The cold winter, followed by spring monsoons, teamed up to help me form some new habits. Had they been good ones, I would be as happy as a clam in a gin and tonic, but the habits I developed were only suitable for slugs.
The habit of walking each morning was the first casualty, but the list is long and slothful.
At first, I couldn’t tell a difference in the way I felt, but then I began to realize my energy level was down, and my belt seemed to be shrinking. My guitar playing wasn’t as crisp as it once was, and the shed out back was a nightmare.
This morning I vowed to get back on the wagon, so I got up before six, punched the brew button on the coffeemaker and stepped out on the back deck to get my thoughts in order. The clouds to the south were the color of salmon. After snapping a photo, I sat for a long while listening to the morning birds chattering and chirping in the pines.
Beginning this day with yoga seemed like a great idea. I searched for soothing music on the Pandora streaming service. Out of the dime-sized speaker on my phone came the haunting melody of an eastern flute drifting through the air like sandalwood incense. It made me think of bamboo.
I grabbed my yoga mat from inside and headed back to the deck. My mat was rolled as tight as a cigar, but with a smooth flip of the wrist, it floated for an instant like a magic carpet before settling on the deck as flat as asphalt.
Often when doing yoga, my mind races, and no matter how hard I try, it seems like a drunken jabbering monkey in my head. I think of important issues like the lyrics to “Camptown Races,” and the price I paid for gas in 1969. But today was different.
I felt the breeze on my face, heard the tinkling of wind chimes, and noticed how my breath felt as I exhaled through my nose.
Forty-five minutes flew past without notice, and I felt a little taller.
After breakfast, I went for a long power walk. The dogs were ecstatic, dancing, yelping, and running rings around me. When the sun came out toward the end of my 45-minute walk, my shirt looked as if I’d been swimming, but I felt stronger.
I’ve written about habits before, but I think it bears repeating what Jim Rohn said on the subject: “Good habits repeated daily can lead to a successful life. Bad habits repeated daily often lead to disaster.”
One thing I’ve discovered is that when I let things slide in one area of my life, I let important things in other areas slide too. To emphasize my point, my truck needs repairs, and as I look out the screen at it now, there’s enough dirt on the hood and fender wells to raise a crop of peanuts.
I have to continually remind myself that everything matters, even if it’s not screaming like a wet baby for attention. John F. Kennedy is credited with saying, “The time to fix the roof is when the sun is shining.”
When I stepped on the scales this past week and the needle zoomed to new uncharted levels, I realized the sun was shining, and my roof needed some attention. So, that’s why I started re-learning some good habits today.
Rick Watson is a columnist and author. His latest book Life Happens is available on Amazon.com. You can contact him via email: firstname.lastname@example.org