Daily Living, A 3 Act Structure
Every day has a start, middle, and end.
I thought i'd write about how I now structure my day, as it is proving to have a real benefit to my experience of life. Having got involved with a group of others, i'm finding that many of them have something similar going on and they are finding it useful too.
When I was in the deepest part of my depression, I found the most effective time to focus on meditation or just breathing or stretching, was in the morning. I found the better I started the day, the better the day went. As my health improved I began doing more and more, this came with stress so I started repeating my morning routine in the evening. At this stage it was far from a coherent, developed routine, I just felt better doing certain things so I kept doing them.
Now, something very important that I recently learnt about myself is that I can get swept away in ideas and lose focus of what's really going on. I keep this in mind and in whatever I explain below, the focus or importance is not the act, but how it makes me feel. I say this in case you are looking for ideas yourself, I couldn't be certain in would be the same for you, you would need to 'trail and error' a method for yourself.
"No one is coming to save you, save yourself" - Oli Anderson
Music is a great way for me to start the day, maybe it stops my mind rushing into the future, my focus is drawn to the sounds and the lyrics. Depending on how I feel, I'll start with some simple stretches, or sit and meditate through breathing and a handful of songs, then I go to the bathroom and freshen my appearance before going out into the world. This is 'act 1' of my day - Preparedness. I call it preparedness as it's a gentle set of rituals that help my mind, body, and consciousness prepare for act 2.
Meditation - I do this to music, though I don't think that's traditional. I have a handful of songs, focus on my breathing whilst the songs play and as I relax, I recognise how the music and the lyrics are summoning thoughts and ideas in my head, but i'm just letting them pass by without stirring emotion. As I have a very visual mind, once i'm really relaxed, I imagine my consciousness as a thin aura around my neo-cortex, dancing to the stimulus of the sounds. at that point I am mentally ready for act 2.
Stretching - Any stretching will do. I picked a couple of things from Yoga, a couple from Tai Chi, some just general stretches of modern exercise. I just do what helps and gradually learn more and more from each school as I go. Whatever stretches I do, I always focus on my breathing and recognising I still have control even though my body is under stress (I also do this in the gym... hard at first but then the 'zone' feels soooo good).
Once those 2 things are done, I take some time to freshen up, I have no idea how I look to others so I tend not to fuss too much, then get dressed and start 'act 2', Living.
Now I have taken the time to mentally and physically 'wake up', my mind is calm as I travel, appreciating the world a lot more than I used to. In act 2 i'm open to all sorts of opportunities and if I'm prepared to experience them, then the chances fall in my favor that it will be a positive experience one way or the other. Risk lessens because i am clear and take time to think about the things in front of me. Beyond that there is not much else to say, we all have an 'act 2' going on in our lives so you know what life is. Which brings us to 'act 3', Acceptance.
Lots of stuff would have happened in the day and although for a while I felt happy with how I was processing that information in the evening, I found there was a simple thing I wasn't doing... letting stuff go. In act 2, good and bad stuff happens, things you agree with, things you don't, things you want to do more of, things you never want to happen again. With me, I found there were things I understood and things I didn't understand. This is mostly to do with people and my be the result of my personality disorder, or the fact that I have catagorised people for years to help me try and work my fake ass through their worlds. Now i'm more 'myself', all those labels have dropped away and everyone seems a bit like a stranger. This can seem a little depressing in itself, but that's all a matter of perspective... am I someone who attempted suicide therefore a sad story, or am I someone discovering new knowledge and strength after a great internal battle, therefore a positive story?
The same goes, am I alone because i'm in a room full of strangers, or am I in a position of vast opportunity as each stranger is a story waiting to happen?
So in the evening, a bit of meditation to music again but this time in a warm bath. I spent nearly a year with no hot water... blessed is the central heating and long may we have its glory to bask in. During this time i'll notice how much i've knocking around in me noggin'. I think about some stuff and if i don't know something, i'm learning to drop it instead of seeking an answer the next day... I call this Acceptance.
After that... well, a man has got to eat innit. My diet has been awful for years so now I take a hour or so making a quality meal, doesn't have to be expensive or from a recipe in a book, just stuff I like prepared nicely.
After that it's whatever I want cos everything is sweet, then I sleep and start it all again.