And, Wisdom From My Yogi Friends, Dani Pogachefsky and Grant Ifflander.
For the first time after 5 weeks of travel out West, in Ecuador, and in Martha’s Vineyard, I woke up this morning back at my house in the suburbs of Philadelphia, where I have lived since birth.
Most of my “stories” from growing up are deeply attached to this place. The greatest among these is the story that I have to do something, and that I’m not good enough just the way I am now.
So I woke up once again here with this feeling of urgency and the need to do, do, do, and that if I’m not accomplishing stuff, I’m wasting time.
I used this as the perfect opportunity to implement my personal morning routine, which I devised while on a wellness retreat in Ecuador with Roots of Passage, started by a teacher at my high school.
Loosely adapted from the traditional ayurvedic morning routine, it goes as follows.
- Rise with the sun
- I do not set an alarm if I don’t need to. They disrupt our sleep cycle. If our circadian rhythm is aligned, we should naturally rise at first light. This rarely happens when I am in EMF-toxic Philadelphia, because all of the nn-EMF destroys pineal gland function, therefore my sleep. Anytime I go to Florida or when I was in Ecuador I always rose with first light naturally.
- Eliminate naturally (go to the bathroom)
- This should occur naturally if our circadian rhythm is aligned properly, our gut flora is healthy, and we are hydrated by properly functioning mitochondria. More blogs to come on all of these subjects.
- Rinse my face, hands, and mouth with cold water.
- I go outside and look towards the morning sun, grounded (barefoot), and say my morning prayer to the universe of gratitude, and ask for strength, wisdom, and whatever else I may feel I need (this step happens as quickly as possible after rising.)
- I drink a good bit of cold unfluoridated spring, well, or aquifer water to hydrate myself. Cold water also causes our metabolism to turn on to create heat to warm all of this water; it can increase resting energy expenditure by 25%!. It also starts my habit of hydrating throughout the day.
- Yoga: the goal is to make this routine feasible every morning, so I do whatever feels right. Sometimes it is one “sun salutation” flow, sometimes it is more than a half hour.
- I meditate. Today I noticed a tremendous unease in myself. I felt totally dissatisfied just sitting, breathing, and relaxing into the way I am. I noticed this tremendous unease and how it might play out into my day. I think this is associated with a low dopamine state causing me to feel insufficient the way I presently am, because when I’m in the sun (which builds dopamine) I like nothing more than to just sit and be.
- Sidenote: I am a huge proponent of ancient wisdom such as eastern practices of yoga and meditation. However, I believe that they have a massive blind spot. None of their sacred texts or writing ever mention artificial light or non-native electromagnetic fields (EMF) that destroy natural body rhythms, hormone and pineal gland function (the “third eye”), and natural energy flows in the body through mitochondria. They did not exist in their time, so they had no way of knowing about it. Sure, a lot of other things didn’t exist back then that we have today, like cars, but nothing else in existence alters the function of our body nearly as much as fake light and other non-native electromagnetic fields because, just like they say in their traditions, we are BEINGS OF LIGHT. So, one could practice lots of yoga and meditation and still get modern diseases because they simply aren’t aware of what the ancient peoples weren’t aware of. We must be open to new facts to have the greatest understanding we can possibly have, especially when our life depends on it. Naturally, monks on ashrams practice with little to none of these artificial fields. I can’t say for sure, but I can’t imagine they build them in high population density areas near cells towers, use lots of electricity and Wi-Fi, or stay up under fake light long after sunset. If they do, even all of the conscious breathing to modulate oxygen flow might not save their mitochondria. (oxygen all goes from blood to mitochondria to keep our electron transport chain flowing to keep us animated away from equilibrium. This is why we breathe!)
- I do cold thermogenesis, i.e. a cold bath or swimming in a lake, river, or ocean. Whatever problems I think I may have dissolve completely when I do this.
