You might be able to tell from some of my blog content that I am a morning person. It hasn’t always been this way. As teenagers, my sister and I would sleep in until 11 o’clock in the summer, roll out of bed and watch The Price is Right before we even saw the light of the day. Dear God. How times have changed.
My father was my first inspiration when I witnessed how happy and content he was in the early mornings. On holiday, when I was lucky enough to get up early with him, we would go “exploring,” checking out a new place while the world was still quiet. My Dad always seemed the most excited and grateful to be alive in those early mornings and it was through his example that I learned each day is a fresh start.
By my mid-thirties, I had figured out that mornings can be a time of great productivity, especially for projects that were my own. I remember hearing the writer Jean Shinoda Bolen talk about how she managed to write books while still working as a busy psychiatrist and Jungian analyst. Her secret? Getting up at 4am. She was then able to put in at least three hours on her own writing before starting her work day.
I put this into practice with my fiction writing at a time when I was both a new parent and a new business owner and it’s the only way I managed to get short stories written and published.
The late Dr. Wayne Dyer was another example of someone who used the early morning to write. And he got up even earlier! And wrote long hand! He often talked about his books flowing through him, after taking a few minutes to make “conscious contact” with what he called the “creative energy of life itself” (god, source, the divine).
This tapping into something larger than me is what my morning practice is about now. In these still mornings, I feel like I am remembering who I really am, and how I want to be in the world. Whether it’s a cup of tea while working on my writing, or reading my favourite poet Hafiz, or stretching, or spending time thinking of everything I appreciate, the emphasis is on my soul or my essence. When I was away this summer, my early mornings were sacred time, walking to the ocean in British Columbia, and doing yoga with the sunrise here in Nova Scotia.
Establishing morning rituals that work for me has completely altered the landscape of my mind and my life. I truly believe that how you start the day is like writing a script for the unfolding of the rest of it. When I take the time to connect with what’s inside me, I feel like I bring that life energy into all of my actions and interactions after that. It affects everything from the time I spend cuddling with my daughter in bed as she wakes up, to how I greet the staff at my local coffee shop, to how I deal with time crunches in my work.
All of this said, not everyone is a morning person. But if you think you could be, the fall is a great time of year to try something new and set up new habits that might work for you.
If you decide to give it a try, start slowly. It might not be a good idea to set your alarm for 4am if you’re used to getting up at 7:30! Giving yourself even an extra 30 minutes is a great start.
And remember that the focus is YOU. It’s about what will feed you, not what you have to do for anyone else. You’re not making school lunches. You’re not doing last night’s dishes. You’re not catching up on email. You’re not making your to-do list for the day.
You’re taking some time for yourself to do whatever calls to you, so craft your own morning rituals. It might be some of the things that I’ve talked about, or maybe it means getting your sketchbook out. Or reading in the bathtub. Or listening to music you love. Maybe it’s going for a run.
p.s. I would love to hear about your morning adventures if you’d like to share!
“The morning wind spreads its fresh smell. We must get up and take that in, that wind that lets us live. Breathe before it’s gone.”