March 24, 2016

Morning Rituals Set the Stage for Your Day.

Rituals have a profound effect on creating order in our lives.

I’m an early riser—4:30 am. Now I realize that’s not something most people do by choice.

But it allows me to start my day with a series of morning rituals that set the stage for my day. I’ve had most of these rituals for many years. I’m fully cognizant that most people don’t have—or even want to have—my several hours to complete these rituals. So I suggest one or two.

I’m a coffee drinker so my first morning ritual is one many, if not most adults can relate to. The first thing I do is put water on for coffee which I prepare in a French press. No gurgling, dripping, bubbling sounds. Just fragrant aroma. And it keeps the morning quiet, which I like.

I choose a mug for my coffee depending on the mood I’m in. My mugs all signify something artistic that I love—a book, a musical, a museum. One of my favorite mugs states, “Never Underestimate a Woman With Writing Skills.” Choosing a mug is part of the ritual.

I pour my coffee and climb back into bed to write morning pages. Each day I write 3 handwritten pages—free form and stream of consciousness. This is a relatively new ritual and comes from the book, The Artist’s Way, by Julia Cameron.

These pages are never read again. I’m often amazed at what comes out of my mind and onto the paper. Sometimes it’s very positive but sometimes it’s dark and negative. This is a ritual I highly recommend to everyone. It can be cathartic and open long hidden channels of creativity.

While still in bed, and with my now heated up coffee, I read a book for 30 minutes to an hour. My mind is more alert and clear in the morning and I can absorb information more easily before life takes over. I consider the fact that Americans read so few books these days, a sad and dangerous precedent. So if my day gets too busy, or I’m too tired to read in the evening, I know I’ve spent some time reading each day.

I make my bed every single day. This is an extremely important part of my ritual. It signifies order and calm. A messy bed is a messy mind. That’s my motto. And I’m clearly not alone. People have written articles about how making their bed each day changed their life!

My final ritual of the morning is to spend 30 to 40 minutes doing some yoga and meditation. I have been known however, to do a 10 minute yoga practice and meditate for 5 minutes if time is running short. And even 15 minutes make a huge difference in my attitude, and how my day goes.

By 8:00 a.m, I’m ready for the rest of my day, whatever it brings. And mind you, I have not checked email, Facebook, Twitter or Instagram yet. But once I’m done, the first thing I do after all of this—you guessed it—is check Facebook.

Your lifestyle and family situation will dictate how much time you can devote to morning rituals.

But having something that you do with consciousness, that is purposeful and for yourself, even if it’s making your morning cup of coffee (this doesn’t include mindlessly throwing a pod in a Keurig machine), can foster feelings of self-care, a sense of accomplishment and a positive state of mind. It’s all about intention and attention.


Author: Gayle Fleming

Photo: Hello Goodbye/Unsplash

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