I run a number of meditation surveys with my subscribers at TheMeditationMind.com Invariably the #1 question they wish to have answered on meditation is How Do I Meditate? The "I" being the person that asked the question, not me personally.
My 30-day trial of early rising and quitting caffeine is over. There is a lot of value in giving a new lifestyle change 30 days to evaluate. It gives a true picture of how the change will affect your life. After applying a change for 30 days, it becomes a habit. I intend to continue life as an early riser that does not drink caffeine.
My head feels a lot clearer without daily caffeine. It is not that I was walking around like a zombie all day before the trial. However, there is a noticeable difference in brain clarity. I find myself getting in productive zones of focus through my intention to do so. Pre-trial, I needed my 11am and 2pm double mochas to get truly clear-headed.
My days have a lot more productivity. I am not only referring to work. Getting up at 630am, I am able to spend one hour on my morning mental routines of meditation, affirmation, visualization, and neural reconditioning. Then I can grab a workout of some kind (most days), screw around on the internet, eat breakfast, hang with TheWife if she’s around, and it is only 10am after all of that time. Pre-trial I would wake up at 945am, work until lunch, and come home after lunch, find it to be 130pm, and I hadn’t done any of those things yet except jerk around on the internet. It is very gratifying to have workouts and all my mental mojo going before 10am.
Additionally, I am waking up before 7am whether I like it or not. If I have drank or ate like a pig the previous evening, I can go back to sleep until a little after 8am. But either way, I can’t sleep until 10am even if I want to, unless I was on a 3am bender. That only happened once on the trial. This appears to be a good thing.
I am no longer a slave to caffeine and will continue to avoid drinking it. Unless I feel like drinking it of course. This may sound like a cop-out. I had a mocha at Gallery Café while I was writing this. But I drank it because it sounded tasty and I had a headache, not because I needed any caffeine. I could re-name the “quitting caffeine” to “not being beholden to caffeine” and it would serve my point better. I no longer need or rely on it, but reserve the right to have a cappuccino on a hotel terrace in Italy and enjoy it.
One problem with the trial is that I can’t stay up as late as I used to. Caffeine early in the day continued to affect me late in the evening. Weeknights I have been in bed by midnight. I don’t like this. But the increased satisfaction at getting things done has kept me waking up early and will continue to so.
It was a major life change to commit to 30 days of early rising and quitting caffeine. I performed this trial during my destination wedding, moving buildings for the first time in 5 years, and 2 weeks on an overseas honeymoon. The changes have met my expectations and early rising with no caffeine is now a habit.
Tuesday, September 16th 2008 The cleaning ladies were scheduled at my old place for a move-out cleaning at 8am. In the past this would’ve been the cause for much distress and consternation, why have the damn cleaning service so early in the morning? I probably would’ve schedule them for post-lunch.
Today it was no big deal that the appointment was at 8am. I’d already been awake, done my morning metaphysical routines, surfed the internet, and had breakfast. It struck me on the way to my old apartment that early rising had become a habit if I didn’t think it was notable that an 8 am appointment wasn’t too early.
Monday, September 15th 2008 I arose early with ease today. It has become a habit for me now. It has also become a habit to stay in bed for meditation and visualization after waking. I am very happy with both of these developments. Despite having caffeine via Excedrin yesterday, I feel no urge for coffee and no grogginess during the day that would cause me to require it.
Sunday, September 14th 2008 To wake up at 8am without an alarm clock and have no desire to go back to sleep was a miracle today. Because it was after 2 am when we hailed a cab back home and I was completely bombed on a mix of vodka tonics with the occasional red bull thrown in. My inebriated state caused me to forget to set the alarm.
A hangover with coffee sucks. I did end up having my first caffeine inadvertently however. I took 6 Excedrin over 4 hours. It helped my throbbing brain immensely – caffeine opens up the constricted hung over arteries and eases the headache. I didn’t realize it when I first took the pills but I needed it to function. My first caffeine in 28 days and there will be no mental association with pleasure from taking it.
Saturday, September 13th 2008 I was concerned coming into the weekend’s early rising tasks. I completely slipped last weekend and has rationalized it as my wedding weekend. I still feel comfortable with that explanation as long as I can close out the trial on a strong note of early rising.
Fortunately there was no drama with my alarm clock. I awoke at 630 am without incident and got up to try and finish up some nagging unpacked items. We went to an excellent new york bagel deli down the street from the new digs and I successfully ignored the outstanding smell of their coffee.
Friday, September 12th 2008 Today I woke up on time with the alarm. I spent about an hour in quasi-consciousness. I define this state for myself as the time between 630 and 730am when I meditate and visualize goal achievement. I have read that it is the best time for these efforts. I am in agreement with that. Being semi-conscious, I feel I still have access to my dream state, but I am not dreaming because I am consciously directing my thoughts.
Each time I get done with in-depth dream visualization scenarios, I look at the clock and it is always between 715 and 745 am and time for me to get up. It always feels like ten minutes has passed, but it will be substantially longer.
Thursday, September 11th 2008 I honestly can’t remember what happened this day other than that I woke up early at 630 and I didn’t drink coffee. All other attempts to figure out what happened are just not working out. Perhaps its because I’m on Spiaggia Beach in Positano Italy right now trying to recreate this day from memory.
Wednesday, September 10th 2008 On top of everything else going on, today was moving day. It seemed to spring out from nowhere with the Florida wedding day, Chicago reception planning, and honeymoon itinerary scheming. I woke up at 630 am with ease. The movers were due at 8am so technically I could’ve slept until 8am.
Coffee has officially been kicked. My stomach health’s improvement has been dramatic. I used to have the digestion of a tortoise – sometimes taking 3 days between bowel movements. The rumor was that coffee would run right through me and create a movement. I had never experienced that. Come to find out coffee was inhibiting bowel movements. Without coffee I am able to go 1-3 times a day, and my decade-long dull ache of the stomach has vanished. Anyone out there with stomach problems I cannot stress this enough – kick caffeine and see how it helps.
Tuesday, September 9th 2008 Big slip today, I was up late after getting home and simply could not get out of bed. My alarm went off, I realized I needed to get up, and I still laid there. There was some guilt when I reluctantly set my alarm for 930 and then immediately blacked out. Of course, not enough guilt to prevent me from sleeping.
I supposed I could’ve willed myself around that morning. But I didn’t. I am nervous but hopeful this trial is not going to become a freefall back to 930am wakeups. At least the coffee addiction appears to be kicked