By Robin Stamp
It gets easier the moment my feet hit the floor. In the dim light before sunrise, I can feel the grounding energy running through the souls of my feet. I immediately feel more connected. Waking with the natural rhythm is the heartbeat of my day, guiding me and giving me the energy I need to thrive.
It didn't used to be this way. For most of my life I was a nighthawk. My time to shine was between happy hour and 2:00 a.m. I lived on debates fueled by alcohol, spicy food and politics. This is when I thought I was at my best. I sacrificed my mornings for this time; I never took a meeting before 10:00 a.m. I sacrificed the middle of my day too, finding myself in need of a nap after lunch pretty much every day. I thought I was supposed to live this way, because everyone else around me was. And this way of living didn’t seem to be broken. I was successful in my work in politics, I served my community by sitting on the school board and was on my way to fulfilling my dream of going to law school.
Meditation as an anchor of self-care
Suddenly I found myself alone in a dark room, taking stock of the natural disaster that had hit my life. In a few short months, I had lost everything that I thought mattered. My young marriage had disintegrated due to my lack of commitment, I was abruptly unemployed after an election didn’t favor the political campaign I had worked for and I was recovering from a serious case of pneumonia that sent me to the emergency room. If it wasn’t clear before that that the way I was living was broken, it was now.
As I sat in this place of darkness I found a single point of light. It was a candle at the feet of a statue of resting Buddha, a gift from a friend trying to bring some peace into my life. As I focused on the light, a sense of peace aroused in me, drawing me up and out of the darkness. I didn't know what I was doing; I didn't have a plan to become the type of person who meditates. I just contemplated my life, thinking this was the end of me. But it was the beginning.
This meditation soon became a daily practice, a guiding force in this difficult time. And it profoundly changed my life. It not only opened me to understand my true self beyond politics and happy hours, but it also created space for a daily routine to flourish. Without knowing it, I started the practice of dinacharya, the Ayurvedic concept of a daily routine of self-care practices. With meditation as the anchor, I added other pieces one-by-one: tongue scraping, neti, nasya, abhyanga, pranayama and Yoga asana. This became my new morning routine. With each addition, my health, focus and connection grew.
Gaining momentum for the day
There are days when things flow, when I jump out of bed ready to start the day in connection. There are days when I sleep in and struggle to regain my footing. Through all of this I see how both the negative and the positive choices have momentum. When I work with my dinacharya, I feel my energy move upward. When I shrug it off, sleep in or eat poorly, it moves in a downward direction. And when I realize this, I understand I have control.
Momentum is a powerful force. When fed with positive thinking and right action, it can carry us to our greatest versions of ourselves. All it took to profoundly change my life was just one small act built on top of another small act. That momentum carries me in a constant flow to this day. And as I move in an upward flow, I break through the old concepts of who I thought I was at my best and see what it really means to stand in my personal power. This is the beauty of Ayurveda for me – the simplicity of its healing when I practice with consistency. All it takes is trust in the momentum, and knowing that each step gets easier.