You Maintain a Morning Meaning Practice

"In order to stay on top of meaning and of knowing where you want to make your daily meaning investments, try instituting a morning meaning practice. It is best to reserve the morning for this practice, rather than penciling it in for some other time of the day, because making it a morning practice allows you to orient your new day in the direction of meaning. It is also a good idea to keep it simple. It needn't take you more than a few minutes, or even just a few seconds, to aim yourself in the direction of the meaning you intend to make on a given day.

"The essence of this morning meaning practice is deciding how, where, and when you want to make meaning today. You might decide to invest two hours working on your new business or your current novel, an hour with your son in the afternoon after school, and an hour meeting with a new client. For the time that you spend running errands or watching television, you mentally pencil in 'no meaning pressure' and allow yourself to relax. Your goals are twofold: to pencil in enough meaning so that your day feels meaningful and to remind yourself that the ordinariness of the rest of the day is acceptable.

"Craft your morning meaning practice in any shape you like, and include features that you think will help you make and maintain meaning on that day. You might include a minute of meaning incanting; you might think about or rehearse a phrase or two from your personal vocabulary of meaning; you might check in on your self-talk and continue the work of replacing language that doesn't serve you with language that does. You can also include elements that you like from other practices: a little meditation, a little exercise, and so on.

"Even though this morning meaning practice may take only a few minutes, it possesses great richness and depth. It is a genuine practice and involves regularity (we do not skip our practice because it is gloomy outside or because we are gloomy inside); simplicity (we show up with the right intention and with sufficient energy); solemnity (we are respectful of the vision we hold for ourselves as the arbiter of our life's meanings); honesty (about, for instance, how much time we intend to devote to this meaning opportunity or that meaning investment); presence (we aren't half-thinking about which bills need paying or whether the lawn needs mowing); ceremony (by, say, the way we open our meaning journal or light our candle); joy (by letting a quiet sense of joy be the background feeling of our practice); discipline (by spending extra time on our practice when life demands it); and primacy (by putting our morning meaning practice first and not letting other worthy practices such as our yoga or exercise practice supplant it).

"Take some time and describe the morning meaning practice you desire. Explain to yourself how you will keep your practice simple, how you will keep yourself honest, how you will foster presence, and so on. Think about each of these elements, and picture yourself living your practice. How will you structure your morning meaning practice, and what will it include?"