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If you know me, you know I’m not a morning person and never have been. I was always the last to wake up at sleep overs. My poor, poor friends would lay in bed awake while I snoozed through the morning – they eventually they learned that my parents sympathized and would make them breakfast and coffee without me.
In college I made my semester schedules around not having morning classes. When I did have morning classes, I frequently showed up late or arrived having just rolled out of bed.
However, in the last year, I’ve really learned the power and beauty of waking up early and enjoying the mornings. In fact, humans are meant to rise with the sun; It’s great for our mental clock and there are many studies on why early risers tend to be happier people.
How I Went From a Night Owl to a Morning Bird
Okay, maybe I’m not quite a morning bird, yet, but I’m close.
It changed when I went to Bali for my Meghan Currie Yoga Teacher Training in April. We were all so jet lagged that we were up at between 5:30-6:30am every morning. And normally people might try and correct that jet lag overtime, but we all actually really enjoyed watching the sunrise every morning with our coffee and having plenty of time to wake up before our 7:30am yoga class.
We developed a morning ritual. Every morning we’d sit at the same table. The same group of us. At 6:30am we’d fill our mugs with coffee and pull a card from my Earth Magic deck. We’d pass around the book, sharing what our cards meant. Sometimes all of us would sit silently and journal. Other times we’d talk and laugh boisterously.
Since getting back from Bali, I’ve tried to maintain that joy of waking up early. Instead of waking up at 8am for work (at 8:30. . . I live right around the corner), I set my alarm for 7 – a good hour and a half before my three minute walk to work. This gives me plenty of time to wake up slowly; I normally will grab my phone, send a good morning text to my boyfriend and check my emails before rolling off my bed at 7:15 or so. Then I get ready, which only takes about 15 minutes. I make my coffee in a french press and my cook my oatmeal slowly on the stove. I make sure to decorate it with loads of toppings so that it not only tastes amazing, but looks beautiful and pleasing. I crack the blinds open to let in some sun, sit on the couch, and watch Youtube videos while eating and drinking my coffee. Afterwards I clean up, grab my things, and walk to work.
This is how they used to go:
Wake up at 8am. Roll out of bed and get ready haphazardly. Throw on most comfortable clothes. Make coffee, pour it in a to-go mug. If I have time, throw a waffle in the toaster and take it on my walk to work. Show up at work tired and un-caffeinated, looking like I woke up 30 minutes ago. Oh wait, I did.
The Power of a Morning Ritual
There’s a lot of articles saying how we need to do something new every day. How getting stuck in a rut or being too ritualistic is bad for our minds. This may be so if you’re eating the same foods everyday, taking the same route to work each morning, wear the same clothes each week, and never leave your home in the evenings.
But a ritual, especially in the morning, can be so beneficial for setting the tone for your entire day. Imagine this: You do exactly what I described I do in my morning (substitute with tea, lemon water, journal, whatever). Then later you get a parking ticket. You have to stay late at work. There is a lot of traffic on the way home and you come home starving. You forgot you have no groceries so you eat ramen. Your partner had a bad day of work and is grumpy. There is nothing on TV. You feel like today has been a failure.
But wait! It hasn’t been a failure. How could you label your entire day as a Bad Day when you started your day off with such grace? You had a slow, gentle, beautiful morning with sun peaking through the blinds, a warm mug of something, a delicious breakfast, and a good TV show or journaling session. You had a glorious morning - it was not a bad day. . . not completely.
And yeah, I’m sure someone is reading this and thinking, “So, you have one good hour out of an entire day. That doesn’t make it a good day.”
That’s really on you. You can be in the desert and see a half full glass of water and think “God damn, this glass only has a quarter cup of water in it, why can’t it be full?” You could see it that way. Or you could see it is a blessing that you get to heal yourself even just a tiny bit.
What's your ritual?
Editor's note: original post imported from personal blog