The Ghostly Child

So you've all been on tenterhooks waiting to hear how I got on with my February resolution.

What do you mean you've forgotten all about it?

Fine. To remind those of you that do not spend all of your time wondering about my life, my resolution for February was to change my morning routine as follows:

  • First, take one breath. A deep, steady breath, and commit to the breath.
  • Next have one thought of gratitude, and completely experience the thing I'm being grateful for.
  • Set one intention for the day.
  • Put both feet on the ground, feel grounded, then start my day.

Sounds easy, right?

Wrong.

Let's set aside the fact that I have to remember to do this every day. I have difficulty remembering which way round to put my trousers on in the morning, so remembering to perform an new morning routine was not a given.

But I had other problems to contend with.

On several mornings, I was happily snoozing away when, in my slumber, I would sense a presence in the room.

Nervously I would open my eyes slowly, to be confronted by a ghostly figure looming next to me, a child dressed in white and holding a limp cuddly rabbit in her arms, like something out of a Kubrick horror movie.

As my uncontrollable panic spiralled, this ghostly apparition would speak to me:

"Dad, can I have some brekkie please?" My 3 year old daughter would say.

I would take a few seconds to allow my heart rate to drop back below heart attack levels before replying: "No problem. Just give me two minutes and we'll go and make some cereal."

"OK", she would say. And then she would stand there, looking at me.

I'd lie myself back down, and begin phase one - the deep breath, committing to the breath, and trying not to think about anything but the breath. Just as I started to exhale I would hear:

"Are you ready yet, Daddy?" And my first attempt at a proper committed breath was ruined.

"Not yet, Isabel", I'd say. "Just give me two minutes, OK?"

"OK."

Attempt two. Deep, steady inhale and...

"Can I have milk on my Weetabix, Dad." Attempt two ruined.

"Of course you can, Isabel. You have milk on your Weetabix every day. You've never not had milk on your Weetabix. Now, just give me two minutes."

"OK."

Attempt three would just be beginning when I'd hear another new voice:

"I thought I heard talking in here." It was my 5 year old son. "Can I have some brekkie?"

"We have to wait two minutes" Isabel would say, in a tone suggesting that Joe should have known this and was being incredibly inconsiderate in even asking.

"Oh. OK." Joe would say, and stand next Isabel, looking at me.

I don't think Michael Gervais would recommend having an attentive audience of young children for his suggested morning routine, but I'm not a quitter so: Attempt four. Breath i...

"We can have milk on our Weetabix, Joe."

"Oh, good." says Joe, with a tone of surprise in his voice that would suggest he's never had milk on his Weetabix before, but that it sounds delicious.

"Right. Come on. Let's go have brekkie." I'd say, climbing out of bed. I know I said I'm not a quitter, but everyone has his limits.


So what did I make of the morning routine?

Other than these occasional mornings visits (and the odd time I forgot), I did manage to go through the routine quite a few times. And I will carry on with it, I think. It has several positives going for it (not least of which is that it doesn't take long), and it does get the day off on the right foot. A calm start, a positive vibe, and a sense of proactivity. I recommend it.

So what about March?

For March I'm going to do the 30 Day Core Challenge that I came across on The Running Bug.

Weirdly, I feel like I am more likely to succeed with this challenge than the others.

We'll see.

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