Wandering with my eyes and heart open, searching for pieces to add to my own personal big picture.

Tag: morning routine

Blooms, Messages, and Luck

I’m just not ready. For what? Anything really, I’m not a big fan of changes but then I get bored and HAVE to make a change. But that’s not what I’ve come to talk about. This is much more simple topic.

I’m not ready to come back to my morning routine. I’m not ready to read in the morning. Therefore…I cannot write to you about books just yet.

I have early plans this morning so I had to make a choice. I don’t have time for EVERYTHING. Read, yoga, meditate, write, breakfast. I’ve got a “pick two” from the menu type of situation here.

It took me a while but I’m picking yoga and write. And write comes first. But write what?

While on vacation, I’ve been waking up, getting a cup of coffee, scrolling and smiling thru IG and the previous days photos, and then writing something ON MY PHONE, and I’m loving it so much, I may just keep the habit. Maybe not on my phone though. We’ll see.

So…hmm…let’s see what I have in here this morning. Not everything has to be brilliant, right?

How about some simple pleasures?

Blooms

This is a tiny houseplant a friend bought me at the grocery store for Valentine’s day. I’ve repotted it and it has bloomed again! ❤

Clouds

A day dreaming type of sky. I was on my way back to the house from the laundry room behind my garage when I decided to take a break and watch this gorgeous sky. I laid in the bed of my truck in the driveway for about ten minutes just experiencing it.

The sun was warm but not hot. The wind was blowing gently. And these clouds, so dynamic. I wished I could take a video of them floating and changing as I watched. I imagined them working themselves into a private message in the sky.

Cat

And then there’s this guy. Years ago, my brother brought him over. “He’s supposed to be good luck but so far he’s failed miserably at his task!” So to test whether it was the cat or something else, he left it at my house. If my luck turned for the worse, there you go!

Yeah… we torture each other. ❤

My sons carried it back with us on a road trip and secretly left it back in his house. Another experiment! He found it and returned it the next time he came to visit. And here he sits.

He lost his arm a while ago but I can’t bear to throw him out. He makes me smile. Last week, as I sat here reading my book, I heard a weird clicking noise and turned to see the morning sun fully resting on his little solar panel. He has no arm to wave, but he cares not. The mechanism inside him clicks back and forth anyway when the sun powers him up.

Don’t we all?

Rabbit Trails: ADD & Social Media

I spend my mornings on the couch. It’s still dark, very dark, unless the moon is out full and then that blue tint across the desert attracts my attention. By attention, I mean irritation. I’m trying to sleep and that moon shines right in my window at times, makes me think someone has turned on a searchlight. I sit up in bed and stare out at the night.

“Who has disturbed my dark slumber?!”

Realizing it’s the moon, I grumble about curtains, and pull the blanket over my head.

But all those other mornings, when the moon is not harassing me, it’s dark. So dark that I can’t see beyond the limits of my porch. I close the curtains over the kitchen sink in the dark, avoiding a direct look out into the darkness. An ancient fear. What if I see something I shouldn’t?

A cup of coffee, my journal, my book. I snuggle into the couch, cover up with a blanket, and say hello to my husband. He’s been up for an hour already, one of those strange people that sleeps less than I do.

The dog eats her breakfast, runs outside quick, and then runs back in to take her place in the blanket beside me. The cat meanders across the coffee table, over my feet propped up in the recliner, and into the blanket opposite the dog. I’m surrounded.

For the next hour or so, I read, sip my coffee, pet the animals, and watch the sky lighten. It’s my favorite time of day. Magical.

What happens after that is a crapshoot. You never know. I have a list of morning tasks, but they are rarely in the same order. Journal, yoga, breakfast, meditation, write, read more? It depends on my mood and my plans for the day.

Today, I went right from reading to writing here. The sun warmed up the curtains and I wanted to share it with someone. Is that so wrong?

Yesterday, two different conversations with friends got me to thinking. Do I have “have ADD?” And is my use of social media (or this blog) healthy for me? I spent most of my afternoon thinking about it and then rushed to finish dinner (I forgot I had to add the potatoes and carrots to the crock pot), make the cheesecake my son requested for his birthday dinner tonight, fold the laundry from the dryer, and do the dishes. Where did my day go?

ADD? Probably. Do I consider it a problem? Only sometimes, like when I’m trying to make something from a recipe and there are people to talk to. Lately, I’ve been craving more focus time but not finding a way to practice. Meditation is helping. I find my mind wandering most of the day, thinking I could probably get more done if I could focus on one task at a time.

My biggest distraction is my phone. Friends and family text and call, and I’m always available to answer. I consider putting my phone on my desk and answering later, but that makes me sad. It seems to be my life work to answer people and talk with them. It makes me happy. A phone call can recharge my batteries and motivate me. I don’t want to miss that connection.

