2016-01-22

How to spend the first hours in the morning every (week)day

Partly because both of my parents keep early hours, and mostly because my life experience has shown me the benefits of getting up early in the morning, I've also become an early riser. I've even come to a conclusion that how to spend the first hours in the morning every (week)day has a decisive impact not only on the rest of the day but also on our life in general, or to be more specific, on what we accomplish in our life.

After a number of trials and errors I've also come to a conclusion that I need three hours before I start my daily work. Since I start working at home or go out to commute to my workplace at eight, I get up at five on weekday mornings. I usually go to bed at eleven at night, so I sleep six hours on weekdays (but on Sabbaths and Jewish holidays I sleep more than nine hours, sometimes even 12 or 15 hours!).

This week I stumbled upon an amazing book entitled The Miracle Morning by Hal Elrod. Though its core message wasn't new to me, its practical tips and the reasons for the benefits of getting up early in the morning have assured me that I've been doing the right thing.

Probably the most useful practical tip of this book is what to do after getting up early in the morning. The author proposes six practices he abbreviated as S.A.V.E.R.S., or S for silence, including mediation, prayer, reflection, deep breathing, and gratitude, A for affirmations, V for visualization, E for exercise, R for reading, and S for scribing, with possible changes in the order.

My daily morning routine, at least on an ideal weekday, between five and eight has been reading, silence in the form of davening, and exercise in the form of running in this specific order for the past ten years or so. I start every new day with the study of musar, or Jewish ethics, followed by the reading of one of the self-help books waiting for me.

Having read about the effects of affirmations and visualization as part of the so-called "law of attraction", I'm now thinking about how and when to integrate them into my daily morning routine.

The author of the above mentioned book explains why it's important to wake up early in the morning "with passion and purpose", for example, as follows:

When you delay waking up until you have to - meaning you wait until the last possible moment to get out of bed and start your day - consider that what you're actually doing is resisting your life. Every time you hit the snooze button, you're in a state of resistance to your day, to your life, and to waking up and creating the life you say you want.
When you wake up each day with passion and purpose, you join the small percentage of high achievers who are living their dreams. Most importantly, you will be happy. By simply changing your approach to waking up in the morning, you will literally change everything.
By learning how to consciously set our intention to wake up each morning with a genuine desire - even enthusiasm - to do so, we can change our entire lives.
At least since last August when I had some significant turning point in my life, I've been feeling I can't wait to start each new day. And this little book has given me a convincing rationale for keeping and even intensifying this amazing feeling.

2016-01-01

Unforgettable private trip to Moscow

Having spent six days in Moscow last week between my lessons in the university, I returned to Israel this Sunday, very excited at the successful meetings I had there. Without doubt this will remain in my memory as one of the most unforgettable trips I've ever made in my entire life. I visited Moscow for the first (and last) time in the summer of 2005 to participate in the conference of the European Association for Jewish Studied held there. Of course, I didn't have the slightest idea back then that there would come a day when I would revisit the city this way.

I had four very important private meetings there, and fortunately, I can say that all of them were successful. The most exciting was the one with my S/O in LDR in her native city. I'm not eloquent enough to describe this excitement of mine. Two others concerned both of us, and our initial worries about them turned out to be baseless. I am full of gratitude to НЛ for accepting me so warmly in her family and to two rabbis in the central synagogue of Moscow for their enormous help to us. And the fourth one was with my two close Jewish friends there. We had such a good time together at a local kosher Jewish restaurant that we said good-by to each other, promising to meet again in Moscow, Jerusalem, etc.

In addition to these four private meetings I was looking forward to visiting bookstores in Moscow, which is the third after Tokyo and Osaka in my personal ranking of cities in terms of the quantity and quality of their bookstores. Being a student of lexicography, I was overjoyed at the sight of so many dictionaries there. I encountered two new important monolingual dictionaries of Russian. The first, which is a single-volume dictionary for the general public and can be suitable even for learners of Russian as a foreign language, is Большой универсальный словарь русского языка (info by the publisher). And the second, which is an academic dictionary mainly for specialists, is Активный словарь русского языка (info about its prospectus by the publisher, info about its first volume by the publisher, info about its second volume by the publisher).

In addition to excitement and joy, this unforgettable private trip to Moscow has also brought me strong motivation to work harder to improve my Russian both for personal communication with certain dear people and for professional purposes in lexicography (and probably other areas of linguistics, too). But ironically, in spite of my newly kindled interest in (and even love for) Russian I spent most of my time in Moscow, speaking Yiddish, which is a story in itself and requires a separate blog entry.