Morning Ritual

The past two months have been very significant months for me; after so many years of being one role or another – mother, wife, daughter, sister, breadwinner, friend – I finally asked myself, really asked myself, who do I want to be?

This one question has lead to a lot of interesting revelations.

I’ve discovered, for example, that despite my self-identification as an indoorsy type, I actually like being outdoors (which might explain why I suddenly went nuts and booked that week-long camping trip the other day).

We’re lucky enough to live on a beautiful piece of property. When we first viewed this place, I stood at the top of the stairs leading down to the house, and I said to Ward, “If the house itself is only half as gorgeous as the outside, I want it!” The house turned out to be a quirky little place, and we ended up putting in an offer that very day.

Despite this first impression, though, I’ve spent most of my time inside the house the past ten years we’ve been here.

Inside. Working, usually.

And while I can’t do that much about the “working” part of things, since bills have to be paid, I decided I could do something about the “staying inside” part of things, especially now that spring is here and the weather is simply beautiful.

It’s funny how one thing leads to another, isn’t it?

Because, armed with my discovery that I like being outdoors, I’ve somehow managed to change my entire sleep cycle around.

I used to be a night owl. I’d get my second wind at around 11:00 pm and 2:00 am usually found me at my desk, working on a deadline.

But in the past two weeks, this cycle has slowly shifted. I’ve been going to bed earlier, and waking up earlier. And I’ve done this armed with only a light, loving intention to enjoy my mornings out of doors. There’s been no need for self-discipline or alarm clocks, no 30-day plan to break the late night habit.

I’ve been able to wake up earlier because I now have a morning ritual I enjoy immensely. I wake up, slip on my headphones and listen to a meditation CD for a while, and then get up, brew myself a cup of coffee, and sit outside on our side deck. Even though most of our trees are still relatively bare, waiting as they are for their leaf buds to unfurl themselves, our side deck is very private, very calm, very beautiful.

This is my morning view. I took the picture today, when the sun was out, but even in gray, cloudy weather, it’s beautiful.

My morning view

I sit on the deck, still in my bathrobe, sipping my coffee, feeling the soft breeze against my face. I don’t read or listen to an audiobook. I don’t write. I just sit there, enjoying every moment.

When I go in to get my second cup of coffee, I grab my journal, and as I savor that second cup, I write. Sometimes I’ll play instrumental music on my iPhone, but more often then not, I’m content to just listen to the birds and the wind.

It is the most amazing way to start the day. So far, it hasn’t rained during my morning ritual, but I’ve already decided a little rain won’t keep me inside.

I’ve never had a ritual quite like this before, where I set aside the time to do nothing but sit and be still. And when I’m done, my day already feels different, before it’s really started.

I’ve discovered this morning ritual so unexpectedly, it still feels like such a wonderful surprise. Do you have a morning ritual? Or maybe an evening ritual? Do you create time for yourself each day? If your days are too hectic, what kind of you-time would you love to have in your ideal world?

28 thoughts on “Morning Ritual

      1. Ann-Kat (Today, I Read...)

        I tried walking my cat once (had a leash and everything)…it didn’t work out so well.

        In any event, you have a gorgeous view. Now I just need to break my own nightowl habit and start my own morning ritual, but for some strange reason I find the night to be more peaceful; it feels safe to me and I always wind up back to being a nightowl.
        .-= Ann-Kat (Today, I Read…)´s last blog ..Book Notes: Stolen by Lucy Christopher =-.

  1. Jemi Fraser

    That’s a great ritual! I tend to take my ‘me’ time when I walk home from work. I do listen to my iPod, but I also keep it low enough to hear everything going on around me. I like wathcing the small changes in the trees & flowers & watch the people taking care of their properties. It’s great :)
    .-= Jemi Fraser´s last blog ..Celebrate Good Times – Come On! =-.

  2. Janel

    Now that spring is here, walking the dog has become my pretty regular weekday morning routine. Of course, before I get to that part I have to get the kids ready for school. Not exactly relaxing to start, but I eventually get there!
    .-= Janel´s last blog ..Microfiction Monday: 4/26/10 =-.

    1. Belle

      A smoke? I didn’t know you smoked, Steve!

      I like Coke, too, and of course, I have to have my two coffees. Oh, that reminds me of this joke I just saw somewhere (sorry to impose it on you like this, but I hardly ever remember jokes, so when I do, I just HAVE to tell them). Diner: I’ll have a Coke with that. Waiter: Would Pepsi be all right? Diner: Would paying with Monopoly money be all right?

      Hmmm. I might not have quite got the nuances of that joke. Wish I could remember where I saw it yesterday!

      1. Steve

        Well it’s not like I was going to spark up in your house. Sensei would have me in traction in the ICU, and I’d be permanent uke for aikido and karate classes. That would be ok. It’s what you would do that scares me!