Is social media healthy for me? I’m not sure. If you know me, or read here often, you know I fight about this all the time. I love it and then I hate it. There’s a nasty breakup and then I come crawling back. I’m social. I don’t want to be alone. I want to share my world. It’s the same reason I write here. Some people don’t have that need, but I do and sometimes I start to feel guilty about it.

I’m struggling this week. Not sure if I should be writing at all, not to mention what to write. Sometimes it feels like I’m burdening the world with all this, adding to the noise. Rethinking…again.

And why do I read so much? What’s the point? What else could I be doing? There’s yardwork, quilts, housecleaning, and other projects I could be doing.

Am I missing some big turnoff along this highway? Am I focused in the wrong direction? Is this all there is?

One of those weeks, I suppose.

It happens often and sometimes I share it here, like back in July last year with my post Mental Minimalism: Taking a Break. Why share the malaise? Because someone out there may be feeling it too, and then at least we’re not alone.

Earlier This Morning I Wouldn’t Have

Earlier this morning… This is going to be a quickie. Rough and short. So much fun!

What time is it?

Taps fitbit.

4:10am

Shit.

I’d hoped for an extra hour of sleep. I was dreaming all night. Crazy dreams about a young man on a bar stool, Disneyland being underwater so we had to swim to rides, on vacation I had the vet put my dog and cat down and I wasn’t sure why or how I would explain it, and I needed my shoes out of the car to go for a walk but my aunt had tied herself up and locked herself in the trunk to get attention.

This is not abnormal. I dream crazy crap just about every night. You could make a movie of a string of them, disjointed and strange. You’d leave the theater trying to puzzle them together. Why? What does it mean? It means nothing at all. It’s just a random string of unconscious thought.

Stumble to my closet, grab my flannel pants (put them on) and my fuzzy warm jacket. Stupid cat scratching at the door. Dog precedes me into the kitchen and paws her bowl. She’s up! It’s breakfast time! Finally!

I’m rubbing my eyes and she’s losing patience. Ok! Sheesh! Fills bowl only to watch her look at it like it’s the worms and lay down beside the bowl.

Coffee. I need coffee. I’ve recently taken to using my travel mug in the morning, even though I’m not traveling. Is that a transgression I can be held accountable for in court? It’s insulated and my coffee stays hot for an hour. I’m a sipper while I read in the morning and I’m always gulping down cold coffee twenty minutes into the book. Not anymore! Consequences be damned!

What time is it now? 5am.

Ugg…I’m hungry. I better eat and THEN write today’s post. I need to leave for my breakfast date at 7am.

Today’s post? You’re writing TODAY’S post TODAY?

Yep. This writing practice is fun. I’ve put the graphic from Writer’s Write for November’s prompts on my background screen, so I see it and remember my plan. Thirty minutes writing on the day’s prompt, edit a few minutes, and then post (even if I hate it).

My point isn’t to write something brilliant every day. I’m only trying to build a new habit of writing without worrying so much about what to write and where it fits in. Too many days, I get to the time of day that I like to write, only to come against a roadblock because I’m worrying if there is any point at all to what I’m writing.

Earlier this morning, I had planned on writing my final thoughts about the book “Rationality” that I finished reading yesterday, but I’m short on time and I’m not sure what I’ll say just yet. If I didn’t have this fun exercise to do, I’d probably skip the post and read a little longer instead. I have an excuse. But not this month, baby!

I opened up a new file, gave it a title of today’s prompt, and started in. And here we are together…humming along, just like we would be if we were chatting over coffee. Me babbling on about nothing in particular and you laughing at what a real weirdo you’re stuck with. Is this love? I think so.

What was I doing? Oh yes, earlier this morning!

I got a bowl of oatmeal, wrote in my journal, made another pot of coffee, and snatched up my laptop, flipping it open as I snuggled down into my spot on the couch again.

What times is it? 6am.

Crap. I’m not going to leave on time if I keep this up. Right. I’ll just play with the prompt for a bit while I finish one more cup of coffee and then hit the showers.

Earlier this morning I’d hoped for at least thirty minutes to write. In the past I’d have skipped the whole months exercise because I know (with all I have planned this month) I’ll never succeed in writing like this EVERY day. I’ll fail, so don’t start.

Not this time! Something is better than nothing and most days are better than none.

That’s all the television, I mean story, there is.

Go back to my first post “NaNoWriMo: But It’s NOT a Novel, It’s…” for more weirdness.

Morning Meditation – A Break

I wasn’t going to write this morning, but the day started so unexpectedly beautiful that I had to use it all as a morning meditation and share it with you. No pictures. That would have ruined the mood.

