Waking up to a sunrise, the touch of a loved one next to you, and the aroma of rich coffee moving through the cool air are blessings if we are “awake” enough to allow ourselves to bear witness to them.
Mornings can be truly magical. But, the unfortunate truth is that most of us wake up to a blaring alarm, a barking dog, and anxious thoughts of how fast we must get out the door. We wake up slaves to the schedules that we, ourselves, have co-created.
This tone of mania, is very hard to combat. It’s hard enough when it is just us, let alone children, spouses, animals, text messages, emails, garbage that must be taken out, meetings that have to be prepped, and carpools we have to drive for. When our mornings start in this way, it permeates the rest of our day. It sets the tone and foundation we build everything else upon for the next 24 hours. So, the question has to be asked: is this how you want to start your day? Or are you ready for a shift?
Beginning the path of self-care is one of bravery, and it takes constant effort. But the thing is, this effort is enjoyable, peaceful, and rewarding beyond measure. It is sustainable, unlike the unhealthy demands we place on ourselves emotionally and physically.
Studies have shown that when you rise earlier and ease your way into the day ahead, your stress levels are lower, you think more clearly, you are more productive, and are happier overall long-term. The beautiful thing about taking time to shape your morning, in a sacred way, is that it’s just for you—and it may be the only time that day that you will have just for yourself. As Oprah says, “The greatest gift you can give yourself is time.”
Unfortunately (or fortunately), setting your alarm 20 minutes earlier is not enough. It’s how you use those moments that can help create a more peaceful space for you. This morning time should be sacred, and it should be yours. Use it to protect your mind, and to open and connect with your heart.
Try these five simple steps to create a sacred morning, and watch the beautiful, subtle, and powerful turns your days begin to take.
1) Keep the lights low, and welcome the morning gently. By waking up in this way and keeping the lights dim, you are allowing your eyes and body to adjust from sleep to waking in a more peaceful way. Candles don’t have to just be for the evening or the bath, welcome the day with an ease of light. Make each morning feel like a unique welcome ceremony by staying quiet and keeping the light off or low for at least 10 minutes when you get out of bed.
2) Begin with a prayer, affirmation, or intention for your day and/or being. Our brains are at their clearest, purest, and most receptive first thing in the morning. We are less distracted and still in a sort of waking dream state. Our purest intentions come to the surface. This is one of the most wonderful times to explore what is going on in your heart and mind and to either absorb it or release it to the universe. This beautiful practice of intention-setting or prayer is an immediate way to stay in a peaceful state of gratitude for the day ahead and also allows you to connect with your deepest desires.
3) Mindfully sip tea, coffee, or your favorite elixir for 10 minutes, undistracted, with no devices. Upon waking, perhaps while the lights are still low, try to resist the urge to turn the news on or start scrolling through your phone. When we do these things, we sever the intuitive connection to ourselves before the day even beings. Don’t be afraid to be alone with yourself, with who you truly are. This may be the only time of day you can connect with her. Embrace this sacred time by mindfully tasting your coffee or drinking lemon water, and allowing yourself to be alone with your thoughts without distraction.
4) Breathe deeply for three to five minutes. Energize your mind and body with breath. Let go of any unease for the day and replacing it with the recognition that this day is a gift.
5) Protect your mind. Instead of the news or TV, listen to relaxing, feel-good music, an inspirational podcast, or an audio book as you begin to get dressed or eat breakfast. Begin your day with thoughts, voices, and sounds that support how you want to feel and enter your day. Once things get going, limit your morning news or social media scrolling to 10 minutes. Media can be an unfiltered way that we receive information and can increase our anxieties, fears, and stress levels. By minimizing and choosing what we allow to flow through our minds, we are actually shifting our bodies and energy on a cellular level.
“The breeze at dawn has secrets to tell you. Do not go back to sleep… Do not go back to sleep…” ~ Rumi
Author: Holly Goodwin
Image: PublicDomainPictures.net/Petr Kratochvil
Editor: Travis May
Copy Editor: Callie Rushton