Whether you realize it or not, you probably already have a regular morning ritual.
You might wake up, use the bathroom, make some coffee or tea, prepare and eat breakfast, shower and get dressed.
Maybe you include spiritual practices like morning meditation, prayer, reading or journaling.
You see, a ritual is a series of acts that you repeatedly take in a prescribed order.
Whatever your morning may include, you already have a rhythm and an order to how you start many of your days.
I bring up this idea of morning rituals because some of my clients ask me what tips I could offer for starting a regular spiritual practice in the morning.
My question back to them is, “What are you already doing in your mornings? What rituals do you have in place?”
If you’re looking to introduce a new activity into your life, it’s helpful to recognize what routines you already have in place.
Recognizing your routines does two things for you.
One, you realize and appreciate that you already have regular practices in place.
Some people think it will be challenging to maintain an everyday practice, like meditating for 10 minutes or journaling.
But, in fact, you already have everyday practices (like brushing your teeth or taking a shower), and you didn’t realize these were practices you initially had to learn and had to give consistent energy for them to become a habit.
Two, once you recognize what your regular practices are and the order in which they happen, you can decide where you can insert your new spiritual practice and how long you want to do it.
For example, say you want to start meditating more regularly in the morning.
Figure out how much time you’d like to start meditating. Is it 5 minutes? 10 minutes? 20 to 30 minutes?
(For people new to a meditation practice, I advise starting with a few minutes and doing it more consistently, rather than aiming to do an hour everyday, so you first build up a consistent habit.)
Then, write out what your regular morning ritual already looks like.
In other words, list out the activities just as I mentioned at the beginning of this article: wake up, use the bathroom, drink water, make and eat breakfast, read the paper, watch the news, shower, get dressed, etc.
Now, next to each of those activities, write down how much time on average you take to do these activities.
Writing down times for each of these activities is very eye opening for some people because you might be needing more time than you thought you used.
That’s why some people always feel rushed in the morning, because they don’t allow themselves the time they thought they needed to engage in all their morning rituals.
After you list out your existing morning ritual activities and the amounts of time they each take, then figure out where you’d like to insert your new spiritual practice and start testing it out.
Do you want to meditate before you eat, or after you eat? You get to choose!
(And make sure you increase the total amount of time for your morning ritual as you incorporate this new practice. Sometimes this means getting up a little earlier to make this happen.)
Here's the thing. Even if you decide not to introduce a new morning spiritual practice, the exercise of uncovering your regular morning ritual can be wonderfully surprising.
You get to learn more about who you are and the morning rhythm by which you operate.
If you’d like extra credit for this assignment, see if you can uncover what your evening ritual looks like.
Overall, this is an exercise in bringing greater awareness to how you create your life.
And once you have greater awareness, you can decide if you want to keep how you do things, or if you want to change it up in any way.
Either way, you get to choose how you live your life, rather than operating on auto-pilot.
The spiritual truth behind today’s article is this:
You are imbued with the divine gift of choice. When you realize that you are always at choice, you can more easily embrace the truth that freedom is already yours.
Here’s an affirmation that you can use to support you:
My mornings reflect how I choose to start each day. Today I choose to say yes to life. In return, life says yes to me.
When you wake up in the mornings, how are you choosing to say yes to life, more consciously and more freely?
Abundant Blessings and Namaste.
This week is Alexander Hamilton's birthday, and this week Lin-Manuel Miranda and the cast of the Broadway hit musical Hamilton opened a 23-show run in Puerto Rico to raise funds for artists and arts institutions in Puerto Rico, especially important in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria.
On CBS This Morning, Lin-Manuel Miranda (the creative genius behind Hamilton) got a surprise video greeting from his 8th grade teacher, Dr. Rembert Herbert.
Dr. Herbert said this in his greeting:
"Lin, this is your old English teacher, Dr. Herbert, here. I'm sure you didn't imagine when you were in the eighth grade and set some of 'The Chosen' to music that it would lead you where you are today but congratulations. I've heard a lot about what you're doing in Puerto Rico, and I wish you well in those endeavors and continued great success down there."
With tears in his eyes, Lin-Manuel told CBS News' David Begnaud, "Dr. Herbert's the reason I'm sitting here talking to you."
He continued, "I wrote a musical instead of doing my homework for his class in eighth grade. He said, 'You could be good at this, and you should stop hibernating in my class, and you should be doing this.' Because we had a student-written theater club at my high school and Rembert's the one who nudged me in that direction and he sort of changed my life forever with that."