This is the one day a week that I have to be up and out the door by a certain time. It’s my “day out,” visiting with friends and shopping for household goods I can’t find in my own small town. Let me rephrase that; I CAN find them, I just don’t want to. It adds value to my life to spend time “down the hill” in the city visiting friends, and why not shop at a few nicer stores while I’m there!

I don’t usually write this day. I have little time, and something has to give. But today something was different.

I woke up to a strange feeling. Cool.

It’s the middle of August, that time of year when I have just about had my fill of excessive heat warnings, blazing hot afternoons, and swamp cooler fans running on high all night long. And then the wind started to blow yesterday afternoon and it was 77 degrees at 8pm. I opened the windows and turned off the fans smiling. Would that break actually come like the weather report suggested?

When I awoke, there was a chill. I looked at the thermometer, 57 degrees. I took a deep breath and put on my favorite sweatshirt to sit and read, sip my coffee and watch the sunrise.

I thought to myself, “Screw the morning routine. I need to relish this.” But after an hour of reading “East of the Mountains” (which I haven’t blogged about yet, sorry), my habit mind insisted that it was workout time and I heeded its call. Thirty minutes of cardio. Twenty minutes of silent meditation. A bit of breakfast: oatmeal, raisins, and walnuts. And…

Water the yard before the sun gets too hot.

Nope! Not today! No need. I sat down to spend twenty minutes in my new book “No-Nonsense Buddhism for Beginners.” I found a new mantra there. “Every day is a good day.”

My son walked in from the trailer looking for coffee. He’s back at home for a few months, but that’s another story. I put my book away and went out to water the trees while he made his breakfast.

But my morning meditation continued.

In the yard that joyous feeling swelled up inside me. The sun had been up for an hour, a cool breeze was still blowing softly, the sky was that brilliant clear desert blue, and the sun was warm and friendly on my back.

The California Thrashers were signaling their territory…loudly. The quail were scratching about and chattering in the bushes. The hummingbirds, as usual, were there to get a taste of the water I was putting on my lilac bushes. It made me want to get out in the yard, get my trail cam back out and start recording my bird visitors again.

I came back in the house to my son watching some tv show in German while he ate. That’s why his German is so good. He watches German language shows with the subtitles on in German. Long term homeschool win, again.

And my morning meditation continued.

As I’m writing this, I hear more cars on the paved road half a mile away, hammers from the beautiful new house they’re building at the end of the street. My dog is at my feet wondering why we’re typing in my office and not on the couch today. My cat keeps walking over my desk to inspect the house plants that I moved onto it yesterday so they had more space to grow. These are some happy plants.

And now I just thought of a picture I do want to share with you!

morning meditation

This was a beautiful break. I didn’t get to read as much as usual, but I got to write to you. It turns out you CAN teach an old dog new tricks!

Making Time for the Little Things You Want to Accomplish

You know that thing that you wish you could make time in your day for? What if you did? What would it be? What if making time for it was a decision you could consciously make?

Making time to read every morning.
My Morning (photo by author)

Learn to meditate, read that book, start a journal, finish that craft. There are loads of things we tell ourselves that we would love to do them if we only had the time. But really…how much time we need to start?

What do you do when you first wake up in the morning? If you’re like me, you stumble into the kitchen for coffee and hope there is some still left! I used to plop myself down on the couch and turn on the tv to vegetate awhile. It was a habit I created when I was younger. I was tired and grumpy and needed an hour or so to sip my coffee, watch the news mindlessly, and give myself some time to wake up. I needed that time and felt violated if anyone interrupted my morning routine.

And then I had kids and my morning routine was shot to hell. I couldn’t get up before the kids, they usually woke me up at the crack of dawn. The morning routine became about them, taking care of their needs. It was fun most days.

As they got older and we considered homeschooling, I began to be aware that I needed time for myself, time to read, reflect, and relax a bit. I ended up creating an evening routine for that, reading to my kids before bed, and then sitting in their room reading and journaling while they went to sleep. It wasn’t always relaxing but it worked well most nights.

Once they were “school age” and began sleeping past the earliest rays of sunlight, I started being able to get up before the chaos and when I did, I returned right back to my old way of coffee and tv news, with the added time-suck of social media. Habits do not die easily! My morning hour turned into two, while I listened to the news and scrolled through Facebook chatting with friends.

I’m not sure how it came to my attention or why I suddenly thought of it, but I do remember I was growing frustrated with how little time I had to read. My evening routine was great, but I was tired and could only read for about half an hour before I became sleepy and went to bed. The boys didn’t need me to sit there until they went to sleep anymore. I needed to find more time in my day, when I was more alert, if I were going to get any serious reading done.

