There isn’t a lot of light at 5AM. My room was completely dark aside from the reflective glow coming from the open door down the hall. The spare room’s ensuite light is left on as a makeshift night-light for my wife who co-sleeps with our daughter. The co-sleeping affords me more sleep and to wake up alone which is both freeing and lonely. It also means my 5AM alarm doesn’t wake up my wife which in turn keeps me in a little bit safer.
This morning was like most mornings. I switched off my alarm and sauntered to my scale to weigh myself. I store the updated number into my Health app. It’s more of a habit now than any goal I’m trying to achieve. I threw on some shorts, a tee and a sweatshirt as it’s a little bit colder in October. Our main staircase is fraught with landmines of loud creaks that I strategically step to avoid. Waking up the baby at this time brings with it a host of challenges preventing me from my morning routine and more importantly my wife of her already limited rest. I close the appropriate doors to insulate the activities about to take place. I have to use the Vitamix to blend my morning protein smoothie so I prefer the noise to be as contained as it can be. I can then begin the complicated assembly. Vegan Chocolate Shakology powder, hemp protein, turmeric, spirulina, chickpeas, frozen banana, whole flax seeds, Power Dust (Moon Juice) adaptogens, dates, pea milk, ice, and filtered water. All of these items live in different areas of the kitchen making the preparation a scattered, sometimes tantric, dance of fetching, measuring, pouring and returning. Once assembled I powered on the blender which is always louder than I expect and I’m still surprised that my wife does not hear it as she claims. As the machine pulverized its population I put away whatever dishes were left to dry after the previous night’s dinner and washed what I’d just dirtied. Upon mixing completion I sample the blend and pour it into a mason jar with a metal straw to enjoy. The blending tools were appropriately rinsed and placed to dry on the rack I’d just cleared. The first morning task completed.
This morning’s shake was especially important as it was the last thing I consumed for the next three days. I’m fasting this week. I am in the final week of a two month long weight lifting program designed to prepare me for a more intensive regimen and I wanted to get a fast in between. I fast every few months for a few reasons. My family is plagued with cancer and fasting is a known prevention, it rebuilds my immune system, it’s a challenging discipline, it is a form of practicing poverty in that I remind myself how truly lucky I am, and it’s a reset to my metabolism. Throughout the fast I am going to monitor whether or not I can get my body to ketosis before I embark on the new training plan. I’ll only be drinking water and coffee.
I grabbed my shake and headed over to my studio where I filled out my Five Minute Journal. This is where I write down three things I’m grateful for and some other affirmations. Once this is done I set up to meditate for fifteen to twenty minutes. Recently I have been focusing on a LovingKindness practice guided by Sharon Salzberg. LovingKindnes is where the meditator chooses a series of individuals to wish happiness upon. It includes myself, someone I love, someone I do not know, someone I have difficulty with and all beings as a whole. The practice has had a profound impact on how I interact with others. It amplifies the level of joy with the ones I love and diminishes the stress I would normally feel when dealing with the difficult ones. It truly raises the baseline of joy in my daily life. Today was no different.
The next item on my morning journey is my Wim Hof breathing and stretching exercises. After completing the course, which I highly recommend, I have kept it as a part of my morning. This takes about 30 minutes and prepares my body for whichever physical activity that’s about to take place. This morning’s choice was a brisk run. It was 6° Celcius, but I was confident I would be fine. I dressed appropriately, save forgetting to cover my ears, and started my run. The street my house is on is a circle making it easy for me not to get lost. Although it was very early in the morning and I was without coffee. We walk this street sometimes with the baby and we have at times seen a neighbour of ours walking whom we give a wave and smile to. He’s an older man who sports headphones over his turban. He walks with a bit of a limp and sometimes uses a cane. He sometimes waves back, but mostly keeps to himself. The reason I bring him up is that he has been a subject in my morning meditation recently where I wished for him to be safe, be happy, be healthy and to live with ease. I saw him this morning on my run. As I approached him I gave him a wave and a smile as I normally do and it was as if he was welcoming an old friend. He waved back and smiled intently giving me an approving look. He wasn’t using a cane this morning either. I clearly don’t presume to think that my meditation induced this reaction but it was a heartwarming coincidence nonetheless. I wore a smile for the rest of my run.
Previously published on Medium.com