There are some situations you do not voluntarily wish to be in at 4:50 AM in the morning. Playing peacekeeper between your your mind and body is definitely one of them. These two troublemakers had a humongous fight today and dragged me into their quarrel. It was actually quite alarming, to be honest.
The battle went on something like this:
*Alarm rings at 4:45 AM. Goes on for another 5 minutes until I am woken up from the very depths of my being.*
Mind: It’s 10 minutes to 5 AM. Time to get up!
Body: But I’m exhausted! You haven’t been giving me proper rest and 3 hours of sleep every night is just not enough. C’mon, have a little heart!
Mind: But you’ve been doing so amazingly well for the past 11 days! Why would you want to give up at this point? You know you want to keep going and go for that morning walk!
Body: I won’t deny it, yes I do want to go for that walk. The exercise and the morning routine have been working out pretty well but really, this is pushing my limits. I simply cannot function on a mere 3 hours of sleep every night! Why don’t you just put me to bed earlier instead of sleeping at 1:30 AM or 2 AM every night?
Mind: But that’s because you are so tired that you take 3 hour long naps in the afternoon! It’s not my fault you cannot sleep at night then!
Body: No, it’s your fault really because if you hadn’t actually ignored how drowsy I used to feel at bedtime and chosen not to indulge in mindless entertainment by surfing the net on your phone, then we wouldn’t be in this horrible predicament right now. You’ve messed up my whole rhythm! Anyway, all I know is that tomorrow is Friday and if you give me proper rest today, then you can wake me up early for a morning jog. Very few people will be there and you’ll be able to workout peacefully. Deal?
Mind: No! Why should we keep for tomorrow what we can do today? C’mon, get up! You can do this!
Body: No, I absolutely refuse! Unless you want me to collapse with exhaustion later or do something equally dramatic?
*Mind throws in the towel violently*: Gah, I give up! You’re going to be sorry for this later though!
Body: Pfft, whatever. Just let me go back to sleep.
With my body emerging victorious, I went back to sleep dazed but also feeling a little guilty. Already my mind was playing tricks on me. By the time I actually got out of bed 5 hours later (yes, I indulged myself and woke up at 10 AM!), I was in a terrible mood. My mind was royally pissed off and laying it on thick with all the guilt. I was already ashamed and feeling like a failure even before I had a chance to come to my senses. What a start to the day!
When I finally rolled out of bed (it’s lucky I don’t work at the moment!), I was irritated at my willpower’s defeat this morning. I was irritated that I hadn’t accomplished any of the thousand things that I had been getting used to doing before 10 AM. I was irritated that I would have to tackle the household chores immediately on getting up without being able to enjoy the morning. I was irritated for being so late.
But wait a minute, I thought to myself. Why was my poor soul getting battered up in this epic battle of the mind vs body? Why was I being handed a free ticket to a guilt-trip which I hadn’t signed up for? Granted it was all due to my own follies but I didn’t need to be sent to the gallows for it, did I? Surely my body needed that much deserved rest today?
I didn’t feel like doing pretty much anything by then so I gave up the responsibility of making lunch to my dad and forfeit all other morning chores to do them later in the afternoon when I wouldn’t be napping for once. I indulged in some spring cleaning of my wardrobe – something that I had been meaning to do since a couple of weeks – and just enjoyed some “me time”. That certainly shut my mind up and assuaged my guilt to a great extent.
The point I am trying to make here is to stop being so hard on yourself. Guilt in any area of your life, especially in an area you are trying to improve, eats away the soul. The whole point of good health is to have your mind, body and soul working in perfect tandem to provide balance and harmony. Distract yourself. Give yourself a little leeway to be flexible and try again. A day’s failure in your life goals doesn’t mean you’re a failure forever.
This hasn’t been easy for me to be honest. I’ve constantly compared my lack of mental strength to others who seem to have it all together and sent myself on countless guilt-trips. But I think my favourite Buddhist saying says it all, “When the student is ready, the master appears.” I wasn’t ready to learn this important life lesson before, but I am slowly getting the hang of it now. My self-talk is becoming kinder and kinder to my soul. Of course, the most important lesson that I learned here is to stop getting distracted at bedtime and to make yourself go to bed early to be able to rise early in the long run. 😛
To err is human; to forgive, divine. Learn to forgive yourself.
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