Much of everyday life is made up of rituals – established, predictable and patterned behaviors that structure the day. Through their consistency rituals give us repose, steadiness, safety and a sense of control in a world that is running out of order, mostly. A ritual is any action we take that has meaning beyond its appearance, making even mundane activities intentional and sacred
Morning is usually the time for contemplation and thoughts, and for me, the most beautiful and important time of the day. Why? Because of my morning coffee – warm, comforting, and familiar. My ritual of morning coffee keeps me grounded. It is more than just preparing and drinking coffee, and it surely is not just about the caffeine. It is about the whole process, the ritual of brewing, the aromas and the flavors filling the room, the first sip, each and every morning.
Waking up, but not quite awake yet, I move to the kitchen that in mornings is sun-filled, bright and quiet. After turning on the radio, the daily pour-over begins. The slowness of the preparation and the time it takes never changes, no matter if there is a busy day ahead, or all the time in the world. The movements and actions happen almost automatic, unconsciously, with the mind not having to interfere or command. Filtering the water and setting it to boil while I grind the beans, thoughts about the upcoming day or simply my mind start to speak up, while at the same time I am slowly waking up. Then, the scents of fresh ground coffee hit me: an unparalleled level of freshness, aroma and taste. Instinctively, I prepare the brewing equipment, fold the paper filter, and place it into the cone of the white porcelain drip, sitting on the glass server. After rinsing the filter, I add the coffee grounds, pour some water to moisten it, and let it ‘bloom’ for about 30 seconds. While I wait, I listen to the news on the radio, the voices distant. Gently, I start pouring more water, in circles, then waiting again, watching the coffee drip, then more water. The strong, delicate coffee scents slowly fill the kitchen, the steam rising up, dancing in the sunlight.
I savor every moment of this, so quiet and calm, thinking about the day ahead, then pour the coffee into my favorite cup, letting it cool a little bit to release more of the aroma. Finally, it’s now time to take the first sip of the day, the fine taste, the complex aroma, the caffeine energizing and waking up both body and mind. On most days, I enjoy the first cup in the kitchen while reading the newspaper, then take the second one to my desk, to start writing.
Is it time for you to find your morning ritual?
Are you an early bird, too, or rather struggling to get up and moving each day? Snoozing the hours away, then rush out of bed, hectically brushing teeth, getting dressed, grabbing a bite on the run, only to arrive at the office stressed out but still late?
A morning ritual might actually help to make your day more productive and, most importantly, happier. The morning sets the tone for the rest of the day. A positive mindset will help you take charge of your day, refocus, and eliminate the stress from the chaotic morning rush. It is just for yourself, a precious and rare ‘me-time’. Basically, it can be anything you enjoy doing, from a workout or yoga routine, to writing or keeping a journal, to reading a book or the newspaper while enjoying your tea. Meditating in silence, before the loud world comes upon you might be your preferred method. You might like going for a walk, even if you don’t have a dog, to fill your body with fresh air, to wake your mind up. Taking a bath, or a cold shower, preparing a healthy and long breakfast. Just you, yourself, or with your partner, friends and family.
Create a ritual that brings you joy and makes you feel good, that uplifts you. Connect your morning ritual to a task you have to do regularly, like walking to your office every day, no matter if it is spring or fall, no matter if you have a busy meeting schedule or a quiet day ahead of you. Or drink a coffee at your favorite coffee shop and read the newspaper there, every morning, before you start with your tasks. After a while, you will come to love your daily ritual, and will look forward to getting up early every day (well, most of them anyways).
Whatever your morning ritual is or will be, give it the time and dedication it deserves, treat your mornings with attention and respect. Savor every minute of it. It will make your days more worthwhile.