My morning routines and rituals have shifted this week.

It wasn’t an accidental happenstance. Or necessitated by circumstance. The shift was intentional and purposeful need to create a more gentle, more compassionate, and more focused commencement into my day.

What hasn’t changed…

Making my first cup of coffeeDuring the predawn moments after the alarm (or one of us wakes) JB and I linger under the covers together. We cuddle and whisper, sharing snippets of remembered dreams. We giggle and stretch and enjoy the warmth and tenderness.

As time inches toward the moment we must rise, he rolls to his back, I lay my head on his chest, and we discuss what’s on tap for each of us that day.

We rise; I throw on my comfy shorts and a colorful tee, slide my feet into slippers, and head to the kitchen as he heads to the shower.

While he dresses for the office, I start the coffee and begin to prepare his lunch, which consists of gathering containers of fruit, oatmeal, yogurt, and leftovers. I warm a can of tomato soup and put it in thermos that has been warmed by boiling water and pour milk into a frosty thermos that has rested overnight in the fridge.

I unload the dishwasher and race to finish before the beep beep beep of the coffee pot signals that the magic beans and water have turned to black gold.

I prepare a thermos of coffee for him to take along and ritualistically make my first cup of coffee: two tiny spoons of raw sugar go in the cup, then I add coffee and finally a splash of whole milk. I watch at the milk blooms and the color shifts from black to caramel. I get my first sip of perfection before he exits the bedroom, armored up for his day.

A hug and a kiss goodbye; I drink in the scent of him, the Old Spice and Coast combined with the faint scent of starch in his shirt.

Each and every second of this part of my morning is sacred. There is nothing here to change.

What has changed, however….

Instead of rushing out for a bike ride or turning on the computer to check email or click around on Facebook…. Instead of grabbing a quick breakfast… or rushing through my coffee…. (all things I have occasionally done over the last year)

I am loading a tray with breakfast, a thermos of coffee, a pitcher of milk, and a glass of water and heading downstairs. I grab my journal, my Kindle and the key for the patio door and take everything out to the patio.

I eat slowly, savoring the textures and flavors I’ve curated on my plate. I make my second cup of coffee and open my book (or Kindle), not to the latest fictional book in progress, but to a book that is thoughtful and nourishing. I am IMG_20150730_084119needing to linger over pages and let luxuriate in the phrases.

Earlier this week, it was an Alexandra Stoddard Book; yesterday I began An Altar in the World by Barbara Brown Taylor.

I sip my coffee and feel the breeze tease my skin. I watch the birds seeking breakfast and listen to the three little frogs in the pond splash around. I scribble a bit in my journal.

Then it’s time to go inside. I turn on the computer and immediately go to 750Words.Com. I could write my “morning pages”  in my journal, but I am experimenting with self-discipline and forging new habits of typing on the computer without allowing myself to be distracted by Facebook or Email.

The bonus of writing at the website instead of in my journal is the way it analyzes my words: what I’m concerned about, what my mindset shows, and how many times I was distracted.

The first two days I began using it again, I was distracted. A lot. Distracted as I wrote a mere 750 words. That is shifting, too, as I build upon the days.

I am drawn back to the words of my current morning read and see a kinship in the belief that THIS is IT.

The lingering in bed and over words, the lunch preparation, the first sip of coffee. Choosing discipline over instant gratification.

These are the moments that CREATE our life. We aren’t seeking the holy by making pilgrimages to far away temples; we are seizing the holiness around us and within us.

Mornings have shifted because I am needing MORE. More nourishment, more discipline, more words on the page. I am needing MORE. More of a commitment to my soul, more of a commitment to my art, more of a commitment of putting my work out in the world.

This shift is about saving myself, saving my life and saving my soul. This shift is about saving my creative spirit and mastering my fears.

This is IT.  I am smack-dab in the middle of what is real, what is my life, what is on my path and horizon. The holy is in the understanding that the sweetness and juice of life is in the exquisite attention to all the pieces that make up my life.

The mornings are critical to remembering this.

It’s up to me to create, fight for, and curate this daily life. This daily life I love begins each day in how I choose to embark upon my morning.

“What is saving my life now is the conviction that there is no spiritual treasure to be found apart from the bodily experiences of human life on earth. My life depends on engaging the most ordinary physical activities with the most exquisite attention I can give them. My life depends on ignoring all touted distinctions between the secular and the sacred, the physical and the spiritual, the body and the soul. What is saving my life now is becoming more fully human, trusting that there is no way to God apart from real life in the real world.”
— Barbara Brown Taylor

Instagram Embedded Image – My August Break piece for Day 4, Numbers. Other images are mine, previously shared on Instagram.