How you choose to start your day matters. One of the most impactful books I read in the past year was The Buddhist on Death Row by David Sheff. It’s the story of Jarvis Jay Master’s experience on death row while he fights to prove his innocence. In the process he becomes a renowned Buddhist thinker, adopting the principles and teachings of Buddhism.
The Five Questions
One of the daily practices he describes in the book is one that I have also adopted since reading his story. Each morning I start my day by asking myself the same five questions:
- How will I use this day?
- How can I help?
- Will I be asleep or awake?
- What will I notice?
- Whose life will I touch?
How It’s Helped My Day
Not every piece of advice I share will be a prescriptive plan on how to solve a parenting problem. I believe that to be a better parent, you must always work on yourself in the process.
Because I start my day this way, I know I’m the better for it. It just gets me out of my head. Life is bigger, it’s more meaningful, and we have the opportunity to impact many through our choices, words, and interactions; I keep this in mind every day and it sets me off on the right track. What results is my children get to experience a steadier, calmer, and more present parent.
You can try asking yourself these five questions for about a month, and then let me know how it’s going. It takes less than 30 seconds. Your day might start to feel a little bit more anchored. It doesn’t mean that you won’t have times where you feel challenged, or stressed, or exhausted. It just reminds you that there is a lot more to this experience than spilled milk, if you will.
Simply said: start your day with a grounding practice, and notice the positive impact it has on the rest of your day, week, months, years, and life.