Positivity – day 7, sustaining routines

Dear President Trump,

Today the positive I want to tell you about is my morning routine. I read a long time ago that the happiest very elderly people were different from their less happy peers in just a few ways, including having stronger social connections, more sense of purpose, and daily routines they enjoyed. Of course it’s possible that happier people are more able to create those things in their lives and it isn’t the social connections, purpose or routines that are causal. Since we can’t do experiments on these sorts of things very easily, I’m going to continue to cultivate connections and purpose and will stick with routines I like.

So my main morning routine is for weekdays and involves getting up a few minutes after 5, feeding the dogs, changing into running clothes, letting the dogs out, and then going for a half hour run/walk (or just a walk). I’ve already told you about how quiet and calm it is early in the morning and how much I treasure that time outside. Even though I live in the middle of a big city, there are early morning birds and yesterday I saw a bunny (I think it was the 4th one in 3 weeks). There are raccoons too, but I always cross the street when I see them. The best thing about that half hour out alone is that I can go where I want and can think quietly to myself about whatever I want. I might take a picture of something that catches my eye, but otherwise my cellphone is stowed and I’m just thinking what I think, seeing what I see, hearing what I hear, and feeling the ease or strain of running. Near the end of my run/walk I say my whole slate of loving-kindness prayers for everyone (including you) and then when I get home I usually meditate for 10 or 15 minutes before having breakfast and reading the paper. My morning routine now includes writing to you and sending you a formal LKM blessing. When I follow through on my routine, especially the outside part, I find that even when I wake up grouchy, by the time I’m settled in with breakfast, my mood has lightened, although sometimes the news content in the last 96 days has temporarily swamped my positive outlook.

I hope you have routines that sustain you and help you be in better touch with what is truly important and with the wide world beyond yourself.

May you be safe.
May you be happy.
May you be healthy.
May your life unfold and intersect peacefully.
May you be open to bunnies and to quiet.

Tracy Simpson

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