Karen Horneffer-Ginter
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First Things First

Like most people, I've heard many encouragements about how to spend my early morning time. "Exercise first—get it out of the way!" "Write first, before you lose any of your creative juices." "Eat breakfast first—it's the most important meal of the day." "Meditate first to quiet the mind." "Make your bed first to start the day with a tidy house."

Of all these pieces of advice, the words which I find churning in my awareness most often are those spoken by a Balinese priest: "It doesn't matter what your religion is—just pray to your God first."

I was struck by the combination of this man's definitiveness (there seemed no flexibility in his thoughts about what should come first in the day) coupled with his openness. As he spoke his advice with kind, bright eyes, I was surprised that he didn't go on to tell me that I was worshiping the wrong God, or a false God, or that our countries should go to war over the right way to pray. Instead, his encouragement suggested that he trusted me and trusted people in general. It seemed he had a confidence that if we humans carry an intention to put first things first, our own sensibilities will lead us in the right direction.

I loved that!

In honor of his words, I pass on this long-winded version of his encouragement:

"Make it a priority to begin your day by connecting with whatever it is that feels most precious and true—connect to that which inspires you and reminds you to live your life fully and mindfully, with grace and gratitude."

How best can you do this?

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Aug. 1, 2012:  Carving Out Our Own Retreat Day
Jul. 2, 2012:  Remembering What's Most Essential
Jun. 4, 2012:  Along the Road to Enlightenment . . .
May. 1, 2012:  First Things First
Apr. 1, 2012:  Remembering our rhythms

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