The First Step is the Hardest


For many years a clock alarm ringing in the early morning signaled time to get out of bed and start my day. I used a small battery powered travel clock in the days before cell phones. Sometimes I placed the clock across the room which required rising and walking to turn it off.

Today as I turn off the alarm after pressing the snooze image on my phone three times, I wonder what it is about this imaginary extra time that feels so satisfying.

I still have the same tasks to accomplish by the same deadline. Do I improve my efficiency by reducing the remaining available time before walking out the door? Do I feel more rested making up a story that fifteen additional minutes of sleep made the difference? Do I experience some sense control over time?

Other than the light of my phone, darkness fills the room. I hear only quiet. I seize another minute to sit on the edge of the bed. Picking up my phone I set the timer. I ponder the adage: The first step is the hardest.

Slowly I flex each foot, rotate my ankles, and point my toes. Feeling the stretch and the gradual easy movement, I notice the chill in the air and slide into warm slippers, standing beside the bed. I wiggle my toes and feel the weight of my body shift onto each foot as I begin to walk. These first steps feel more like a shuffle. I focus my attention on my knees, raising them up with each step forward, noticing the difference. The timer beeps and I pause mid-hallway to feel the floor supporting the bottom of both feet.

Walking to the kitchen feels different now.

I intend to carry this awareness of my feet and ankles into my day as I walk outside in snow boots, or inside in tennis shoes. How will the movement feel?

Mentastics Minute
Spend the first moments upon waking sitting on the edge of your bed

  • Sitting on the edge of your bed
    • Slowly flex (bend) one foot and then the other.
    • Point your toes and hold that position for a few seconds
    • Wiggle your toes.
    • Rotate your ankles slowly as if you are trying to touch each number on a circular clock face
    • Notice any stiffness and if you find it, do less motion until it feels easy.
  • Stand beside your bed ready to take your first steps of the day
    • Wiggle your toes
  • Take your first steps of the day
    • Feel the weight of your body as you move forward, shifting from one foot to the next
    • Are you shuffling? Raising your knees? How does that feel?
    • Notice the floor supporting your feet
  • Carry any awareness into the day walking in shoes

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