Philadelphia Magazine, Be Well Philly! and Turning Over a New Leaf

Wow. A lot going on. Feeling lucky and honored to be part of the talent here in Philadelphia Magazine Best of 2013 Be Well Philly.

Four Ways To Turn Over A New Leaf This Fall (or trading in the daily grind for the daily grounding of routine)

I was in Nirvana, a coffee shop on Cape Cod, when my friend Luanne said,

“It’s that time of year. Back to school and all that. I need to sit down and sketch out my future.”

She simultaneously stared wistfully out the window, glanced at her watch, took a sip of coffee, and added, “but it’s a bit early in the morning for that conversation and I’m late for tennis.”

Ironically, I loved a lot about that moment.

That the coffee shop was called Nirvana, and that we were suspended in this blissful, safe place, while she was articulating exactly what I was thinking: A conversation for the future.

Fall feels like New Year’s without the pressure of forced hugging.

Fall is cleansing. Fall is “Back To School.” Fall is falling into something new. The organic process of Mother Nature meets our internal clock. We are poised and ready for change.

Getting back into a routine or starting a new one feels like the excitement of getting new shoes and going back to school with new notebooks, new pencils, all ready for new crushes, laughs and teachers. Years of formal education instill this itch to begin again and prime the mind towards learning and meeting new people.

In mindfulness meditation this is called “Beginner’s Mind.” The ability to be open and curious to the unknown, letting go the trance of the past or the “Egoic Mind” of fear, worry and doubt.

The routine of learning and the discipline of a regular schedule (like yoga, studying French, or working on a business, etc.) instills the need to commit to a routine. Whether you call it “growth” or “the muse”, the ability to perform new behaviors and skills is optimized by showing up daily, and doing “it”. Inspiration is not an outside job. Inspiration is an inside job, not a mood; it’s showing up day in and day out at the same time, and place to practice. Malcolm Gladwell calls this the scientific fact it takes roughly 10,000 hours of practicing a routine or discipline to make anything look easy.

The root word of “discipline” is “disciple”. When we are disciplined, we are a disciple of what we love; we are magnetically drawn into being disciplined, without manipulation. Wisdom comes from the clarity of being disciplined towards what you love and what needs to happen for it to “work”. It’s being able, when everything feels out of control, to say to yourself, “Okay. Let’s go with it. Let’s readjust expectations.”

So part of a good routine, is allowing for recalibrations, readjustments, tweaking our expectations to move forward.

Once I find and readjust my footing, I’m energized and able to laugh at myself, which is half the battle of getting out of my own way.

Plus after summer, I feel a bit…swollen. And need to work out. I’ve eaten too much ice cream, clam chowder, and chips, and I’m ready to get back into a more regular eating pattern, yoga routine, and get back into a daily grounding routine. Instead of the daily grind, it’s the daily grounding routine that gives me fresh perspective and zest.

Here are four things I recommend for creating your routine for optimal health:

  • Take a paper and pen. List the things that give you energy. Self-care is a must. Do you like to walk, do yoga, meditate, bike ride, hike, swim? Chances are they are connected to your mental and emotional health and well worth your investment of time and money.

  • Choose what is non-negotiable. Self-Care is a choice. What are 1 or 2 things from your list you can do 2 times a week for at least 15-30 minutes? Promise yourself something on your list and keep your promise. Have 15 spare minutes? Go for a walk! Have one free night a week? Do yoga! Physical, mental and emotional self-care promotes your longevity and overall well-being. Choose to be physical for at least 15 minutes a day and you will strengthen the body and ease and calm the monkey mind.

  • Commit to those 1-2 things on your list. Take a look at your schedule. What times are for rest, yoga, self-knowledge or development, best friends, and what support or coaching do you realistically need to make the changes you need? Commit to beginning. Commit to asking for help to make your self-care a priority.

  • Notice small changes. Appreciate the baby steps. Don’t beat yourself up. Take stock of your expectations. Are they realistic? Set goals appropriately and keep yourself focused on what’s working.

I hope these simple ideas give you a new perspective, help you along your way and encourage you to enjoy your own routine as you enjoy turning over a new leaf this fall.


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