        Love the joke. I’m good with virtually any fizzy beverage but Coke and Diet Pepsi are the two mains.
        .-= Steve´s last blog ..Cremation Urns…I’ve Been Busy! =-.

  3. Molly

    How wonderful that you have found a routine that works for you — and that you have such a lovely view in which to start each day.

    For years I always viewed myself as a night owl. Once I started teaching, however, I had no choice but to get up early. I have recently discovered that if I get up about an hour before I have to — I have the opportunity to wake up at a leisurely pace (for me it is drinking a cup of coffee and reading the blogs), then spend some quality time in daily devotions, and then start getting ready. I have found that I am more at peace at the start of my working day – and this tends to last throughout the day.
    .-= Molly´s last blog ..Mailbox Monday: 4.26.10 =-.

    1. Belle

      That’s exactly what I’ve been finding, Molly – I’m more at peace, more settled and serene, at the start of the day, and it does tend to last throughout the day.

    1. Belle

      Now’s such a great time for such changes, Jill, because the weather’s just so gorgeous (mind you, where you are, you probably have gorgeous weather all the time). It feels so lovely to go out and not have to face snow and frostbite …

  4. Audrey (brizmus)

    It’s like the morning version of the other ritual where you and Ward sit inside with candles and listen to e-books.
    It sounds absolutely fabulous! I also love being outdoors (even though I hate camping), and I find myself sitting outside by the lake studying everyday here. It’s wonderful!
    And your land looks like a BEAUTIFUL, wonderful place to be outside!
    .-= Audrey (brizmus)´s last blog ..Review: Define Normal by Julie Ann Peters =-.

    1. Belle

      Studying by the lake sounds absolutely gorgeous, Audrey! I never thought of it like that, but you’re right – my morning ritual is a lot like my evening ritual with Ward. Now to get that beautiful, relaxed sense flowing all day long!

  5. Melissa

    That sounds divine. I have to be at work first thing in the morning and have my coffee once I get to the office. But on the weekends I’m all about lounging on my front or back porch with coffee and a good book. I just wish I had more opportunities to do that.
    .-= Melissa´s last blog ..Book List: 3 Books That Intimidate You =-.

  6. Beth F

    Ahhhhhhhhhh. I’m relaxing just reading about your morning. I just love my mornings all alone in the house (Well Mr. BFR is here, but he sleeps late). Best part of the day. I try to work on the deck as much as possible in the summer, but I’m usually too distracted to get much done. After all, there are birds to watch and flowers to look at and an inviting wicker love seat to nap in….
    .-= Beth F´s last blog ..Today’s Read: A Gift from Brittany by Marjorie Price =-.

    1. Belle

      I’m promising myself that I’ll work outside as much as possible this summer too. Luckily, we don’t have any wicker furniture to beckon to me to sit and nap and read in!

  7. Barbara

    When it’s warm enough (not today), after Dave goes to work I like to sit in a rocker on the front porch with my second cup of coffee and the newspaper. The morning sun and our resident chipmunks scampering about put me in the proper mood for the day. On cold mornings I sit in my recliner by the bay window in back looking up at the fields and woods. I promised myself when I retired that I would never rush in the morning again unless it was absolutely necessary.
    .-= Barbara´s last blog ..Evening Out: Dinner and a Show =-.

  8. Dorte H

    Oh, what a beautiful garden!

    Our young daughters are both staying at home with us right now so my husband and I try to find some ´us-time´ some nights by going to bed early, watching a film together, or just reading quietly for an hour.
    .-= Dorte H´s last blog ..Sunshine Award =-.

  9. Kathleen

    What a wonderful gift you have given yourself by practicing this morning ritual. I really need to do something similar. There is something incredibly uplifting and centering about starting or ending a day in this fashion. I used to do something similar but it has fallen by the wayside since I started my new job that requires me to commute to work. I really need to think about how to incorporate this quiet time back into my day. I’m glad you discovered something that is just for yourself!
    .-= Kathleen´s last blog ..Read the Book AND See the Movie =-.

    1. Belle

      This morning ritual kind of snuck up on me, Kathleen. I’m still so amazed! I hope you’ll be able to incorporate your own quiet time back into each day.

  10. Cat Woods

    Belle, so happy for you. I discovered my morning coffee with DH at about 6:15 am during spring, summer and fall. I wouldn’t trade it for the world. It’s so peaceful and a great way to jump start the day–in a quiet fashion. It’s fortifying.

    Your view is amazing, btw.
    .-= Cat Woods´s last blog ..Do you know who you write for? =-.

    1. Belle

      That sounds divine, Cat! What do you do in the winter? I love my morning ritual so much now, I really want to continue a version of it even when it gets really cold outside.

  11. Pingback: A New (Old) Writing Goal - Ms. Bookish

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