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Whether it's taking a daily ritual from expected to extraordinary or discovering the wonderment and beauty of anew travel destination, J.R. McCabe elevates the everyday with timeless taste and comfortable confidence.
Mornings have a sweet spot in my heart for their enchantment. Mornings are mythical in their power, in their ability to cast a hue on the entire day. More than a decade ago I transformed my hurried morning routine into a harmonious ritual and it has made all the difference. Here’s a peek into my early a.m. hours and tips on how to create sweet, beautiful, quiet, ease-filled mornings for yourself.
Soft Bells and Soothing Morning Views
On mornings I have to set an alarm to wake I use the iPhone Slow Rise alarm, it’s a soft melody of bells that makes for a pleasant rising. I roll over and open my eyes to the tree outside my bedroom window. There is something about gazing at a tree in the first moments of waking that is immensely soothing. If there isn’t much of a view outside your bedroom window, you can create a view inside that makes you happy. Maybe you open your eyes to flowers or a photo on your bedside table or an inspiring piece of art on the wall.
Once my eyes are open I say “thank you” out loud. The ritual is something I heard Wayne Dyer speak about years ago in a gratitude seminar and I’ve done it ever since. The words can mean whatever you want them to mean — maybe you’re thankful for your health, your family, another day ahead of productive and profitable work, a relaxing weekend. Whatever you are thankful for, starting the day acknowledging it leads to a deep initial centering that helps keep your spirit light throughout the day.
Make Your Bed and Hydrate your Body
I don’t linger in bed, maybe five minutes and then I’m up! I always, always, always make the bed. Making the bed is a ceremony that brings order to your day from the moment it starts, but it’s about more than being neat and tidy. Making the bed is a sign of respect for the comfortable cradle that houses your body as it rests and rejuvenates. Making the bed also serves as a meaningful transition sending a signal to your body to prepare for activity.
The first thing I do after making my bed is make my way to the kitchen for a glass of water. Sleep causes dehydration, so starting the day with pure water (never tap) helps the body get back vital liquid and fends off any further dehydration that caffeine is bound to bring on. If you add a full glass of water to your routine first thing, you’ll notice that you are not as tired or impatient by the time you grab that cup of coffee or tea.
A Meditative Moment and Essential Oils
For many years I woke, had my glass of water, meditated for ten minutes, had another glass of water and then made my tea. These days I have my glass of water, do an hour of yoga or barre, then have a second glass and my herbal tea. Whether you are meditating, working out, taking a morning walk, or just stepping outside to gaze at your backyard — take a “meditative moment” before rushing into your day. The “moment” can be five minutes or an hour but the key is that you pause. Pause and get still and centered knowing that everything on your list can wait until you’ve taken this time for yourself. If that means you have to get up earlier, do it. You will come to treasure these mind, body, spirit nourishing moments as they often lead to amazing clarity on things that may be troubling you, a feeling of wholeness and wellness, and greater spiritual strength. To ground these moments and carry the energy with me through the day I use essential oils. I’ll place a dab on my wrists or the back of my neck. I also mix them with water in mini spray bottles and pump a few spritzes over my head. My favorites are geranium, vetiver, frankincense, rose, jasmine, and myrrh.
Music and Time to Daydream
I don’t turn on a TV or use a computer or phone for the first hour or so that I am awake, but I do listen to music. I find classical music, especially strings, bring such lightness and beauty to the morning. The sounds of the violins seem to wrap me in a little world all my own and elevate my state. Whatever keeps you floating in the aura of calm you’ve created so far is perfect, choose what resonates with you. To close out my morning ritual before the duties of the day begin I have a process of jotting down a “daydream.” In a journal I use exclusively for daydreams, I put the date at the top of the page and write DAY on the left and DREAM on the right. Under DAY I put all the things I plan to accomplish that day spelled out in sufficient detail: work, groceries, dry cleaners, calls/emails, write blog post, etc. This helps empty the mind of all the restless energy it uses tracing and retracing all that needs to get done. You’ll see as soon as you put it all down on paper, instead of leaving it swirling around in your head, it seems easily doable and you feel lighter. You’ll also get almost everything done that day because you won’t have forgotten a thing. This process is essential in order to do the next step. Under DREAM I write a goal or dream I wish to achieve. This isn’t a time to be practical, this is a place to really let your heart’s desires fly. Write these dreams in the present tense, for example: We went on a family vacation to Italy, spent ten days, ate amazing food and had a blast or I passed the bar and am a practicing attorney (wrote that one three years ago when I entered law school). Don’t put any restrictions, dates, or doubts on these dreams. Allow them to reside safely in the unseen, in the ever unraveling mystery, and the quiet and still space of these sacred early day hours. When you look back a year from now you’ll be astounded at just how many dreams came true when you began to cultivate a calm morning. ✨