In the early mornings, I sometimes struggle with feeling bright. Though the sun is rising, I am reluctant. I want to lay in bed longer, I want to linger in the warm, soft sheets. Sometimes I’m dark and grumpy. It has occurred to me that this is no way to start the day (of course it has!). A moment of guilt flits through my head … but wait—this is up to me. I will not start with grump or guilt. This is my morning, and I will make it what it is meant to be. The potential is limitless, possibility is in my palms.
I want to bloom in the mornings. I want to feel joy and source joy from within myself; I want to feel vibrant and alive, ready for laughter and light. And so I bend the only energy that I know how—my own.
Down comes my sleepy-headed youngest child, my daughter. I turn on the stove and put the kettle on—ritual number one. While the water boils, I turn on the music—ritual number two. Without fail, the music and the sound of the kettle begin to warm me from the inside out. The struggle of morning melts into acceptance, a soft warm glow in my core and an acute awareness of the beauty that surrounds me. My daughter, my kettle, my music … these are simple, deep, profound sources of joy.
The water has boiled and the tea is brewing now; the kettle’s sound slows as it returns to its resting state. I grab my colored pencils and my journal and bring them to the table. I take a breath, the steam rises from my mug. I begin to set intentions and I begin to write my lists and color in my journal. My daughter sits on my lap and joins in. We share the tea, we share the page; together, we begin our day. In my heart and in my belly, a large and powerful joy takes shape.
My daughter draws her colorful shapes on the pages of my journal, my to-do list falls to the background, fading slightly behind the sunrise of her art. This is the point, I realize. My to-do list is always there, the steady horizon in the background. The art, the colors pouring from my daughter’s hand—this is the light, the beauty, the breathtaking moment that temporarily rises before it shifts and fades.
The light falls through the window onto my kitchen table, and my daughter’s cheeks turn golden—I wonder how many mothers before me have marveled at the perfect sphere of a child’s cheeks.
If the only thing I have control over is my attitude, then it is my attitude I focus on. To change my life, I can change my morning. To change my morning, it starts with me. It is so simple.
Thank you, morning, for bringing the light, the quiet, the space. Thank you, daughter, for bringing the smile, the warm body, the endless faith. Thank you tea, for warming my hands and heart, thank you journal and pencils for allowing creativity to bloom, and for showing me so many things that I wanted to remember.
I choose art and music because they make me smile, because they melt away the unnecessary, and because they remind me of everything that matters: here, now, this morning.