Before being diagnosed with cancer I don’t remember ever thinking about how I could bring joy into my daily routines, cancer definitely changed that. Now it is all about the joy! Let me tell you, cultivating joy is a game changer! Believe it or not, it is actually very easy to bring joy into your day and the benefits are endless.
The Importance of Intention
You see, we have a lot more power in creating the life that we want to live, than we realize. By making little shifts throughout the day, we can bring in so much more joy, peace and calm into our life. This is also a way to show ourselves self love! Winning!
Leading up to the diagnosis I was pretty numbed out and basically on autopilot. I wasn’t really intentional about anything. Luckily, cancer woke me up. Suddenly I saw my life as a very precious gift and wanted to appreciate every day that I got to live. I knew I had to turn my entire life around if I wanted to live, and that I did!
I am excited to share some of the ways I cultivate more joy in my life. In this post I am going to focus on my morning joy rituals. I hope you chose to show yourself some self love and call in that joy! Small intentional actions can make a world of difference, and remember - You deserve it.
My Morning Rituals
I had no idea how creating morning rituals would bring me so much joy. It is so easy to add in a few simple things to start your day off with joy.
- Waking Up With The Sun
I have always had blackout shades in my room for total darkness. I was a night owl, and loved how I could sleep longer having blackout shades. I once stayed at a friend's vacation home in Tahoe and they didn’t have any window coverings! I was blown away, and frankly annoyed that I would have to put on eye patches, when I wasn’t even camping! Now, I see things very differently. I started sleeping with my blinds open and what a treat! My bedroom windows face the east and now I wake up to the sun. I open my eyes and feel instant joy; greeting the day, when it is so quiet and peaceful. Sometimes I go back to sleep, and that initial joy of feeling and seeing the sun rising stays with me! I always feel such gratitude that I am alive and have another day on this beautiful blue marble, we call home!
- Greeting The Day
My room is flooded with light. I can see the trees, sky, birds and sweet sun energy. When I open my eyes, I greet the day. I connect myself with God, Spirit, my guides and ancestors, the plants and animals, through a big hello. I even say out loud “Grand Rising everyone!” This gesture alone brings me great joy and reminds me I am not alone. I invite their love, guidance and wisdom into my day. I never, ever did anything like this before. It is a new practice and I love it so much. I feel so peaceful and I have loved seeing how much support and messages I have been receiving!
As I lay in bed, I stretch my body while I say 5 gratitudes. I start and end my day with this practice. There is always something to be grateful for, even when things are really challenging. This simple practice reminds me there is always good around me, and it feels so good to acknowledge it. When we first wake up our mind is ready to start! It instantly starts reminding of us all we have to do etc. As soon as my “monkey mind” starts, I start my gratitudes. It is a great way to let my mind know, I am driving this ship. We can think about those things later.
- Making My Bed
I get out of bed and make it. This simple practice makes such a huge difference in how I feel when I come in and out of my room. I feel happy when I see it made. Try it!
- Greeting My Altar
Next I greet my altar by lighting incense and greeting Buddha, Kuan Yin, Green Tara, Ganesha and Lakshmi. Again connecting me to support, love and guidance outside of me. Just lighting incense feels luxurious to me. I love this new practice.
I look at myself in the mirror and say my affirmations. I generally laugh and smile as I say them to myself in the mirror as it is like I am doing a monologue for myself. Declaring all of my “I Am’s” feels so powerful! I say them with a playful energy. When I look at myself in the mirror and say the affirmations I can’t help but smile. It’s kind of like- “wow, you have come a long way, choosing to play this game of life is actually pretty fun!”
Guess what? These things take me less than 10 mins!!! After just those few simple practices, I feel connected to myself, God, nature and life, throughout my day. Joy is a byproduct of that connection! If I am crunched for time I can really go through my basic morning in 5 minutes and on days I am more spacious I can stretch it out. There are no rules. The point is I accomplish so much before I even leave my room. This is because I have made it a “routine”. I don’t have to “think” about it. This really has shifted my mornings from stressful to joyful.
- Warm Cup of Tea
I make delicious tea and drink it out of my favorite mug. Having a beautiful vessel to drink out of brings me joy. If you don’t love your mug, invest in one you do. Get one that really sparks joy, just by thinking about it! Again, a small shift that makes a big impact.
I sit in my garden on the earth and drink my tea. Sitting on the earth is so grounding. I tune in to the birds chirping. Even in San Francisco you can hear birds singing if you actually listen for them. I watch them fly around. It is quite entertaining. I never really noticed things like that before. Oftentimes they will come near me. Connecting with nature fills me with joy.
Watching a hummingbird flit from flower to flower or a butterfly floating so effortlessly in the yard, is so very calming and for me it brings a smile to my face, and a sense of childlike wonder. How do they do that? What are they thinking? What does it feel like to be a bird, bee, hummingbird?
I will meditate for anywhere from 5-20 mins. Depending on my other commitments. This really sets me up to have a really grounded, productive, and efficient day. By choosing to do things that make me feel good about myself, that creates an abundance of joy, instead of negative self-talk or disappointment in myself.
Importance of Routine
Having a routine has brought me soooo much joy! I used to feel lost and ungrounded when I woke up, not sure what to do. I also really resisted routines. Now my routine brings structure, that feels really good. I feel very accomplished. This helps my self esteem and self worth. Choosing to start my day off in gratitude, joy, and connection while being focussed and productive is a total win win.
I can hear some of you saying- I have kids there is no way I could do that, or I live in an apartment building and don’t have a yard, my partner wouldn’t like the blinds open, I have to rush to work….and I do know that you can customize your morning to feel joyful and intentional. If your view out your window isn’t the best, put a photo of a beautiful sunrise next to your bed or on the wall. Get creative. Notice if you feel resistance, and lean into it.
You can bring your kids/patner into the mix and ask what makes them feel good. Make it a family affair. Greeting the day is fun for everyone. You can add in one or two little things and see how that feels. Just getting that coffee mug you absolutely love is a great start! I encourage you to see what little shifts you can bring to your morning to bring in joy. It is an amazing act of self love to call in, and feel worthy of creating joy for yourself.