Rolling out of bed with a minimum amount of pain and suffering and starting the day with a maximum amount of vim and vigor is one of mankind’s biggest challenges. Between the bed and the car, lots of things we can’t control can go very wrong.
For example, you see yourself in the mirror. That you can’t control and at 7 a.m. that can look pathetically wrong. And even before that rude awakening, you may grab your phone and dive into a bigger mess -- the morning news.
Which you could control. At least you could in those bygone days when there was a gap between disaster and chaos. Now 5 minutes out-of-touch leaves a whole lot of shock and awe sitting on the table.
Yet believe it or not, we may still have the power deep down to decide if we begin the day informed or clueless. And the reasons to pick clueless have never been greater, because constantly we hear our obsession with every conjecture and accusation, every quarrel and quote is bad for us. One study showed just 3 minutes of morning news can set you up for a 27% worse day.
That’s on top of running out of Honey Nut Cheerios.
What’s a caring, concerned American to do when the daily buzz is making us angry, anxious, gluttonous and drunk, is often misleading, irrelevant and depressing, and some say may even prevent creativity, concentration and acts like an addictive drug.
Admit it. Have you checked the morning headlines with one eye still closed?
With a deep sense this might all be true, it’s time for a full-on attack. I can do it, you can do it, we can do it. It’s time for a philosophy that can turn us from news junkies to news adventurers. That can turn us into people who can choose when the mountain of madness comes to Muhammad.
Maybe we need a morning pick-me-up instead of a kick-me-down.
I run to the bookstore to scan the shelves and see if all those warm-hearted, cuddly morning affirmation books have disappeared completely. I wonder if they’ve been banned and I didn’t know it, because there seem to be fewer cheery people around.
But no, they’re there; we’ve just been too miserable to notice. And I’m happy to report if you read something positive first thing in the morning instead of the news, you have a 99% better chance of having a good day.
That number may be slightly off, but this is no time to quibble.
At the local Barnes & Noble, I pick up a copy of A Mindful Morning, which I was thrilled to see was followed by A Mindful Day and A Mindful Evening because fingers even get twitchy in the middle of the night. These books, like so many inspirational readings, promise more peace, clarity and an open heart if we remember to hold them as close to our breasts as our phones.
I’m ready, willing and able. Reading at the bookstore, I gather strength to stage a multi-pronged assault to become less informed play-by-play, yet more effective day-by-day.
Take my friend Elayne. After reading her positive-thinking books, she turned her anger over the 17 deaths at Parkland into 17 days of random acts of kindness, one day for each person.
Better than sitting around stewing?
I make it all the way to checkout with new support hugged to my chest. My phone is in my pocket, zipped up. I’m safe for now, but there’s a line at the register, and I almost grab it.
Suddenly I see MAD magazine. I haven’t read it in decades. Same lowbrow drivel, same goofy characters, dumb as ever. Embarrassing for a fully-adult woman to read, let alone buy. Not mindful, but mindless. I laugh.
I look around to see if anyone I know is watching, then add it to the morning arsenal I’m amassing. Now is no time to quibble.
Extraordinary times demand extraordinary solutions.
March 6, 2018