In my teens and twenties when I lived in New York City, my mornings used to consist of waking up to the last minute, throwing on the most presentable uniform or clothing, and rushing out the door to get breakfast before literally running to class or work.
Yes. I actually used to run to my destinations. Sometimes I would run with my friend Zenab so that we would be ten minutes late instead of twenty minutes late to class.
Now that I am youngish with banged up knees, I have begun to appreciate slowing down my mornings. I used to stressfully get ready in thirty minutes. Now, I spend an hour to two hours. It occurred to me: what are my morning rituals? What does the first hour of my day look like?
My morning rituals depend on the season, but a few things have remained steady and consistent for the past five years.
Cooking a fresh breakfast
Five out of seven days, I am cooking my own breakfast. I once went two weeks without doing this, and I ended up with brain fog, gaining weight, and feeling extremely sluggish.
My favorite breakfast is Eggs in Purgatory with Fresh Herbs, which I make almost all of the time in the spring and summer. It hits all of the major nutrients: fats, carbs, and proteins. Even though breakfast is not a mandatory meal, it is a meal that I need in order to function in my high stress career. I still work outside of my blog, and I am regularly on my feet and interacting with a diverse set of people that require my full attention.
I cannot guarantee that I sit and enjoy the meal at my dining room table, but I am eating and enjoying the complex flavors while typing, checking e-mails, and setting my agenda for the day!
Looking at my garden
Just after I lock my front door, I take three minutes to check on my garden. I smell the basil; I smell the rosemary; I admire the mint; and I admire the seasonal flowers. If anything needs to be watered, I fill my rusty old watering can and water things before jumping into my car.
I try to literally stop and smell the roses.
It took some time for me to realize that stopping to recognize and appreciate the things we take for granted is one of many keys to happiness.
I can sit at my desk all day long, writing, typing, e-mailing, sighing, calling, sipping, listening to the problems of my clients and peers, and having every ounce of sanity drained from my brain… and drain more of it when I get home and consume ample amounts of distractions….
OR, I do a reasonable amount of work, go home, and take back my personal power and spend my time loving nature, art, and the positive people I choose to associate with. My garden helps me recognize this.
I drink tea nearly every single day: two cups in the morning, or one cup in the morning, and another around lunchtime.
In Buddhist tradition, tea is meant to help with meditation by helping the body and mind focus. A good cup of tea helps me do the same.
As for what kind of tea, I mostly drink unsweetened sencha green tea. I go through boxes and tins of the stuff.
But, I also love houjicha tea, genmaicha tea, sencha mixed with jasmine pearls, elderberry tea, and lady grey.
Tea is the most important part of my morning ritual; the one time I left it home this year, I was nearly in tears at work!