Monday, September 5, 2011

Common Miracles, week #17: Morning rituals and routines

 “Rejoicing in ordinary things is not sentimental or trite. It actually takes guts. Each time we drop our complaints and allow everyday good fortune to inspire us, we enter the warrior’s world.”
-Pema Chodron

Alot can be said for ritual, both in favor of it, and against it. I know people who consciously try and do things differently, every day, just to stay fresh and on top of their game. Me, I am a creature of habit. I do really well when I have predictable rhythms. (Not to the five-minute increment, mind you, but with some degree of knowing what the day holds...) I have found that when my days have too much slush and play in them, not a great deal gets done. But with a little structure, ahhhh, the to-do list has a lot more check marks on it.

(And now I fear that I just sounded like the most boring rabbit on the planet...)

"The pleasure of doing a thing in the same way at the same time every day, and savoring it, should be noted." -Arnold Bennett

I don't know who Arnold is, but I like him. (Actually, I looked him up and he seems like a pretty so-so kind of writer guy, but I'll still take his quote.)

One ritual I have noticed a real appreciation for lately is the morning/breakfast routine. We've had to get back into a more refined and and quickly paced routine with school starting--well, essentially we've just backed it up to 6 a.m., rather the our leisurely 6:30-7-7:30 a.m. of the summer. Such slackers we've been!

My favorite mug right now. It can fit what used to be a mug-and-a-half of coffee. Yes, please!

I adore the making of my coffee (the kettle always is the first thing on in the morning), the steelcut oats, the egg muffins for Seth, the creamer, the berries, the yogurt... it all comes and goes from the fridge and cupboards in the same relative pattern each morning. It is comforting and especially helpful on the mornings when I am less-than-awake when I begin... I have also re-begun my morning prayer/meditation time, and appreciate so much it's spot at the beginning of my day. Now I've just got to figure out exactly where the exercise fits, since the mornings seem to have dark in them again (ugh) at the time that works best for me to hit the road...

The joy I find in routines really does amaze me. I would not have thought myself to be quite so happy to in repetitive motion when I was younger, but it really does help springboard me into a much more productive day, to be able to count on a few little rituals to get me going each morning. It seems, then, that no matter what the day holds, or what surprises--pleasant or otherwise--that might pop up along the way, I've had this grounding in the morning that carries me through. (Watch, I'm going to have a doozy of a day tomorrow, I can just tell. Whenever I say something with certainty, I'm usually whoomped right off my feet. I'll keep you posted.)

"If we do not rise to the challenge of our unique capacity to shape our lives, to seek the kinds of growth that we find individually fulfilling, then we can have no security: we will live in a world of sham, in which our selves are determined by the will of others, in which we will be constantly buffeted and increasingly isolated by the changes round us." -Nena O'Neil

If you'd like to check out the Common Miracle project, see this post and join in!


  1. OHHHHHHH, me too! Whenever I read the advice to step out of the box and go outside the comfort zones, I think "but why would I want to do *that*?!" I love my rituals. I love my morning tea. I don't *love* the anxiety to get my swim done, but it's worth it when I am done and I can meditate and pray and have another cup of tea and get on with my day. I like the same sadnwich for lunch every day (and when I do change it up, it's even nicer!) I love going outside for teh sunset every evening, and then making dinner and dealing with laundry and maybe making time to create. I love my routines. They could be *improved* of course, and they evolve over time, but the idea of changing things up every day? NO THANKS!

  2. Yes, ritual and routine are good things. It has also been said that your stomach likes the same foods, day after day. Not many families can be talked into that in our luxurious food civilization but I know a heart patient who has done this for his recovery diet and has done very well.

    I like the early morning rituals too. There is something comforting about waking slowly and realizing the beauty of life and awareness.


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