This picture is my morning mission. Not my current reality. My goal is to get to a point where at least once a week I spend the first hour of my morning with my coffee at the beach. And I’m working towards this goal by creating, testing, and perfecting my morning rhythm. Lately I'm really liking the idea of rhythms over routines. To me, rhythms are fluid. Always in motion, evolving with our seasons, but keeping a big picture in mind. A rhythm is made up of the movements we make that support our big picture. We move in rhythm with our life. We don't create rigid and immoveable, uncompromising routines. But rather, we sync our movements with the big picture. We train ourselves to move in ways that keep us pointed towards what matters the most in our lives. For me, a morning rhythm needs to be flexible. My big picture goal is to start the day with focus and energy. And my movements need to be realistic for the season of my life. At any point each morning, the baby could need to nurse, the two year old could climb in our bed, the three year old could be ready for breakfast. I need a rhythm with margin. Movements that can be interchangeable, out of order, and that are simple and quick enough to accomplish my goals with little time and effort. So where a rigid routine sets me up for disappointment when it's interrupted, a fluid rhythm points me towards a goal - focus and energy - but leaves room for adjustments and fluidity. For grace. So if we can find that easy rhythm in the morning, we can set our hearts and minds with intention for the day ahead. I hope this gets you thinking about your morning rhythm and what might work for you.
If you're a mom, and want to know about my kids' morning rhythm, let me know. I'll send you a Friday five bonus email tonight on kids' morning rhythms. But my biggest learning so far for my kids? Their morning rhythm needs to point them towards confidence and independence. So the movements they make in the morning are centered around those goals.
I hope you find something good here. Mornings are hard.
Love + Light,
1. Cold Shower
I know this sounds terrible. But do not skip this section! Hear me out. I was the world's greatest skeptic of cold showers. I am not a morning person. I stomp and scowl and heave sighs and snip. Before I had kids, my morning jam was to sleep as late as possible, shower and get to work. No breakfast, no coffee, no tv, no devotion. Maybe pick up a latté or a muffin on the way to work if I had time. But since kids? Everything has gone all crazy. I've had no consistency. No goals other than survival. Then about 6 weeks ago, I decided I was ready for more. But I had to totally change my thinking. I needed a rhythms - movements pointing me towards a big picture goal - not a rigid routine. The first thing I thought of was that I wanted to be more energized in the morning. So I decided to shower every morning. Now at the time, I was showering every (most) days, but the timing was totally random. Maybe at 10pm. Maybe at 6am. Maybe at 11am if I could corral everyone into my bathroom to play for 3 minutes. But I committed to getting up every morning to shower and get ready for the day. Our kids are still very unpredictable in the morning, so this decision took to make work. Jordan had to be ready to receive kids, feed breakfast, get them dressed, etc., in case they woke up while I was getting ready. This alone set in motions tons of prep for him and the kids. But I committed. And after about 2 weeks, I felt super accomplished and ready to go next level. I'd read about the health benefits of cold showers - improves immunity and circulation, refines hair and skin, reduces stress, improves alertness. So one day I just grabbed the handle and turned it as cold as it would go. And it was terrible. But I decided to do it for a week at the end of my shower for as long I could stand it. By the end of the week, I was hooked. I don't know if my hair and skin and immune system are better. But I feel really good. It's energizing in a way that coffee just isn't. So if you are really looking for something so easy but so effective to incorporate into your morning rhythm, try a freezing cold shower. You're welcome.
2. Black Coffee
I know. It's all just too much. And if you don't take your coffee black, it takes some serious training to pull away from all the delicious creamers and add ins out there. But personally, I love it. There is something very focused and simple about a cup of black coffee. It's kind of representative of how I want to live my life. Uncomplicated and simple and pure. Just as I was made. Nothing more. Nothing less. Enough. So as silly as it may sound, my cup of black coffee in the morning helps me focus. Not just because of the caffeine, but because of the simplicity of it. So it's a good addition to my rhythm. It focuses me for the day - keep it simple.
I used to get lost in laundry. I did it when it piled up. When someone ran out of underwear. Then I sorted it and did 27 loads and the clean laundry was almost impossible to get put away before it was all dirty again. I saved it until it was an all day chore. But I have turned it into an everyday chore, part of my morning rhythm. When I come out of my bathroom after my shower, I grab the laundry basket and walk around and collect all the dirty laundry and throw it it in the washing machine on the quick cycle. Everything goes in - towels, colors, whites, the whole dirty lot. It washes for 35 minutes, and then before I leave for preschool drop off I put it in the dryer. Then at some point before I go to bed, it gets folded and put away in 10 minutes. How does this fit into the big picture goal of my morning rhythm? Focus. It's one small productive thing I can do first thing every morning that allows me more time to focus on the best parts of my life. I never have a "laundry day". It's just part of my rhythm - a movement I make that supports the big picture goals of my morning and of my life.
4. Make the Bed
This one you've heard, I'm sure. But, like the black coffee, there is something symbolic about a bed made first thing in the morning. Like it sets me up for success. If my bed is made, it focuses my mind on small actions that have big effects. From things around the house, like picking up a toy every time I walk through the living room, or clearing the dishes immediately after a meal, or unpacking and repacking lunch boxes as soon as we come home from school. All those mundane tasks that are easy to put off and pile up. I don't want to do them when the kids go to bed. I want to notice them and do them now. Just do it. Just pick up the toy. Just put the brush back in the bathroom. Just make the bed. Do what I can do. Now. Don't wait and pile it up. Don't let a million tiny tasks become the big job that takes me away from what matters the most to me. Take 30 seconds and do it now. And create space for more.
5.Gratitude. Love +Light. Intention.
This right here. This is my magic. I love to write these down every day. But at the absolute least, I think and pray over these three things when I'm in the shower. Every morning, I have three meditative prayers:
1 - Gratitude: I spend a few minutes praying over someone or something that fills my heart with gratitude. I like to think sensory here. Focus on how it feels to hold Mae or how Bonnie smells or how Raines' voice sounds. I like to really get into the details of what I'm praying over. It helps me connect more with my gratitude and feel it more profoundly.
2 - Love + Light: I choose a person to pray love and light over throughout the day, and I spend a few minutes in the morning in prayer for them. Sometimes it's a person I love, and sometimes it's a person I'm struggling with, and sometimes it's a person I don't know well or even at all.
3 - Intention: I reflect on how I want to show up that day. I want to be a great mom, an engaged wife, a good listener, an excellent writer. And then I pray for that. I pray to stay focused on who I can be - and to become who I intend to be. I pray for grace and redirection when I fail or doubt myself.
This is how I train myself to have a grateful heart, to lead with love, and to be the best version of myself every day. I definitely want this in my rhythm.