Morning Rituals: Start Each Day Intentionally, Manage & Prevent Pain, and Live a Life by Design
“This is what rituals are for. We do spiritual ceremonies as human beings in order to create a safe resting place for our most complicated feelings of joy or trauma, so that we don't have to haul those feelings around with us forever, weighing us down. We all need such places of ritual safekeeping. And I do believe that if your culture or tradition doesn't have the specific ritual you are craving, then you are absolutely permitted to make up a ceremony of your own devising, fixing your own broken-down emotional systems with all the do-it-yourself resourcefulness of a generous plumber/poet.”
~ Elizabeth Gilbert, (Eat, Pray, Love)
Living in a fast-paced city like Toronto has its blessings as well as its challenges. It's easy to get caught up in the vibrant buzz of this amazing city - it's exciting and stimulates the senses...sometimes into a dizzy.
Sometimes, this excitement can drive us to lose a sense of our own inner rhythm. We may lead lifestyles that dictate long hours, sitting, staring at screens. We may "live fast" and feel bombarded with the opinions of others. We may end up feeling a little lost. Unprocessed experiences and emotions put the body in a state of chronic stress, and eventually manifest physically as tension, pain, and eventually debilitating illnesses.
There is no easy, quick fix answer or solution for this pandemic of inner unrest, enhanced with the first-world gift & problem of abundance. Distractions are plenty, and overstimulation creates a frantic mind that clouds clear thinking into delusional distortions of true reality.
"Life is really simple, but we insist on making it complicated." ~ Confucius
Suffice it to say, we complex beings have overcomplicated much of life. Fortunately, we can create solutions as fast as we create problems 👌🏽. As multifaceted beings, the solutions for living an authentic life must also be as multifaceted as we are.
We humans are both human animal as well as a vessels for sophisticated divine consciousness.
It is important to honour both aspects (yin/yang; dark/light) to ensure every step forwards in life is taken with integrity (wholeness). When we deny the totality of our true nature, we reject a part of our being, thereby fragmenting our personality, consciousness, and being. Fragmentation is separation, causing distress to the psyche, which again, inevitably shows up in our physical bodies as stress and pain.
Healing, recovery, and balance is found through habits that integrate and support the communication between the distinct aspects of your being. Habits are not inherently good or bad, and this is where INTENTION comes in:
Intentional habits = ritualS that bring us back to our true nature: peace, curiosity, creativity, a desire to learn, love, and help others.
Rituals: a Meditation Practice
Rituals offer a key to holding ourselves together, as we step bravely in the direction of authentic living. Living authentically calls our consciousness to continue expanding, to accept more and more of who we are as well as who others are. Rituals support us to contain, focus, organize, and transform chaos into order. We can do this in many ways: writing, listening, singing, drawing, painting, boxing, making love, climbing mountains and deep diving.
Meditation is simply one-pointed focus on...anything. Meditation is focused attention, and what we focus on, grows. This focusing process is pure alchemy. A ritual meditation practice is a powerful tool to create the lives we truly desire.
Britannica describes RITUAL as a
"performance of ceremonial acts prescribed by tradition or by sacerdotal decree", and goes on to state that they have played a key component in all known societies.
Ceremony. Sacred. All known societies.
Ritual is one lens we can wear to understand all humankind with. Ritual invites us to embrace our magick, our imagination, and our faith in something greater than what we see before us: new ways of being, relating, and loving.
It is a sacred practice, and all societies have their traditions to honour the divine, in its many varying expressions. Even the agnostic practice rejecting or ignoring the concept of divinity. We all rinse and repeat some sort of ritual. We all have habits, or patterns of behaviour.
Ritualization is a practice.
PRACTICE is a word that yogis love:
"Tell me more about your yoga practice."
"What style of meditation do you practice?"
Practice makes progress. Implicit within practice is repetition. Repetition and structure offer the human creature a sense of stability, a sense of safety in this wild and wonderful world, complete with the good, the bad, and the ugly.
What we repeat becomes second nature. In time, there is no effort, and our rituals are normalized and embodied in our day-to-day living. It is just what we do.
If repetition sounds like a commitment - well, it is. Now, just in case this calls up resistance within you...
In the morning you eat breakfast, and eventually, around lunch time, you are hungry again. It would be silly to be annoyed at this reality, so instead we take joy in preparing and eating delicious meals. Our inner world of thoughts and feelings operate the same way - it also needs regular tending. It is a practice of self-discovery that can become one of joy, deep meaning, and spiritual resilience.
And so, we share our morning rituals to hopefully inspire some of your own.
