Every morning there is a quick prayer I say with my kids. I'm well aware how grossly self-righteous that sounds, but it's true. On the drive to school we say both the Hebrew and English versions. In Hebrew it's "Modeh Ani..." which basically translates into expressing our utmost gratitude to God for returning our bodies to our souls, thus granting us life for one more day.
Then my children and I say:
"thank you for this beautiful (rainy/sunny/snowy) day.”
If it's raining, we have a quick thought about how vital and wonderful rain is, even if they can't have outdoor recess. If it's warm and sunny, we are thankful that we do get to play outside.
Don't get me wrong, there are many days where I'm mumbling this half asleep, but if I can instill starting the day with a minute of gratitude, then I feel great as a mom. Even if they're four minutes late to school. Which brings me to my next point. I have never been a morning person. Ever. I prefer sunset to sunrise since I'm a kid. Sunrise always made me anxious. I realized a few years ago that I have a viscerally uncomfortable reaction to being forced into anything, and I've always resented the sun for forcing me to get up and start my day. Night for me has always held the possibility of more options, more excitement, no judgment. But not being productive during daytime doesn't feel ok. I've always resigned myself to just being a night gal, but LITERALLY YESTERDAY I had a staggering realization. I realized how much freaking time I waste at night; how tired and cranky I am in the morning. How slow I am to start my day and how stressed and rushed I was from the minute I pried my eyes open and too tired to function. How I was not patient and punctual with my children in the mornings, and how I'd just get less done and then berate myself for it. So as much as I genuinely do feel so grateful to be given the gift of a day, I wasn't properly honoring the meaning of that gift.
The more time goes on, the more people we know who befall tragedy. Illness, death. We see people just physically vanish from our lives. There's nothing stronger than that to force us to restructure our time here. It's so easy to fall into a routine, resign ourselves to a rut. I lived that way for many years. Even if the routine is a blessed one, there are always tweaks to be made to maximize life. I started practicing yoga in July. It has been life changing for numerous reasons. It has taught me I am in control of my day, how I am the master of how I choose to live each moment. For someone who instantly shuts down when not given choices, this notion had the opposite affect; I felt my whole body, spirit, and mind opening and expanding, just by being told I do in fact have many, many choices.
So, I CHOSE to try and break my cycle of spending three hours a night futzing with Instagram, hating myself for it, then basically beginning the next gift of a day with the same bullshit. Last night I went to bed BY TEN, unheard of, woke up way before the crack of dawn, and went to both sunrise yoga and meditation. Driving there in the still blackness of night, I for the first time enjoyed it, and did not feel that nauseous, unsettling feeling of going to the airport, like I normally do when I'm in a car at that hour. I loved it!!! I really did not think I was going to pull it off. When I waltzed into my kitchen feeling calm and fresh, I thought my kids were going to spit out their cereal. The immediate response was "mommy, are you ok???" (it's part of our culture to immediately assume the worst). Then I explained how I'm really trying to turn my days around, how it will benefit all of us. They were so sweet and supportive. It will take discipline, and it won't always happen, but I'm really going to try my best to simply squeeze the most out of each day. I cannot teach my puppies that life is a precious gift if I don't lead by example to the best of my ability. We are capable of so much more than we realize. At all times. And when I said "Modeh Ani" today, I don't think I have ever meant it more. Namaste.