Win Your Mornings – Collect Yourself!
A couple of months ago, I wrote a blog post about how collecting rituals help you turn morning chaos into a win for you and your children.
Part two to that blog is much more personal. It is the individual work that I have found necessary to sustain the practice of collecting and attaching to my family. This is simply the work that I would qualify as the most important work in my life.
I am convinced that you cannot collect your family
until you collect yourself.
About 7 years ago, I was just beginning to get back into the workforce after a decade of being at home with my four children. I was enjoying working outside of the home and eager to add more hours to my week as my littlest aged into the preschool/daycare program at our school.
With the addition of more work, I began to feel the added stress of trying to stay afloat in the other areas of my life. I started feeling like I was losing touch with who I was and my ability to take care of myself and lead my family.
I’ll never forget our Chief Learning Officer, Mrs. V. saying to me, “Waking up before anyone else in the house to enjoy some quiet time is the best advice I could give you.” I hated that advice. I was not a morning person. I wished there were other words that had come out of her mouth – any other words. I wished, most of all, that her advice would have landed with the dissonance of misaligned advice that I could just ignore. Annoyed, I knew that creating a morning ritual was exactly what I needed to do in order to maintain my well-being for the sake of my family.
While it is an imperfect practice and there have been months where it has fallen to the wayside, my morning ritual has shifted from a painful, foreign new habit to become a beloved security blanket; soft, well-worn and oh-so-familiar.
The benefits, for me, far outweigh the pain of waking up before the kids in the dark, cold, early hours of a new day.
- It collects me. My ritual brings me home and helps me recollect what matters most. It reminds me what I know for sure – that I am a beloved child of God and that we are all connected.
- It roots me. During the bitter, winter seasons of life, my morning ritual has anchored me. When life falls apart all around me, my morning ritual is a constant that I have clung to.
- It moves me forward. My ritual includes reading, writing, meditation and movement. My spirit, mind and body are learning and expanding, which moves my life forward.
My morning ritual has shifted and evolved over the years. And that’s okay. Depending on the age and stage of your little ones, your morning ritual may be a simple act of “small moments, many times”, when the luxury of a spacious practice is impossible. That’s fantastic! Do what you can, when you can. Be kind and gentle with the reality of your limitations.
An example of a “small moments, many times” ritual might look like:
- Taking three, deep belly breaths before you get out of bed.
- Thinking of as many things you are grateful for as possible while you brush your teeth.
- Repeat a simple mantra like, “All is well”, at specific times of the day.
- Looking up at the sky, notice the feeling of air on your skin, and the sounds around you when you are on a walk.
If you are in a stage of life where you can wake up before the kids, a more spacious morning ritual might look like:
- Reading an excerpt from a favourite book or morning devotional (my favourite is Richard Rohr’s Daily Meditations from the Center for Action and Contemplation).
- Journaling about whatever comes to mind.
- Drawing freely and expressing yourself creatively.
- Listening to music or an inspiring podcast.
- Moving and stretching your body as you sync your breath with your movements.
- Sitting in silence for 20 minutes.
- Practicing gratitude and setting an intention for your day.
- Enjoying a hot cup of coffee or tea on your favourite chair.
In collecting yourself, you create the root system to extend a feeling of home and connection to your family.
What would your morning ritual look like right now?
I challenge you to try a morning ritual for a month and let me know what you notice! I’d love to hear what you learn.
Making Learning Visible,
Heather Sandager, Community Developer