Not long ago I read the book, Choose Yourself!by James Altucher, a successful entrepreneur who has had his share of failures. He has a very successful blog and one piece of wisdom that he writes about and swears by is his daily practice. It has four components: mental, emotional, physical and spiritual. What struck me is that he claims that in the midst of extreme failure in which everything was falling apart around him, this daily practice saved him again and again.
This got my attention.
For those of you who know me, know how much my morning ritual means to me. It's the foundation of my life. In 2010, I made a decision to block off a couple of hours each morning for my spiritual practices of reading, meditation and prayer. This one shift impacted my day so significantly, I began to add things to it such as a daily smoothie, yoga or a walk and writing 1,000 words per day. I've been pretty faithful to this routine, except on the rare day when I book work-related appointments in the morning. My day simply isn't the same when I don't start it with my morning ritual. I feel off all day and it's difficult to recover.
So when I read about James Altucher's daily practice, it confirmed how powerful an intention daily practice is in shaping the rest of our lives. He has an interesting routine. He wakes up at around 4 or 5 every morning, eats only two meals a day and goes to bed at around 8 or 9. His last meal is eaten at around 2 or 3. He doesn't drink alcohol; he exercises his body until he gets his heart rate up; he exercises his mind by writing down at least ten new ideas; he takes care of himself emotionally by being honest and setting good boundaries (among other things); and he spends time connecting spiritually as well with prayer, meditation, gratitude and forgiveness work and so on.
I resonate with this approach to life because I've learned firsthand the importance of having a a morning ritual. But even beyond that, I believe certain ways of behaving and living are medicine for the mind, body and soul. If we don't feed ourselves from the inside, nothing we do on the outside will matter.
Life has provided us with sacred medicines that will help us live a full and happy life. Without them life is empty, depressing and extremely unhealthy.
Food is medicine. If we don't put the right food into our bodies, we will become ill and not be able to do what we need or want to do. Food can heal us when we are ill as well.
Sleep is medicine. Rest has medicinal benefits for the body and the mind. Pushing against this truth costs us dearly.
Stillness is medicine. Periods of silence allows us to calm the mind and open the heart. Meditation and prayer connects us to the Divine. Intuition and inspiration whisper to us in the quiet.
Creativity is medicine. True joy can be found in immersion in taking an idea from the formless into the world of form.
Relationships are medicine. Connecting with loved ones, including our pets nourishes us and reminds us that we're not alone.
Nature is medicine. Spending time in nature can restore us to innocence and help us to recharge.
Service to others is medicine. Helping is in our nature. It feels good for us and for those we help. It opens the heart and uplifts our spirits.
Community is medicine. Finding a tribe of people you resonate with give you a meaningful place in the world and offers friendship, witnessing, inspiration and support.
These are the core values of life. We live in an upside-down world that has us putting work before self care, which clearly doesn't support us or our dreams. I'm aligned with James is suggesting we put our daily practice first and the rest will flow from there.
In addition, I encourage you to regularly fast from dietary, mental, emotion and energetic toxins as much as possible. Love yourself and keep away from the people, places, things that make you feel bad.
Do you have a daily practice or ritual? If so, does it feed and nourish you? If not, can you start now?