It’s 6AM in the morning and the park is almost empty. I can barely see a silhouette every now and there, strolling through the grey light of the dawn.
It’s silent. Very silent. The only thing I hear is the soft, rhythmic noise of my feet touching the ground as I gently run under the light poles. Every once in a while I see a dog owner, eyes almost closed, walking their pet and looking like the dog is actually carrying them over.
I breathe lightly, I feel great. No pain in my muscles yet, no joints discomfort, just a feeling of gliding through the half-dark half-light alleys.
Let’s go back in time only 10 minutes: well, 10 minutes ago, I’m still sitting in my bed, gazing at nothing, suspended between the bed sheets and the will to get up, 1 second after I just heard the alarm clock.
This is by far the most difficult part of the day. I’m awake but not yet out of the bed. I don’t know yet if I would get out and the gravitational pull that keeps me there is almost irresistible.
It’s pretty much the same every day. There is this 3-4 minutes interval in which, without a word being spoken and without a move being made, a huge battle is taking place.
I call this the battle between the two minds.
The “Bed Mind” and the “Awake Mind”
The “bed mind” is attached to the current context: the warmth of the bed (and maybe the gentle feeling of the silk skin of your partner, as you cuddle under the blanket), the pitch dark surrounding your like an invisible, but consistent wall, the immobility of your body as it barely starts to regain consciousness.
That mind wants you to stay there.
And then there’s the “awake mind”. That mind is clearer, agile and ready to engage in action. That minds longs for the fresh air of the park, for the rhythmic noise of your feet running, for the funny image of the pet owners being carried away by their pets.
That mind wants you to get out of the bed.
The problem is that you tend to listed to the mind which is “closer” to you. The mind which talks louder to you. The mind which is more comfortable to use.
How To Win The Epic Battle
I wish I could tell you about a smooth way to win this battle. Something that works 100%, all the times, without a problem. Something simple. Something easy.
Unfortunately, I can’t.
There’s no quick fix for this one.
There’s no shortcut.
The only way to win this battle is to actually get the fuck up. Sorry for the dirty word “actually”.
Just get up. No matter how cold it is, no matter how frustrated you feel, no matter how comfortable the bed is. Just get up. Feet on the ground. That’s it.
Keep moving. Stand up, go to the bathroom and refresh yourself. During winter, this may be hard, I know. But do it anyway. And then change your clothes and do something that will keep you standing. Anything that goes with your routine.
I choose to do some yoga and then get out and start running. But your mileage may vary. No need to do exactly like I do. Maybe you want to do some work in those quiet hours. Great. Just be sure you’ll do this while standing up.
Otherwise, the “bed mind” will get the best of you. It happened more than once to me, that I can tell you.
Try to resist the urge to sit down. Keep away from the gravitational field of the bed. Stand up. As hard is it may be.
If you can manage to stand up 15-20 minutes, something incredible will happen.
The “awake mind” will take control. Just like that. Your eyesight will become less foggy, your body will warm up, your brain will start firing more and more synapses. And then, if you just dress up and get out, you’ll meet the familiar fresh smell of the park, the half-light, half-drak alleys and the funny faces of the pet owners being dragged away by their pets.
You’re awake, The other mind won the battle.
After all those years going through this process I’m still fascinated by this moment. After just 15-20 minutes, the “bed mind” will simply vanish from your conscience and its place will be taken by the “awake mind”.
The incredible heaviness you felt just 15 minutes ago simply disappeared. Like it was never there.
All you had to do was to get up.
The Epic Battle Is Actually Everywhere
The bad news is that the epic battle is not only between “the bed mind” and “the awake mind”.
There is always an epic battle between two minds inside your being and nope, I’m not implying you’re schizophrenic or anything.
I’m just saying this is not limited only to the morning part of your day. You will have to fight this battle incessantly. Almost every moment of the day.
There will be a battle between the mind that tells you to stay still, to remain frozen, to cling to some state of pleasure or safety and the mind that will push you to do stuff, to move, to conquer or to finish something.
Here are just a few examples of some epic battles going on during the day:
The “Facebook” mind versus the “productive” mind. You know this one very well.
The “I’m going to lie down on the couch asap” versus the “I’m gonna do the dishes now and then go to the couch” mind. Remember how good it feel, once you had your belly filled with good food to just run away from the kitchen and lie in bed? Well, that battle was lost.
And then there’s the “I’m keeping this lousy job because it pays the rent” mind versus the “I’m gonna start the heck out of my own business” mind.
You got the idea.
The good news is that once you master the morning battle, you’ll start winning the others as well.
One by one.
Running For My Life - from zero to ultramarathoner
The spooky thing about depression is that it sneaks in. There aren’t really trumpets and loud voices announcing: “Hail, hail, this is depression entering the room, all rise!” Nope. It’s slow, silent, creepy. It doesn’t even look like depression. It starts with small isolation thoughts like: “Maybe I shouldn’t get out today, I just don’t feel like going out”. And then it does the same next day. And then the day after that and so on. And then it starts to whisper louder and louder in your ears: “Why would you go outside, you loser? Didn’t have enough yet? Want more people to make fun of how much of a big, fat loser you are?”
And then you start to breath in guilt and shame, instead of air. Every breathe you take is putting more dark thoughts into your body.
Until you get stuck. You can’t move anymore. At all.
If you want to know how I got out of this space, eventually, check out my latest book on Amazon and Kindle.