Rituals & Routines

Rituals & Routines

I get asked (a lot) about my daily routine…often by people are interested in how I seem to get so much done. I never really considered my morning rituals to be that unusual, nor that my output was considered exceptional, until I started to describe my practices to those who asked & watched their reactions (ranging from confusion to, to surprise, to horror!). So, today, on July 23rd 2020, my 45th birthday, I’m going to share with you what my usual days look like at this point in my life, & how I plan my time. You’ll be surprised how much of that time I spend not “doing”, & just “being”…as I truly believe that’s actually the secret to getting more done really well in a day/week/month/year/lifetime…

A usual day: I wake up at 4am, no alarm, just many years of this same practice informing my body & mind that it’s time to rise. So natural is this process now that I often just realise that my eyes are open rather than feel myself waking up groggily. If I’m sick or utterly exhausted, I may not wake up for another hour or so, but that’s rare, & I always allow that to happen if my body needs it.

I start very slowly, chaos in the morning is my idea of the worst way to start the day, so it’s lucky there are no kids to herd for me this lifetime. By 4:30 I’m up, I’ve emptied my bladder of all the water I drank before bed, & I’ve drunk a glass of apple cider vinegar with more water, & am ready to sit & meditate for at least half an hour, maybe an hour or more if I feel I need it. I may join a chanting circle or group guided meditation if there is one at that hour, or I’ll practice alone in my quiet space dedicated to this purpose. Afterwards I’ll do Tai Chi or Yin Yoga to move my body gently & then Qi Gong exercises to activate my energy fully before I prepare my healing cacao hot drink (recipe at @mangiaezitto) & sit at the table with my tarot cards to tap in to things yet unseen, set my intentions & be clear about what I need to cultivate for the day. This occurs without fail & involves lighting candles & burning incense & observing the light change as the sun comes up & the darkness becomes light. It is the part of my routine I am most disciplined about, as I find a lack of it can leave me unproductive & unfocused. That’s not to say each day will unfold as I planned it in my head, in fact it usually does not, but it does mean I will react well to whatever this crazy world throws at me with calm & grace instead of panic & trigger responses. I believe wholeheartedly that this practice has helped me grow from a selfish, angry young person into a more compassionate & empathetic adult (always a work in progress).

At 6:30 I’ll do the practical things, like shower & prepare myself for staff & interns to arrive from 7am. People apparently prefer to be met by a clean, dressed human at that hour. (I may skip this part if working alone or dedicating the work day to concept work or planning/manifesting for the future.)

We plan the day & write our objectives together from 7-8am while drinking tea, sharing food, & often stretching (or just laying around pretending to do yoga) on the big mats in the gathering space (where we eat together & run workshops/sessions too). Social media & messaging may happen at this time as well. Usually a lot of laughter, & absolutely some connection & tuning in to each other’s needs for the day. At 8am we begin the work of preparing clay/making/finishing/foraging/firing/sanding/sealing/packing/shipping/admin/etc.

At 5pm the work day is done for the team & I usually light the fire pit & sit still for an hour or so, we may share wine & stories if the others choose to stay for a while before going home, which is always welcome, or I’ll be silent for a while, & stare at the fire, & reflect upon the day. In winter I enjoy the sunset at this time too & make every effort at any time of year to be outside to watch the sun disappear behind the horizon every day. I usually cook food over the fire, & by 6:30/7pm I am rested again & ready for any urgent administrative work that needs attention (outside of my usual dedicated one day a week for these tasks) & will often check in with social media then (for business or otherwise), or carry out any personal tasks I feel called to complete. I don’t own a TV, so my downtime is often still creative, I’m usually making or learning something new in this window of time. I read & journal & have a daily written gratitude practice in these hours too.

By 8pm I’m ready for bed, & I’ll usually end my day with a guided meditation, yoga nidra, &/or restorative yoga (if you don’t know what that is you need it in your life…deep, deep, rest for your body). Sleep comes fast these days, unlike the insomniac years of my youth, & I rest well, even though I may drift in & out of deep sleep several times a night. Sleep does not need to be 8 hours of unconsciousness, it simply needs to be restful. At 4am I find my eyes open again…& so it continues.

Probably worth noting that in 2019, after 7 years of daily work with no breaks, resulting (obviously) in burnout, I committed to having every 7th day off, every 7th week off, every 7th month off, & every 7th year off. I’m really looking forward to 2025…& I highly reccomend this practice for everyone who works for themselves.

Remember to be gentle with yourself, self care is truly the most important part of your day…the output does not happen without the input.

X

Anna-Marie

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