The sound of my cell phone chimes at 5:45 Monday through Friday. During the summer months it goes off at 5. Today, as the object of my morning reckoning goes off it still looks dark outside. I shuffle a bit in my king size bed and turn off the alarm while taking in 3 deep breathes to engage my mind and body. My body is resistant; yet, my mind wins the fight against those aging, sagging anatomical parts which make up my body. Will today be an indoor workout or outside. Ah, let’s live life wild and make it an outside exercise day, I think. I begin to be hopeful that I will be able to watch the sunrise.
I take the steps downward to the entry level of my building and exit out of the right hand side. And off I go, “running.” I run past the homes with TV’s on and catch glimpses of shadows in the house. My first mile is the most difficult, however, once I find a rhythm, running doesn’t seem so laborious. I reach the boathouse on the waterfront and decide to go left toward the pier. As I run past the water I notice the glistening river and hear the melody of the birds. The wind blows gently. I seem to be running faster. I am quickly approaching my happy place. The place , the sounds, the smells I have embedded in my mind so that at any time I can return to this state and picture these scenes through my mind’s eye. Later in the day, I can look back on this state of bliss and the calming memory helps me to regulate my emotions if they begin to become unstable at any time. Shortly, I arrive to my destination on my morning jaunt. I stop to overlook the Potomac River toward the National Harbor. The lights of the Ferris wheel are on along with the lights of the MGM hotel and casino. Cars are traveling across the Wilson bridge; their sounds can be heard faintly in the distance. Mindfully, I accept and sweep out all of my lingering thoughts, closing my eyes to focus only on my breath using my diaphragm to inhale and exhale slowly, steadily. I slowly become aware of the interactions taking place in my body. I practice a few mudras, hand positions that help tune one to his or her inner strengths, starting with “gian mudra” which is said to generate knowledge, wisdom, receptivity, and calmness. Next, I practice the prayer mudra in order to center and balance my body’s energies. I place my palms in front of my chest, bend my fingers slightly to allow air to flow through my fingers and hands. I feel a sense of tranquility. My desire is to linger; however, I have to force myself to push on and finish my run. I give into the rational side of my brain and mindfully capture the moment before beginning my return journey towards home.
I jog through the city with the sun rise welcoming each of panting breaths. The few runners and walkers greet me with a head nod. I’m on my endorphin high. My mind is clear.. I feel.
I arrive home. My mindful moments are hidden in the recesses of my cerebral. I prepare my day while listening to NPR. Having only 30 minutes, I liven up the environment by changing the radio station to a Spanish one. The broadcasters are so energetic along with being funny. I find comfort in hearing the Spanish voices as it reminds me of growing up, constantly hearing my family members speak. Time to leave and catch the Metro. While on the metro I challenge myself to finish the Sudoku in the newspaper before my stop. I arrive at my stop and walk to the office observing the many faces hustling throughout Nation’s capital.
At many points during the day I return to my mindfulness reservoir, allowing for self compassion laced with empathy. Funny, the reservoir never seems to run dry. Correction, when I don’t access the reservoir it does seem to dry up. I realize that practice renews the well.
Morning, once again will arrive. This time I plan to actually wake up before the alarm on my phone so I can spend a few more minutes at my happy place.