Change of Pace: A New Routine

1. Good morning! Starting the day by looking at my hands, giving gratitude and/or praying has been the catalyst for positive thinking throughout the entire day to follow. Although I am not new to the practice of starting my mornings in this way, I found myself specifically working on giving gratitude and praying in different, intuitive, and creative ways. In addition, I found that these techniques didn’t just stop after I got out of bed in the morning. More and more, I am carrying more gratitude and reverence with me in my heart and soul all day. Some examples of what worked well for me are below:

• ”Today is my favorite day”- Winnie the Pooh from The Tao of Pooh- I love this quote! Winnie the Pooh replied with this answer when asked which day of the week was his favorite. This quote reminds me in a playful way to be in the moment, every moment of every day.

• “Lokah Samastah Sukhino Bhavantu”- (i.e. “may the entire universe be filled with peace, joy, love, and light”)- This Sanskrit mantra is my current favorite. Not only do your thoughts actively participate in the creation of your day, they participate in the manifestation of the lives of others. This quote reminds me to give selflessly for the highest good of all beings.

• Prayers- I often found myself praying to be used as a divine tool throughout my day. • Gratitude- I often gave gratitude for my snuggly cats, my aliveness (my awakeness!), my silly clients, and the unknown that had yet to populate my day.

2. Tongue scraping I had hoped to use my tongue as a diagnostic tool to examine my current health as well as any changes that occurred over the duration of the experiment. Upon first examining my tongue, I found that it was scalloped around the edges, denoting unabsorbed nutrients. I also noticed that there appeared to be a midline, signifying emotions in the spinal column. During the experiment, I kept a journal to record the appearance/feeling of my tongue. For the entirety of the experiment, the description of my tongue in my journal stayed the same. I continue to note that my tongue is scalloped along the edges with a profound midline. I have noted small changes though. The scalloped edges appear to be less distinct, indicating that I may be absorbing more nutrients than I was initially, and the amount of tongue scraping I do has decreased, indicating that I may have fewer toxins to remove from my body. I have a couple hypothesis about why changes to my tongue were not more profound. The first is that I may have needed to do an Ayurvedic detox to remove built up ama from my body. It is possible that from years of bad habits, this more intense method of purification may have been necessary for obtaining more visible results. My other hypothesis is in regards to my Pitta based diet. I mentioned in the introduction that I followed a primarily Pitta diet. I did and do continue to eat chocolate and some spicy food and enjoy eating out once a week. These foods are potentially keeping the appearance of my tongue steady.

3. Oil pulling This technique was very enjoyable for me. At times in the past I have noticed gum bleeding while brushing my teeth but this was not noted at any point during the experiment. I have a dentist appointment in one week and am curious about any observations by the dentist/dental hygienist.

4. Water I cut out coffee in the mornings and introduced water instead. I anticipated that this might be difficult but that was not the case at all. Even the first day was easy for me! The water had a similar effect of waking my body up. In the traditional Ayurvedic morning routine, one would drink their water from a copper cop. I drank mine from glass jar instead as I do not own a copper cup (note to self: obtain a copper cup!).

5. Meditation Meditation is my love. Meditation is and has been my link with myself and with the connectedness of all that is (you, me, copper cups, kitty cats, etc.). As a “list person”, meditation was usually an activity which I anticipated checking off my to-do list. Now, meditating before I even leave the house allows me to start my day mindfully and helps me to feel a sense of accomplishment before I even leave the house. I believe moving my practice to the morning has made my days feel more spacious and has assisted in removing that feeling of my mind working on catching up with my body in the mornings.

6. Work The effects of my morning routine have been most prominent in the workplace. I love working with children diagnosed with autism. I get to play all day! It is glorious! It can also be difficult in that I deal with challenging and demanding behaviors. I find myself coming back to the way in which I initially begin my morning and drawing upon some aspect of my morning (ex: the object of my prayer, the feeling of gratitude, my truest intention, in the moment awareness, etc.) for strength when things get tough.

7. Mindful dinner This aspect of my daily routine was the most difficult for me. I attempted to make the environment conducive but often my roommate was chatty, blaring music, or my mind sometimes (but less often!) became a distraction. I either took deep, thoughtful breaths, said a prayer while bowing my head in gratitude and acknowledgement of the amazing source of food, or gave my food Reiki to begin my meal. This part of my meal routine was the most thoughtful and significant but, during the rest of the Pitta based meal. I have a sensitive history with food and continue to work on my approach to food daily. I realize that changing habits can be difficult and am taking it day by day.