Sunday, March 13, 2016

The Rooster's Call- #Sol16--Day 13

Alarm! Alarm! #Sol16--Day 13

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Why call it an ALARM?

On a typical morning when I am stressed, I might wake up before my alarm...I just thought about it why do we call it, "Alarm." That word choice in itself is pretty alarming!

So, on some mornings, I am woken up by my heart suddenly coming to a halt because it is almost 5 a.m., and  I wanted to wake up at 4 a.m. to finish grading or designing a handout.  My heart will feel like a rock hitting against my chest.  Usually, it takes time for this rock to deflate into a corner until the next morning.

Alarm...I am trying to think of an alternative word..Should we rename alarms, a summon, a call? Alarm in itself implies danger and a need for attention.  If you think of better words, please let me know.

Diana Ross, the best "Waker-upper"

I am not a celebrity fan, but I happen to stumble upon videos and articles about Diana Ross one weekend when my 80's nostalgia swept over me.  I listened and living-room danced to "I'm coming out" and subsequently started to listen to all my favorite Diana Ross pieces mainly re-playing back to back the theme song of the movie Mahogany, "Do You Know Where Your're Going to..."  Anyway, the point of this paragraph is Diana Ross' daughter's description of how her mother would wake her sisters and her up in the morning. (Actually, this interview with her children revealed how Diana Ross has prioritized motherhood despite her busy schedule. She loves being a mom and was able to juggle her career dreams and still love and be there for her children.)  Okay, back to how she woke up her children.  Her daughter, an actress herself, says that her mom was the best "waker-upper." If she and her sisters had to wake up at 7:15, their mother would come into the room and open the shades at around 6:45.  Then she would come back at 7:00 and play some music. Finally, she would return at 7:15 and soothingly remind her daughters to rise and shine. Of course, Diana Ross could have conjured them to rise with her soothing crystal-clear voice. My call to my son in the morning is not that soothing. I will work on that!

Lullaby and Rise-aby?

What would be the opposite of a lullaby a rise-aby? It is great that we have comforting bedtime routines for children such as bedtime stories. People must have their individual wake-up traditions that we may not share as a nation.  It would be great to follow a ritual that would introduce the day to come in a promising and/or calming way? Usually, stressed out rushed parents wake their child and try to motivate them to get up, get ready, and get out of the house because, "Ready or not," the day will start.

Finally, the article

Yesterday, I read an article entitled, " 2 Minutes to a Better Day: Be happier, feel energized and find your focus with this easy 4-step plan " by Sara Schwartz. The piece was on an online site called "next avenue." Usually, I am skeptical of this type of "easy solution" article. I mean every month, publication after publication are promoting for the millionth time a way for me to lose my still-existing belly fat in 10 or even 1 easy step, so how could an article tell me how to be happy. I thought I would give this article a chance.

Ms. Sara Schwartz calls us to follow the steps delineated below all in 2 minutes. I will try the steps this week. Ironically, I could see myself rushing through some of the steps with my heart beating about the work I need to finish.

1. "Breathe Mindfully" (Schwartz).
Please see the article. I will not do it justice. Here is the link in case you want to stop reading this post and go right to the source!

2. "Bless Those who (May) Stress Us"  (Schwartz).
Pray for their well-being and happiness. Yes, I, often, am so locked into my mind, I forget to remember that people are not coming to interact with me from the void. They also have had a morning, a day, a weekend (hopefully a good and restful one). As for my students, they just climbed lots of steps to reach my classroom. I need to remember that simple fact and also let them catch their breath. Hey, that is step 1.
This week, I will take time to send positive vibes (through prayer for me) to those I normally encounter during the day.

3. "Wait before you check" (Schwartz).
Imagine back in the day, we ran to our mailbox to check for bills and other random mail the minute we woke up! That is what we are doing when we check our emails first thing.

When I am checking my emails (work or personal) or even local news FIRST THING IN THE MORNING, I am allowing my morning mental space to be crowded by my own stresses of the day (my list to do) and all these outside demands or unfortunate events. I have been praying for clarity of mind and purpose. Perhaps, waiting on checking my email might help. A motivational speaker and author, Gabby Bernstein,  "If you check your phone the moment you wake up, scanning for the latest updates and emails, you’re pre-loading each new day with stress" (Bernstein). Let's see, Natasha: Start your day without your email this week! Set your own purpose!

4. "Create a Best-Case Scenario for Your Day(Schwartz).
That's true. Why do I always think of the worse-case scenario? There is always another alternative. "Take a moment to set a positive intention and meaning, and think about what you’d like to have happen throughout the day. Say it out loud, write it in a journal or affirm it while looking in the mirror. 'Your intentions create your reality, and what you focus on first thing in the morning can have a powerful impact on your whole day,' says Bernstein"  (Schwartz).
Okay, let's see tomorrow Monday: instead of me worrying that ______________, I will visualize a positive outcome and move forward. Even if the positive outcome does not occur, I know I had good intentions. I always say, "My lesson plans are my best intentions.  They may play out differently (sometimes for the better when life and dialogue steps into the lesson), but I had good intentions."

Link to the article:

Link to the Oprah Interview with Diana Ross and Family:


  1. In Things Fall Apart, Chinua Achebe calls it "cockrow." I like that in place of "alarm." You are so right about alarm being a stressful word. Thanks for the image of you listening to Diana Ross and having a living room dance party! I love it! I am looking forward to the Oprah interview with Diana Ross... I did not know about Diana Ross waking her children so lovingly. I wonder how until what age she woke her children that way. I do think waking up is something a child needs to master without parental intervention. Imagine if someone did not know how to wake up on time without mom by the time it's time to leave for college? Thanks too for the waking up article. I, too, used to wake up to checking email and the news. But I stopped doing that a few years ago. Now my wake up ritual is this...before getting out of bed: 3 cleansing breaths (especially focusing on lengthening my exhale), reflect on what I am grateful for, set my intention for the day. Lately before my walk with Hagrid I also do a short meditation as I give him a little massage. It helps so much! No checking work email until I arrive at work. It's a great rule to live by.

  2. So many good points in here about getting going during the day.

  3. Wow, I think that if Diana Ross sang to me, I'd get up, too. I love it when I learn that celebrities are good mothers. Something so comforting about that. I love these steps to a good day. The one that resonates with me the most is imagining the best-case scenario for the day. I'm going to do that every day this week. I think I am going to have a great week because of you!

  4. Words matter, and your thoughts about why "alarm" is a terrible word are spot-on! When K hears our alarm (for example, sleeping in the same room at a hotel this summer), he freaks out. Your post makes me think he's got the right idea!

    I also love the article about mindfulness that you share here. Thank you for giving me a positive ritual to try tomorrow morning!