When I hear Kookaburras laughing I feel alive and present.
The laugh of a Kookaburra reminds me to snap out of my routine and rejoice in the moment.
If you live on the Eastern Coast of Australia you will know and love the raucous cackle of our native bird. They greet the dawn as they go on the hunt for lizards, snakes and smaller birds.
Often my wife and I are woken by their full throttle yell at the sky.
When we hear our local troupe of Kookas we know the sun is on its way.
It’s time to get up and greet the dawn.
So, up I get and walk out to the kitchen.
I make my wife and myself a cup of coffee from our beloved Nespresso machine.
It is a routine I truly embrace and love, because in reality I can be a cranky, old bastard.
Every morning I wake up with the prickles.
So, if I introduce small treats into my daily schedule, the routine reminds me to get out of my head, get off myself and think about others.
It sounds SO noble but here’s the little mind trick I play on myself.
When I think about others, I find some grace.
And when I sit in grace I win back my daily hope.
And when I immerse myself in hope I start the day believing in myself.
I am alive again.
See it’s not noble, it’s just common sense!
Back to the coffee routine at the start of every day.
Our coffee machine sits on a white stone bench in the kitchen, next to the double sink.
The sink sits below a window that looks over the neighbouring rooftops and out to Bronte Beach and the ocean.
We are very blessed.
I look out to the water and start my daily prayers.
I thank God I am sober and ask for the strength not to pick up a drink today.
Then I pray for my three boys, my wife, my family, my friends and my work colleagues.
A quick mental gratitude list will follow.
Then, I deliberately pause and listen for the silence between my heart beat, and low and behold, my heart beat slows down.
Now, that’s got to be a good thing.
I then turn on the coffee machine and go to the fridge for fresh milk.
Before putting in the coffee pods, I replace the water and clean the machine with hot steam.
We both like strong coffee.
I make my wife a piccolo and take it to her bed, giving her a kiss on the forehead.
Every morning and night I tell her I love her.
Then I go back and make my coffee, taking fifteen minutes to savor the aroma and enjoy the buzz of the caffeine.
Yes, I can’t start my day without a coffee, but it is a much safer and enjoyable habit than alcohol and cocaine.
It’s amazing how many people tell me how bad coffee is for me, yet they drink booze every night! I just smile and nod, and privately acknowledge that coffee is the gentlest substance habit I have ever enjoyed…….
All of us need those little treats to make the day worthwhile, because life is a cycle of the good, the bad and the boring.
Life isn’t easy.
Being alive when we are not present is a type of living hell, yet our whole system takes us out of the present and isolates us in a sea of separated humanity.
The grind of Monday to Friday can break us all, yet there are two important reminders I take from my daily, morning routine:
When I make the effort to step out of myself and think about others, I find some grace and win back my hope.
When I win back my hope, I start believing in myself again.
Yes, it takes persistence, training and it is a daily ritual, but it is worth the effort.
And it only takes fifteen minutes.
Being an adult can be arduous because in every man or woman is a child that wants to play.
But survival dictates a certain amount of responsibility.
So, the trick is to practice balance.
We need to work to be able to play.
Addiction is about constantly wanting to play.
Obsession is about constantly wanting to work.
Both create anxiety.
It has taken me five decades on this mad, wonderful planet to accept that work and money gives me freedom of choice.
And when I have freedom of choice, I can live in abundance.