Create a morning ritual

Tick tock

Image by kalyan02 via Flickr

The loud ringing of the alarm on my cellphone jerks me out of bed and running helter-skelter to face the day every morning. I rush through the house like a whirlwind – brush, bath, get dressed, put out some cat food, grab a cereal bar and race to work. It doesn’t have to be that way.

Instead of waiting for the last alarm (I have three, in case you’re wondering) to jolt me into action, I can get up with the first, or even the second, and ease myself into the day. On the days when I’ve managed to do that, I make myself a cup of hot lemon tea and do nothing until I’ve finished it. It’s my time to think, dream, imagine…before I go forth to meet the world. I’ve noticed that on those days I’m calmer, more focussed and less stressed out.

But I haven’t really done anything about that observation…until recently. And for that, I have to thank Pilar Gerasimo for her article, Reclaim your mornings. According to Pilar, you need to create a morning ritual

Temple of A-ma

Image by Ray Devlin via Flickr

for yourself and ensure that you do it everyday. Your ritual can be long and elaborate or short and simple, but the key to success is to have a minimum commitment – i.e., on the days when you don’t have enough time, spend at least 5 minutes with yourself before you take on the world. Pilar also shares her sister Andrea’s morning ritual. She…

“lights a candle and a stick of incense, then puts on relaxing music. She unrolls her yoga mat, sits, and — at minimum — takes three long, centering breaths. Generally, those three deep breaths lead her into a gentle yoga practice that may last anywhere from 5 to 30 minutes. At the end of her practice, she meditates for a few moments, sending loving thoughts to her friends and family, and setting some key intentions for the day. When her mat-based practice is complete, she makes tea, has breakfast, and only then does she turn on her phone, consult her calendar and begin the active portion of her day.”

Her minimum commitment from this long ritual is to “Unroll the mat, sit, take three breaths. That’s it. The rest is negotiable.”

This inspired me to design a morning ritual for myself.

Image By derekGavey via Flickr

I find a comfortable spot to sit in – could be cross-legged on the bed, or on the drawing in the drawing room. I take three deep breaths, and do a short guided meditation to start the day on a positive note. Then, I draw a Card for the day to give me a feel of the vibrations and the things to watch out for.  After that, breakfast, and then I’m ready to face the day. My minimum daily commitment is to take three deep breaths and draw a card for the day.

I’ve been doing this since the past three weeks, and already, I feel a tangible difference in the texture of my days.
What small ritual can you create for yourself every morning, or do you already have a morning ritual? Tell me about it in the comments!

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I’m an artist and art educator, podcaster, tarot reader, and writer. I share my discoveries along the path to inspire you to live a more creative, soul-centered life. Receive my love letters for more of my musings on life and creativity. P.S. I love Instagram - join me there?


  1. I’ve read so many articles like the one you mention here and each time I really want to commit to it but I just can’t stick with it. Hopefully now that it’s light in the morning it will be easier – I think I need to give it another try.

    Have a lovely day,

    • Oh do! Like loustar says, just get up 5 minutes earlier and do something simple – breathe in the morning sun, have a cup of coffee – before you jump into the day. All the best! 🙂

  2. Another early-morning lemon tea drinker at last! Over the last few months I’ve been on a bit of a journey that has included trying to avoid the inevitable “snooze” button on the alarm clock and find a better way to get going in the mornings. Lemon tea was the start. From there I, like you, have extended it gently to include a little yoga (varied times each day – sometimes no more than sitting still for a few deep breaths) and a short period of reflection and prayer before heading off to the bathroom. Only after my morning shower do I then start turning on the blackberry and re-connecting with the outside world. I have so much more energy now!

    In response to Jade’s comment, the key to creating any habit (and that is sort of what this needs to become) is to start small and try to do it often. Don’t beat yourself up if you miss a day or two – treat yourself as you would a best friend and give yourself encouragement to carry on. And don’t try and get up an hour earlier – start with just 5 minutes and you will be more likely to succeed!

    • I agree that it’s important not to beat yourself up for missing a day or so. Start slow, build it up or don’t, but do something alone, by yourself, before you get caught up in the day.

  3. It’s amazing how everyone has their own special little ritual for the mornings ….
    I kiss my hubby good morning
    I pray
    I read my bible
    I check my emails
    I log on to facebook
    I write in my blog
    I shower, etc
    I brush my hair a 100 times
    I eat breakfast
    and then ….. whatever is on my daily list

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  5. I would love to be able to create a morning ritual, because this would allow me to start each day with yoga. But… having to get up at 5:30 a.m. makes it impossible for me to do that, for the simple reason that I set the alarm for the last possible minute – this is the latest I can get up and get myself sorted out before having to leave, and I do it all pretty darn fast! I need to retire 🙂

  6. I tried a ritual based on the book “The Artist’s Way”. First thing in the morning write in a journal for at least 3 pages… whatever you think of. It was really centering. I don’t have the time to do that every morning, but it was a GREAT experience. These days I try to envision my day.. and if my brain is working enough in the am…. I try to envision my ideal future. It’s a great positive way to start and I do find my days go much better in general when I do it.

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  8. Nice post.

    My ritual:
    1) Pray, thanking God for waking me up, safe and protected from all hurt, harm, and danger
    2) Read from a devotional text, or listen to an on-line sermon

    I love rituals!

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  10. I get up as soon as my alarm rings coz mostly am up before it goes off 🙂 mornings for me have always been a chaotic affair. with the kid and the mad rush to step out on time and co-ordinate / do one gazillion things..
    lately I’ve finally discovered the luxury of doing nothing.. my mind absolutely blank and sipping tea , literally sensing parts of my brain coming to life..
    I am all for rituals .. they actually work. Yours sounds awesome .. next time perhaps draw a card for me and let me know how my day would go?

    • I’ve never been able to get up with my first alarm – do you believe I have 3 of them! Which is why it was important for me to have a ritual that’s easy and not time consuming.

      Having a leisurely morning coffee and catching up on some reading is pure bliss for me.

      This last week I’ve been really busy, and my morning ritual has fallen on the wayside. I can feel how much of an impact it’s having on my days. Need to sleep a bit earlier so I can wake up in time. And I’ll draw a card for you too! 🙂

  11. Morning Rituals!!! Thats a interesting thought. Well!! i get up and run for atleast half an hour. I think i have been doing it for past three years so i can say it is my ritual now but then i can also add a new one. so let me sit down and think and i will surely let you know what i cam e up with 🙂

  12. I’ve tried a morning ritual. But like everything in my life, my rituals change. When I was a child, the ritual was wake up, brush and take the dog for a walk before coming back to a breakfast and going to school. Then it became wake up in the morning, brush and go for a quick walk before going to college. The morning walk was pretty much part of my ritual till a few years ago when becoming a grandmother changed all that. I then tried a quick yoga routine but even then I find that I need to really get back to my morning walk. That’s one ritual that refreshes me and keeps me going.

    • Walks are refreshing indeed! Being out in the early morning air (or evening for me), is truly refreshing!

      And yes, morning rituals do change with changing times, but having one sets you up for the rest of the day!

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