This post is about a set of morning rituals that keep me centered, focused, and present throughout most days.
I’m a fan of rituals, I ritualize things like taking a hot shower or traditional African things like sitting my daughters between my thighs as I groom their locs and listen to their stories.
I have a personal retreat client that I suggested morning ritualization to recently, and I’m getting back into the flow of mine, so it’s being offered here as an example of how one woman centers herself in the morning.
I think being able to ground yourself in the morning, before you get into the thick of your day, is a really effective way to tap into your personal magic.
For me, (and for a lot of other people) a morning ritual sets up my mental space to be so centered, so focused, so present, that I can focus on being productive in my work, present for my daughters as part of an unschooling family, and available for my personal interests and relationships. Living this way is the reason I left Corporate America, stopped pursuing a law degree, and wrote my first book.
I wanted stop feeling jealous of people I saw sitting at a public park in play clothes at 1 o’ clock in the goddamn afternoon. I wanted their life, but not really.
What I wanted was to own my time,
to decide what I did with that time,
to do things that mattered with that time,
to travel more,
to manage my own life,
to actually own my freedom.
And I do now; I’m thankful for that. Digital nomad is an option I gladly embrace; my sanity and clarity depend on it. I shed a lot and grew a lot to go where I’m heading now, and that came at a cost. I let go of a lot of not-it shit, ways that I had been out of fear. There were empty spaces that were formerly filled. Filled with shit that wasn’t the real me, but still filled, and the new emptiness made me feel at times that I was floating around without a center, without a core feeling or value that made me whatever I was.
When I created a simple spirituality course online to explore that very thing, more than 1500 people took that course, and a lot of those students emailed me telling me about their own struggles with feeling spiritually grounded after ditching the belief system they were raised in.
Sometimes, we don’t feel connected to the rituals and traditions we were raised in, but we’re not sure how to create our own. Some of us yearn for a familiar set of actions that feels like God and groundedness for us.
And some of us decide to make our own; to ritualize moments and mantras that feed our souls.
Here are mine. Tell me yours.
1. Give attention to my dreams
Remember what I dreamed, write down or voice record whatever I remember. Check in with my thoughts, let my mind roam, write down stuff I want to be sure to remember later. Journal a bit, if words want to be written out.
2. Breathe deliberately
I take deep belly breaths, listening to myself breathe, filling my belly with air when I inhale, flattening out my belly when I exhale. Here, I deliberately decide what I want to give me attention to throughout the day.
3. Check my phone
For missed calls or messages from my mom or best friend. I don’t go on social media here because I want to stay completely in my own mindscape.
4. Make my bed
My grandmothers want this and I offer it willingly. It feels like a cultural responsibility that I value. I imagine women way before me making up the bed. I don’t aim for perfect, either. I just line stuff up, pull and yank, straighten pillows, and step back to smile at my first completed task of the day. And some days, it’s my only completed task.
5. Sweep floors
When I sweep a room in my house, I feel like I’m doing a moving gratitude meditation. I feel good about having a space of my own to sweep. We travel often, so our places vary, which feeds my sense of curiosity perfectly. I focus on gratitude, for my health, for my family, for my ability to write and read, successful squat workouts, and coconut oil—you know, the basics.
6. Revisit my mindscape + engage in wash/brush
Did anything noteworthy show up while I swept? If so, I write that down. Then I do the wash face, brush teeth routine.
7. Write, dammit. Write
I like to write at least 500 words between 7AM and 9AM; that’s a recent pattern, and I’m feelin’ it! I just riff on a topic, or I open up a piece-in-progress. It’s me watering my garden. In my garden, there are stories, essays, ideas, outlines, and I look at them daily. Some days I spend time with one of them, or three of them. Other days, new ones take up my time. But this process, using Evernote to track my ideas and outlines, helps me practice my writing weekly, sometimes daily. With completed pieces to pitch or to add to my online portfolios.
8. Make a fruit smoothie
Mine is super easy. Bananas, coconut water, almond milk, frozen raspberries, frozen blueberries. Then, add kale or spinach, fresh ginger, and a ton of milled flaxseed.
9. Have a serving of social media
Peek in on Instagram and check in with my WhatsApp groups. Doing this quells my curiosity, and I’m able to move them from the center of my mind and focus on what I want to explore that day.
10. Start my first ball rolling
Evernote is the closest thing I have to a physical kingdom. When I open that application, I know I’m about to lean in on something with more than just curiosity. Once I go over my goals and task lists in Evernote, I stand a great chance at making the most out of my day. To-do and To-feel lists are how I spend the first 15 to 30 minutes of my time once I open up my Evernote kingdom doors.
Some mornings, I’ll exercise right after I have my smoothie.
Some mornings, I end up writing straight into the afternoon.
Some mornings, I skip Steps 2, 3, and 5 and I just write.
Some mornings, I exercise after Step 5, and skip Step 7 altogether.
Create a morning ritual that will work on weekends, too.
More good stuff about morning mojo
Five Morning Rituals That Help Me Win the Day
I don’t feel like I’m in competition with my day, but I do connect with the idea of focused attention to make time for the tasks that are most aligned with my goals.
and the update:
Typical Elements of a Good Morning Ritual
How to Craft a Morning Ritual to Supercharge Productivity and Your Online Business
On Choosing Which Frog to Eat
The Morning Routines of the Most Successful People