too restless to sit and focus on mental practices. That’s when I know I have to hit the mat, and boy is the body a beautiful and blissful re-entry point to drop out of the mind and back into the heart. It may not always be yoga, sometimes it’s running or dancing, and for many people it will be something else. But to include the body and energy flowing practices in my daily routine has been both essential and hugely rewarding.
• Checking in – I don’t always do this as a first thing in the morning practice, but it’s something I have learned to pause and do whenever I am feeling agitated, restless, unsure, unhappy – anything that doesn’t feel good basically. This was also taught to me on the Penninghame Process, and it’s a real game changer. To simply stop and ask myself, where am I? – what am I feeling in my body? my feelings? what is my mind up to? what is my heart telling me? what do I need right now? It gives me that chance to take a mindful gap, before reacting and responding to something or someone from an unconscious my feelings? what is my mind up to? what is my heart telling me? what do I need right now? It gives me that chance to take a mindful gap, before reacting and responding to something or someone from an unconscious place. I can come back to feeling centred and clear, in connection with my inner vision, and respond from that place, which can and has completely changed the outcomes I contribute to creating.
Does it really make a difference to your inner wellbeing and your life long term?
YES!! Yes, a million times yes. Before I had these practices, and the resulting anchoring in connection and awareness that they have given me, I could get overwhelmed by life, my thoughts and my emotions could all take over and I would feel lost and unable to influence the quality of my life experience. Like all of that controlled me rather than me being able to take charge of myself.
Over the years, the depth of connection and benefit I receive from my daily practices has deepened and grown exponentially. It’s not always been easy to keep up the commitment, but as I look back on it now, I am so grateful for the new positive, strong, steady, and nurturing foundation I have built myself. I now always have these practices and a place I can go to get my connection back and my life now feels like it is beautifully unfolding, of which I am very much a part of creating, part in thanks I’m sure to having a daily practice and being committed to showing up for myself and doing to do the work. It really does pay off if you stick with it!
Above post is written by Liz Slingsby and images provided by her also