It is 12:37 pm and I am sitting down to write this blog post. It is difficult for me to type that sentence without the words “just now.” It is 12:37 pm and I am just now sitting down to write this blog post, but I am resisting “just now” for the sake of love.
I don’t consider myself a routine-oriented person. Anyone who has read a blog post by me will notice the recurrence of my fraught relationship with the scheduling of time. However, my mornings do seem to follow a regular pattern which has remained consistent now for several years. I will list the order of events for you here, in case you are, like me, also fascinated by the minutiae of other people’s mornings:
7:00 am Exuberant dog wakes me up for Food Time. We then go back to bed for some cuddling, mind wandering, and reflecting, sometimes falling back into dreams for a few minutes between belly rubs. While I think journaling is a healthy and important activity, if I were to sit up and start writing now, dog would consider this Up Time and would knock pen and paper out of my hands repeatedly in her excitement to start the day, so I take this quiet as a gift and do my mental journaling.
8:00 am I get up and do some stretching, moving, and breathing exercises. Dog plays with her toys while she waits, sometimes tossing them down on me from her perch at the end of the bed. This is followed by making the bed and putting clothes away.
9:00 am Dog and I leave the bedroom, phase 2 of the morning begins: a medley of cleaning, grooming, and cooking. This can be any mixture of showering washing dishes sweeping floors scrubbing tubs putting on my Sow Your Wild Oats mask or Pumpkin Peel watering plants making grocery lists simmering soup stock frying up my breakfast eggs and greens preparing my meals for the day or perhaps the week, as I prefer to do my cooking early in the day. This medley usually concludes between 10:30-11 and it is now Walk Time.
11:00 am Walk dog. If there is laundry to do, trips to the laundromat are folded into the walk. The morning walk is usually 45 minutes to an hour, with plenty of time for dog to chase the ball or look for lost balls hidden in trees. If we are alone in the park, I will often sing and/or dance while we play.
11:45 am Return to the apartment with clean laundry and dirty dog, put away cooked food that has been cooling, and pack up what I need to bring to my art studio (or on shop days, open the lovely Columbia Street Herborium at noon). Arrive at the studio a little after 12 and work until 7 or later.
Now, the trouble for me starts at Phase 2. Ok no, actually it starts the minute I open my eyes and think, Shit, what time is it?! Answer: It is always the same time. Dog does not oversleep Food Time. I breathe out that first rush of adrenaline until Phase 2, when that voice is a bit louder – It is 9 am already what is wrong with you?! It gets louder and louder and by the time I sit down to work around noon I am cursing myself for laziness, for not getting started with my work earlier. A chorus of internal critics are saying: This is why you will never be a success. Work days are supposed to start at 9, you are 4 hours late.
Usually, around this time of year, I would be doing several personality quizzes to “hack my work tendencies,” subscribing to new productivity blogs, and vowing to start the New Year right. I may even sign up for an online course or seminar to improve my ways. My library queue will shift from home-for-the-holidays-escapist-fiction to self-help, and post-its are likely to proliferate around my night-stand.
The time leading up to the Gregorian New Year on January 1st preps us for this period of self-admonishment disguised as personal growth. So much advertising is built upon the assertion of our incompleteness. Around January 1st the message changes from “you would be better if you bought our stuff,” to, “you indulged too much and now you have to buy our service.” It is a bombardment of directives that can be hard to get through unscathed.
Now wait, you say, doesn’t the Herborium sell wellness products? How is it different? I will tell you how. The work we do at the Herborium, whether it is the products we make, the services we offer, or workshops we share, are designed to support your whole self in doing what you do naturally. We don’t try to control or change, admonish or shame; we seek to help you nourish yourself into a greater sense of wellbeing. We come to you with the message: You, radiant beautiful person, are whole. We give you the tools to spiral towards new ways of experiencing the wonder of you doing feeling being optimally you.
A few weeks ago, it occurred to me, for the first time, that I actually really enjoy my morning routine and the only thing that makes it crappy is that adrenaline-spiking stomach-cramping voice that tells me it’s wrong. This year, rather than resolutions, I’m making more love. I’m taking energy away from self-criticism and instead giving myself credit for being this person. I move the way I move. Of course, I always want to grow and change (and truth be told, I do love those personality quizzes! I am a rebel-questioner! My element is fire! My spirit animal is a snake!), but this year I will approach it from a place of wholeness and love.