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July 19, 2014

Letting Go of Ritual & Gaining Happiness. ~ Michelle Riordan

Michelle Riordan

Once upon a time my mornings looked like this:

Get up early

Oil pull

Abhyanga (self-massage)

Meditate

Lemon water

Yoga

Green juice

Make breakfast

Silent walk

Start work

These days, when my husband brings me a cup of hot sweet tea in bed (black tea, real milk, and yes, processed sugar) I am so grateful I could cry. It brings me around and gives me life—having nursed a new-born baby through the night as I am currently doing, I am mightily grateful for it.

I have been a parent now for almost seven years. For the first four, I tried to maintain my morning rituals. “This is what you should be doing,” was ringing in my ear, was drowning my Facebook feed and my yoga magazine subscriptions—and I was listening.

Now, I am a lot easier on myself. Something clicked one cold winter’s morning. I got out of bed early when it was still very dark. I tiptoed down the stairs avoiding the creaky ones so as not to wake my two small boys. I crept into the living room—cold, dark and empty and I rolled out my mat.

I began to practice.

I recently came across this sentence: “I really regret going to yoga. Said no one, ever.” I do understand this— finishing a beautiful practice and basking in the aftermath is what got us all hooked.

But there on that cold dark floor, with my toasty warm husband radiating heat like the sun in the room above, knowing that a ball of pajama wearing cuteness would any minute climb into my bed for snuggles, I felt much different. On that morning, I regretted my practice—and I went back to bed to join them.

Had I failed? Had I lacked the discipline to pursue my wellness goals?

I don’t think so. What I realised on that cold hard floor was this: Life is short. Who knows how many more mornings I will have to enjoy these special moments.

So I surrendered the early mornings. I know that as a working-from-home mother of three it is hard to carve out time for myself during the day. But I do the best I can with what I have.

I stopped putting unrealistic expectations on myself and suddenly my life got a whole lot easier.

I can still be found addressing my wellness with enthusiasm and care. But without the stress, the should have’s and the guilt. I still do my yoga practice, but with my children hopping on my back and building castles with my props. I have never been happier and I have never been healthier.

The morning may come when a cold hard floor is all I have, so for now, I let it be.

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Apprentice Editor: Melissa Horton/ Editor: Catherine Monkman

Photo: courtesy of author

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Michelle Riordan