Morning thoughts

I just finished my morning routine. After finishing the routine, I started analyzing it. My morning routine starts with a 10-minute stretching session which consists of the same movements every time. It’s a great way to rub the sleep out of my eyes with a bit of movement. I try to concentrate on just the stretching but usually my mind starts to wonder around. When this happens, I try to solely focus on the video’s instructions and my breathing. This usually works and I can focus on the moment again.

After the stretching I lay on my bed and start my breathing exercise. The breathing exercise consists of controlled heavy breathing which is then followed by breath-holding. I do this exercise for three rounds, and it takes me another 10 minutes to finish it. This exercise usually feels a bit challenging in the mornings. The heavy breathing is hard, but the breath-holding is relaxing. Completing the three rounds requires some patience but after finishing the exercise, I feel great and relaxed. The breathing exercise reduces tension in my body and makes me feel light as a feather.

After finishing the breathing exercise, I get out of my bed and go into the bathroom to take a shower. I put the shower on and get the water as cold as possible. I let the water run for a bit and brace myself for the trial. I have a routine in the shower where I get every part of my body cold except for my hair. This initially creates a shock that really wakes me up. When experiencing cold like this you automatically start to hyperventilate. To fight this, I control my breathing and try to relax my muscles. From my own experience I can say that this actually works. The worst thing you can do in extreme cold is to fight against it. You sort of have to accept the cold and try to resist the urge to contract all your muscles. Controlling your breathing and the mental attitude towards the cold is the most crucial part in enduring it. Taking cold showers and increasing the time in the cold requires practice and repetition but the progression is easy if you stick to the routine. The cold shower takes me three to five minutes to finish depending on the day. The cold shower reduces tension in the body and wakes me up. It takes me out of my comfort zone and makes me feel alive. I would recommend cold exposure to everyone. Cold showers also have well documented health benefits, but I find that the mental attitude you gain from enduring the cold is the most important part of the exercise.

Glorious morning view from our apartment. Photographed this morning.

The sole purpose of my morning routine is to start the day with a deep focus on my body and nothing else. I try not to think about my chores for the day until I have finished my routine. I have realized that if I start the day by looking at social media or the news I get off on the wrong foot. By following a routine consisting of relaxation and self-overcoming I have made my mornings very enjoyable. My morning routine gives me time to focus on myself and my well-being instead of letting a social media algorithm poison my mind just minutes after waking up. Despite all the benefits of my routine I still don’t make enough time for it in my schedule every day. Some days I just feel lazy, and I simply do not have the willpower to execute the routine. It’s astounding how big of a difference it makes to my day if I follow the routine or if I don’t. It’s like night and day. The morning routine gives me positive energy that lasts throughout the day. My routines impact seems to be the greatest on the days I really don’t feel like doing it. This is something I need to keep in mind in the future. I guess self-overcoming feels the best when you really have something to overcome. So do as the day does, and rise.

When they [the mystics] descend to the depths of their own being they find ‘in their heart’ the image of the sun, they find their own life-force which they call the ‘sun’ for a legitimate, and I would say, a physical reason because our source of energy and life actually is sun. Our physiological life, regarded as an energy process, is entirely solar.

– Carl Jung, Symbols of transformation

Gathering around a fire

I was browsing through pictures I have taken on my phone that I have had for six years now. I am not a person who takes that many photos. I try to experience what I consider meaningful and picture worthy moments with my own eyes rather than filtering them through a screen. That being said, I am actively trying not to be too stubborn with this trait. After all photos can capture important moments and foster precious memories. While browsing through the images I found an interesting pattern reoccurring in the albums. A lot of the pictures from the most precious moments I had captured included a fire.

Gathering around a fire in. Summer of 2021.

I have a similar blurry pictures like this from every summer since I have had this phone. These pictures are all taken at my friend’s cottage which we visit at least once a summer every year. We have done these trips for at least 8 years now. The people attending these trips for the most part have been the same people every year. One could say that we are a tight knit group. My friend’s cottage is located next to a small like in the woods. There is only one neighboring cottage on the other side of the lake, and I have never seen any signs of life there. This means that we can enjoy the peace and quiet of nature completely by ourselves. The place is truly idyllic. At night the only thing you can hear is the diver bird’s song echoing through the mist floating on top the lake. I often say that the cottages scenery is like a reflection of my inner essence, a mirror of my soul. The only thing interfering the peace and quiet of the woods is our reckless consumption of beer and whiskey. In the evening we bathe for hours in the sauna and in the lake. After the back and forth bathing we all gather around the fire pit where we share stories and memories throughout the endless summer night. The combined effect of the consumption of spirits and staring at the flames for hours always brings me to an ecstatic state. Sitting around the fire makes me feel connected to the surrounding nature and to humanity itself in a special way. All of our ancestors’ lives have depended on the light and warmth of a fire and I can’t even begin to imagine all of the feelings and stories that have been shared around a fire across time. There is something very primal in gathering around a fire with a group of people and staring at it. During our stays at the cottage the fire pit acts as center that we circle around for the night. The fire connects us just like our friendship does. It holds within itself something that we all share and are attracted towards.