This morning resembled most of my mornings for the last half a dozen years.
Wake up at 5:00am.
Enjoy the stillness of dawn.
Coffee with Chris.
(And I am in our outside living room.)
Chris takes the dogs for some hill running and I pour my second cup of coffee.
There are slight variations in this routine. For example, on weekdays, I prep for lessons as well and on the weekend, I read and listen to podcasts instead. Sundays, Wednesdays, and Fridays I also exercise for no more than 20 minutes. Some days call for meditation with my eyes open and other days call for the traditional sitting with eyes closed.
We found what works for us at this stage in our lives is the early morning. I have written about my mornings before here and how they represented a new beginning ritual for me. I loved sitting at the window staring out at the neighbor’s house across the street as the last streetlight flicker off, a signal of possibility for a fresh start.
My days seemed ordinary with five children but only if I saw them as that. Mornings gave me an opportunity to set the intention for paying attention to the simple extraordinaries that perhaps I would be the only person in the entire world to see them as extraordinary like this moment with a brother and sister in 2009 when he was first born:
This moment returned a few months ago but I would have missed it had I been moving too fast in the morning and missed the life that was around me. This is the same brother and the same sister ten years later:
Now waking up in our jungle home and sitting in our outside living room, I regard my mornings in an almost religious sense. The word sacred even falls short. They are my tiny miracles. My secret salves. My reminders to slow down and look.
The hummingbird and the Morpho make their way in front of me every single morning. I have never noted the actual time, only that when the sun comes over my left shoulder, I should look up from my book or my writing and watch. The Jungle turns a green I can only describe as electric, almost neon; a green that when I close my eyes, I can feel the green. And then, as if on cue from the change in vibrancy, the bright blue of the Morpho flies from right to left, followed by the hummingbird who feasts on the redhead bush in front of me.
Even though this seems like a routine, I sometimes miss the moment or like last week, there are three Morphos that fly left to right together.
Here is a picture of my sacred items for my morning ritual from 2014:
And I took this picture this morning:
My mornings are a non-negotiable part of my daily life. When I decided to wake up early and greet the day with genuine reverence and gratitude, my life changed. A baptism by light every day. Washed and purified clean ready to try again.
One of my favourite writers, Diane Ackerman, wrote this poem:
In the name of daybreak
and the eyelids of morning
and the wayfaring moon
and the night when it departs,
I swear I will not dishonor
my soul with hatred
but offer myself humbly
as a guardian of nature,
as a healer of misery,
as a messenger of wonder
as an architect of peace.
In the name of the sun and its minors
and the day that embraces it
and the cloud veils drawn over it
and the uttermost night
and the male and the female
and the plants bursting with seed
and the crowning seasons of the firefly
and the apple, I will honor all life
—wherever and in whatever form
it may dwell—on Earth my home,
and in the mansions of the stars.
You will make mistakes when you are with your kids every day. You will be impatient and exhausted. They will get in the way. You will lose focus. You will yell. They will yell. The house will get disorganized. You will not be able to have that phone call or zoom meeting that you needed to do. You will not have everything go according to plan – no matter what homeschool curriculum or online homeschool schedule suggests. There are days when it will all fall apart.
And on those days, you can remember your morning ritual. It may just look like one sip of coffee you can savour with your eyes closed right before the toddler wakes up. It may look like writing down the mess of voices in your head for ten minutes before you have to check email and get sh*it done. It may look like cuddling in bed with the littles or your partner before you begin again. Whatever it looks like, do it again and again.
Show up the next day and stick to it.