Have you ever noticed that if you start your morning centered with a clear intention that your entire day flows better and feels more balanced? This January, I recommitted to my morning centering ritual and it’s been everything.
After all, your mornings set the tone for your days and your days set the tone for your life.
Think about how much better it would be to flow through each day in a way that’s balanced and harmonious rather than falling victim to the old cliche of what “side of the bed you rolled out on.”
And the good news is that this morning ritual doesn’t have to be a burden - it is downright interesting!
It’s quite incredible that something with such a minimal time commitment (it need not be more than 6 minutes, but of course it can be longer if you like) yields a payoff that can literally change your entire life.
Here is how the ritual works:
The Bare Minimum: Meditate for 6-10 minutes As soon as you wake, do what you’ve got to do in the bathroom, and then immediately sit on your meditation cushion or blanket with your smart phone (still in airplane mode… key maneuver!) or a timer set to 6 minutes.
You can even ask Siri to set a timer and she’ll do it for you!
There are also apps that will sound a meditation bell or a chime when the time is up. One of my favorites is the Enso app. This screenshot shows you how easy it is to drag the timers around. Enso also stores your progress day-by-day, so you can track how many minutes you've meditated over time.
Getting still for these few moments and watching your breath is a little miracle.
So many of us are plugged into our mobile devices and computers all day but when you meditate you open your mind to the quiet of spirit and you can unleash the floodgates of your insight and potential.
It has only been during my meditation practice that creative ideas flow toward me. It's almost as if the ideas are saying, "Where have you been all day on that smartphone? We have been waiting to come in, but your door was locked!" (Thank you Elizabeth Gilbert for so skillfully articulating this phenomenon for us).
Optional Add-ons to the Bare Minimum There are three little activities I like to add on to the bare minimum ritual either before or after the meditation. Sometimes I will add on just one, sometimes all three. Do these when you want to boost the direction of your life, if you are on a major mission to achieve a goal, or if you are feeling overwhelmed or unsure in life.
- Celebrate & Write Down Your Accomplishments In a special journal, write down your recent accomplishments, big and small. This can include simple things like cooking healthy food, being kind to others, or having movie night with your cat, to big things like landing a new job or being interviewed by Oprah. We often dwell on our failures, while forgetting to celebrate our wins, which creates this false illusion that our life is not going as we want it to. The process of recognizing and writing our accomplishments down reminds us of the good we are already doing and helps to keep us on an upswing.
- Express Gratitude Write 5 things you are grateful for in a journal or use another of my favorites apps, the Gratitude! App, to record what and whom you appreciate. Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you already know how effective it is to have a gratitude practice in terms of keeping you positive and plugged into the spirit of abundance. The morning is the perfect time to jot down these thoughts.
- Visualization Invest 3-5 minutes visualizing the specific goals and dreams you are working to manifest. See yourself enjoying the process of accomplishing each goal. Imagine that your goal has already been realized, and feel the emotions you’ll be feeling at that time. Visualize the specifics - who’s with you, where are you, what are you doing? The nice thing about visualization is that if you’ve only got 6 minutes to dedicate to your morning ritual - but you’re hell bent on achieving these goals - you can combine the visualization piece with your 6 minute meditation. However if you can, it’s ideal to give more time to each.
For an idea of how these add-ons work, this class on YogaGlo touches on these elements.
A word about kids being in the picture....(skip ahead if you don't have any) Now, I’m guessing if you are a parent reading this, you might be doubtful that you’d ever be able to get 6 minutes to yourself in the morning when your kids are up at the crack of dawn needing your attention.
We’ve all heard of those uber devoted yogis who awake before their kids at 4am to do their practice. Please do not feel guilty if that is not your jam!
It’s possible to get those 6 minutes or more in each day, even with your kids already out of bed. It involves asking them for help and providing a bit of structure around your family’s morning routine. Many children actually thrive off of having structure, even if they resist you at first.
Let your kids know that you will be meditating each morning so they know the plan (attach a specific time to it if you feel it will help). Tell your babes why this time is important for your health and your sanity, and explain how it will benefit them when you can show up for them with more peace and clarity.
Of course this depends on how old your children are and how independent they might be at this stage in their lives… but you could establish some simple boundaries by asking them to wake up and take care of their own morning ritual while mommy and/or daddy are meditating - as a side note, this also works if you need to sleep in or take a shower!
Post a simple schedule or checklist in a place they can see, so it’s easy for them to remember the things they need to do in the morning.
Their ritual might include going potty, brushing their teeth, getting dressed, brushing their hair, getting their things ready for school or reading a book before breakfast.
You might be interested in getting them involved with the meditation. Meditating is great for kids! Invite them to sit with you and be clear in letting them know that when they feel done, they should walk away quietly and not disturb you.
There is no right or wrong way to do this, especially when kids are involved, but rest assured, no matter how you do it, you’ll be raising more conscious, independent, peaceful, happy human beings!
Take Action Now Listen, I know you’ve read blogs like this before and it seems all well and good, but then you close your browser and go back to the daily grind.
So here’s how you can take action right now to get these 6 minutes on your radar…
Make yourself a note or add a task to your to-do list right NOW to do the following:
- Tonight before you go to bed set up the space where you’d like to meditate. It could be right by your bedside, in the corner of your bedroom, or in a separate room all together.
- Put down something soft to sit on.
- If possible, place a small table or box low to the ground where you can display items that are sacred to you such as crystals, items you’ve found in nature, candles, flowers, photos of ancestors & loved ones, quotes, etc… Place any objects in this space that remind you of your purpose or the people and places you love. This will touch your soul each morning when you sit. Store your pen and journals here.
When you wake in the morning, this little slice of heaven will be waiting for you.
Remember, it’s only 6 minutes.
Add the other 3 rituals in if they are fun and interesting for you and seem to be changing your outlook during the day. And do it because you enjoy the ritual, not ever because you “should” be doing more to better yourself. Start small and savor the stillness.
You’ve got this. Happy New Year!