Mornings, by their very nature, are magickal. They are a symbolic clean slate; a blank page; a do-over; an opportunity to create an entirely new and improved experience of life.
Yet so many of us resist this powerful opportunity to co-create something magickal with the Universe every day. We curse our alarms. We pull the bedcovers over our heads as the morning Sun comes streaming through our windows. We boldly declare that we are NOT morning people.
And I get it. I have had moments when I haven’t quite been so appreciative of Morning’s early and cheerful arrival. But these moments are most often due to a lack of adequate restful sleep and recovery from the day before. This can be addressed. We can go to bed a little earlier. We can look away from our screens an hour or two before bed. We can journal or meditate to quiet our monkey minds before sleep. There are so many things we can do to have better sleep. But that’s another post …
This post is about the potential for greatness that lives only in the morning, and how we can put that potential to use to help us live more blissful lives.
Now, just a reminder for those of you who may be new here: Blissful living is not about being shiny and happy ALL THE TIME. A full spectrum of emotional experience and expression are necessary for a full and healthy life. Blissful living is simply about finding the gifts in all the moments—the comfortable and the not-so-much—in order to be as fully present as possible, to encourage our own personal evolution, and to feel as vital and engaged in our lives as we desire to be. Okay, now that’s settled, let’s get into some suggestions for how you might harness the magick of your mornings to make your life more blissful.
Caveat: This list of suggestions for embracing the magick of the morning is hardly an exhaustive one. These are just a few of my personal favorite tools and practices. Please give yourself permission to take what works, dismiss what doesn’t, and to add and tweak as desired to make YOUR morning the best it can be for YOU.
Wake up to something nicer than an ear-splitting buzzing alarm. Okay, I know for many of us, waking on time without an alarm or particular cue of some sort is impractical, if not impossible, under the current conditions of modern life. However, we can choose alarms and cues that are less jolting and more supportive of a gentle rousing from sleep. The simplest option is to change the ringtone of your alarm to something that is loud enough to wake you, but not so obnoxious that you want to throw it across the room after the near-heart-attack response you have to it’s interruption of your dream state. Another option is to try one of the light-based wake systems that gradually increase the amount of light in your sleep space in order to bring you slowly to the waking state. These machines are designed to mimic the natural rhythm of the Sun rising and can help you wake a little easier than a stark contrast of dark room to glaring artificial light-filled room. Waking to the day in these more supportive and less jarring ways, can help get us started on a calm and positive footing.
Hydrate upon rising. When we wake up in the morning, we’ve been, essentially, in a draught for the duration of our sleeping hours. The body is dried out and slowed down. Hydrating first thing can encourage the body to open up and expand naturally and easily. It can also give a gentle kick start to our body’s systems, especially our systems of elimination. Taking in a large glass of filtered or spring water upon rising is also a great way to fight dull skin and wrinkles. Personally, I drink 20 ounces of filtered water just after waking. Shortly after that I drink either a Sweet Heat Elixir (hot beverage made with filtered water, lemon juice and pulp, pure maple syrup and cayenne pepper) or a watery fruit smoothie, such as watermelon and strawberries. This ensures that I am hydrating from the get-go and encourages better functioning and more clarity throughout the whole day.
Journal and/or Meditate. There are many options here, but the idea is to invite a mind dump first thing in the morning. Just as the body needs to clear itself after a night of uninterrupted physical processing, our minds/emotions need to clear after a night of dreaming and thinking and feeling. In the chaos of our modern cultures, many of us find it difficult to shut off our minds and emotions as we lay our heads down to sleep. This means a lot of us are busy working through our ‘stuff’ all night long, with or without the participation of our conscious minds. Journaling and meditating are two time-honored ways to provide space for moving through all this flotsam. You can journal your thoughts and feelings; write about your dreams; do some free-prose where you just write whatever pops into your head without feeling a need to arrange it or edit it. You can draw instead of using words. There’s no one perfect way to journal. Same with meditation. There are many different styles of practice including, but not limited to, mindfulness, loving kindness (metta), laughing, and focused gazing (tratak). Choose your own adventure.
Move Your Body. Whether you go slow and stretchy or high intensity, moving your body in the morning can be a game changer in how you experience your day. Conscious morning movements encourage your circulation to increase bringing more oxygen-rich blood to your tissues and increasing the efficacy of your body’s detoxification processes. All that equals happier and healthier tissues, plus more energy efficiency and ease of movement for you. This increase in circulation also delivers more oxygen to your brain bringing you more clarity of mind as you set out to tackle the day’s tasks. Even by starting the day with simple range of motion movements for your primary joints, you can encourage the suppleness of your connective tissue which will help to ward off the ubiquitous stiffness that so many people experience after prolonged periods of stillness. Basically, it’s good body maintenance to move your body daily, and morning time is an excellent time to do it.
Smile. This hack is often dismissed as being too “prozac” or “Pollyanna”, but there is a very real power in smiling in the morning. There have been many scientific studies on the power of the simple act of smiling to affect our biochemistry and elevate our mood. So, it makes sense to take a moment to smile at the very beginning of the day. It sets the emotional stage for the entire day. Remember, morning is a blank page … we may as well christen it with something positive. It doesn’t mean you have to be happy all day. You don’t even have to feel happy when you smile. It’s not about forcing a false sense of positivity. It’s simply a ritual to invite more equanimity and acceptance into your day’s experience. Try it … you might like it.