I like to start slowly in the mornings, to wake early and move quietly, thoughtfully. I like to savor my coffee and let my thoughts wander, to listen to the raucous racket of the birds and notice the feel of the still cool breeze as it slides through the open window.
I’m a lover of the snooze button and favor waking in staccato, rising to awareness of the deep comfort of my bed and sinking back into its depths at a nine-minute interval. I love to scribble in my journal or read the words of writers who capture the meaning of life in their pens.
Mornings lend themselves to small joys and tiny comforts. Wide stretches and hot showers and steaming mugs cupped in our hands just so. They are for watching shadows brighten as they move across the kitchen table, highlighting the mundane beauty of half-eaten toast and spilled salt and the perfect geometry of a fork across a cheery plate.
Sure, plenty of mornings necessitate bustle, for preparing for the day ahead, for once again meeting the world as it stands. Sometimes we must hurry. Sometimes we can’t begin as slowly as we’d like. This is just life in its messy imperfection.
But even in the bustle I listen for that one sparrow who shows up every morning to sing her heart out while the sun crests the horizon. Even as I make my way onto the highway, I look for the moments when the sky shifts from the purple of pre-dawn to pink and then to the faded blue of full day. Yes, there are things I must do, places I must be, but I can do it all with my eyes open, my ears open, my heart open.
We’ve all heard Tim Ferris’s “win the morning, win the day” and I suppose that’s what I’m trying to do, even if Tim might not recognize it as such. All day long, I will wrestle with my to-do list, defend my time and priorities, work toward my goals. But in the morning, my day has infinite possibility and there is enough magic in that liminal space between my dreaming and that to-do list that there isn’t yet space for worry or “not enough."
Mornings are when I warm up the muscle of my joy, for joy is indeed a muscle (as is pausing and curiosity and creativity for that matter), capable of strengthening and growing with practice and work. And mornings simply lend themselves to this work. They are my favorite place to practice tiny revelries, quiet celebrations... a new day, a new start, a new opportunity to delight in my perfectly mundane life and the many wonders a regular ol’ day holds within it. My favorite place to begin taking real pleasure in where I am while I work toward where I’m going.
So I like to start my morning slowly, even if the “slow” has to happen within the context of a bit more hurry than I’d like. And I find that when I begin this way, there always seems to appear a bit more space in the rest of my day, a bit more gladness. I think it has to do with the morning warm up, don’t you?