When people ask me what my dream scenario looks like, I usually direct them to this photo on Oprah’s Instagram account. Honestly, have you ever seen anyone look as happy as Oprah does on Harvest Day?How is she even holding that up? She loves her garden so much. How could she not? Look at the size of that haul. Look how vibrant those tomatoes are! I read there are more than 100 species of fruits and vegetables growing on the farm.
She was once quoted in Oprah Magazine explaining that “Being on Maui and creating a farm feels like coming home to me” … which makes perfect sense. I think I’d feel pretty at home at her Maui garden too.
I’m just tickled by how happy she is whenever Harvest Day comes around.Anyway. I’ve been thinking a lot about what makes me happy. And not in just the general sense, although I think about that a lot too. Sort of a requirement in the wellness/personal development blogging realm, I suppose.
But more specifically, what’s going to make me feel good first thing in the morning, so that my days are more effective and productive.
See, I’ve been hearing more and more lately about this notion of alignment before action. Which means getting into a happy, feel-good state before tackling all the shit you have to do.
Man, morning routines are such a thing. We hear a lot about how you need to start your day in order to be successful, and why moving through a clearly defined formula matters. I myself wrote, on this very website, about which rituals can induce creativity first thing in the morning.
There’s also a lot of jargon around taking action, and hustling, and efforting the way to success. And this all requires very specific steps, starting with waking up at the crack of dawn. Usually a treadmill or a set of dumbells is involved too.
But I’m starting to wonder if any of it really matters.
Like do we have to do it all? The gym, the bed making, the lemon water, the journaling, the bulletproof coffee, the meditation, the tarot cards, the oil pulling, the dry brushing, the crystals, the smoothie. Lawdy.
Then again, sometimes a lack of a morning routine can leave you feeling scattered, complacent or just plain unhappy. I slogged through years of waking up at the last possible minute, checking my email and social media, and throwing on some clothes before rushing to the subway to get to work. My lack of a good routine was my routine. And it’s not surprising that I didn’t feel awesome throughout the day.
I wonder how Oprah spends her mornings. Besides strolling through the garden, surveying the harvest.
I’m not advocating to screw the routine completely, especially if you crave structure because that’s what feels good. I think what I’m trying to say to you today, is that you can stop feeling the pressure to have the routine you think you’re supposed to have.
Because if you start your day doing something that makes you really happy, that’s going to set a positive tone for the rest of the day.
Sure, things will inevitably come up, including things that can hurl you into a bad mood. But when we kick things each morning in a way that feels good mentally and emotionally, we’re much more likely to get the results we want.
The reason is that when we get into a good place first, we take action based on where flow takes us, rather than trying to force action and assuming the results will follow.
Our society, especially the work culture, is so focused on action, action, action. And action is great. But maybe we’re overlooking something big. Because when we take action from an aligned place, it can be so much more powerful.
Speaking of reading, that’s the thing that gets me into alignment everyday. After walking the dog and making coffee, I sit down and read for an hour (or a chapter if I can’t afford much time). It’s typically a business or personal development book, because I think it’s the learning element that puts me into alignment. Also, I’d probably read a fiction book until 1pm then freak out that it’s 1 pm and I haven’t even brushed my teeth. Taking Lucy to run on the beach or going to yoga have similar effects, but nothing beats reading.
Of course, the elephant in the room is that waking up with a cup of coffee and reading for an hour may not be realistic for everyone. You may be a mom, or work super early, or you hate to read. Though, that would be odd since evidently you read our existential rants about morning routines and back massagers and essential oils?
Obviously I can’t speak for everyone’s individual circumstances, but I would perhaps suggest you try to experiment with what works for you, if you find this concept at all appealing.
The first step is just observing what you currently do first thing in the morning and how it makes you feel.
Are you checking your email and feeling stressed about work, or mindlessly scrolling through Instagram and doing the whole comparison thing first thing in the morning? How does that make you feel? Because whether or not you realize it, that’s setting a tone for the rest of the day.
Getting into alignment doesn’t have to be a big thing. You could take five minutes to write down what you’re grateful for (oh btw, gratitude is a big feel-good trigger), or savor your morning coffee, or upgrade your breakfast to something that feels really groovy.
The point is that your morning routine doesn’t have to look like anything specific. The real key is how it makes you feel, and when you get into a feel-good place before taking action you’re far more likely to take positive action.
Worth a try right?
Let me know what you think in the comments. I’d love to hear if you give it a shot!