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July 18, 2018

A Ritual for those Impossible Mornings.

Every morning was a surprise.

In another life, not so long ago, the journey from my sheets to the coffee pot seemed impossible.

Morning was a foggy mystery full of unwelcome clues from the night before and too much wine. Sunlight was an aggressive force against the slicing pain between my eyes. Every day felt like a continuation of confusion from all the nights before. I did not feel real. I could not seem to step into myself and start my day effectively. Something needed to change.

Getting sober and taking time to follow a morning ritual helped me become a woman that I admire. I found my own understanding of being real through the simple act of devotion—it began with a ritual and an invitation to myself every morning.

As a woman who spent the majority of her life escaping reality, I take clarity and presence in the moment pretty seriously these days. About a year and a half ago, I started following a morning ritual that helped me resist the pull of escapism throughout my day. I noticed that I could devote time to what really mattered to me by stepping directly into my truth first thing in the morning.

Committing to a morning ritual can seem like a faraway idea in the beginning. Here are a few tips that really helped me use devotion to find a morning ritual for the long haul.

1. Keep it Simple. For those who do not like mornings, a morning ritual can sound overwhelming. These days, I resemble the rare breed of human who enjoys mornings above all else. Every morning I burst out of my sheets like a lark with a million ideas in every direction.

2. First things first. If I do not take those first steps toward my meditation pillow, the rest of my day feels chaotic. Not a morning person? Taking the steps to the pillow is still an act of devotion. The first act of the morning is making an effort to meet up with ourselves.

Sometimes our ideas get ahead of us, but this one thing does not have to be complicated. Start by taking a seat for five minutes to breathe and clear space for the day ahead. It does not have to be a formal crystals-candles-sound bowls-meditation session (it can be)—but these five minutes lay solid ground for the rest of the day to build on, so keep it simple.

3. Welcome the incentives. To be perfectly honest, I am most excited about breakfast and coffee when I wake up—which makes me excited about the steps leading up to breakfast and coffee. After meditating, I make an açaí bowl or oats with lots of care. There is a huge difference between digging my hand through a bag of granola and actually sitting down with real silverware and a bowl to eat a meal.

I prepare the best coffee and let it brew in the tiniest coffee pot I’ve ever owned in my life. It only makes two cups, but they are my two, heavenly cups of coffee. This gives me some time to roll my bones around on my yoga mat while it brews.

Finding something small that we enjoy in the morning gives us incentive to savor it. We are nourishing ourselves. We do these things because we enjoy our quality of life more than how fast we can devour it. When we remember to find joy in what we are doing, we tend to show up for that thing completely.

Also, waiting to check email and social media is a big deal for me. I noticed that waiting to check my phone until after I’ve had breakfast is a game changer for where I put my devotion. Whatever it is, it can wait about 20 minutes.

4. Acknowledge the commitment. I take a hot shower and reflect on my day as I continue getting ready. There is definitely a sense of I can do this! when I walk into the world from here. Making this daily commitment to ourselves solidifies how much we care. This helps build a deeper level of trust.

Over time, I became aware that I was a house that I wanted to live in. Remembering that we are dependable to ourselves makes us more dependable to others. Knowing that we are trustworthy makes us more likely to return to ourselves morning after morning. Commitments, however small, build trust over time.

~

Mornings are no longer shocking to me.

I no longer want to pull away from myself.

In a world that repeatedly asks us to escape and pull away from our wholeness, I think we all crave something more. I think we are all desperate for something real—I think we even want validation to be our own version of real.

We can take the door that challenges us to grow every morning. Imagine forfeiting our most hallowed traits because we could not find five minutes of devotion.

It is always a good choice to step into ourselves, and a morning ritual creates a safe space for the rest of the day to grow on. They can be anything we need them to be.

They can say anything we need them to say. My morning ritual says: I am worthy. It says: I am devoted to caring for myself. My morning ritual says: I am willing to be here—to be real.

~

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Jacqueline Hathaway Levin

author: Jacqueline Hathaway Levin

Image: Author's Own

Editor: Catherine Monkman