Our days do spin past us with the amount of responsibilities many of us have, however, when we manage our time better, we can squeeze so much more into our day by rediscovering the beauty of the early daylight hours.
“Waking up this morning, I smile. Twenty-four brand-new hours are before me. I vow to live fully each moment and to look at all beings with eyes of compassion.”
~ Thich Nhat Hanh
Are you simply moving through your day on autopilot, without fully living?
To be truthful I did this for many years. It was as if life was just passing by, and I was waiting for something to happen outside of myself. Like many people I felt like I was preparing for something later. But today isn’t preparation for tomorrow. Today is the main event.
A personal mantra that came to me when I was 27-years-old and changed my life for the better is “Life is not a dress rehearsal. Life is now.”
By being mindful, you will be fully living life. Mindfulness is a habit that is not easily picked up and, like any new habit, you need to cultivate a daily practice to strengthen the mind muscle. I believe in the power of sharing the wisdom of one’s journey and we had Pia McBean join us on the “You Had It In You All Along” podcast in the middle of the second wave of the COVID-19 global pandemic.
LISTEN ON: Apple Podcasts | Spotify | Google Podcasts
As we chat to Pia, we come to know that she has been asked time and time again to step into the presence of staying true to her sense of self and always being mindful of the present moment – the choice of optimism that lies therein. Her daily devotion to self care rituals allows Pia to start each morning in a positive mindset. She achieves this by immersing herself in daily nature walks, deep soul connection with her fur friend Gigi, adhering to her new vegetarian lifestyle and moderation in all categories of life.
Pia and myself shared some of our favourite morning rituals that will help you cultivate mindfulness and appreciate every moment. You can start by picking one or two of these things to do each morning and expanding from there.
Here are 7 Holistic Morning Rituals to Start Your Day:
1. Water (Tea or Coffee) Meditation
This is one of my favourite parts of my day and I call this Water Meditation. When you fully engage yourself in what you’re doing with mindfulness then everything becomes meditation.
To do water meditation, you simply need to do every part of the water making and water drinking process with mindfulness. Take your time making your water with mindfulness – heat up your water, get your cup out, pour the water, squeeze the fresh lemon and lime and mix in the Himalayan pink salt. Then, take your water and sit down in a quiet place with it. Drink your water slowly and feel in that moment that drinking this water is the most important thing in the world.
When I sit down with my water, I put my hands together and give thanks for the water. I bring my awareness to all those people who have to live with the threat of death from dehydration and all those people who simply don’t have enough. I make sure to first fully respect the water and express my deep gratitude before drinking it.
After paying my respects to the water, I simply drink it slowly with mindfulness. I usually drink a few small cups (about 1/4 of one cup at a time). You can shorten the practice down to just 5 minutes from start to finish by drinking only one small cup and drinking at a moderately slow pace.
When I’m done, I put my empty cup down in front of me and give thanks once again for the water. I do this for each cup of water I drink.
2. Zazen (Sitting Meditation) and Protection Prayer
Zazen Meditation is my cornerstone practice and I do this every morning immediately following my water meditation. While water (mindfulness) meditation has become an important practice in its own right, I adopted it solely as a way to be able to meditate soon after waking.
I sit down once in the morning typically for 10 minutes to an hour. Over the years my meditation sessions have lengthened, starting with just two minutes a day in the beginning.
As a beginner of meditation, let yourself develop naturally and never advance to a lengthier session unless you feel totally comfortable with the current session length.
I seal my meditation practice with a Protection Prayer to enhance my light body and connection to Source (God). You may download a guided protection prayer by subscribing to our Niso Wellness Community. Click here to download it now!
If there was one practice on this list that I’d say to do every single day with absolute dedication, meditation would be it. Almost everything else can fluctuate to some extent, but a daily practice of sitting meditation is one of the most powerful daily practices there is and really should be consistent if you want to get everything you can out of it.
3. Read Stoicism and Transcendental Literature
Stoicism was a philosophy that flourished for some 400 years in Ancient Greece and Rome, gaining widespread support among all classes of society. The aim of its creators, such as Seneca and Marcus Aurelius, are to teach people how to be calm and brave in the face of overwhelming anxiety and pain.
The work created during the transcendental time period is often described as otherworldly when artists and writers wrote about the natural world with such soulful language that gave every blade of grass a note, and every flower a song. Start with their most notable works and savour the way they connect with the natural world and invite you into a deeper way of seeing and feeling.
Here’s some of my favourites you should check out:
- Ralph Waldo Emerson
- Walt Whitman
- Emily Dickinson
- Henry David Thoreau
- Margaret Fuller
4. Get Creative
The morning is a great time to tap into your creativity. Did you know that a novice monk or nun begins studying Zen many times, and if they have any natural inclination towards art within them as time goes on, they naturally begin to create art of some fashion more regularly?
The best way to describe in words why this is so, is to imagine that you are a tuning fork. Through your spiritual practice, you’re attempting to attune yourself to the ultimate (Source), the one in the all and the all in the one. This is really the central idea behind all spirituality.
So, through your practice you gradually begin to tune yourself closer and closer to Source and, when this happens, you naturally wish to express the all becoming the one, or the great expression of life coming to be in this moment.
This is what art really is, and the morning silence is the ideal time to look within yourself and feel a deep connection to the world around you. This will ground and clear your energy field which in turn brings out your natural creativity. The self-expression that comes from it is natural and nourishing for the mind.
If you’ve practiced drawing, painting, or anything else before or want to start doing so then the morning is a great time to do it. It is a great way to get your creative juices flowing for the rest of the day.
5. Keep a Gratitude Journal
Gratitude is a wonderful way we humans get to share our appreciation for life’s constant offerings and the earth’s abundance. In your journal create a list of three things you are thankful for today. It may be the inner peace and calm your soul feels in your home. You may feel gratitude for the way the clouds create a soft ambience in the morning outside your window, or the smell of rain, or the scent of your healing oil diffuser. Whatever calls to you offering its gift, and in some cases offering its life force, pause to take time to thank it. Simply tell it you appreciate its being, and that you’re grateful to experience its presence and beauty.
The morning is a great time to immerse yourself in a personal yoga practice and observe the patterns of your brain and mind. It is an opportunity to plant seeds that ripen into positive qualities that you take with you for the rest of the day. It’s so quiet and peaceful in the morning, you could go for a mindful walk or jog and have little interruptions.
As Pia explained, what you do in the morning has an uncanny ability to reset your mindset and define the filter from which you experience the rest of the day. Everything is interconnected, so the energy and vitality you get from exercise is a great thing to do in the morning as it keeps you energised for the entire rest of your day.
7. Connect to Nature
If the weather is comfortable and you have more than 10 minutes to spare, head outdoors to see, hear, feel and breathe nature! If you have children at home or a fur friend, this is a wonderful ritual to do with them if they wake early too.
Pia explores the concept of presence by:
- Cultivating stillness within.
- Taking notice of all you see and hear, pick up leaves and sticks, walk at a slow pace, and breathe the fresh air into your lungs.
- Connecting to your breath as you walk, breathing deep on each inhale and exhale.
You will find that this ritual replenishes your mind, heart, body and spirit, offering you a fresh perspective from which to begin your day to the tune of the season.
When you focus on your morning ritual, you will start to notice if you are making the most of your mornings or if you are wasting precious time that could be used to enhance not only your day ahead, but many aspects of your overall life.
Want more from Pia McBean?
To learn more how tiny alterations to your schedule help to start your day better so you feel recharged and re-energised, press play on the episode above or join us on Apple Podcasts, Spotify or wherever you find your podcasts.