Mindful Mornings with Thad Kahlow.
My mindfully chaotic routine revolves around that fact that I have 3 young kids and a working wife. So life can get hectic but my mindfulness training tells me to embrace the chaos and love every interaction.
I like to break my mindfulness practice down into three categories. Body, Spirit and Mind.
My day begins around 4:45 a.m., but if I’m a slacker I’ll wake up at 5. Hopefully with 8 full hours of rest and a solid REM sleep to begin the day.
Note, every element of this routine is connected. For example, if I don’t sleep well, I don’t exercise well and that tosses off my eating habits as well as a peaceful moment of focus. All of these elements coming together is what makes my mindful training work to its fullest.
By rising early before the kids get up, I can get 35-40 full minutes to myself as I work out and feed my addiction to the endorphin high. I will either run 5 miles or workout and lift weights in my garage gym. I find that they require my full attention and I get to practice mindfulness through my physical exercise. These endorphins set me up the rest of the day: craving healthy food and making me tired later at night to get a good sleep.
Keeping with the body theme, I am mindful about what I eat and how it makes me feel. I eat breakfast which consists of a triple shot of espresso and a green smoothie: kale (yes I’m a CA boy), spinach, broccoli, yogurt, orange juice, banana and frozen raspberries. It’s healthy and gives me the right energy to start the day strong!
When I return to from my workouts I then focus on the Spirit. Every time I read about mindfulness it helps to remind me to be present and that every moment is a gift, regardless of my dreaming big and setting the bar high for myself and company. This helps me put everything in perspective and to appreciate the present as much as I can as often as I can. I’m a very lucky man and any moment I spend in fight/flight or the ‘survival mode’ is a waste.
Then I spend some time with the kids at breakfast. Asking them questions and getting them excited to tackle the challenges of the day ahead. Being present with my children gives me a tremendous sense of purpose, I’d like them to understand hard work is more than accomplishing goals (that can be ego driven) or just making money. Mindfulness helps me be more self-aware so I know when I am not embodying what I teach them.
Then off to work. Purposely, I haven’t checked my email yet, so I can plan out what I want to accomplish in my day, strategically and tactically.
While nothing is ever perfect, this routine helps to keep me in the moment to enjoy life.