Morning Rituals to Deepen Integration Process
The soft morning light pours itself onto the wooden floors, cascading a waterfall of light particles onto my morning tea set, beckoning me to awaken to a new day. Our eyes blink open like a soft gush of swan wings. Light floods into our pupils, opening and expanding the universe within.
Mornings are one of the most sacred times of the day. To rise with the sun and awaken peacefully and naturally is one of the most joyful experiences of being human. The soft receptivity of our body awareness and the luminosity of our surround provides enough inspiration for a thousand songs.
Unfortunately modern society has demanded a renunciation of the natural unfolding that humans have enjoyed for milliner in the world of alarm clocks, pounding large mugs of black coffee, and heading into morning traffic and long commutes into an indoor office space for 8 hours a day.
As part of this immersion process, I’d like to invite us to reclaim the beauty of sacred mornings, and give ourselves the permission to fully immerse in a morning practice for the next few weeks. Winter is a beautiful time to invite in a slower pace, more nourishing morning practice of allowing space to reflect, write, drink tea, and rest in being. I want to offer an overview of my morning practice as inspiration, as well as a few suggestions that you can choose if you’d like to experiment with in your own practice.
An Offering: Ritual Cards
I have made the following cards as an experiment for reminders to self, especially when traveling. I print them out and put them on my alter. While traveling, I also have them loaded as PDFs in my iBooks and will open them up on my phone or iPad and put them on my alter. Feel free to use these however you would like!
Morning Ritual Sequence
The sequence below is my personal Morning Practice that generally takes 1.5-2 hours, but can be modified depending on your schedule. If you need to shorten, I will typically replace my Tea Meditation with a shorter sitting meditation. If you need to, you can do your Morning Pages at the end of the day before bed as well.
RISING (10 min)
I generally arise with the sun, between 7-8am. In the winter, I allow my body to rest as much as it needs, so the last few days I’ve need to wake around 8:30am. I never set an alarm; let the body arise naturally.
I start with Purifying the Body to prepare for meditation. This is an ancient practice in temples of washing the hands, feet, and face before entering a sacred space. I will face my face, brush teeth, scrape tongue, shower, brush hair, and clear sinuses with Nasya oil, and finally massage oil into the body.
Alkaline water: I start with a large 24oz. glass of clean, filtered water. Following that, I will have a glass of water with freshly squeezed lemon and a touch of apple cider vinegar to alkalize the body. Typically after drinking, I’ll need to urinate to clear bladder.
Make sure your phone is turned off to “Do Not Disturb” mode. I would highly encourage not responding to any texts, emails or checking news until after you’ve completed your practice.
LIGHT MOVEMENT (15 min)
To awaken the subtle and physical body, I do a morning Tai Chi sequence and 10 min of light yoga each morning, preferably outdoors. Even if you don’t have a yoga practice, just use your intuition to stretch your body where it wants. Listen to where is wants to move and be stretched. I can recommend ALOMOVES for wonderfully produced online yoga and meditation classes.
I would highly recommend doing your movement outside to feel your feet on the Earth (read more about “earthing” as a practice) and feel the morning sun on your skin. The heliotherapy has enormous benefits to getting your metabolism moving and has tons of health benefits. opening up windows if you are practicing inside to let fresh air inside.
If your body feels called to more cardio movement, I will go for a short jog outside or put on some energizing music to dance to.
I like to put on some ambient instrumental music (non-lyrical) to tune into the subtle energy body. Tune into my Dayrise playlist on Spotify for inspiration.
TEA MEDITATION (15-30 min)
Put on a kettle of water to a heaping boil, or 205 degrees if you are using an electric kettle.
Light candle and incense. Offer fresh flowers to alter, or refresh water in vase.
In whatever practice you have, drink at least 3 bowls of tea in meditative silence. Bring your total awareness to each gulp, each sensation. I practice bringing the tea down my throat and into my Dantian (the pelvic floor / sacral center) to awaken the center channel of the body (the chakra stack).
Sit in meditation for at least 10 min. after drinking tea to bring the body into full awakened presence.
If you use divination tools like cards or the I Ching, I will follow the tea with a daily divination for guidance. Ask a specific question, or merely ask “What miracle will unfold today?”
