Morning glory


The alarm goes off at six. I let my eyes adjust to the room, stretch and hide under the blankets for a few moments. And then I know, I know how I'll feel if I don't get out of bed, so I get out of bed. 

That, my friends, is my motivation. 

I make my way downstairs and pour myself a cup of water. I spread the yoga mat and more often than not I open up YouTube on my phone and find a Yoga with Adriene video to help wake up my body. A few downward dogs, a couple vinyasas, some warrior poses, and not only does my body wake up, but my mind as well. 

Next I turn the on the kettle. While I wait for the water to boil, my attention turns to the birds and other wildlife that call our backyard home. Forsythia bushes and lilac trees form a border with our neighbor's yard, and play host to chickadees, squirrels, blue jays, mourning doves, and the occasional woodpecker. With a click, the electric kettle turns itself off and I measure a heaping spoonful of loose leaf English Breakfast tea into my mug and pour hot water over the leaves. Making mental note of the time thanks to the clock on the oven (though nine times out of ten, I forget what time I started at...) I let the tea steep for two minutes. Then I make my way to the living room and sit on the couch as a golden white light streams in and the room glows with softness. 

With a blanket on my lap I open a cheap, recycled, composition notebook and bring out my pencil. Recently Sara Sheehy, a fellow writer (and actually, funny story, we went to the same college, but only knew each other through a mutual friend. We've recently gotten to know each other a bit over on Instagram, and she's someone I would love to chat with over tea and listen to her travel stories. See, social media can be used for good!) reminded me of what Natalie Goldberg writes about - how you need non precious materials to really get all the writing gunk out. To feel okay with writing things that no one else will see, writing that will free you. 

And so I sit and write three pages each morning, and it clears my mind. I used to use a moleskin notebook and a regular pen. But... there's something about how the pencil slides across paper, how it's effortless and smooth, soft. The combination of composition book and pencil not only creates a safe place for my most jumbled words, it also brings me back to Mr. Robert's sophomore English class in high school, where I first learned about the benefits of simply putting pencil to paper and letting the words fall. Every few weeks we had to fill a certain number of pages. He never read them, but we had to show him that we'd done it. I remember one day sitting in the library before class writing the same word over and over again. And then, of course, other words followed. Because that's what happens. I can trace my love of writing way back to my childhood, but my love of free writing and journal writing I believe dates back to that English class. 

By the time I finish with my morning pages Lucas has come down and kissed me goodbye and headed off for his work day. I can often times hear children starting to move around upstairs. And when they make their way downstairs, I'm ready for them. I'm ready for the day. 

A few weeks ago I was in a funk. I was tired, our days were not going smoothly, there were a lot of big feelings and angry voices (mine, and mine...), and I couldn't figure out what the heck was going on. By the third day, I realized it was because I was forgoing my morning routine for staying in bed. The cold mornings combined with late nights spent watching the Olympics were a perfect storm that I used to convince myself I could sleep in. Since we homeschool, we have a very flexible schedule, including very flexible mornings for the most part. So why not? Why not stay in bed, and let the kids wake me up, and then start our day together? 

I'll tell you why. Because sleeping in makes me miserable. 

I cannot even believe I'm typing that, because I love sleep. And for years, I've loved sleeping in. 

Mornings are the only time I can find actual quiet in the house. Yes, I make time for writing most afternoons, but during that time I'm okay with a bit of distraction, I've trained my writing brain to work alongside distraction when necessary.

But I still need quiet. 

I've never been a morning person, and so this has taken work. It still takes work. But it's worth every yawn and afternoon slump. And I'm not saying everyone should do this. It's not about the hour or the yoga or the journal writing. But I do think that every person should listen to their own bodies and see what you need. In a world that keeps getting louder and louder, busier and busier, finding space and quiet, and time to recharge is essential. It will probably look different for you. Whatever it is, a run or a yoga session, coffee with a friend or your daily cuppa before work, an afternoon walk around the block, make the time, and savor it. Even if it's only five minutes. You'll never regret it. And it'll make a difference in not only you, but the people around you as well. 

A few moments to pause, to enjoy what's in front of you, and to reset is one of life's simple and greatest joys. It feels like work, but really, it's gift you can give to yourself every single day. And the best part? It's free. 




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