What’s the first thing you tell yourself when you wake up?
This post comes from our Australia contributor, Miann Scanlan.
Have you ever noticed that whatever happens in the morning sets a tone for the day ahead? You might stub your toe walking out of your bedroom, jump around swearing on one leg. Then you’ll drop your toast (avocado side down), then spill toothpaste on your shirt, then get all the way to the car and realise you’ve left your phone inside, then seem to get every red light the whole way to work… Sound familiar?
That’s not to say this happens every day. This might happen once or week, or on Mondays, because you’ve told yourself how much you hate Mondays. For most of us, when we wake up, our mind begins to first assess how we feel (tired, energized, excited, in a rush) and then we begin to play over the next steps for the day; all the extracts of our morning routine, from getting out of bed to getting out the front door. Or if you’re going through a rough patch, the weight of the world can sit heavily on your chest only a few moments after waking as the impact of reality hits you like a metric tonne of bricks.
I want to share a short story which was told to me by an aged care worker. She has a patient named Vivian who she visits weekly at her nursing home. Vivian is in her early 90s, has no family left and spends the majority of her time alone in her room. After some months of working with Vivian, keeping her company, playing board games and sharing cups of tea, my friend got to know the blissful highs and harrowing lows of Vivian’s long life. Vivian had escaped war, become a widow and, over time, lost all of her children to due to varying circumstances. It seemed that, for every breakthrough moment or step forward for Vivian, there was a 10 foot high wall she had to climb. My friend couldn’t help but wonder how, after everything she had been through, sitting alone in her room patiently waiting out her time on earth, how Vivian had such an infectious positive energy.
One afternoon in a shared moment of silence, as the afternoon sun shone through the little window of her room, Vivian revealed her secret:
“Every morning when I throw my old legs over the edge of the bed thinking about the day that lay ahead, I expect something wonderful will happen.”
Despite being bound to a wheelchair and needing nurse assistance to move, Vivian represented everything that we know to be true about life: what you think becomes you, what you feel follows you, and what you believe builds around you.