When our family moved to Atlanta, I was in a situation I’d never prepared for or anticipated. For various reasons, my reaction was something near emotional collapse, with none of the resources I counted on to not merely survive, but progress as a human being.
In terms of pain, it felt like the pain I experienced of my mother dying…every month. On and on. Existential despair, with the only thing holding me together was my commitment to Jason. Seriously. That was it.
I was in an unresourceful state, which meant that I couldn’t see options and my inner voices were horrific. That meant that I was set up for failure, leading to even more negative emotions, leading to unresourceful actions, in a descending spiral literally worse than anything I’ve ever experienced. I felt totally out of control.
I had to break that pattern, or something bad was going to happen. I did what I always do in such situations: I go outside myself, find someone who is either further along the path or with a healthier perspective, someone who has helped others out of similar problems, suspend my own judgement, empty my cup, and DO WHAT THEY SAY for at least a week. Aim at a month. A month is a good minimum time, and frankly, if I can promise myself I’ll do something for a month, I can do it longer.
But a month, thirty days, is a decent minimum. Six weeks is better, and seems about the minimum period for PHYSIOLOGICAL changes, but a month, a full moon-cycle, is solid.
I found a coach working with a teacher I respected, and asked their advice. They reminded me of the “Morning Ritual” concept, something that I knew (not under that name) from countless other practices. The idea is that the first minutes of the day set the tone for the rest of the day. Yoga, Tai Chi, meditation, journaling, reviewing goals, reading inspirational literature, hugs, sex play, all sorts of things have been suggested by serious teachers over the years to specifically “program” these early moments.
Powerful physical motion
The idea is that you get jammed up with emotional/spiritual crap, and if you don’t process it, it will weigh you down and poison you.
The idea is that you don’t know who you really are. If you would do less to protect yourself than you would to protect your child, your survival circuits are jammed up.
If you cannot access the same motivation to act that you would find if someone stuck your head in a toilet, your survival circuits are jammed up.
You can come from survival, or from love. If you come from fear, or from your head…your basic circuitry is jammed up.
So I “stacked” ideas. Starting from first awakening:
- Focus on my heartbeat.
- Sit up in bed, focus on the heartbeat, create a ball of “light” that forms into my “child” self and amplify the light and warmth.
- Get up and perform the Morning Ritual
- The Morning Ritual has multiple parts”
- Some PHYSICAL MOVEMENT. Walking, dancing, running, rebounding, yoga, Five Tibetans, etc. I use Tai Chi.
- WHILE MOVING I CHANT ALOUD the following things, aspects of the “M.A.G.I.C. Formula”:
- My belief that I can grow and change (“Every day in every way I’m getting better and better” is an example of such a chant)
- What I am grateful for in my past (and if you think there is nothing to be happy about, you are lying to yourself. Look deeper), including accomplishments (did you learn to walk? Read? Were you proud? ACCESS THOSE MEMORIES)(“I’m so grateful for all the success I’ve had in my career…”)
- What I am grateful for in my present (the same. If you would mourn the loss of your vision, what stops you from being grateful for it now?) (“I’m so grateful for the people who love me and trust me…”)
- Now…take that gratitude and EXTEND IT INTO THE FUTURE, feeling gratitude IN ADVANCE for your long-term goals.
- Focus that same feeling of gratitude for successful completion of what you need to do TODAY to make your long-term goals happen.
- Another affirmation of confidence that you have the capacity to make it happen (“All I need is within me now.”)
- All the chanting is ALOUD, WHILE MOVING.
- The body, voice, facial expression, breathing, EVERYTHING is as positive and focused. For a few minutes you work to become a “human laser”–everything working in the same direction.
- IT WILL NOT COME NATURALLY. Every internal demon will squeal and hiss at you.
- Your ego will do everything it can to stop you.
- THEORY: If you can do this for thirty days, you will connect with a deeper sense of meaning, joy, focus, and energy. But the more damage you are dealing with, the less likely that you can actually do the thirty days.
- If you use a “thirty day mental diet” approach, then you journal every day, keep track of your success, and when you “forgot” or “ran out of time” or “got busy” or were “too tired” to do it. Note the information, and start the 30 days over again.
- Most people will feel a real change in just seven days. So a “Seven Day Mental Diet” is also a reasonable approach. But if you have a serious issue, go for 30.