That’s when it dawned on me…first thing in the morning. I’m conscious enough to scroll through my social media feeds and read articles while I drink my coffee. Why not use that time to read my book? So that’s what I did. I promised myself that I’d get my coffee, sit on the couch, and read for fifteen minutes before I did anything else.

Fifteen minutes after a week or so, turned into thirty and that year I finished 15 books. Over the years, I’ve increased my reading time little by little. In the past I was never able to focus on books for more than a few minutes at a time, but it turns out that it just takes practice to increase that focus. I still only read for an hour at a time, an hour and a half if the book is fun and exciting, thirty minutes if it’s complicated. Then I need to get up and move around, change positions, or change books every hour or so, but I’m up to three hours of reading a day now. And most of that is early in the morning, before I do anything else. I have a new habit. I reach for my book and my coffee now, automatically. This past year I read 64 books.

So, what if you could do that thing you wanted to make more time for? What if you had it ready and waiting for you in the morning, like the coffee maker prefilled and put on a timer? All you’d have to do was pour your cup, pick up your thing, and head to the couch to start. Write your first thoughts before any new input. Listen to that podcast or audiobook while you craft. Read that book for fifteen minutes. Meditate on the steam from your coffee. Whatever it is, make time for it first thing in the day and the rest of the day will already be won because you already did something awesome.

Morning Routine: The Merry-Go-Round of My Mind

Woman reading in bed with coffee looks a lot like my morning routine.
bruno-cervera--P4E59R092Q-unsplash
Photo by BRUNO CERVERA on Unsplash

A good solid morning routine can keep you on track when the merry-go-round of thought gets going, but it doesn’t always lead to productivity.


Crap. That’s exactly what I have. It’s the fifth day in a row that I’m coming up empty.

Every morning, I get my coffee, grab my laptop and plop myself down on the couch before the sun comes up. I take moment: coffee to my left, laptop closed in my lap (of course), cat walking up to curl into a ball on my right. It’s dark and quiet. I take a sip of coffee, crap, it’s already cold. Husband started the coffee maker when he got up for work  an hour and a half before me. The carafe isn’t doing a very good job of keeping it hot these days. Gently, I scootch the cat over (he complains) and get up to warm up my cup, add a sprinkle of cinnamon to hide the “warmed up coffee” taste, and start a new pot.

Shuffling in my slippers and flannel pants back to the couch, I find the dog has taken my spot.

“Really?”

She looks up at me with those puppy dog eyes. Ha! Puppy dog eyes! Of course!

“Move dog.”

She jumps down and goes to her regular spot by the window, ready to stand guard against any intruders, coyotes and ravens mostly. She’s more of a warning dog than a guard dog. She’ll bark up a storm but never go out to chase anything, not even a rabbit.

I sit down with my coffee. The leather couch was kept warm by her furry butt. I take a sip of cinnamon coffee, breathe in the smell (the best part), and reach for my laptop. Work will get done today! The words will come!

…buzz..buzz…

Damn it. I forgot to turn off my phone when I got up. A text from a friend comes through.

“Up yet?”

Of course I am. He knows that. And I keep reminding people that I’m trying to start a morning routine of staying focused on reading and writing, no outside intrusions. It’s not his fault. I should just ignore it until I’m done, but…

“Good morning! Yes, but trying to work today. Ttyl?”

“Sure gorgeous. Have fun!”

And now I’m thinking about that. What else do I have to do today? Water the yard (I forgot yesterday). Clean up the kitchen. Dust and vacuum the living room. Pay those bills. I should write this stuff down so I don’t have to hold in my head, so I get up to get my notebook. I’ll just make a quick list and set it aside for later.

The sky in the east is starting to lighten. There are clouds being highlighted by the first edge of the sun. Wow. Pretty. I  better take a picture of that. And…post it on Instagram. No sense in just me seeing it. Oh look at that! She’s up too and posting pictures of her own sunrise! Hello friend!

Twenty minutes later…

Crap. Where did my early start go? The sun is shining strongly across the desert now, throwing the most special sidelight onto the joshua trees and cholla. I should probably go water the plants before they all die. I can feel them judging me for my lack of attention to their needs. It’ll only take a couple minutes and then I can get back to work without that hanging over my head.

Ok, that’s better! I’ll need a fresh cup of coffee, of course. As I’m pouring it into my favorite cup, in walks my younger son with his girlfriend in tow. “Are you making breakfast?! Awesome!”

Crap.


“Four Reasons a Newsletter is Better Than a Social Media Feed”
Bypass the social media algorithms and sign up for my weekly newsletter. Each week will give you a rundown of my favorites posts, podcasts, and few funnies. Read what you want, when you want, without getting sucked into the endless scroll mode!

Powered by WordPress & Theme by Anders Norén

%d bloggers like this: