Waking Up with Michael Gervais

I've been listening to this podcast with Michael Gervais over the last few days.

It has taken me quite a few days because it is pretty difficult to justify giving up two hours of my time just to listen to something, so I've had it on whilst I'm cooking dinner for the family. Admittedly, this would, in any normal household, mean that it might take me two or maybe three days to listen to it, but I have to keep pausing it as children wander into the kitchen to inform me that they don't like whatever it is I happen to be cooking.

"But you do like it. That's why I'm cooking it. Last time you wolfed it down."

"No I didn't."

"Yes you did."

"No I didn't."

At this point I consider whether I should rise above this level of argument, and after a short internal debate, I generally think I should.

"Look, you don't have to eat it, but it is all there is for dinner. If you don't eat it you'll be very hungry"

"But it's yucky. Yuck, yuck, yuck."

And then they saunter out of the kitchen to go and make a mess of somewhere that has literally just been tidied. Once I've got over this blow to my culinary talents I press play again until the next interruption comes along.

Anyway, the podcast is pretty good. Anyone interested in American Football (not a subject I can claim to have much knowledge of) may well have heard a bit about Michael Gervais in the last couple of weeks. He's been credited as having a significant influence in the Seattle Seahawks' dramatic comeback against the Greenbay Packers:

For once in my life I was actually ahead of the game. I'd already been interested in his work for a while (I even provided some links in the November Kitbag to some stuff on him), and, along with his work with the Seahawks, he's done some other impressive things, including helping this guy do this:

Anyway, none of this has anything to do with sailing yet.

So, as you know, in January my resolution was to spend more time in bed. The aim was to get at least 7 hours sleep a night, and preferably 8 hours.

I'm sorry to record that I failed. But I will keep at it - the bit of extra sleep did seem to help.

For February, I decided to use something that Michael Gervais mentions in his podcast (skip to 1:07:30 for the relevant bit of the recording). This is what he suggests to do on waking in the morning:

  • First, take one breath. A deep, steady breath, and commit to the breath.
  • Next he has one thought of gratitude. He completely experiences the thing that he is grateful for.
  • Then he sets one intention for the day.
  • Finally he puts both feet on the ground and feels grounded.

And then he starts his day.

'Mindfulness' is a concept that turns up a lot these days. I have to be honest, I'm a little wary of the whole scene. I worked in a bookshop, and books on 'Mindfulness' would be in the 'Mind, Body, Spirit' section - a section I tended to avoid as it all seemed a little...I don't know...odd.

That said, I like the way Gervais talks about it, and his results are there for all to see. On top of that, some of the ideas he talks about are ones I've come across elsewhere. For instance:

  • The benefits of breathing properly has been widely covered by loads of people - this talk is interesting on how controlling our breathing affects our abilities (part 1 and part 2).
  • Doug Peckover (from Improper Course) has a gratitude journal as described by Pam in the comments of this Tillerman post.
  • Having process goals is one of the keys to achieving dream goals - so having a daily intention is a useful way of working through some of these process goals.

Anyway, Gervais' suggestion sounds like something I could realistically come close to achieving (although you'd think that sleeping more was achievable too, but look how I did with that). And, as this is a sailing blog, I'm going to make my daily "intention" something sailing related, to get me set up for the new sailing season.

And maybe my first thought of gratitude could be for the honest feedback I get on my cooking skills.

Then again, maybe not.

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