The Power of Mornings (and How To Carry It Through Your Day)
"Good morning world!"
This is how I like to greet the day. I may not say it out loud, but each morning when I make time to sit quietly, crack open my journal, and put pen to paper, this beginning takes shape.
There's not much in this world I cherish more than that time in quiet meditation each morning. My family is still sleeping. I crawl out of bed, put on the tea kettle, light a fire to warm the house and open a window to let in some fresh morning air. I choose to begin my day with intention. This is something that has served me over the years regardless of what else I am actively doing with my days.
You see, if we don't begin in those early moments, to hold space for ourselves and however we may be feeling, there is little opportunity to find this space as our day progresses.
And even worse, if we don't find moments within each day – weeks, months and even years may go by without us ever checking in with ourselves. Leading to stagnation, dullness, and a lost feeling of connection to ourselves and our emotions. In short, a loss of understanding and compassion for ourselves (and one another). Something you might notice the next time you see someone express road rage on your morning commute to work. Perhaps they have indeed lost a sense of awareness and grace with themselves and this is how they express it outwardly in the world.
While I could sit here and tell you how important it is to check in with yourself and express your emotions, the real topic here is to honor the magic of the mornings. And if you learn to harness its power, it can carry you through your days with ease.
Here are some tools to help you capture that stillness, if only for a moment, and set the stage for a centered walk through life.
One of the absolute most important things that many forget in our modern world is how sleep is actually a highly draining activity. We're both "actively" resting and repairing every cell in our bodies in this time while our subconscious plays out all sorts of ideas and events that we experience fully. And depending on how many hours you've allowed for this repair cycle, or how soundly you were able to continue through your deep sleep cycles, among many other factors from your previous day, this can take a greater toll on the resources your body has to utilize.
So the best thing you can do upon waking (after eliminating those processed toxins) is to replenish. This can be done from many different sides. And each may be more or less important for you depending on your own constitution and needs.
Hydration, as many have heard, is key in these early morning moments. Our body has taken the time to filter our blood, flush our systems, and hydrate our organs throughout the night. Don't you think it deserves a little fill up as you get your day started? This also helps to create movement and momentum in your digestive track, metabolism, and lymph system (i.e. your immune system). All of which we want to keep performing at optimal levels. Many will say that this even boasts a quick energy boost, possibly even greater than that morning cup of coffee. So drink up!
We can also do this using the other elements. My favorite of which are those fresh rays of sunshine. Taking in the morning rays is not just enjoyable, but it warms your system, fuels your body with Vitamin D (something that is a serious deficiency in our society) which can even be stored for later days where the sun is not as present, and syncs your internal rhythms to that of the sun and moon, also known as your circadian rhythm, by entering your retinas. We've always been told not to look directly into the sun for fear of harming our eyes. But did you know that at sunrise and sunset, this light is actually safe to be viewed and very beneficial in triggering both the hormones that create alertness (or cortisol) for your day and a sense of calm and drowsiness (or melatonin) for sleep?
Finally, a morning grounding practice can help replenish and reset your nervous system for the day ahead. And in this day and age, a step outside our front door seems to do everything in its power to knock our nervous systems out of balance and cause a heightened sense of anxiety and distress. So for this practice, just getting outside in your bare feet and standing on the cool earth can create immense positive effects for your body.
In relation to finding a grounded base to begin from, we must be aware that our lives are bombarded with EMF's or electromagnetic frequencies. Most parts of our home, work, transportation, and even social gatherings can be filled with EMF's, which are produced from electrically charged objects. This can be anything from your wifi, radio, and microwave not to mention cell phones and computers (which can be magnified during sleep through your mattress coils.) They enter our system and confuse the flow of of positive and negative ions (we need a balance) by creating a surplus of positively charged ions. Leaving us all around feeling, well...ungrounded. The practice of spending a few minutes outside connecting with the negative charge of the earth, realigns our bodies electrical charge and creates a sense of ease and softness as we move through the world. Just remember to remove those shoes and allow your bare feet to reconnect with mother nature.
2. Find Stillness
Whether you practice this through one of the ideas shared above, or any other practice that allows you to fully become present and slow down, this is a key point in starting your day off on the right foot. It's pretty simple. Find stillness in your morning and you will better be able to handle all that your day throws at you because you will be coming from a place of calm and awareness. This is your chance to check in with yourself. Perhaps do a quick assessment of how your body is feeling this morning, spend some time meditating, or simply sit with a cup of tea while looking out into nature. You will feel the difference, I promise.
3. Express Gratitude
Gratitude can drastically alter the way you think, feel and the energy you have. Thus truly dictating the direction your day (and life) may take. If your energy levels are holding you back from pursuing certain things, or are causing procrastination or a less positive outlook on life, wouldn't you believe that this energy is also the driver of whatever actions you do or don't take for yourself? And mindset can be the first thing to look to when trying to make positive changes.
Rather than creating a sense of overwhelm around working to shift your entire mindset all at once, try directing your focus to a more simpler starting place: finding gratitude! This one small tweak in your morning can make a world of difference when it comes to how you approach your day, your job, your family, your responsibilities...you name it! Life will never be void of less desirable circumstances or tasks that we must complete. But looking towards the lighter end of the tunnel rather than trying to eliminate everything that may bring about negative feelings or connotations can be a quick way to shift your perspective. If you find solace in writing, start your day with some quick bullet points of what you're thankful for as you sip your morning coffee. If you prefer a more active meditation, try clearing your mind and focusing on the beauty of the trees or nature around you on a morning walk. There are endless ways of doing it, just try some things that feel good to you. Your gratitude practice may take on many shapes as time goes on. Eventually, you may not even need to carve out dedicated time for it as it becomes more implemented into your everyday life.
4. Create Momentum
So you've recharged your batteries, grounded your body and even took some time out for expressing your thoughts and filling your gratitude cup. Now it's time to get moving. One of the most obvious ways to do this would be to take part of some form of moving meditation, like yoga or a brisk walk out in nature. Even just some light stretching can do wonders. And if you're anything like me, you need to keep motivation as you progress towards entering into work and everyday life mode. After years of working remotely as a freelancer and now in the midst of a pandemic, where a large majority has experienced staying put in their homes while still needing to stay motivated, here's a game changer. Get dressed! Put yourself together. Start your day with confidence and momentum by setting yourself up for the day you want to have. If thats a lazy day where you can simply rest and do some cleaning, you know what to do. Stay in those pajamas or workout clothes. But if your looking to be productive and prepared for whatever your day may bring, put on your power outfit. To me, this means the things I am most comfortable and therefore confident in...a good pair of jeans, a t-shirt and boots. It doesn't have to be complex, just right for you.
5. Revisit When Needed
The power of these tools is that you can always come back to them to recenter yourself and shift the narrative in your mind, body and spirit. No one is perfect and even the best morning practices and rituals can become monotonous or take a back seat to other priorities. But keeping consistent can always prove to be beneficial. And getting started is all it takes. You will find what's right for your own unique way of life and these will serve as a backbone to the lifestyle you lead and the energy you want to put out into the world.
Don't ever be fooled by the mundane moments your morning may hold. These are powerful (and magical) opportunities indeed if you harness them. Start slow, create intention around each beginning and you will see the ripple effect it has on your day and ultimately your reality.