Do you have a successful pattern for your mornings? Every morning I move from the mundane to the sublime to consistently joyful work.
The intent for my morning routine is two fold: First, to prepare myself to meet the events of the day in jubilant and effective fashion.
Second, to use the gift of writing that I’m given daily at the peak of its creative flow, generally between 8 and 10 AM.
Movement & Nature
I start with the fundamentals: Movement and Nature. I’m awake just after first light, almost never to an alarm. The first pattern is to leash up all 3 dogs and head out for a 20 minute sniff ‘n stroll.
The dogs know this is their time, and Birdie (my cattledog) will usually come and nuzzle (more like a nose missile) me if I’m not out of bed soon enough for her.
I walk barefoot, rain or shine, cold or hot. Admittedly, it's Southern California; we don't do temperature extremes, so year round barefoot walking is pretty easy.
Connecting with the earth through my feet is important to me. The transition between wet grass, smooth concrete, and dry earth is pleasurable enough that I won’t numb my sole with a shoe.
After the walk, I feed the dogs their ration of raw meat and vegetables. By this time Lee is up, demanding her tithe of blended fats and caffeine that we still call “butter coffee”, though it’s far beyond just butter at this point.
Coffee is the second pattern, one of moving meditation. The ritual of making coffee involves and integrates all my senses; seeing the beans, smelling the grind, feeling the heat of the cup, hearing the bubbling of the boiling water, and of course, tasting the glorious concoction.
With the moving meditation complete, I sit down with my cup of coffee, grab my notebook, and hand write one page of what I call “Connecting with Source” affirmations.
Connecting With Source
Without getting too far into religion, my general belief is that there is a vast source of energy and information beyond our current understanding. We can connect to this source through intentional effort. Call it prayer, call it meditation, call it new age beliefs; it’s powerful enough that many of us acknowledge it and revel in the joy of connecting.
As I write, I see ideas form in shapes and colors, akin to the Northern Lights. As they begin to shimmer and flow in my mind, they start to shower down from somewhere above, behind, and to the right of my head, through my brain, and out my pen.
I begin with “I, Nik Hawks,” and flow through my writing from there. I almost always acknowledge the importance of joy and the willingness to do the work necessary to achieve a goal. I keep the intent wide; I’ve found that being too specific can be limiting, and this writing is intended to expand my understanding of joyful reality.
Within 20 or so sentences I’m done. I put the pen in the notebook, close it up, and with the connection to a creative source opened up, I move to the working stages of my writing day.
Focused Writing: Using the Gift
Writing is a gift I’ve been given. For years I would only write when I felt like it. As I began to write more, I realized it’s something that requires daily practice in order to become superb, sublime, and fully realized as an art. I’m not hitting all those wickets every time, but those are the goals I’ve set.
I warm up by answering emails and clearing out my inbox. This early in the morning I usually have one or two emails from a friend overseas with news that’s enjoyable to read but rarely requires a response, and a bunch of junk that’s fast to delete.
Once the warm up is complete, lately I’ve been putting on my little brain zapping cap from foc.us, hooking up the “DARPA montage”, and settling in for 40 minutes of focused, intent writing. I call this the Work phase.
What do I write about, and how do I find ideas to explore during this Work phase?
Throughout my day I’m usually hit with one or two topics to write about. These are sparked from the brain-free mechanism of freeway driving or from stimulating conversations with friends. I write them down as I have them, and these topics and ideas are the well from which I draw.
I’ve found that after about 40 minutes of writing, as the caffeine steps through its diminishing half life and the current stops flowing through my brain, I’ve explored an idea as much as I’m able during that time.
The Routine is Complete
I “come up for air”, step away from the computer, and my morning routine is complete.
From there my day begins to morph and change; deliver dry ice, pick up or drop off cookies, swing by the printer for a round of stickers, etc.
There are no guarantees beyond the routine. Still, with the morning routine complete, I’ve tapped into and wrung out the very best of what I can mentally deliver that day. With that set up, no day is wasted.
So that’s my routine. Do you find anything useful? Do you have a routine yourself? Feel free to comment below, I read ‘em all and am stoked to explore how this works for others or share more details on how I came to develop what I have.
Nik @ PT
Nik Hawks helps run the show at Paleo Treats. Fascinated by humans in all their strange glory, Nik is harnessed in and pulling hard in pursuit of excellence with the rest of the PT Crew. Enjoy!
Too much reading...
How about dessert?
Loved reading about your routine. I have one that involves getting up before daylight, taking the dogs out. We live in the woods, basically, so it’s always fun to hear the birds and see what creatures I may find in my yard: wild turkey’s, bear or deer. When we are back in, I start my coffee. I then spend the next half hour checking emails or reading. But, I’m alone. After years and years of waking up with kids(6) there’s a new routine that involves just me and Cujo and Pickles(the dogs)
Rough start to the day, my little guy “Samson” aka little sun was bright and full of energy at 2 a.m. Unfortunately, I growled at him and he disappeared. Now, I was pissed not so much at him but at me. So, I grabbed my Thoth deck, shuffled, and asked “what is it that I am missing in my life that would cause me to act in such a selfish way?” Behold, the Prince of Disk. I am not sure what all the cards mean so I headed to my laptop to find out. However before heading to the search, I saw that Nik sent an email, so I checked it out first. The topic as you know was on routine, I thought thoughtful, relevant, and good bit of advice. Then on to the meaning of the card for today….I should have known. The Prince of disk refers to ones routine in life and how to embrace it which is not much different then your post.
Serendipitous to say the least… So, I just wanted to say, Nik, thanks for being there!
Kind Regards, Joseph
Good morning Nik,
I really enjoyed reading this post. Thank you for sharing. It was the exact topic I needed. :)