We often create unconscious morning rituals to help us feel grounded, motivated and encouraged, especially on days that seem too busy, turbulent or uncertain. This blog is an updated version of one I wrote while living and recovering in rural Mexico.
How do you begin your day?
We physically open our eyes, but are we really awake or just following a compulsive addictive habit? Do we notice the subtle ‘messages’ within ourselves, with others and our environment? Do we stop for a moment to take a deep breath or do we feel too snowed under by the weight of our schedule?
What’s the foundational beginning of your day? Are you constantly in a busy mode with people and a long list of To-Do’s or have you created some time and space to simply contemplate, observe and inwardly empower the inception of your day?
Perhaps ponder your own morning routine, while I share an insight into mine.
Although my morning routine has altered over the years, the general premise has stayed the same: a cleansing ritual from bathing to water intake; listening and writing messages from inner spiritual guidance; walking in the connectedness of nature and creating time for my soul’s emotional intelligence to ebb and flow. This is the foundation that inspires the dawning of my day - obviously dependant upon commitments, ratios of time vary greatly.
Every morning as I drifted back into a resting body, I’d gently endeavour to be aware of the often profound communiqué’s from my dream state. As I began to stir from slumber, I’d hear the tell-tale sign of aroused dogs with expectant tails wagging enthusiastically, before they unceremoniously leapt upon me. Certainly one sure way to awaken! Their anticipated excitement for our morning hike was palpable. I was frequently in the sanctuary of solitude, but had the gift of these friendly house dogs, inspiring my daily journaling and rejuvenating rambles.
My feet intrepidly touched the cold stone floor, emboldening my first brisk barefoot walk of the day….. all the way to the kitchen, to gulp back copious cups of water and make a cleansing hot lemon drink. As the water boiled, I would be inspired to emulate the yogic stretches, elegantly performed by the pride of sleepy cats, provoked to awaken by the dogs yawning yelps. From disabling infirmity, my fragile body was in the infancy of recovery, but as I observed the cats and dogs instinctual nature, I sensed these simple feline asanas and routine morning dog rambles, would help me heal and restore my physical form. Along the way, I could also choose to grow and change on multiple levels of awaked-ness. I felt an unfurling excitement of perceptible possibility stir within the very core of my being.
Despite the dogs eager excitement to explore beyond the garden limits, I nestled back into bed, my calmness reflected in those that snuggled beside me. Almost in time with their own gentle snores, I delved into diaphragmatic breaths, diving deeper into unknown pathways within. It was time for my ritual morning pages. As my pen took me to another world, so too the dogs drifted into a dreamy slumber. The fluidity of written revelation soon poured out, automatically stimulating me to recognise more latent truths and feelings, often veiled through habits and addictive pursuits. These evolving awarenesses often simultaneously delivered both pain and joy, bringing relief in the release of repressed emotions, concurrently bearing the fruit of new insights. It was always a Journey to inspire the beginning of my day.
Without disturbing the dogs stillness, I readied myself quietly, but as soon as I grabbed my hiking boots they all suddenly leapt into a tangible buzz of hopeful adventure, a contagious delight to stimulate the quietest of souls.
It seems to some I spend a chunk of time on daily dog walks, but for me the dogs have become secondary to the main multi-faceted purpose of this morning ritual. Dogs were never really a part of my life until I inadvertently found myself living in the spectacular mountains of central Mexico. At that point, I was at the beginning of salvaging myself from chronic illness and a stroke. A long story, to be told another day….
A dear friend kindly invited me to rehabilitate myself at her tranquil pastoral setting, with an array of animals, including the affectionate house dogs. They soon became an influential component on my road to recovery. Our dog friends don’t need a lot to be healthy, happy and content: good food and water, exercise and lots of sleep, playtime and affection. Some of the basic elements that we instinctually follow for ourselves but often also neglect.
Truth be told, the dogs took me for a walk. In those early days in Mexico, they motivated me to move and in spite of fatigue and frequent falls, the repetitive reconnection of neurons, nerves and muscles expedited my body’s regeneration. Walks became multi-tasking expeditions of inner and outer exploration. Each day I’d begin with a few deep breaths to feel present and connected with my environment and more astute to my body’s barometric variations. A sense of calm or anxiety, an attitude of gratitude or lack of appreciation, a subtle pain and new ache, a disconnect from brain to limb or a lightness and ease of movement. I observed the numerous shifts and changes without judgement but as a way of monitoring my process and expectant progress.
Walking gave me the time and space to flow with nature and delve deeper into the root causes of any lingering or obscure dis-ease within me. With every breath and each step, I allowed underlying emotions to rise, often as overwhelming waves of anguish and sadness, but I endeavoured to accept everything without a need to analyse and label. The more deeply I breathed, stayed present and gently moved, the more would rise and sometimes with a great surge….. release, often bubbling over into spontaneous giggles of gratitude, a greater inner clarity and the calmness that often follows a storm.
The dogs were a mirror for some concealed facets of myself. Watching and interacting with their instinctual nature was an avenue to observe intrinsic aspects of joy, as well as unhealed wounds within my heart and soul. Their ever curious noses led them forth, ears alert to each subtle sound, encouraging me to arouse the potentiality of my own senses, guiding me on life’s journey. It’s a common fact that we humans only use a small percentage of our brain’s capability. Imagine if we chose to develop greater use of all our senses, including our innate ‘sixth sense’ or ‘gut feeling’.
Although I always walked alone with the dogs, I felt an open and kind connection to the sparse family homes I encountered along the way. I trod gingerly on the rugged country pathways, mindful of my equilibrium’s deficiency and dulled ability to react. I passed pastoral scenes of farmers coercing bulls to rhythmically plough their corn fields, stirring rich smells of fertile earth. Row upon row of strawberries sweetened the air, as families harvested ripe pickings for market. Baby goats bleated in unison, searching for their mothers warm, nurturing milk. The local neighbourhood, waving, watching and cheerfully nodding their welcoming smiles, tirelessly working to scratch out a living. Wherever I’ve traveled in the world, I notice simple communities often show a generosity of humanity and cordiality, often not found in so called ‘civilised’ societies. Note to self: keep things simple!
Leaving the beautiful connection with community behind, I felt an even greater flow of connectedness, as I became immersed in the bounty of nature’s medicinal purity. I set forth through meadows of abundant wild flowers, a rainbow of diverse blossoms, fragrant with rarified scents. Flowers have always fascinated me as a reflector of Universal perfection, of what we physically observe in nature and beyond, to what is yet to be discovered.
I returned home filled with inspiration, trusting it would naturally continue to flow, after I’d eaten a hearty breakfast of fresh fruit and homemade muesli. Blessedly, the dogs ate and quietly slept for hours, giving me the gift of a peaceful, productive and graceful day, pursuing many of the inspirations and insights I’d received early that morning.
The fluidity of water’s cleansing ability, the emotional intelligence flowing from my heart and soul, my relationships, to our Creator, personal spirit guides and the environment (people, animals and nature), are an all encompassing influence on the way I begin each new day.
In observing the natural world, I see such an immaculate structure, within which is a permanent scope of fluidity, allowing for the nuances and dramatic transformations, possible through our conscious choices. As I witness this precision whether in a single leaf, my physical body or in the faultless placement of Earth within our Solar System, I know that when I create a loving structure for myself, Universal Laws support me, as I also acquiesce to the flow of it’s loving character to correct me when my choices are askew!
So, how will you choose to begin your day?