What is your morning routine?
I wake up by about 8:00am, make a cup of Bulletproof Coffee, and spend about twenty minutes adjusting my spiritual frequency to the world.
For me, this means recalibrating amidst the chaos in as graceful a way possible with the aid of literary gurus. I choose to read positive affirmations and meditations to begin my day, a mélange of authors/whoever I happen to be into at the time. Right now I’m working through Iyanla Vanzant’s Until Today!: Daily Devotions for Spiritual Growth and Peace, and Gabrielle Bernstein’s Miracles Now: 108 Life-Changing Tools for Less Stress, More Flow, and Finding Your True Purpose (long title, but a very straightforward book).
I also think of poetry as meditative literature; what better literature than poetry to help you slow down (while refreshing your mind) and truly see things, and savor what life has to offer? I was a long-time reader of poetry before I ever started writing it. As such, I usually read a poem or two (Kahlil Gibran and Langston Hughes are dear to me) to get my creative gears flowing for the day.
How long have you stuck with this routine so far?
The funny thing is, I never considered myself a “morning person” until recently, about the last six months, so my routine is fairly new.
How has your morning routine changed over recent years?
I’ve been one to dislike routines for the most part, preferring the spontaneous, the unknown, and the mysterious to anything repetitive or mundane. Maybe it’s part of being a writer and student that positions me thus: the privilege of pursuing the “life of the mind” on my “own” time, and not the daily grind of a 9-5.
But over the last six months or so I’ve really come to find a morning routine helpful in establishing the very things that make me accountable to calling myself a student or writer in the first place. There’s something very fulfilling about not waking up at noon, or sleeping enough so that waking up early feels like a blessing. Contrary to what many might think, being a writer requires a whole lot of self-discipline and accountability at all hours of the day.
Do you do anything before going to bed to make your morning easier?
Trying to have a lighter dinner in the evening helps make my mornings a sacred refueling time.
How soon after waking up do you have breakfast, and what do you typically have?
Around half an hour after waking up, I usually opt for organic yogurt with berries, bananas, an array of nuts and seeds, a single pasture-raised egg, and a slice of hearty bread.
And if my fiancé isn’t looking, I’ll sneak in a piece of dark chocolate… Shhh…
Do you answer email first thing in the morning or leave it until later in the day?
Part of the sacredness of my reading time is that I touch paper before anything else.
As much as the Virgo in me wants to check my multiple email inboxes and iPhone apps, Facebook and Twitter accounts, and always stay connected to the various people I’m accountable to, I try to shelf that feeling until it becomes absolutely necessary.
What are your most important tasks in the morning?
My tasks vary. Having just launched my poetry collection last month, and finding myself in a writerly “terra incognita” of my own (between visits back and forth from my hometown of Toronto in Canada, where I first launched my book, and Philadelphia, where I’m currently looking to expand my audience) my work as a “writer” has become more curious: while the book itself is no longer being written, per se, the work of actively organizing and producing new opportunities for the book to get read across borders and amidst various literary circles has just begun.
I see readers as the co-creators of the books writers write. Apart from the occasional moment of internet wanderlust, social media sites have proven to be a necessary component of sharing my work with the world, alongside the work of my publicist at Inanna Publications. Quasi-luddite or not, I am very thankful for the magic of the internet.
I don’t think of myself as superstitious, but I do derive some comfort from checking things off a to-do list. I like to think my overachieving nature has given me a productive edge over life, and often my physical energy seems to exceed the limits and limiting space of writing at the desk. Along these lines, I think the idea of what writers do, is especially misunderstood. We sit at our desks but are ultimately nomadic. We may be more inclined to domesticity, but inside our minds are a whole set of other rooms that need to be tended to. Many of us, while city dwellers, are admirers of the sacred beauty of nature, live in the shadows of Thoreau.
If this sounds too romantic or strange, it is; it is a strange world writers inhabit, being both in the world but ultimately part of several. I try not to let “later” things interrupt my morning flow; phone calls, bills, repairs, shopping, cooking, and all without a car; because being present is most important to me in the early hours, especially if I have somewhere I need to be later on. Even if I find myself contending with a prodigious supply of creative or kinetic energy, or the opposite - feeling less-than-lucid, or more tired than usual, a burn-out on the horizon - I try to hold onto a meditative perspective in the morning. This could be actual meditation as an exercise, or light reading, or quiet, positive, deep thinking; in any case, it always means reminding myself to carpe diem.
What and when is your first drink in the morning?
Bulletproof Coffee, upon waking up.
What do you do if you fail to follow your morning routine, and how does this influence the rest of your day?
Even if things don’t go as planned, mornings should always be a time for us to remember our purpose, and feel thankful for what we have (gratitude is free, and always pays off).
Even if the night before was blasé, I can look forward to a new day ahead, since anything is possible. If a cold or rainy day awaits, I try to remember that, ultimately, I choose to be under the weather, and it’s much easier to let life be life.
Einstein once famously said that you can live your life thinking one of two ways: that nothing is a miracle, or that everything is a miracle. So far, the latter perspective has been working just fine.
Waking up is ultimately a kind of miracle.