Book 32 of 2016
Note: I wrote the following review to be published by BP Magazine online. You can find my original review on the magazine site here, and be sure to check out the other great articles on the BP Hope site. BP Magazine is a magazine dedicated to finding hope and harmony for those living with Bipolar Disorder, as well as their caregivers and family members. A Mindful Morning: Start each day with a clear mind and an open heart was a great book for me to review for not just people with bipolar, anxiety and depression, but for anyone who needs help meditating. Make sure you read my review to find out why.
BP Magazine: It was a pleasure working with your entire team, thanks for having me!
A Mindful Morning
“Now take a deep breath in. Exhale loudly. One more time…”
I was never able to shut my brain off and trust me… I tried. I was always the one who stuck to ‘athletic’ yoga classes because my brain never fully shut down. I couldn’t quite make it into a deep, calm, meditative state. I have never been the person who can close my eyes and imagine myself lying on a picnic blanket in a nondescript grassy field as warm, gleaming rays of sun shine down upon me. Instead, my head is always speed-reading through a to-do list, constantly checking off tasks and adding on forgotten responsibilities and errands. My yoga classes often offered me the opposite effect the instructor intends for participants: instead of feeling at ease and detached from reality for a few minutes, I felt overwhelmed and mentally exhausted, thinking about everything else I had to do once the class is finished.
With that being said, I was willing to try something new. A Mindful Morning by David Dillard Wright, PHD, landed in my lap and I took it as a sign: I needed to give a different meditation approach a try. I wanted to stop feeling as though I was always in a rush and just relax. Wright touches on this, writing that we can lengthen the time in our day by making a minute feel like an hour, as long as we learn how to create the magical power of meditation for ourselves. This magical power is also what Wright refers to as mindfulness. Wright goes on to explain how to best detach ourselves from daily, everyday struggles and focus on the present.
What I most enjoyed about the introduction to this book is that Wright knows his audience. While he acknowledges that many of his readers may be rolling their eyes when he suggests that we try to become ‘morning people’, he also realises that smaller changes, every day, work best for most people to create positive change in their lives. A Mindful Morning is the perfect solution: it includes 150 inspiring quotes, paired with easy mediation exercises to try every day, wherever it suits you best.
I gave it a shot and I’m happy to conclude that I truly enjoyed each exercise. I always thought that mediation was about clearing my mind and creating a blank space, but Wright’s exercises encourage thinking about a wide range of in-depth topics, from seeing the beauty in each and every day and recognizing our past failures while spinning them into a positive future, to unplugging ourselves from technology (gasp!) and being thankful for the people and situations in our lives. As each day progressed, I felt like I created a deeper connection with myself, while getting to know myself better. I was thinking deeply and maintaining a positive outlook on each day. Of course there are always frustrations that come about daily life, but I found myself walking into less-than-ideal situations with a brighter outlook and a calmer demeanor. I was pleasantly surprised to find myself looking forward to waking up every morning to see what that day’s subject and exercise was.
I now know that I can do this: I can meditate! A Mindful Morning has taught me that being mindful isn’t about sitting with my legs crossed and my eyes closed, while delicate fingers rub peppermint oil onto my temples in a soothing circular motion (as nice as that may feel). It’s about living in the present, breathing in every scent, and appreciating every touch. It’s about finding peace in each and every day, regardless of the length of time I’m able to commit to it. Being mindful is about living in the moment and treasuring reality. And it doesn’t matter if you do it with your eyes open while drinking tea, or with your office door shut while throwing darts at a target, as long as you are making a routine and taking the time to do it.
I would recommend A Mindful Morning to anyone who wants to improve themselves, to anyone who wants to create a healthier lifestyle, and to anyone who wants to challenge themselves and offer peace to their mind. If yoga can do all that for you, great, but if you’re anything like me, you need something else. A Mindful Morning is a gentle push in direction towards a healthy mental lifestyle. Now that I have a routine and truly understand the reasoning behind mediation, I can truly get on board. And what do I say to that? Namaste.