I am not the best sleeper, so I used to wake up late to squeeze in as much sleep as I could. But it started bothering me that I was waking up late with just enough time to get ready for work. I was missing out on valuable time to take care of things, mostly myself. I am quite sure that I did not leave a full-time job to search for a life filled with meaning and purpose so I could sleep in and go straight to my part-time job. After thinking about this for a long time, I decided that the only way this would change was to rip the band aid off – I was going to wake up early and start a morning routine. My assumption was that this was going to be hard and overall a miserable process. What I found was that it is amazing, centering, inspiring, and I love it!
Once I decided to have a morning routine, I had to design it. Where would it take place? What would I do during the time? To answer the first question, I put together a cozy sitting nook in my house where I feel calm and settled and want to move to from my warm bed every morning. It is filled with comfortable pillows and a blanket and I placed candles, books and other paraphernalia on a nearby side table. There is also space on the table for the all-important cup of coffee in my favorite mug to help with waking up. Answering the second question was a little harder. How do I create a routine that helps me connect with myself so I can learn to quiet the noise of the world, hear myself, and figure out how I want to live, my way? I ended up making my routine based on ideas and methods I have learned over the years that resonate with me.
One part includes reading Dr. Wayne Dyer’s book Change Your Thoughts, Change Your Life. Wayne Dyer was an author and speaker known as the “father of motivation”. In this book he takes Lao-Tzu’s 81 verses, called the Tao Te Ching, and interprets them to help us live a centered and good life, and one that is not controlled by the ego. I bought this book a while ago and was reading a section a day, but fell out of the habit. I wanted to get back into it because it reminds me of how I want to be in this world and sets a tone for my day. Overall, I recommend any of Wayne’s books if you want guidance in learning to trust yourself and figure out how to live a fulfilled life. My current favorite book of his is I Can See Clearly Now.
Another part of my morning routine is meditation and journaling. This was scary for me because I have always struggled with the two and I was not sure how they would go. In the past, when I tried to meditate my thoughts would jump around, and I could not settle down enough to feel the benefits. When I tried to journal, the pages ended up empty or filled with a regurgitation of what I did that day, nothing that helped me grow. I even bought a meditation pouf and pretty notebooks thinking that having the “right gear” would increase my chances of sticking with it. But I always ending up quitting seeing no purpose in continuing. However, once I resolved to take this seriously and gave myself the time, I realized that when I feel out of control and my mind is moving around frantically, meditation is exactly what I need to quiet myself and return to center. And I discovered that once I quiet my mind, my thoughts just appear on the page when I pick up my pen and journal.
When I began this morning routine, I meditated for five minutes and I now meditate for ten. My goal is to slowly add time as I get more settled in the practice. I am in the beginning phase of meditation and have a lot to learn, but I have experienced enough to know that it works and is a necessary and beneficial part of my life. What I find helps with journaling is to be more fluid and less structured. I keep my journal open and write things down as they pop up, going back and forth between parts of my routine. Sometimes it is pages worth and sometimes it is a couple of lines. Wayne Dyer would talk about how he did not write his books but that the words came through him. I never understood what he meant until it started happening to me. I now easily write out thoughts, ideas, and even tidbits of my dreams that I remember. I have also started looking up the symbolism of my dreams, which has been fascinating.
The third part includes traditions that are newer to me and I am just learning about; crystals and oracle cards. I was introduced to them by friends and they are used in classes at my local yoga studio and during my monthly Reiki session (more on that topic in another post). At this point I am not sure if or how crystals work, but I am open to the potential of their healing properties. I integrate them during meditation by holding the crystals that fit my needs for that day. For example, I grab the rose quartz when I need a dose of self-love, the carnelian stone when I need a boost of confidence, selenite to remove negative energy and so on. The oracle cards were added to my routine because I was gifted a deck by my wonderful Reiki practitioner. Whenever I choose a card in class, during a Reiki session or in my cozy nook, I am amazed at how accurate the card is at reading where I am at that time. The cards provide me guidance and support. And they are just fun.
To end my session, I use whatever time I have left reading the book I am enjoying at the moment. Currently I am reading If Women Rose Rooted by Sharon Blackie. Another book I recommend.
Getting up early and having time to just be has been transformational for me. I feel more engaged in life, calmer, and closer to my core. I am learning so much about myself and it is helping me figure out how I want to live. And surprisingly, it is improving my sleep, which is a wonderful form of irony. Yes, I am a little tired when I wake up early, but no more tired than when I woke up later in the day. Plus, I am excited to have this amazing time carved out that gives me time to grow as I continue on this journey.