The letter below is adapted from a real voice message I sent to a close friend of mine today while walking from my home to one of my favorite coffee shops in Paris. ❤️️
Your messages have been on my mind the whole week. Aside from the beautiful simplicity of your morning ritual (making coffee, short meditation while the coffee brews, reading or maybe journaling), I really loved how you said that there are no set amounts of time assigned to the activities, and you would instead like to ”work on strengthening your intuitive understandings of time, and how it passes or sits”. That sounds beautiful, mindful and introspective.
Thanks for asking me about my morning ritual; your question got me thinking. I’m not sure I have one. There are activities I repeat on most mornings if not every morning because they wake me up, calm me down, or help me prepare for the day. But not always the same ones or in the same order.
I usually get up after a quarrel with my alarm clock, go to the bathroom, wash my face and potter around the apartment. I might put things back to their places and tidy up a little bit, put the dry dishes away from the drying rack, for example. A bit of movement to wake myself up.
Then I might make coffee if E hasn’t already made it and left me some, which is often the case and which means I start my day by joyfully receiving an act of kindness. So I excitedly sip my coffee, while I make breakfast. I think breakfast is a part of my morning that I really enjoy. I like eating in the morning. Then I might journal. I journal at one point in the day if not multiple times a day, and if I get to journal in the morning, I really really appreciate that. And then I might plan my day if I had not already planned it the night before, and eventually, start working.
This week, after you said that you read in the morning, which I know my friend H also does, I thought “Wow, how lovely!” I perceive reading to be a very slow and mindful activity, something I couldn’t imagine belonging to my restless mornings. I tried it a few times this week; I read my book while eating breakfast, or after breakfast, while waiting for the food to settle. I loved it. It slowed me down. It filled me with inspiration. So thank you for sharing this idea with me.
I guess that’s what my mornings look like, and I hesitate to call it a ritual because of how much it changes. Some days I might start working even before I wash my face, if I got a pressing sleep-idea. On other days I might push myself out of the apartment to catch a meeting without doing any of the above.
It’s funny to me how no one cared about “morning rituals” until the concept fell all over the internet a few years ago… I feel a little sick of mainstream culture claiming so much authority over our lives, telling us what to do when. Will they tell us when to go to the bathroom soon? But then I go and read all the same productivity articles as everyone, and try to apply them to my life. So, I have conflicting feelings, to say the least.
One thing I learned about myself the past few years after leaving my full-time job is how much I value flexibility. And how much I detest doing the same things over and over again, every day. I feel like it sucks my soul away. I prefer finding flow (and losing it and finding it again). I prefer listening to my inner inspiration, and activating my inner inspiration when it disappears. For example, I know journaling keeps me sane, so I do it, and I don’t care so much if it’s in the morning or the afternoon or both. I know planning my day is critical to feeling prepared but I don’t care so much if the plan was done the night before or in the morning.
I feel like if I was driving and the car came to a stop, I would take a deep breath and start the engine again. Journaling, planning the day and whatever other healthy habits I have are all for restarting the engine. And who cares how or when exactly they are done? I agree with Elizabeth Gilbert when she says keeping myself sane is an all day job.
I had a big dip in my energy this weekend, well, increasingly over the week, from Monday on. I got a sore throat on Wednesday and then again on Friday, and Friday evening I told myself “Okay, I really have to rest.” So I spent yesterday sleeping, day sleeping, and it felt like I could sleep more and more. I spent the other half of the day watching Netflix (another modern addiction I have many conflicting feelings about). And today too, sleeping a lot and chilling at home.
My cousin was here this weekend so we went out last night to see her and her friends but that was the only activity I did this weekend. And now I’m out walking to a coffee shop - Beans On Fire - we went there together a few times. I will do one hour of school work if I can bring myself to it, if not I will read and journal.
I think I have work on my mind 7 days out of 7. I feel goal-driven or task-driven 7 days out of 7, and it gets to me if I don’t take real breaks. The last real mental break I took was when we went to Marseilles for my birthday - I didn’t think about anything that weekend - but that was mid-October, so over a month ago now.
I guess this is the blessing and the curse of working for yourself and chasing so many things at once - so many projects across so many domains. Sometimes I really cherish its flexibility, curiosity and excitement, and sometimes I feel like my brain will explode. Not even from working, but from being split across so many different things.
But it is by choice - something I have to keep reminding myself, which also means that if I want to change any of this, that will also be a choice. I keep telling myself that I am energized by doing so many things at once - I am a “multi-passionate entrepreneur”. So the more things I do the more efficient, happy and energized I am. But something to be mindful of. If it doesn’t work, if it’s too much, then I will adjust.
I still want to see this as a learning and growing period where I’m adjusting to working for myself, making money on my own, and creating more than I ever did before. In some ways it feels like it’s been a whole year and I should have adjusted by now; that’s the impatient side of me. In other ways it feels like it’s gonna take more time.
I was reading today that a lot of people are feeling really spent late November, right before the holiday season. So I guess my fatigue has to do with that too - it’s the season for it.
I love you and I’m sorry I couldn’t catch you over the phone. I hope we get to talk soon.
Have a lovely Sunday!