20 September 2016

69 – Three Simple Things, Pt. 1: Anchor

This is the first in a three-part series of essays.

I did something like this last fall. You can see, sweat, and listen for yourself here, here, and here.

Maybe this’ll become an annual thing. I don’t know yet. Check back in a year. 

This series will look at three simple things that yield big, positive effects in our lives. This essay will discuss the importance of setting the tone for your day right away, every day.

How we start our day is very important. Sleeping in and then scrambling out the door in a manic race to not be late for work, class, or a meeting isn’t a good start. Chances are that day’s going to seem like a continuous string of clusterfucks. It’s hard to get ahead when you’re playing catch up from the moment you open your eyes.

I used to do that a lot. It’s probably no coincidence that I was doing it while joylessly pursuing a Career in Academic Bubble World and then working a call centre job that I hated. I felt like I had no power to control my life. And I started each and every day that way. It was a great recipe for getting nowhere fast.

Thankfully that ain’t the case anymore. Long story short: I grew a pair, made some hard decisions, changed a lot of little things, and got help from some epic friends. I only mention them here because through those experiences I’ve gotten better at setting a good tone for my day.

I’ve learned to drop anchor.

For me that goes like this:

I get out of bed around 430am every morning. I’m an early bird by nature, but I also use that time to let the Real Me breathe. I do the bulk of my writing first thing in the morning. What can I tell you? If something really matters to you, you’ve got to make time to do it.

I drink a bottle of water while waiting for the kettle to boil. Once I’ve made a cup of coffee I sit down and write my Morning Page. It’s a habit that grew out of The Artist’s Way course that my epic friend, Clay, guided me through a few years ago.

The Morning Pages are a good thing. I write out whatever random thoughts are in my head after waking up. I write out things and people in my life that I’m grateful for. And I always write out three major goals I want to accomplish.

The Morning Pages are not literary masterpieces. Nor are they intended to be. During those opening minutes of my day, the Morning Page allows me to clear random thoughts from my mind, assume a mindset of gratitude and appreciation, and reaffirm longer term, big picture goals.

Writing the Morning Page helps me set a good, positive tone for the coming day.

Next I meditate for 5 to 7 minutes. I focus on deep breathing and relaxing my body. I don’t try to clear my mind. I allow it to roam, and when it lands on a thought, I refocus on my breathing.

Meditating helps me to feel physically relaxed and mentally focussed.

Once I’ve meditated I thump my thymus for 1 to 2 minutes. Perhaps you don’t know what thymus thumping is. I didn’t either until my epic friend, Small Paul, introduced me to it. And he’s worth listening to. He’s a bit of a gun.

All I can say is that thymus thumping leaves me feeling really energized.

All this takes me no more than 20 minutes first thing in the morning. When I’m done I feel positive, relaxed, focused and energized. I’ve dropped anchor and am ready to do my day. More importantly, I’m looking forward to doing my day.

Think about it this way: you’re a boat, and your day is the sea. Unless you drop anchor you’ll drift aimlessly at the mercy of the currents. You’ll quickly become a lost sailor.

Do some little things that’ll allow you to steady yourself and get your bearings. There’s no one way to do this. Listening to music, reading, stretching, walking, drinking tea are all great options. We’re all different and will respond to some things better than others. Find what works for you.

Drop the anchor right away. Doing a few good, little things for just a few minutes can have a powerful and positive impact on the rest of your day. You’ll navigate a clearer course and be a saint of circumstance instead. 

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The House Newf is from a rugged and beautiful island on the eastern edge of Canada called Newfoundland. He was first identified by a potter with a naturalist's flair, and he does in fact live in a house under the watchful eye of a cat that seems bewildered by the universe at large. That house is in Halifax, Nova Scotia and that's where the House Newf writes fiction and essays on things that add value to his life that may add some value to yours. You can contact him at bobharding80@gmail.com, follow him on Twitter @theHouseNewf, on Instagram @thehousenewf, and like him on Facebook. The House Newf is a unique specimen. Every home should have one.