A core pillar of “memento mori” thinking is the morning & evening ritual of taking a moment to give thanks for your life, remember your death, celebrate your life, envision your day, week, month, year and life, and then plan the day.
Here are some ideas on how to bring about “memento mori” thinking into your morning routine:
When you wake up each morning, take a few moments to compose yourself (go to the toilet, have a drink of water etc.) and then:
- Give Thanks For Your Life. Silently pray & be thankful that you have actually woken up, for those who love you, and for the gifts of life that you have. Many people will not have this privilege today.
- Remember Your Death. Visually imagine if you were to die next month and remind yourself of “memento mori”
- Celebrate Your Life. Is your journal complete for the previous day? Start today’s new journal and learn from the past by reading the journal entries for the same date for each year in the past. Create a new journal entry for today, and commit to having an excellent day by “mind-dumping” all the tasks you feel that to be done.
- Envision your life, year, month, week & day ahead: It’s not just about planning what you will do that day; it’s about planning how you may react to what you will do and what others will do. Commit to being virtuous. Choose & plan to exercise a particular personal strength, life area or Stoic principle that you want to cultivate and think about how you can incorporate it into the day ahead. Plan how you will embrace your virtues and avoid your vices during the day. Mentally visualize how you will deal with any difficult situations that know may well arise in detail, colour & clarity. Think through the day ahead, and envision how you will tackle every hour and event in a productive, virtuous, appreciative manner.
Remind yourself that the only things you can control in life are your thoughts and your reactions/actions. Everything else is uncontrollable. Therefore, plan your day ahead with the Stoic “reserve clause” in mind: “fate permitting – Amor Fati”.
Extras, if time allows:
- Go out for a walk/run and enjoy the rising sun while meditating on developing yourself as a human being. If not possible, then observe (or just imagine) the rising sun and the stars at daybreak, and think of the whole cosmos and your place within it.
- Contemplate (sage) role models
- Perform light exercises using your own bodyweight. Contemplate your own mortality and the fact that you will age.
- Do a household chore (for example make your bed, wash the dishes, empty the bins) & use the moment to focus on the simple joy of looking after yourself and others.
After this, the Mementom App should guide you through the day, to help you continually make the most of every moment, until the evening reflection time.