We believe a spiritual practice is a blend of both scientific discovery and artful mysticism. You can artistically curate your own rituals, or adopt rituals teachers offer you. Once you reach a certain level of regularity, you yourself can see whether your rituals have tangible effects on the way you experience life. So...we dare you. Just try :) we're happy to be here for any questions or support along the way, so REACH OUT!
We hope our rituals inspire and support your own practice of ritual life. We hope these rituals become your foundation for higher levels of intentional and empowered living!
May you find peace, happiness, and prosperity in all that you desire.
Please reach out, we'd love to hear from you!
Jessica Kalea Cheung
My morning begins around 6:30 am. Before I open my eyes, I take a deep breath, scan, and become aware of my entire being: body, emotions, mind...and the Witness noticing all of this.
How is my body feeling? What emotions have I awoken to? What thoughts are running through my mind? What is my intention for today?
If I had vivid dreams, I take time to remember whatever I remember. I believe that dreams are a way for our subconscious to swim up to meet our conscious awareness. I treat my dreams with tenderness, and consider what they could "mean", while keeping the whole exploration playful. Sometimes dreams are just chaotic emotional processing through bizarre nonsense. Hilarious.
Most importantly, before I open my eyes, I self soothe, if needed. I remind myself that today is a great day to be alive, that I contribute positively to all of existence. I affirm that I magnetize the experiences meant for me, so that I can continue evolving and stepping into more happiness, success, and servitude to humankind. I say my thanks for all the blessings I receive, and I commit to being the most loving version of myself I can, today.
The rest is a little more straightforward:
- Drink triphala tea I've steeped from the night before. Horribly bitter, but apparently good for me.
- Do bathroom things...
- Drink another cup of water
- 5 mins of yoga stretches
- Hike in the woods with puppy Rupert for about an hour - releasing any tension to the trees, and inhaling fresh air. I intentionally walk in solitude as my hike is a meditative experience for me.
- Return home, make breakfast full of love - high in protein to stay full longer!
- With breakfast: take vitamins + supplements (ashwaghanda is a fav of mine right now, as well as Vit D because Canadian winters are a thing)
- Settle in for work
- Bedtime: unplug. De-tech detox 1 hour prior to bedtime
- Weekly exercise: high impact exercise 1-2 times/week (martial arts, boxing, weightlifting), yoga every damn day 😏
The most important takeaway I'd like to leave you with is: in those first few moments when you first wake up, really take care of you. Start your day off in a good way. Be your own best friend, love yourself irrationally - deeply, madly, like a corny love song. Create a sanctuary in your mind, whether it's a forest, open field, or the Milky Way. Draw out your safe space for fun; use your imagination and create your own symphony of personal symbology. Express your unique magick. Surround yourself with mutually nourishing relationships that value and appreciate you, just because you're you.
It's said we humans suffer more in our imaginations than in reality. Make sure you have your imagination working for you rather than against you. Your experience of life starts with your mind. The external world is truly a mirror reflection of what lies within you.
With your imagination, you can create anything without even lifting a finger. When you wake, greet yourself the way you'd greet your favourite person in the world. Give yourself a hug, words of encouragement, or whatever it is you want/need.
Be your own best friend, and you'll find yourself reaching new levels of productivity - defined on your own terms.
This is what inner work is: joyful, silly, irrational, deeply profound, at times dark and disturbing, and the greatest journey you'll ever take.
Oh, and I love you. ❤️
Jeremy Matthew Wulkan
- My morning starts around 6:30 - 7:00 am. They say the most successful people in the world all wake up early. Some are up at the gym by 5 am. (I'll get there one day, I'm sure). Studies show it's when most people tend to be the most productive and creative.
- Get dressed & make the bed (when you make your bed every morning you will have accomplished the first task of the day. It will give you a small sense of pride and accomplishment).
- Do bathroom things...
- Take my dog out for his bathroom things...
- Drink a glass of water and prepare Coffee (OF COURSE)
- Get caught up on emails and social (while drinking coffee). If it's winter time, I have the SAD lamp on. Helps me deal with my seasonal depression.
- Make breakfast for me and the little animals. (usually consists of my favourite smoothie (Chocolate, peanut butter & frozen Cauliflower). Its honestly amazing. Don't knock it till you try it. Maybe I'll post the recipe on here one day ;)
- I go to the gym usually 3 days a week or I do an at home Strength Yoga flow.
- Settle in for work/treat clients
“A ritual is the enactment of a myth. And, by participating in the ritual, you are participating in the myth. And since myth is a projection of the depth wisdom of the psyche, by participating in a ritual, participating in the myth, you are being, as it were, put in accord with that wisdom, which is the wisdom that is inherent within you anyhow. Your consciousness is being re-minded of the wisdom of your own life. I think ritual is terribly important.”
~ Joseph Campbell