SELF-ish Series | The Tradition of Morning


Welcome the light in…
— Stevona Elem-Rogers (Season 2 Episode 2)

LIGHT | AIR | PALO SANTO | YERBA MATÉ | MUSIC

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How deliberate are you with the way you start your day?

Do you roll out of bed after snoozing thrice, sleepwalk your way to the bathroom sink and pulse your way through the weekday AM rituals and before you blink, you find yourself at your office desk?
Or are you the kind of person who is energized by what I refer to as the ‘the warm-up rounds’; like a run, workout, or a matcha tea with your favorite blog post?
Have a think about what your morning traditions say about you and how they setup the rest of your day.

In Season 2 episode 2 of my podcast series, Stevona Elem-Rogers triggered something in me when she shared her new methods of unwinding involved a morning ritual. One inspired by Mozambican artist Cassi Namoda and shared in this Vogue article; peep the excerpt below:

“I think taking care of the space you live and breath in can also serve your spirit and give more meaning to your day—in Africa, for instance, there’s the ritual of sweeping with the sunrise. I go ahead and open the windows to let fresh air in. Then, I will light palo santo or some sort of uplifting incense to burn the night away. I water my plants and then start to bring my [focus] back to myself.” Cassi Namoda | artist

Just listening to Stevie’s description of this ritual drew my tense shoulders away from my ears and expanded my lung cavity. And in no time, my gremlin appeared, promptly reminding me that executing this in a New Orleans morning setting (where Stevie resides) versus in Harlem, NYC (where I am) will likely not have the same calming effect. Shoulders back up to ears again.

While my location may not be conducive to it, I value my mornings and I know the effect being deliberate with my dawn-time has on my productivity levels for the rest of the day; so here’s what my AM rituals are starting to look like.

1. WELCOME THE LIGHT IN

And the fresh air.
Open all windows
if just for ten minutes on colder mornings,
or longer.
Old air out; cool ‘new’ air in.

2. ENERGIZE

Palo Santo is my new obsession.
I have high blood pressure and can get easily stressed - although I don’t show it visually.
I have been looking for ‘my thing’. The things I can to turn to to keep me feeling calm, relaxed yet energized to be my best for my at-home creative hours. Palo Santo kept popping up all over the place; so after some research, I bought a couple packs from Sacred Wood Essence. It is said to have healing benefits including for asthma, inflammation, stress, anxiety/depression and headaches (disclaimer: I am not a physician so do your own research and come to your own conclusions). Many use it to cleanse away negative energy from rooms and spaces (had a not-so-friendly relative or acquaintance over in your space recently? Palo Santo that mutha after they leave).
For me, it’s a combination of lighting the wood and the smoke’s fragrance that does it for me.
It’s a ritual I enjoy. An everyday luxury I can afford to have. Utter peace.

Sourced from  Sacred Wood Essence :   Palo Santo   is a mystical tree that grows on the coast of South America and is related to Frankincense, Myrrh and Copal.

Sourced from Sacred Wood Essence: Palo Santo is a mystical tree that grows on the coast of South America and is related to Frankincense, Myrrh and Copal.

2.5. [INSERT ‘MEDITATION’ HERE]

Admittedly, this part isn’t a regularity for me. More a sporadicity.
But I hear pairing palo santo with meditation is the perfect practice.
Give this pairing a try if mediation is your thing.

3. GET GOING
For me, this is a combination of the following:

  • play music: Jazz or afrobeats - depends if I am still in ‘warm-up’ mode. These days, I opt for Brain.fm or a podcast.

  • take care of my plants

  • sip on some Yerba Mate tea (this is a whole other ritual all on it’s own)

  • Settle into a book; or write.

Sidenote |
As I shared my AM ritual with a group of friends this week, someone brought light to something I hadn’t even seen.
My ritual triggers four out of five senses:

  • touch with the morning air through the window unto my skin;

  • smell with the sweet wood-sy, pine-y and burnt apple-y notes of Palo Santo that I have grown to like so much;

  • taste stimulated by the acquired flavor of Argentine tea, Yerba Mate;

  • sound through my latest digital obsession, brain.fm.

Nothing cocoons me into a laser sharp focused zone better than a layering, of especially, the last three and I can’t wait to see how this opens up my ability to create through 2019.

Again, how deliberate are you with the way you start your day?

Do you roll out of bed after snoozing thrice, sleepwalk your way to the bathroom sink and pulse your way through the weekday AM rituals and before you blink, you find yourself at your office desk?
Or are you the kind of person who is energized by what I refer to as the ‘the warm-up rounds’; like a run, workout, or a matcha tea with your favorite blog post?
Have a think about what your morning traditions say about you and how they setup the rest of your day.

The good thing is, it’s not too late to get deliberate with your mornings.
Don’t let them just happen to you; they don’t have to be your most-loathed part of the day. Make them work harder for you.
Try something deliberate tomorrow and tell me how it felt.