- I will write far more about this in the future in the Cold Thermogenesis category. In short, cold stimulates our mitochondria to release infrared (IR) light from stored fat in order to stay warm. A result of this, which also happens naturally when we are in sunlight, is that the water surrounding the mitochondria becomes more “structured” into the liquid-crystalline phase of water, which then condenses the respiratory proteins on the electron transport chain in mitochondria, increasing mitochondrial redox and overall function of the organism. Think of it like turning on your “inner fire”, or releasing massive amount of sunlight stored within your cells. This is all stimulated by cold exposure. Everyone knows how refreshing and stimulating a dip in some cold water can be, but most don’t know why it feels so good.
As I moved through my morning routine, I used my newfound tool of “noticing” what I was thinking, feeling, and doing. “Notice” is now my favorite word, because it empowers to see my life and the stories that I’ve created and constantly live in, and to not attach so much and get so upset by what happens in these stories.
I often think to myself that if I died today, I would be grateful that I got the chance to do what I’ve done thus far, because it has been nothing short of magical. If I actually were dying I would probably feel a tremendous amount of fear, pain, and anger, as if I “deserve” to live a full life, but I’m coming to see what I’ve been given already as a miracle, and trying to embody this belief every day, working from a place of love and gratitude rather than fear and necessity.
After my morning routine, I was aware that I am carrying these feelings that I’m not enough, which are so deeply rooted and driving my action and desires constantly. I wish to be aware of them when they arise so that I may treat them with love and compassion rather than be moved by this deep fear.
Rather than focus on what I will do in a day, I now focus on how I will be. I aim to notice what I am thinking and how I am feeling, and what may be driving these things. I also strive to say “thanks” for even the smallest of things that I enjoy in my life, such as abundant healthy food, a nice cool bath, a computer and internet access, and a sunny day.
A morning routine has the power to transform feelings of stress and urgency from when we rise into energy that can move us calmly and acceptingly through wherever our day may take us.
We rarely remember that the words “good” and “bad” are subjective and therefore derive their meaning from each individual’s system of values. A few friends of mine who are modern yogis have taught me that we have the power and the right as individuals to decide for ourselves how we will label things, or whether we will label them at all. If we choose, everything that happens can be right. Even if the stories (aka constructs) that we have created in our minds constantly come up (the “monkey mind”), making us feel like what we are doing is wrong, we can be confident that everything is exactly the way that it needs to be right now, and that everything will happen exactly the way it needs to happen. A high dopamine level built by sun exposure definitely makes this process of acceptance and opening up to the way that things are, right now, much easier.
I had and still have great difficulty accepting the above. My mind goes “maybe everything is exactly the way it needs to be right now, but how will I know if I am doing the right things to do the best I can with my life?” I tried to logically examine this fear I was having and came to see that my first false premise is that I need to know, or can even know anything about the future for certain. I can’t, and convincing myself that I can will cause me to suffer, like wishing for something in the past to happen differently than it did. Second, right is subjective, so I will never be doing the “right” things unless I have a very clear picture of what “right” is to me. Third, I have not figured out what “the best I can do with my life” is, so expecting myself to act towards this is like expecting a boat to sail toward a specific port without a name or a direction.
Seneca, a Roman philosopher, said “if one does not know to which port one is sailing, no wind is favorable”. I don’t know where I want to go with my life, and I don’t have any desire to know right now. I would rather take the journey and enjoy each step of the way. Even if I just think ten days ahead of today I envision myself stressing, worrying, rushing, and getting caught up in so many temporary things, and I just wish that I would prioritize nothing higher than to notice how I am feeling, to build my dopamine level, to enjoy myself, to see that this is all so, so, so temporary, and that I have a tremendous gift to even be alive.
Whenever I feel stress or fear now, I try to remind myself that this is all temporary. No matter what happens, it will all be gone soon.
My wish is that anyone who ever finds themselves in a rut could use this information to notice the way that they are feeling, to understand where it may be coming from, to hopefully have people around who are good at just listening, to do things to boost dopamine such as go out and sunbathe or get in the ocean or a cool bath of water and get off of phones and computers, especially at night, and to find love and gratitude in their life rather than stress or fear.
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