My Morning MOCHA is My Daily Cup o' Joy
I get consistent comments on my level of energy, and though I am a generally energetic person, I can assure you I have worked hard to cultivate who I am BEING and what I DO from early morning on. Do you ever get out of bed and feel aimless? Do you ever show up at work and not feel ready to be there? I definitely have been there. There is SO much material out there about morning routines and how to "Be Successful" that even digging into research can seem daunting. Want some good news? From my own reading, self-knowledge and trial and error, I have found the five pillars I need to help me seize the day (and sleep at night), along with a catchy acronym to go with it. I call it, my morning M.O.C.H.A. Meditation, Orientation, Creation, Hydration and Ambulation. Just a note before moving forward, I like to leave an element of play in my routine, so even if you make the MOCHA your own, remember to do so with joy and curiosity instead of being hard on yourself.
Meditation can be as simple as breathing, bringing mind and body together to just be. Practices like yoga, chanting, or even guided by words can be helpful ways to clear your mental space and be in your heart. To start, even try sitting or lying on the floor in a comfortable position, close your eyes and breathe. Here's what I do: I lie down and breathe and imagine myself seated at the south end of Lake Union with my feet in the water. To focus on letting go of things cluttering my mind, I picture material objects in my life and attach those thoughts to them. My laptop, papers or books, pictures of people, etc. One by one, I hold an item in my hands (in my mind) and feel the weight of all that attaches to it. As I am ready, I put it in a little wooden boat and push it into the water. I let it go. You don't have to do what I do, but that works for me. Find your own practice. Be as visual and tangible or as still as you need to let go of what clutters your heart and mind. Connect your brain and your body and re-enter the moment with clarity and openness.
Orientation is the process of coming back to now, setting intentions and getting into action. Most of us have schedules, tasks and assignments that we choose for ourselves. How will we spend our time? How will we inhabit the spaces and relationships we will be in today? These are questions I answer for myself during this time. Usually, I start my intentions the night before, and first (or second) thing in the morning I come back to them. I write out what I am grateful for, what my current expression of my life purpose is, and then I jot down the appointments and tasks for the day. The other fun part of orientation for me is reading something that inspires me. It could be a sacred text or a work of fiction, the criteria is that it is bringing joy and inspiration to me at the outset of my day. After an inspiring read and putting my intentions and plans on paper, my mind is freed up to be in the moment. It also readies me for my next step...
Creation. We all have some form of art, whether or not is deemed as such. My main focus right now is writing, so I work to get writing in every day. After I am at rest in the moment and inspired to live my purpose, I get into action and get writing. Writing helps me process feelings and serves as work I am making for myself. Even if I wasn't writing a book, I would write. What is something you must do? What inspires you as you do it? Make time at your optimal time every day to do it! For me, that is first thing in the morning.
Hydration is the very first step of my day most mornings. I awake in the morning to find that I don't need a cup of coffee to jumpstart my day, I need I tall glass of water. Replenishing fluids and waking up usually happen with a mason jar full of water as I stand in the kitchen and look out the dark window. My mind is free to wander and wonder here, and I can move into a more focused space as soon as this is complete. It sounds simple, but it's worth taking seriously. We are mostly water, so fill up first thing.
Ambulation is the final piece of my morning MOCHA. As I mentioned earlier, we are not just brains, we are bodies. Waking up and getting moving before your day starts in earnest allows clear thinking. It's also a great time to challenge ourselves. If I get a five-mile run in before I even go to work, I likely have tackled the hardest part of the day! I'm geared up to take on the challenges just by nature of challenging myself first thing. My primary form of movement early in the morning is running, but swimming or a workout would also be great!
You might be thinking, "Sounds great, Ben, but how do you actually do this?" I wake up early, most days at 4AM. If I don't make time first thing in the morning, the likelihood of me making this kind of space for myself is sharply diminished. You might have a different schedule or optimal time, but whatever that is, figure it out and stick to it! Get to sleep on time. Wind down your evenings with gratitude and a good book. Be good to your body and your soul!
My morning MOCHA is my daily cup o' joy. Having clarity on my purpose, being in tune with my heart and body AND excitement for the possibilities today holds allows me to move forward with joy and confidence. Don't feel like you have to copy my methods or use this acronym, but it's helped me immensely and is yours for the taking. May you find peace and joy to create love and beauty each day!
With joy and gratitude,