If you were abused, neglected, criticized ESPECIALLY IN CHILDHOOD BY YOUR GUARDIANS then you have internalized their voices, and they will try to TEAR YOU APART if you begin to dismantle their toxic prison walls. This is why you need to look at these as a minimum:
- Heartbeat meditation
- Morning Ritual
I began down this road. Remembered that once upon a time I’d had a chance with the most attractive woman I’d ever seen, and blown it because I hadn’t prepared myself properly. I was too open, not centered enough, not fit enough to match her energy. Because I’d neglected my “rituals” of exercise and meditation. But although I lost that relationship, as soon as I “got back on the horse” and took responsibility for these things, I jumped up an entirely new level of personal integration, saw right through the bullshit mating games, saw the “machine code” of dating/sexual attraction (it really was like Neo in The Matrix, I kid you not. In that energetic space, it was like I only saw the women who were attracted to me, and it was devastatingly easy to attract them. Effortless. ) and found my soul mate.
Given that faith, I proceeded. It had worked before, it would work again, if I focused and made the implicit explicit. If I could only do ONE thing, it would be the Morning Ritual, because it includes:
- Physical health (joint mobility, breathing)
- Physical skill (Patterned Tai Chi movement)
- Emotional health (synching breath, motion and mental focus)
- Mental focus (clarifying my long term outcomes and short term actions that lead there)
For 15-20 minutes (sometimes less) I am doing everything humanly possible to align myself. The negative voices scream “this is bullshit!” “you can’t change!” “What kind of woo-woo nonsense is this!” “you can do it tomorrow”. And so on.
I was in Steve Muhammad’s hotel room once. I’ve mentioned him: the greatest karate man I’ve ever known personally. He as about 72 years old at the time, and still fought anyone who came in his school. He was sitting on the edge of the bed, looking at a bottle of water. I was confused, and asked him if he was thirsty.
“Yes,” he said softly.
Ummm…would he like me to hand him the bottle? (I was wondering: was his back hurting, perhaps?)
“No,” he answered.
“What are you doing?” I asked.
“I’m practicing my will power.” Holy crap. He wanted the water. He was thirsty. But he wasn’t going to give in to the voices in his head. By the way…this is one of the most powerful effects of Intermittent Fasting. You can CLEARLY hear the voices in your head telling you that you MUST eat. But think about it: did your ancestors HAVE to eat three times a day? If they didn’t, did they die? If that had been true, NO ONE WOULD BE ALIVE TODAY. We descended from hunter-gatherers. They had to have the ability to go days without eating and still function, or they would die.
Discomfort? Sure. Death? Hardly.
The demons in your mind are lying to you. NO, you don’t have to drink that water. Eat that food. Have sex with that inappropriate partner. Lie. Steal. Hurt others.
But the voices will tell you you do. And if you don’t learn that YOU ARE NOT THE VOICES IN YOUR HEAD. YOU ARE THE ONE LISTENING TO THE VOICES, then you will forever be controlled by the people who hurt you in childhood.
The “Morning Ritual” hits that switch. The voices will tell you it doesn’t work, can’t work. But if you are exercising AS you do it, then you are already taking steps toward your goal, right? That PROVES that the demons are lying to you. THEY LIE. And once you understand that…once you realize they are not “you” it can cause a chain reaction, a positive life spiral.
Give yourself thirty days. Move, chant, visualize. Know WHAT you want and WHY you want it. Focus faith and confidence and gratitude for just a few minutes a day, consciously. You will be shocked at how much more you will accomplish, and the pleasure you’ll have doing it.
So I did it every day in Atlanta. And within two weeks I noticed I was just…happier. That I had the perspective to see that this was just the flow of life, that I had it better than many, many people who were happier than me, and there was just no excuse for that. Began to feel gratitude for being where I was, and from there had the resources to see there were actions I wasn’t taking. Began taking new actions, which led to new results, which gave me new emotions.
BUT I DID THE RITUAL EVERY DAMNED MORNING, whether I felt like it or not. I wrote down all the negative voices coming up in my head, everything they said…
And realized those voices were from specific people: friends, teachers, even my mom. But they weren’t me. And I didn’t have to obey them, or even take them seriously.
It changed my life.
It put me in touch with my joy. And when you feel both joy and pain, you are in touch with your core survival drives, the things that never leave you in life. And if you dig deep enough you can find them and connect them with your goals.
WHAT do you want?
WHY do you want it?
Only then does “HOW” matter in the slightest. In fact, without a clear powerful “WHY” you simply won’t see the truth of your life, and be able to find the right options to optimalize your choices.
While I love the Ancient Child, and Heartbeat Meditation and the other tools, they can all be folded into “The Morning Ritual” and while it can be “unpacked” to find a dozen different technologies woven into its woof…for the average person, I’d suggest it first. Then, Heartbeat meditation. Then, the Ancient Child. Then…Intermittent Fasting and Intense exercise to hype up your energy. More power to take MASSIVE ACTION toward your goal.
But the Morning Ritual has saved me twice, even when I didn’t realize I was doing it. And…it can save you, too.