Offer gratitude blessings.
MORNING PAGES (30 min)
I practice the Artist Way of morning pages. Simply, it is to write 3 full pages of stream of consciousness first thing in the morning to clear the cobwebs and find your voice at the start of each day. This also helps integrate the previous day and presence your psyche to the day ahead. I recommend writing by hand in a journal of your choice, or if you much prefer digital writing, I’d recommend the app DayOne to catalog your journal entries, which is helpful for organizing later on.
This morning during my morning practice, while drinking tea, I picked up the book “The Spell of the Sensuous” by David Abrams and flipped open to this page. I’d love to share some passages with you around the virtue of writing. It reminded me so deeply why I believe in writing. Like reading, I believe writing is a dying art form, and one of the most fundamental practices for awakening the soul and embodying our innate wisdom. I hope that it inspires you to translate your psyche into form, to articulate what is only yours to say, and express in a way that no other soul can.
“Writing, like human language, is engendered not only within the human community but between the human community and the animate landscape, born of the interplay and contact between the human and the more-than-human world. The earthly terrain in which we find ourselves, and upon which we depend for all our nourishment, is shot through with suggestive scrawls and traces, from the sinuous calligraphy of rivers winding across the land, inscribing arroyos and canyons into the parched earth of the desert, to the black slash burned by lightning into the trunk of an old elm. The swooping flight of birds is a kind of cursive script written on the wind.”
“As we have already seen, the process of learning to read and to write the alphabet engenders a new, profoundly reflexive, sense of self. The capacity to view and even to dialogue with one’s own words after writing them down, or even in the process of writing them down, enables a new sense of autonomy and independence from others, and even from the sensuous surroundings that had earlier been one’s constant interlocutor. The fact that one’s scripted words can be returned to and pondered at an time that one chooses, regardless of when, or in what situation, they were first recorded, grants a timeless quality to this new reflective self, a sense of the relative independence of one’s verbal, speaking self from the breathing body with its shifting needs. The literate self cannot help but feel its own transcendence and timelessness relative to the fleeting world of corporeal experience.
This new, seemingly autonomous, reflective awareness is called by Socrates, the psyche, a term he thus twists from its earlier Homeric significance as the invisible breath that animates the living body and that remains, as kind of wraith or ghost, after the body’s death. The term psyche was derived from an older Greek term, psychein, which meant “to breathe” or “to blow”. For Plato, as for Socrates, the psyche is now that aspect of oneself that is refined and strengthened by turning away from the ordinary sensory world in order to contemplate the intelligible Ideas, the pure and eternal forms that, alone, truly exist. The Socratic-Platonic psyche, in other words, is none other than the literate intellect, that part of the self that is born and strengthened in relation to the written letters.”
– The Spell of the Sensuous, by David Abrams
ORIENT (10 min)
After Morning Pages, I feel ready to orient to the day ahead. If you are with someone, you can use the Gut Check process that I’ve outlined in the card deck. If you are alone, I have this worksheet that is helpful for getting clear and aligned for the day with a series of questions that I answer. These are all optional, and completely depends on how you like to orient to the day.
The most important aspect of this process is to get clear on SpaceTime (your calendar that day) and Priorities (what is most important to focus your attention on that day).
The simplest version of the process would be to:
Check calendar and envision your perfect day. Visualize how it will flow and how you want to feel. See yourself easefully moving between modes and meetings, see how you will get from A to B, and see yourself succeeding in each interaction and meeting.
Make 3 post-it notes with your top 3 priorities to accomplish that day. If you have “Extra Credit” write those down in your task management, but the key is to focus on those 3 tasks first, and then once they are completed, then you can move to the Extra Credit.
MORNING NOURISHMENT (10 min)
Lots of people ask me about my nutrition and diet. The real truth is that it is a constantly shifting and intuitive process. I’ve put together another document on my current nourishment flow — including a recipe for my delicious cacao elixir and tonics, plus links to buy ingredients — called “Nourishment”.
And now you can begin your day, dive into communications and start your day feeling grounding, clear and creatively inspired, knowing that you have nourished and loved yourself so that you can give to others more fully and generously.