This is a phrase that my movement coach and friend, Julie Angel, recently said to me. So, for the last few weeks I’ve been getting up as soon as I notice that I’m awake, as soon as I notice that my mind starts chattering. I wake up, I get up and I get out. (I’ve started calling this WUGUGO).
I wake up when I wake up. I hate waking to an alarm. This morning Mira the pup and I were out of the door at 5am and we headed out to the river. It’s turned cooler in the last few days, so this morning I’m not saddened by the piles of litter left by the teenagers’ partying the night before. It is peaceful and the world is just waking up. Golden time – no human chatter, simply the sounds of nature. I walk, breathe, listen to all that is around me, enjoy Mira’s joyful scampering. I ease into my day.
For now, this is my morning routine…it may change again. For the last twenty years I’ve been playing around with my morning routine and it has changed along with my spiritual growth. Morning routines and rituals matter. It is well known that people who strive for and achieve outstanding success in life tend to have good morning routines.
But what does a good morning routine entail?
• going for a 10-mile run,
• meditating for an hour,
• 30mins of yoga and chanting,
• journaling and gratitude practice,
• 4 rounds of Wim Hof breathing followed by an ice-cold shower,
• reciting affirmations about how great your day is going to be,
• worrying about the day ahead and scrolling through your phone before you’ve even got out of bed, or
• does it mean catching up on the news while drinking the strongest coffee you can get your hands on?
Whatever you do, it’s your choice and I’m not here to judge you or tell you to do something different. (My morning routine at Uni was coffee and a cigarette. I never even knew that my hall of residence provided breakfast. Who ate breakfast?)
But what I do know now is that the way you sleep, your energy throughout the day is directly related to how you start your day.
For me, easing into the day gives me the time to do the things that nourish my mind, body and soul. I have time to contemplate, move, breathe, make good food to eat and take time to eat it. I have time to read. Time to daydream and create.
I used to do many of those things on the list above including the Wim Hof breathing and 10 (plus) miles. I don’t anymore. There was nothing wrong with them and those rituals served their purpose for a time, but things change. We change. Isn’t it something like every 7 years or so all the cells of our body are renewed? Our life stages are roughly 7-year cycles too. So, things change, we change, our needs change…and so maybe how we start our day changes too.
Find your morning routine and rituals. Don’t let it be your phone. Reach inwards not outwards. Right now our world feels particularly uncertain and turbulent – stifling heat, fires, politics, global recession, travel disruptions, fuel prices… The world has always been chaotic and changing but now we talk more about it, communication has become deafening and we can find ourselves lost in all of the external noise. We all have our personal challenges – demands that need to be met – but the sense of urgency can feel so much greater than it actually is when we are caught up in the maelstrom of this world intensity.
Does this resonate with you?
If so, can you find a quiet way to start your day that keeps you here, right now, grounded and in the present?
Here’s the simplest morning practice for those of you who feel you simply don’t have time:
Notice your thoughts as soon as you wake up and become conscious. What words are you telling yourself? Are they good or bad? Are they speedy or slow? Do they make you feel safe or afraid?
With your eyes closed, simply notice 3 exhalations. Follow them. Let the thoughts keep doing whatever they’re doing but just notice a few breaths. Label them INNNN and OUTTTT as you notice them.
And then start your day.
Try it tomorrow morning.
Try it for the next 7 days and notice the difference it makes to your days and nights.