“Morning is an important time of day, because how you spend your morning can often tell you what kind of day you are going to have.”
― Lemony Snicket,
Gentle mornings are difficult to come by with three highly spirited children in the house. However, though it may not look gentle to some, I find that the summer mornings are far calmer than those of any other season (I, sarcastically, thank the schools for that). I have also found that my mental space carries a lot of weight when it comes to how gentle the mornings are, and how these amazing children act, interact, and react to stimuli.
If I wake up to children screaming and hitting one another, my response sets to mood for the entire morning, if not the whole day. It has taken me almost a year to learn this lesson, and though I, more often than not, wake up on the wrong side of the bed, I have learned to quiet my voice and soften my words on most days.
My children, especially, prefer a gentle morning over a chaotic one – most days, they are not ready for the loudness and the energy first thing in the morning – however, the other little one (my friend’s daughter) is a whirlwind of movement and noise from the moment she opens her eyes. Depending on Sun and Moon’s level of sensitivity, this can either rile them up or set them off, which then feeds Star, and all of them find their own brand of chaos to bring about.
This is not a blame game, primarily because there are days when Sun has been awake for some time in his room and comes out ready to help spread the energy around. These are merely facts, and I am not unhappy about any of it. I do enjoy some of their laughter and their playfulness, as long as it remains within the realm of peacefulness. It takes time and modelling proper behaviour to bring children to a place of understanding and peace in the morning time (unless, like me, they are born with a predisposition to quietude).
Recently I chose to give a minimal daily practice a try – greet the morning, make an offering at noon, and meditate at sunset. Though I have not been able to push myself to meditate, the other two tasks are easily accomplished. Part of greeting the morning has become doing a gentle wake-up yoga sequence that I found online, with modifications for my current body type and health, as well as my traditional cup of breakfast tea. Along with that, I say a prayer to the Mother. I may choose to light a candle or do something else during the prayer, but I leave that up to myself at that time.
Tea. Yoga. Prayer. I may read something, I may settle onto the couch and calm myself, I may start right away on daily chores, or I may sit in front of my computer and do some research or lessons or writing.
I try not to restrict myself with schedules or strict ceremonies or rituals (if at all possible), because they tend to make me feel trapped. I am uninspired by rigidity. I do like rhythm, I do like a sort of predictability to my days because it eases a bit of my anxiety – but an inflexibility in time and activities results in an increase of uneasiness in my head and heart.
Are your mornings gentle? How do you bring a softness to a time when most people are rushing to get somewhere for whatever reason? Do you have any rituals, big or small, that you hold in your heart and practice each morning?