If you’re as much of a personal growth nerd as I am, you are already well-familiarized with the ins and outs of morning routines. There’s a kind of voyeuristic thrill that comes from learning about others’ personal habits, and I often glean insights into my own habits by reading, watching, or listening about how others shape their daily lives.
It can also be fun to see how our own rituals have developed over time, and how in different seasons of life they can evolve.
Yep, so here I discuss one of the keys to my own life of creativity and fulfillment, my morning ritual, which I have developed over my whole life, but in particular the past few years. It all started with a daily yoga practice that I thankfully put in place before my second divorce, which helped keep me afloat through that and as I have continued to grow as an educator, creative, business owner, and human being.
My daily ritual has grown to include practices that facilitate physical, mental, and spiritual well being and abundant creativity. When I complete these actions on a daily basis, I develop clarity and momentum, feel inspired and strong, experience less pain, and am able to coach, dance, teach, write, and engage with ideas and people in a well-grounded and present way.
Welcome to my morning ritual altar, where I discuss this topic on YouTube
Where the Magic Happens
I have set up a little altar in my living room, which is compact but equipped with a meditation cushion, yoga mat, candle, incense, crystals, mala, singing bowl, notebooks, and creative supplies for my Bullet Journal and Artist’s Dates.
Elements of the Ritual
Moving & Breathing – Yoga
The habit that started it all, helps me be able to move and teach, mitigating pain, providing part of the maintenance that constitutes my physical therapy regimen, as well as anchoring in the present moment.
Sitting in Stillness – Meditation
After establishing my daily yoga habit, I stacked just a little meditation on, allowing me to clear my mind, marinate in the comfortable state created by my yoga practice. Since then, I’ve continued to study different methods and expand my practice, but it all started with five minutes per day.
Writing – Daily Journal, BuJo, Morning Pages, Thanks
I keep a Bullet Journal (inspired by creators on YouTube and informed by The Bullet Journal Method by Ryder Caroll) for Annual/Monthly/Weekly planning, special projects and collections. Mixing up digital and analog helps me process information and come up with ideas.
For portability in my daily notetaking, including dreams, spontaneous ideas, my most important tasks, appointments, and habits, I have a pocket-sized journal.
Thanks to Julia Cameron’s “The Artist’s Way” program, I currently freewrite 3 “Morning Pages” every weekday, a wonderful venting session, palette cleanser, and frequent source of breakthrough ideas. In my coaching work, I also use a Clearing Exercise to help process through emotions and move powerfully forward. Whatever format it takes, writing can be a powerful practice for all creative people!
Focusing on the richness around me and my blessings has become an important component of my daily writing, in the form of thanksgiving in the Gratitude App in the morning, and abundance in my daily journal in the evenings.
I practice my language skills every single day, and for the last few years that has been German. Having taken intensive courses in person in Cologne and then moved online during pandemic, I continue to build vocabulary and grammar skills through daily Duolingo.
This varies from year-to-year and sometimes day-to- day and may include devotionals, scripture, inspirational nonfiction & prayers. In 2021 I read prayers from around the world in Light the Flame, and I also read from the Bible, Quran, meditation and spiritual teachings.
Spiritual growth, wisdom, and perspective are part and parcel of my practices and impact my choices and habits from morning ritual to business.
This year I’ve added classical music appreciation, with the help of the book Year of Wonder and companion playlist.
Inspired by Seana Barbes, this is also a new piece this year, combining some of my existing practices that are meant to keep me present to my purpose and priorities, as well as future visioning, alignment with sources of identity and inspiration, and tuning into subconscious programming.
It’s very important to me, and depending on the day will fall somewhere in the middle or end of my morning ritual.
Rituals are Personal
Just because these are the activities that feed my creative spirit doesn’t mean they are right for everybody, and I understand that taking this amount of time in the morning is a privilege, but I intend this exploration an invitation for you to tweak or design your own ritual, even if it’s just 5 minutes to be with yourself and prepare for the day.
Resources for further morning fun
- Julia Cameron The Artist’s Way book, program to unlock creativity
- Sharon Salzberg Real Happiness book, program to learn Lovingkindness meditation
- Clemency Burton-Hill Year of Wonder: Classical Music for Every Day book and playlist
- Andrew Harvey Light the Flame: 365 Days of Prayer book
- The Bullet Journal Method by Ryder Caroll
- Melyssa Griffin – Abundance practice on Limitless Life podcast
- Seana Barbes – Morning Manifesto on The Abundant AF Yogi podcast
- Healthy Habit Building Blog
- Wake Up! Yoga for Energy Blog
- Meditation Challenge Blog
- Get Good & Grounded Blog
Questions for Reflection
- What does your morning ritual include?
- What can you remove from your morning ritual to help you feel more present and focused?
- What small habit could you add to inspire your days?
Blythe Stephens, MFA, Bliss Catalyst
she/her or they/them
Creator of A Blythe Coach: dance through your difficulties and take leaps of faith into a joyful, fulfilling life