5AM Club — My Reflections So Far

Last week, during a conversation to connect with a dear family friend, she shared about her trying the 5AM Club by Robin Sharma. I used to be a big fan of Robin Sharma, but had not thought about his stuff in a long time. She sent me a summary PDF of his work, and I was very impressed.

I have not read the book, but the premise revolves around:

  • Waking up at 5AM
  • Doing 20 minutes of movement
  • Doing 20 minutes of reflection/meditation
  • Doing 20 minutes of growth-focused activities (e.g., review goals, read, podcasts, etc.)

For me, between work and family and household care, I have felt my personal needs for time for me stretched thin. Or, as I am beginning to realize, I have never really prioritized it or it is something that has often fallen by the side.

Movement:

Since the beginning of this pandemic, I have begun to see that I genuinely don’t enjoy working out. I used to get a natural high and excitement by going for a run, but these days getting in my exercise for the day feels like a stretch. That being said, I feel the cumulative lethargy that grows with a lack of movement; and, the same for when I actually do move.

Meditate/Reflect/Journal:

I have so been wanting to simply journal, reflect or meditate. I have noticed that with Facebook, and conversations — I can lose sight of what I actually am thinking about. I try to stand guard at what I input into my brain, and generally most things are pretty good, but I just have been craving for a little time to naturally let things come up in my head. I have been meditating for 10 minutes with Insight Timer’s Sharon Salzberg’s Breathe Meditation. I have kept this consistent for 2 weeks now, and there is something easier to dropping into a consistent voice and instruction, rather than something that changes everyday. Also, I am finding guided meditation easier these days.

Growth:

I have been writing, note taking, journaling a bit more. I am trying to take notes on most articles I read — this reduces how much input I am taking in, and also helps me to get more out of what I am reading. I am also trying to simply jot down more beautiful memories with Sarika, my Mom, the kids and everyone else that I have a chance to connect with.

Week 1: Summary

For the past week, I have been working to wake up at 5AM. A couple reflections:

  • Waking up at 5AM requires you to be on point the evening before. I need to estimate out my evening closeout activities and plan accordingly. In other words, I need to at the latest be in bed by 9:15 to give myself a ramp down time.
  • I need 20 minutes of my body even remotely being ready to move before getting started. I really want/need my cup of coffee right now.
  • I need switching time between Move/Reflect/Grow, and the 20/20/20 turns into 80 minutes to adjust for switching time.
  • I can sometimes have a crash at around 8 to 9AM. I had to take a nap at 8AM once.
  • I am really tired by the evening, and may even sleep deeper.
  • I am seeing how I almost don’t care to look at my phone in the evening.

On Listening: Third Things by Parker Palmer — Notes

A Hidden Wholeness by Parker J. Palmer | Book Excerpt | Spirituality & Practice

“In Western culture, we often seek truth through confrontation. But our headstrong ways of charging at truth scare the shy soul away. If soul truth is to be spoken and heard, it must be approached ‘on the slant.’ I do not mean we should be coy, speaking evasively about subjects that make us uncomfortable, which weakens us and our relationships. But soul truth is so powerful that we must allow ourselves to approach it, and it to approach us, indirectly. We must invite, not command, the soul to speak. We must allow, not force, ourselves to listen.

We achieve intentionality in a circle of trust by focusing on an important topic. We achieve indirection by exploring that topic metaphorically, via a poem, a story, a piece of music, or a work of art that embodies it. I call these embodiments ‘third things’ because they represent neither the voice of the facilitator nor the voice of a participant. They have voices of their own, voices that tell the truth about a topic but, in the manner of metaphors, tell it on the slant. Mediated by a third thing, truth can emerge from, and return to, our awareness at whatever pace and depth we are able to handle — sometimes inwardly in silence, sometimes aloud in community — giving the shy soul the protective cover it needs.

This is why an unconventional kind of note-taking is helpful in a circle of trust. Normally, at workshops and retreat, we take the most notes on what the leader says, and a few, if any, notes on the words we ourselves speak. In a circle of trust, we reverse that order, taking the most notes on the words that arise within us, whether we speak them or not.

What T. S. Eliot said about poetry is true of all third things: ‘[Poetry] may make us a little more aware of the deeper, unnamed feelings which form the substratum of our being, to which we rarely penetrate; for our lives are mostly a constant evasion of ourselves.”