Let It Grow, Let It Grow
This quote about Fall has been one of my favorites for years. I find it so comforting in times of change to remember that letting things go is exactly what makes Fall so beautiful, and it's what make life beautiful, too. My appreciation for Fall's counterpart, Spring, has been fairly limited to the obvious: it signifies the end of Winter!
This year, Spring feels different for me. It's whispering to me about how beautiful it is to let new things grow, and I'm listening.
- Spring is whispering to me through the weeds that defiantly grow up through the clay and sand and rocks all around my home. I am seeing them in a new way: they're green and actually quite lovely.
- Spring is bringing opportunities to meet new friends, and the chance to let new friendships grow. I am nervous about making new friends but trying to be brave.
- Spring has brought more than a few prompts to embrace a new morning ritual that has me listening to the breeze at dawn. It reminds me of a poem by Rumi.
That last point is quite literal: I've been waking up with the sunrise and spending time barefoot outside in the morning. It's true what Rumi says: the breeze at dawn has secrets to tell you. Do not go back to sleep.
I'll resist the urge to go full on mystic and tell you instead about how this happened and what it's actually been like to wake up with the sun for the past month. First, an important thing you need to know about me: it’s always been easier for me to have an idea than to enact it. I'm a setter and breaker of New Years Resolutions and a planner of unrealized plans. I will dutifully show up for others and do everything I say I will do... unless I'm the only person counting on me. If that's the case, my word is as good as broken. After discovering Gretchin Rubin’s Four Tendencies framework, I’ve found a bit more compassion and understanding for the way that I set and meet expectations. According to her model, I am an Obliger; I can readily meet outer expectations, but struggle to honor inner expectations. The silver lining? It's an easy fix: I just need to create some external accountability for any new habit or routine I want to create, and I can be fairly confident that I'll reach my goals without too much fuss.
So, when my boyfriend and I were both inspired to start a new morning ritual after listening to Guru Singh on the Rich Roll Podcast, it helped me very much to have him as an external accountability partner. Here’s a look into what my mornings are like these days.
6:30 am Saturday
My phone alarm goes off just a few seconds before Bearded Boyfriend’s and it takes me a few long seconds before I move an inch. I was already drifting in and out of sleep, but I could’ve easily fallen asleep and stayed asleep for another couple of hours. Our 6:30 am alarms saw to it that didn’t happen. I don’t fight it. My phone is across the room and this is a morning ritual that we are both committed to, so up we go. I take care of the morning basics: a quick trip to the bathroom, removing my mouth tape (that's a story for another time!), and pulling on my sweatpants and a sweatshirt.
And then we’re off. Through the dining room, kitchen, and pottery studio (why yes, I do have a pottery studio in my home). Out the back door. I kick off my moccasins and step barefoot onto a patch of dirt that Bearded Boyfriend has cleared for our morning ritual. We both stand on the dirt, facing the Sandia Mountains to the East. We’ve been doing this for 3–5 mins every morning for over a month (okay, okay, I skipped four days while I was traveling recently… I didn’t have my external accountability partner!).
The horizon is lit up with a combination of colors that I truly believe can only be found in New Mexico. For a minute or so, we feast our eyes on the purples and blues and oranges and reds and yellows of this Saturday sunrise. And then it’s gone and that horizon is all sky blue and just a few clouds. There are birds singing in our backyard and I marvel at this tree which has stood barren all Winter and is now blooming. There are some constants during these early mornings, but there are many more subtle changes that I’m grateful to be experiencing. We don’t do anything specific while standing barefoot. It’s just about getting connected to the Earth first thing in the morning, and this is a direct and easy way to do it.
After our barefoot grounding ritual, we head inside and I set a timer on my phone for 15 minutes. We stretch. I engage in different stretches every morning, whatever my body feels like it needs. Today it was everything: standing, side body, sitting, and twisting. Get grounded and then get into my body, that’s what these two practices represent for me.
And then we share a sweet hug and it’s time to pursue our creative pursuits. I guess that’s how this whole thing started in the first place. It was an opportunity to use morning time for creativity—writing for me, and pottery for him. He usually heads to his studio to spend some time making things with his bare hands out of clay. I grab a pen and paper or my laptop and paint with words. I mean. It’s 7:30 am right now and I’m writing this for you!
Waking up early and maintaining a morning ritual is not the easiest thing I’ve ever done, but it’s not the hardest thing either. I’m enjoying mornings so much more than I ever thought possible. I’m writing more, too, which is one of my intentions for 2018. I get to spend time with my honey in the mornings as well. We’re not rushing to get anything done or be anywhere and it’s a slow, sweet chance to connect every morning before we go our separate ways for the day.
Spring just seems like the most appropriate time of all to begin this practice. Letting new things grow—even slightly crazy things like waking up so early—is something I'm just trying to embrace. With a little help from morning songbirds and a little (ok, a lot) of accountability from my partner, I think that this practice could really grow into something beautiful and contribute very meaningfully to my creative expression.
So, tell me about the beautiful new things are growing in your life right now... what helps you create and maintain new practices, habits, and routines?