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Mindful ritual is an important aspect of daily life.
It is centering, and it transports our consciousness to realms of expanded possibility.
Many spiritual traditions emphasize ritual—it is a matter of connection to what powers us, inside out.
As far as a morning ritual is concerned, mine evolved from noticing how being “super productive” first thing was sabotaging my peace of mind. I thought I was being mindful (the ego loves doing and abhors self-awareness), but the only thing that was happening was an increasing feeling of overwhelm. Sure, I could say that I had “handled a lot of stuff”—but how much stillness of heart could I attest to?
Everyone has a morning practice, believe it or not.
For so many of us these days, it is:
Open eyes, reach for thoughts, engage monkey mind…
Scroll through Instagram…
Jump out of bed, rush into the day…
Do, do, do!
This ritual is so common that I believe we are suffering from being chronically un-grounded and under-inspired. And as the individual is, so, then, is society.
How we greet the day is one of the most empowering things we can do to change our lives. If we begin the day with grace, we can rest knowing that all of self was honored, all of self was allowed expression.
Here are a few steps toward that end.
This list is what works for me, and when needed, I pick a few favorites according to my timeline. The only one I never abandon is “Gratitude.”
It is also not an exhaustive list—feel free to substitute in whatever you may already have going. In addition, these suggestions can be layered, as in, music is playing while you’re making your bed or laying in Child’s pose. Gratitude can be felt or spoken while doing the same.
There are many ways to make this a pleasant ritual to look forward to, even if time appears to be short. Waking up early enough to create space for it is an empowering habit. Pretty soon, you will be guarding it with your life!
Once you see how nourishing it is to honor one’s awakening, and how beautiful the quiet of the house and heart are in the early morning hours, your soul will crave it.
If sitting down to meditate is something you really cannot get into, let this practice become your stillness and precious solitude.
“Meditation practice isn’t about trying to throw ourselves away and become something better. It’s about befriending who we are already.” ~
Gratitude is so much more than reciting our blessings. Gratitude is a state of being.
Even on days when it’s difficult to feel this way, know that you already are gratitude. To be grateful is to invite abundance. To manifest anything at all, we must first rest in gratitude. It can be a simple knowing, an acknowledgement in heart space. Even if words are not flowing, tap into the emotion.
Once when I was stuck (or maybe I was being obstinate), I made myself think about what my life would be like if my fingers were not able to work a keyboard. It was a sobering thought! I looked at my hands, my fingers, and saw how much I took it all for granted. My hands became a precious resource for which I could easily feel appreciation.
Find a starting point—“I am in gratitude for the ability to see myself clearly,” for example.
Many days, my mantra is simply, “Thank you for my breath, thank you for my breath,” and it is enough.
Each day, find that place inside your body where gratitude dwells.
Music brings me home. It touches my divinity. Does it for you?
What music clears your heart, mind, and soul? I begin with chants and mantras from a few favorite artists who elevate my soul to peacefulness.
It’s one of the first things I embrace as soon as I open my eyes. Sometimes I sing along, sometimes I fall deep into meditation, or no thought. You may also love complete silence. That can be the best music of all.
The Great Mother
Step outside or look out the window and greet the Great Mother.
If you can, stand barefoot on her soil. Receive her love. Something I’ve noticed when speaking to women is that we are adept at giving and being thankful, but not so much at receiving. That is why I stress that while we are in appreciation for nature and our home planet, we receive what is lovingly being radiated toward us. It is a practice of its own.
For those of us who cannot connect with our own mother, for the many reasons that may be, knowing that we have the support of Pachamama can be incredibly healing. Feel her heartbeat when you stand or lay on the earth. Align your heartbeat with hers. Feel acknowledged, accepted, and nourished. Receive, receive, receive.
Light a candle on your altar or wherever feels aligned, and call in any ancestors you feel connected to. Candlelight represents the element of fire, it attracts the world of spirit, and it awakens our ancient self—if we allow ourselves to fall into that space between realms. We remember sitting around tribal fires, past lives even, when in the presence of fire as symbolized by candles.
Honoring the fire within us, we create our day from a passionate, powerful place.
This is a good time to also ask a question you may need answered. Look into the flame and pose your query, then let it rest until a response arrives. This is simple, practical, everyday magic.
“Waking up the Dragon”
When I was a child in Europe, my grandmother taught me to stretch first thing, move a little, and rub my hands together.
I thought it was all in fun when she called it “waking the dragon!” I imagined a dragon in my body slowly waking until I got him to breathe fire. We made ferocious noises.
Now, I call it Kundalini yoga and imagine the snake uncoiling at the base of my spine. You do not have to have a complicated yoga practice to engage with the dragon. Some days, even sitting on the mat is enough for me—a few stretches and a few roars can be quite liberating.
Or, lay in Child’s pose, your third eye to the ground, and surrender to what is. Receive eternal support from the universe. This surrender applies to so many aspects of our life. There is an element of vulnerability when in Child’s Pose. Perhaps take this moment to speak to your younger self and offer unconditional love. Allow her to heal through your awareness and support of her.
Come back to the mat during the day if you need, for movement or rest. Make it your safe space, where you honor your needs and emotions.
Make Your Bed
Some of the most successful (by that, I mean joyful and abundant) people swear by having a morning practice, which includes making their bed.
Making one’s bed is a declaration of readiness, of caring for one’s place of rest, of dedication to structure. Structure is usually associated with the masculine aspects of self, the animus. It gives us a starting point. I find structure grounding—I tend to love the ether a bit much, and while it keeps me balanced, it also supports our feminine energy.
As I wander around the bed—I’ve counted 17 revolutions because my bed is a monster and I love layers of fabrics and pillows—I chant my affirmations. I love the idea of mundane chores becoming our Zen moments. There is so much calm in approaching life this way.
Recite your mantra or intention for the day. Read your affirmations. “I Am” statements are especially powerful. Create your own, or use these, some of which I like especially during the dark or new moon:
> I am grounded in the unconditional love of the Great Mother.
> I am held safely in the knowledge that I am fully human, fully divine, and embodied in both.
> I am surrendered to the flow of my unfolding purpose.
> I am grateful for synchronicities, which connect me with my soul’s blueprint.
> I am grateful for the abundance manifesting in my life at all times.
> I am open to the transformation portal available to me through the moon and planets.
> I am empowered by the choices I make for my highest good.
> I am.
Lemon water is the best thing you can begin the day with! It is a powerful alkalizer and is cleansing to the liver, which has been working hard all night processing toxins. In warm, hot, or cool water, squeeze half a lemon, and sip while enjoying your morning practice.
I began honoring my body with lemon water 30 years ago, and reap the benefits every single day.
The most important aspect of a daily practice is to make it something that speaks to you! It is a sacred time spent with self and source. Into the center, into the center, into the center. Breathe.
Here are a few other things I cycle through, depending on my mood or needs: play my singing bowls, pull an oracle card, journal, drum, anoint myself with essential oils, pray by my altar, throw my runes, cast a spell, speak to my guides, and light incense.
I would love to hear about your morning practice! Do tell.