It was Saturday. I was up at past four in the morning, a usual morning routine, but I was too lazy to get out from bed. My mind was debating whether to go for my usual morning exercise or just call the day as rest day since I haven’t had any that week. I cuddled my son, pulled the comforter and started to close my eyes. I dozed off.
I woke up again at past five in the morning, still weighing whether to go or not. Considering that it is summer here, I was running out of time. If I exercise, I have to leave soon because the sun was just about to rise and I could still enjoy at least an hour of walking without being baked under the scorching summer heat. Next I envisioned which route to take, if ever I would go. And then, the vision of sitting on the bench in lotus position, hands rested on my knees and eyes closed, startled me. Ahhh, I was not willing to miss my few minutes of meditation for that day.
For almost two weeks now, I discovered the joy of simply sitting with eyes closed in one quiet spot during my morning exercise. This few minutes of tranquility, of just listening the birds chirping or experiencing the gush of wind in my skin, is precious. It’s like I’m receiving an extra dose of energy for the day.
For the last six to eight months, I generally exercised in the treadmill for an average of thirty minutes daily and around an hour on weekends. However for the last four weeks, I have been hitting the parks. With the discovery of the short meditation, I am even more driven to exercise in the park to be with nature. It also propels me to start earlier than usual.
Now my day starts at 4:30am. That’s when I start heading to the park. Then I am back at home at almost six to join my son for breakfast.
Honestly, this morning routine somehow became like an opium for me. I found it addicting to some degree. I posted this last week in my Instragram (@smilemilesy).
‘When laziness strikes you but you look forward to that morning adrenaline and a quiet meditation moment, so you shrug off your laziness and lace your shoes.
Off you go to welcome the sunrise.’
It is true. Lately this has been my motivation. I am imagining my clothes drenched in sweat; a heart that beats faster; the podcast I listen; the beautiful sunrise I see; the tranquility I experience; and most importantly, the moment that I wrap up my morning exercise with a quiet moment on the bench, listening to the sounds around me and calming my mind from juggling so many thoughts.
It feels amazing. And note, it is for free!
Though it has just been three weeks that I began meditating after or during my morning exercise, I already experience a tremendous shift.
Meditation became my moment of prayer. I consider myself as spiritual but not necessarily a religious person. The sight of nature’s panoramic beauty amazes me. I am deeply awed as I think of how great and wonderful our nature is. The sea. The sky. The stars. The sunrise. The different physical features of the people – thin, stout, tall, small, round eyes, straight hair, curly long lashes, etc. The dogs. The cats. It’s simply amazing. It made me realized how brilliant is our Creator to come up such various masterpieces of work. Indeed I could not fathom his brilliance and generosity to share such marvelous creations.
Meditation keeps my mind calm for the rest of the day. I think this is the considerable impact that I experience so far. I am the kind of person who worries a lot specially about the future. Aside from worrier, I am also a stress sucker. Ouch, but true.
You know, when worry creeps in, your mind becomes clouded. It is like driving on a foggy weather where visibility is very bad. It makes you down and unproductive generally. That’s why I love the Buddhism’s practice called ‘mindfulness’.
It helps me in my writing. Since high school (when the only available machine for writing was typewriter and the classic tandem of pen and paper), I have already known that writing is my first and only love. Unfortunately, like the love that human shares with each other or to others, I took it for granted. I betrayed my love for more than two decades as I became engrossed more with other temporal love affairs. As a result of years of betrayals, I also didn’t find peace. I hopped from one job to the others motivated by better compensations.
Luckily my dying love was rekindled recently and I vowed this time to love for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, until death do us part.
Since I have been sweating out in the morning before sunrise, I noticed a shift. I am not sure if there’s correlation between my morning exercise and writing but it seems there’s influx of energy in my head and it squeezes out my creativity. Now I love writing more than ever.
It helps me to meditate without dozing off. Earlier this year I attended a five days course where it was combination of yoga and meditation. It was nice but the course’s orientation was more into meditation. Since it was just a light yoga, I usually ended up dozing off when it was meditation time.
After the completing the course, I tried it at home. It was the same thing – I dozed off – even I showered before meditation.
I have been exercising like for almost ten months already. The difference before and after our trip to Nepal last month is the venue and duration. I used to hit the gym at past five in the morning and exercise in the treadmill for half an hour or even less. Nowadays I exercise in the morning for more than an hour then I try to squeeze at least another half an hour in the evening just to de-stress. I have a burning desire to gain stamina and endurance, and considering my current fitness level, it will take me ages to be in the fitness level that I wish to be. Ahhh, like my idol, Bubble Paraiso.
All this hard work and sacrifice is for our Poon Hill trek this August.
Anyway, back to meditation. Last month, I started reading about descriptive writing, you know – writing using your five senses. One day I thought of sitting in one quiet corner somewhere in the park after almost completing my exercise. I sat in lotus position, hands on my knees and closed my eyes for few minutes. The intention was not to meditate but to use my senses to observe things around me.
When I opened my eyes, it was a eureka moment! I discovered that meditation is best when you are in the park and when it is done right after your exercise. It is maybe because all of this adrenalin rush, I don’t doze off. Ahh, so nice to experience this every day in the morning. Closing my eyes is like entering in my own zone; everything shutdown – you know all the ramblings thoughts about life, future, work, and all the worldly stuff that simply burdens you. This is my zen that I look forward every day.
For this reason too, I noticed that it keeps my mind calm for the rest of the day. I am not sure though if there’s any co-relation between my new morning routine but nowadays I am less irritable and not just so stressed with the daily demanding grind at work and at home.
Less sleep is required. This is one of the best part. If I sweat out in the afternoon after work, I discover that I am up earlier the next day. It is like I don’t need to sleep for at least eight hours to recharge. Six hours is enough. Then I am good already and not feeling sleepy at all.
I think it sounds strange, right?
It allows me to alone. When you are a working mom, juggling different roles in a day, it’s inevitable to have a profound yearning to be in solitude, just a tiny chunk of your day to enjoy like a ‘me-time’ to be reunited with your own self; breathing every second thinking of nothing else but yourself only. This moment of a simple pause from the daily grind of life helps you appreciate simple things such the gift of nature. It makes me thankful too for every moment I breathe.
What about you? Have you tried exercising in the morning?