“Morning is an important time of day, because how you spend your morning can often tell you what kind of day you are going to have.”
― Lemony Snicket, The Blank Book
if you'll allow me, i'd like to go back about two years and tell you the typical start to my day:
open eyes angrily. roll over and immediately check the smartphone for the ten million INCREDIBLY IMPORTANT things that have occurred in the 8 hours i wasn't connected. scroll through the initial barrage of emails and check Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Reddit, and Tumblr. feet finally hit the floor. go into the kitchen and immediately turn on the news to see the big headlines. pour a giant cup of coffee (with milk and TWO spoonfuls of sugar, thank you very much). stumble into the bathroom to jump in the shower, texting the boss as i go.
and BAM, just like that! i'm already at my mundane little day job...and i haven't even washed my face.
so now, let's paint a different picture. what if your morning was quiet and without disruption? what if you had a moment or two to begin your day with thanks? what if you acknowledged the incredible miracle of life that allows you to open your eyes and take your next breath? how would this impact your day?
for me, the morning practice carries incredible priority. over time, this routine has taken many forms that have changed and morphed and will continue to do so: i pray, i sit, i read, i stretch, i write. i can always sense an acute difference between the Morgan that is rushed out of bed and into her task (screaming and kicking the entire way), and the Morgan who begins the morning in quiet gratitude and meditative joy. i have come to cherish this time of day. it is here that i connect with the Divine, thus paving the way for peace, regardless of what circumstances may arise.
one particular exercise that i find useful is the "Morning Pages," taken from Julia Cameron's The Artist's Way. this exercise allows the very first part of the day to be spent writing, stream-of-consciousness, longhand. anything that pops into your head is acceptable, from "I need to get a gallon of milk," to "How will we afford the mortgage this month?" i find this form of journaling incredibly therapeutic, as it allows me to completely empty my brain of all the thoughts accumulated while sleeping. i am then able to move into my morning with literal peace of mind, which always puts one ahead of the game. i mean, seriously: how can you pray for someone else when you can't get your own crap out of your head? if you're interested in morning journaling and looking for a place to start, it's here.
don't get me wrong. there are many days when it doesn't go so smoothly for me, when my "ideal morning ritual time" gets cut short by some circumstance or another. most times i'm able to adapt somewhat successfully. but there are those days (typically once every couple of weeks) when i can't get past the world. when, for whatever reason or another, my brain starts yelling at me from moment one, and i can't get the train back on the tracks.
and those days are ok, too. we need the lows to fully appreciate the highs.
so now i beg the question: how do you start your day? honesty is appreciated! if you have a morning practice you would like to share, please post any tips or recommendations below. if you don't have any sort of routine, but are willing to start with even 5 minutes each day, please share, too. whatever it is, i encourage you to talk and get it out there. transparency is the first step to healing and change!
i'm grateful for everyone out there reading this! thanks for the love.