It has been some time since my last writing and I want to provide some brief updates before jumping into my post for the day.
I have been working on a large project to digitize my department's library which, as it turns out, is much larger and daunting than I anticipated. Since March of this year, I have been working to digitally catalogue and reorganize a library of roughly 700 books on theology, spiritual care, psychology, and grief. I am finally finished! which leaves me more time in the mornings to write.
I have also been working on the process of becoming a board-certified chaplain with the Association of Professional Chaplains. This, too, is a daunting task as it involves much writing and self-reflection and this work has left me with little emotional energy to write in other media. Nevertheless, I have had some thoughts on my mind that I felt warranted a conversation so I'd like to post them here. These thoughts will also appear on my Medium page and, if you would like to support this work, you may visit me there as well. As always, feel free to click the "thank author" button at the top of this blog if you find what you read helpful or enjoyable.
I have long been obsessed with "morning routines" of interesting and successful people. Of course, I like the idea that I, too, might become interesting and successful but this isn't the reason for my obsession. I have always been uniquely fascinated by the potential that "ordinary" or "everyday" activities hold for opening up new avenues for our awareness of the meaning of life and engagement with the "sacred" in new ways. Folding laundry, mopping the floor, gardening, cooking, doing the dishes - all of these, for me, represent untapped potential in terms of mindfulness, prayer, and self-care.
This obsession with the routines of others has led me to consider my own morning routine and to try to determine the routine that creates the optimal circumstances for productivity, purpose, and enjoyment throughout the day. This, again, comes from a desire to be as aware as possible of the presence of the sacred and the perhaps therapeutic or healing nature of simply "being in the moment."
So, as I have been "tweaking" my morning ritual, I have determined that, rather than simpy rigidly adhering to a set routine, I would set rules for myself regarding how I will engage with the world around me. I call these my "morning rules." I'd like to write breifly about them here and then explore them more in depth in future posts. So, for your enjoyment and curiosity, here are the "morning rules" I live by.
- Wake up as early as you possibly can.
- Pray or meditate before you do anything else.
- Attend, in whatever way possible, to your physical health.
- Take walks early and often, and always take the most beautiful route available to you.
- Eat breakfast. Slowly. And with enjoyment.
- Read something that makes you think.
The first two to three hours of my day is usually spent in solitude because I wake up earlier than anyone else in my house. This allows me the freedom to attend to these "essentials" before I even leave the house most mornings. On days that I oversleep, I typically have a 45 minute commute by public transit on which I pray, meditate, or read. The order isn't important but the intention is. I tell my patients and colleages often that you cannot give to others what you have not granted for yourself. I truly believe that. So I try to nurture the sources of hope, meaning, and purpose within as soon as possible each morning so that when I am present with others, I actually have something to offer them. Do you have daily "rules" that you use to order your day and start htings off right?