Morning Rituals

Living in Vancouver, the days of sunshine bring energy and a feeling of awe. Daylight savings in March always bring an energetic radiance within me - I find myself joyful, thankful and eager for my day to start. What happens on the days that are rainy, gloomy, and dark at the earliest hours? How do I want to get up and enjoy my day? Where does the optimism come on such days when I need to go to work?

I’ve discovered that on these days, the morning starts with navigating my phone, social media, the news, and the weather. I’ve noticed that my morning becomes uncomfortable and overwhelming with contemplation and minimal focus. Abruptly, my focus starts outwards on things not in my control.

After years of living in Vancouver, I began to notice dreading several months of the year. Friends, acquaintances, and co-workers also noticed that the natural smile and lightness I shared became seasonal. Working a job during the day, my mornings set the tone…

I was not attending to myself - I was focusing outward. When I heard others asking me “Are you ok?”, I wondered if I should work on boundaries. Why are people sharing their comments and judgements? The challenge became more evident in my daily life as I started thinking about moving provinces - an immediate response to “fix the problem”. Was it the weather that was getting to me? Was it the time change? Was it my boundaries that I needed to work on? 

One evening I listened to a podcast before going to bed - a conversation on energy work and meditation. These are practices that I’ve tried to implement in my life for years and yet they have proven challenging to squeeze into my day. This podcast left me with a feeling of awe. I decided to challenge myself. I allocated time the next day for a morning meditation: a 21-day meditation challenge. 

The first morning, I was surprised. I paused after the meditation and thought, was it so “overwhelming?” Did it take too much time? Allocating the fifteen minutes to meditate allowed me to focus on something other than my phone first thing in the morning. My day was altered. Most days, as I was working and looking within, I began to feel a shift. The feeling of heaviness in my chest on cold mornings became lighter. A sense of acceptance and peacefulness in my mornings evolved as I was working within on feelings, thoughts, and dreams - the difference was that these were things within my control and not part of the outside world. 

There are certainly days when I find myself in a rush, and I notice more of a focus on the outside world and not enough focus on what’s within. Since this has served me, it’s become a morning ritual that I look forward to. The fifteen minutes are dedicated and not “squeezed” into my schedule. They allow me to start my day from within. I become aware of my mood with acceptance, guiding me through a self-compassionate day in the most pleasant and unpleasant situations. 

Leen Hamdi
Leen Hamdi joined LAPBC in 2023.