Over the years of my life my morning routine has varied greatly. For years it was necessary for me to have a coffee and a smoke before doing anything else in order to meet the day, and people in it, with an inner sense of calm and outer display of good nature. Though there are many reasons to say this is a poor way to start the day, it worked for me for a very long time. Yet, like all other things, I have changed and so has my morning routine. Now rather than coffee and a smoke, I prefer meditation and writing. What hasn’t changed though is the fact that if I don’t, for whatever reason, get to my morning routine before other things call on my attention, I lean toward intense irritation and discontent. Before, when nicotine was a part of the equation it was easy to blame my poor state of mind on a chemical imbalance, now, not so much. Now, the only person to blame is me, and the only one responsible for making it better is also me. Knowing that I am easily irritated when I don’t attend to my morning rituals I do my best to give myself ample time to do so even if it means getting up at “ungodly hours” as my husband says. It for me is an empowering practice of discipline and my way of “winning my daily private victory.” But life does not always abide so politely to my plans and my best efforts. This is why I have my practices and return to them with discipline, because there will always come a day, if not many, when I am faced with the ugliness of my own inner discontent, and the true battle of righting my way toward inner peace and ease will really begin.
Today was the kind of day I do my best to not have. The morning began with demands that required my attention and were more important than “winning my daily victory.” Having integrity to the meeting of and attending to my responsibilities is a cornerstone in my personal philosophy, and therefore off to the gamut of other tasks I went. As the morning unrolled, I snapped at my husband, spilled my coffee, and observed that most of my thoughts were criticisms and complaints. In the observation of myself I had a significant moment not only of self awareness, but also of payoff for all the work I have done to be aware of myself, in such a way and I realized that the only one who had control of my irritation was me. The circumstances of my irritation were far out of my control, but the way I choose to respond to them was within reach. Finding my way to a more spacious state of perception and feeling was not instantaneous, however, as I click the keys on this keyboard I acknowledge that I am much less irritated, and far more pleasant to be around as a result.
Life is full of choices, we often perceive the choices that will make us happy as the big ones, like who to marry, what job to take or car to buy, or where to live, when in fact it’s really the little choices we make that have the biggest effects on our lives. Choosing to “win our private daily victories” such as meditation practice, yoga practice, spiritual study, writing and creative ventures, meeting responsibility with integrity, living in unconditional love, these choices may seem minor in the eye of the simple bystander, however over time, these little victories become the artillery that enables us to win the battle of our happy lives and live in more inner satisfaction, fulfillment, and peace more of the time.
Today I lost the little battle of my little victory, but I won the war against inner discontent, and it only took about an hour. As a result, I offer to you that this year as you set your resolutions, may you set them with little victories in mind. What can you attain today that may benefit you down the road when your plans fall apart and life arrives? Through the discipline of your return you will find freedom when you least expect it.
Blessings and best wishes in the New Year,
With Love, Always, in All Ways, For Giving, In Joy,