Not unlike many Foreign Service families, we traveled this summer to soak up quality time with loved ones. Wanting to take advantage of being back in the states, we stayed busy. Days were full of celebrating with yummy meals, museum visits, outdoor activities, creative pursuits, exploration, and play dates.
But while giving our active seven year-old the kind of amazing summer I wanted us to have, I frequently made less-than-healthy choices for myself. Mindful eating, writing, and yoga practices became obsolete. I tossed out my personal barriers easily, right along with the ticket stubs and latte receipts.
When I was younger, this didn’t seem to affect me much. But in my forties, perhaps unsurprisingly, I came home after weeks of summering feeling fulfilled, but also frustrated. In some ways, I hadn’t shown up for myself. My body felt wrecked, and I was disappointed that I hadn’t said yes to committing to my personal goals.
The school year resumed, and I took steps toward a healthier, more centered existence, but I wanted something to hold onto in the future that would allow for all the fun and the showing up, especially when far from home. But what was the answer?
Do you ever feel the universe is trying to tell you something? Like a higher power is saying, Hey! Could you pay attention this time, Please?” Three times in one morning, I heard the same, clear message: Show Up.
I made my favorite French tea, pasted a few images into a vision board, and read pages of Rachel Hollis’ book, “Girl, Wash Your Face,“in which she emphasized the importance of showing up and keeping commitments for ourselves as we do for others. She asked, “would you keep hanging out with a friend always flaking out on you?” To summarize the response: no, you wouldn’t. Commit to your dreams and goals and treat yourself as well as you do everyone else in your orbit. Good reminder, I thought.
I had recently signed up for, but not completed, Meghan Genge’s “Magical Morning” E-Course. When I opened her email (nine days after it arrived), her message was clear: “Continue to show up for yourself. Every morning. Because magic will start to happen when you start your day mindfully.” Hmmm. Twice I’ve heard this today. I worked out what my morning ritual would be: light a candle, tap a singing bowl, set priorities for the day, write in my journal, and stretch.
When I opened a recommended video called “Yoga with Adrienne,” sure enough, in the introduction she said, “Show up, even if you’re tired. Commit to dedicating to your yoga practice for yourself.” Ok, universe, now you have my attention.
Once I returned to a daily ritual and carved out time for exercise and reflection, that was it! The answer was clear: a morning routine that took all of 30 minutes and made all of the difference. I still straightened the house, typed out my carefully-calculated word count, ran errands, made appointments, and planned and prepped dinner. Some days, I was even busier than while on our jam-packed summer break, but the key was that I also factored in mindfulness. I showed up for myself and the universe came knocking with its gentle reminders.
Do you have a morning routine or a way of showing up for yourself? What tools do you use to commit to your personal goals and make your way back to center?
So much abundance to you,
Thank you so much for these inspiring words! I am the worst at setting morning routines! I am going to try to set a better schedule. One thing I do try to do is before I get out of bed, sometimes before I open my eyes, I say a pray of thanks. Thanks for life, breathe and strength for the new day. It is a reminder to take things slowly and to be grateful for small blessings. I am thankful for you and the inspiration you are to me!
Ems! Thank you so much for commenting. Gratitude is one of the biggest gifts when I remember to practice it. It helps enormously to shape a healthier perspective when I begin the day from a place of thanks, and remembering my blessings first. YOU are an inspiration! oxox Tracy
That is right on! I wish I had done that when I was younger. I take time for myself every day and it is so satisfying.
It’s essential, isn’t it?! And health is everything- wishing you quick healing and recovery so you feel like getting out and doing fun things. oxox Tracy
Hi Tracy! Life intrudes! What does “carefully calculated” word count mean? You have a talent for writing. Thought about a novel? You certainly have a lot of setting material–a body-ripper love story in Swaziland among all the beasts and young maidens? A love affair with a disturbed cab driver in Cairo? Outdoor cooking in the warm fires of Honduras? Think about it. Thanks for keeping us in the loop. Love, George
Thank you for your thoughts. The word count is in reference to my goal of a 90,000-word fiction novel first draft. I am 18,000 words in, mostly crafted so far from personal journal exerpts. It is a fun project, and I am fortunate to have writer friends who lend a hand with editing, collaborating, and help with writing diaologue, which is new to me. Thank you for reading and responding. It means a lot to me. oxox Tracy
Tracy, your post-summering un-centeredness resonates with me, too! I have learned (and re-learned) since acquiring a family that I can’t take care of others unless I take care of myself. Right?! Due to an ankle injury, my weight-bearing yoga options have been limited. But I recently resumed a morning meditation practice, 10 essential minutes for me in a quiet space before the day launches. More time for that and contemplative readings would be great, but even a few mindful
moments has made all the difference this month.
Stro, I love it that you have a morning practice. And you’re absolutely right- filling my own cup first puts me in a much better position (and state of mind) to show up for my family, friends, and even strangers. It makes such a positive difference in my day when I take time to start it well. Thank you for taking the time to read this and comment.
Always wise, introspective, honest, and inspirational. So love reading your posts.