Minor Effort, Major Changes
It is my observation that people tend to get caught in the trap of thinking that big changes come from big effort. We tend to think if we don’t have an hour to meditate or pray, we shouldn’t bother doing it at all. We treat exercise the same. If we don’t have a significant chunk of time for all the yoga poses, we should do no yoga at all. If we don’t eat healthy all day, we should wait and try a more mindful diet tomorrow. And, unfortunately, we tend to do the same thing to our relationships. If we don’t have time to spend time together, we may not even reach out to hold hands, to hug, or share a morning kiss.
So, let this be a reminder to you, a little can go a long way.
I went to a TEDtalk in which the speaker suggested that every morning we jump out of bed, throw our arms up to the sky and say, “I’m going to have a great day today!” While it seemed a little contrived, I have to admit that as I experimented with this, I felt the energy in charge of following orders surge through my body looking for ways to make the statement come true. If I had to identify the emotional uprising, I would call it optimism and enthusiasm, and perhaps even, responsibility.
Experiment with consciously setting your morning intention as your feet touch the floor.
What if you opened our eyes at the break of dawn and said, “I am going to create loving relationships today!” How would you treat the person waking next to you differently? Those you share the meal table with? Strangers you pass on the street? Your coworkers?
Give yourself a quickie transformation
I encourage you to consciously choose how you spend that 10-minute time period while you are waiting for your coffee or tea to brew. How do you currently spend that time? Rather than logging on to the internet or TV for a quick hit of depressing news, or a voyeuristic glimpse into your friends’ lives via social media, what if you instituted a 10-minute exercise or stretching routine during that waiting time? What if you spent that time doing the “mirror exercise” —reciting what you loved, admired and appreciated about yourself while gazing into your own eyes? What if you listed all that you were grateful for and added to it every morning? What if you sat down for a 10-minute mindfulness meditation? What if you walked a labyrinth, drew, wrote in your journal, played an instrument, sat outside, prayed, read scripture or uplifting passages? What would happen if you consciously chose to begin your day with an intentional ten minutes dedicated to your spiritual practice, happiness, creativity or purpose? Or, what if you spent that ten minutes doing something kind for your partner, rubbing his or her feet, giving them a mini-massage, putting a sweet note in their lunch sack, or some other kind gesture of thoughtfulness?
Ritualize your chores
Experiment with turning your morning chores into a ritual of worship. What if, when you fed your pets, lover, spouse or family, you imagined that you were making an offering to God? What if before you ate, you consciously said Grace, or Thank You for every morsel. What if at the meal table you shared what you are looking forward to, what you are grateful for, what you will do to bring happiness into someone else’s life on this day, and what you will do for yourself?
Harness the power of technology to share love
Never before in history has it been easier to let someone know that we are thinking about them without necessitating a long phone call or major interruption to the day. When you find yourself thinking about those you love, text them a heart, or flower emoticon, a beautiful photograph, or quick comment—the technological equivalent of a thoughtful, if not romantic gesture. The simplest of efforts can make a huge difference in someone else’s day and you may just find it uplifts yours, as well.
Of course, nothing will happen unless you try it. You may just discover that big changes come from repeating small, mindful efforts