I share this story because it makes me wonder where would Lin-Manuel Miranda be today without those encouraging words from Dr. Herbert.
Dr. Herbert's seeing the gift in Lin-Manuel and nudging him to stop hibernating and hiding out are lessons we can take to heart in our own lives.
Where in your life are you hibernating?
I would bet that there's something that you're really good at, and there's a passion for life that's burning inside you.
I would also venture to guess that there's a joy and aliveness in you that's wanting to be shared, expressed and experienced more fully.
And I would also guess that in some part of your life, like in Dr. Herbert's class, you most likely are doing someone else's idea of homework that's been assigned to you, whether that's working in a job you don't like or saying yes to things that don't light up your soul.
The Universe is nudging me to ask you:
Where are you being called to write the musical in your heart and share more of who you are called to be in the world?
I encourage you to ponder these questions and take them to heart, because the world is calling for you to show up more brightly and joyously, just as you truly are.
With that, let's wish a big happy birthday to Alexander Hamilton!
And let's give thanks to Lin-Manuel Miranda for shining a light on both his and Hamilton's gifts with the world.
Now let's shine a light on yours.
Abundant Blessings and Namaste.
If you didn't know, Richard and I got to see the Hamilton musical last year and go backstage to meet the actors afterwards. If you'd like to see pictures from that night and read more about the spiritual lessons shared from the actor who played Hamilton, please visit this post here.
Have you ever declared a new goal or resolution for the year, only to find yourself slipping within a week or two?
It happens to the best of us, even with all of our good intentions.
I’ll share with you a few tips that might help you. But first, a quick story.
Yesterday, we had a couple of our friends come over our place for tamales and eggs. One of our friends offered to poach some eggs for us, using our stainless-steel pot.
The poached eggs were delicious! But unfortunately, the cooking process left some caked on egg at the bottom of the pot.
Our friend mixed vinegar and water to soak the pot. A few hours later, Richard tried scrubbing the pot and still had a hard time cleaning it out.
Richard decided to soak the pot some more by putting in something in the pot. (I’m not sure what it was, but when I saw the pot this morning, it was filled with a bluish liquid.)
By the time I got to wash the morning dishes, the egg was still caked on the bottom of the pot!
I poured a little hot water and started scrubbing away. The eggs stubbornly stuck to the bottom.
After putting in some elbow grease, I noticed some of the egg started to come off. So I kept on scrubbing.
After what seemed an eternity, little by little, I started to see specks of shiny steel visible on the bottom of the pot.
But as I continued to scrub, some thoughts started to arise:
And yet, with each of these thoughts, other thoughts would emerge and take their place:
I continued to scrub until...voila!, the pot was finally clean!
In my mind, I thought it took me about 30 minutes to scrub this pot.
All in all, I think the whole process only took me 5 minutes.
I share this story because I see this same pattern of thoughts come up when I’ve attempted to achieve some of my goals. You may have experienced this yourself.
You set a goal for yourself with great gusto and determination, saying “This is the year I’m going to do it!”
And then, things happen that you didn't expect.
It might be harder than you originally imagined. Obstacles may pop up.
All of a sudden, the goal starts to slip away.
That's where my morning pot scrubbing gave me some insights and lessons to share with you that you might apply when you find it challenging to stick to your goals:
And here’s the thing to remember in the midst of all this, and it’s a spiritual Truth:
The goal that you’re wanting to achieve is born from a deeper desire within you to experience and express more Good in your life.
What is that Good you’re wanting to experience in your goal?
For me, cleaning the pot meant seeing beauty in our kitchen and experiencing ease when I needed to cook the next time.
You might have different goals.
If you have a health goal, the Good you desire might be a feeling of vibrancy and vitality in your life.
If you have a career or business goal, the Good you desire might be experiencing more freedom and purpose.
If you have a relationship goal, the Good you desire might be sharing connection and experiencing greater authentic love in your life.
If you have a spiritual goal, the Good you desire might be awakening your own senses to the grandness of Life.
When you recognize and remind yourself of the underlying Good inherent in your goal, you touch the vision of Why you set the goal in the first place.
Your Why can be the greatest motivating force to keep you moving forward.
As we embark on this new year, here is my prayer for you:
May your heart guide you with clarity and joy to experience and to express more Good in your life.
Abundant Blessings, Namaste and Happy New Year!
I’d love to hear if your thoughts about today's post, and if you have any other tips for sticking to your goals. Let me know by leaving a comment below.
Joselito is a spiritual life coach helping people create a purposeful, spiritual path to career and financial freedom.
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