I’ve never been a morning person.
That first moment I open my eyes is a yank out of the womb: transitioning from the cozy, soft dream world into the raw unpredictable reality of another day on planet earth. I used to hit snooze as many times as possible before flopping out of bed and grumpily finding my way to coffee and a hot shower. But in the past couple years, I’ve found a new relationship with my mornings that has changed everything.
Instead of rolling deeper into the warm covers, I now turn off my alarm and go right to my meditation cushion for 20–30 minutes. Then I make hot tea and sit at my desk to write for 60 minutes. There is focus and purpose and ease in the routine. Consistency wears a path from my intentions to my actions to my results and back again. My intention is to let more heart into my life. Right now, that means finishing my book.
So why do I do my creative work first?
Because if I don't do it first, I risk not doing it at all.
I’ve been freelancing almost six years and tried every combination of “performance optimizing” routines. My experiments have shown that the only way to do something every single day is to do it first. A thousand internal forces will inevitably try to say I’m too busy or tired or untalented to write, and this resistance gains momentum as the day wears on. Finding focus and resolve at 3pm is like trying to board a steam engine blowing past at 60mph. But in the wee hours of the morning, the train is still at station waiting for me to step up.
Because I'm close to the subconscious.
The subconscious is most accessible right before falling asleep and right after waking up. In the morning my creative center is close and the mind hasn’t started working yet. This is a magical time for creation. Throughout the day that energy will get drawn into work, relationships, worries and neurosis. But in those first moments of life each day, it’s all there. Like when the Death Star reaches its full charge with peak potential to destroy. Or build. It’s up to me.
Because I'm fresh.
Sometimes I get inspired to write at night, despite being exhausted from sitting at my computer all day. The energy difference is marked: at night my mind wanders, fingers miss keys and thoughts ramble on. Tired creativity is better than no creativity. But for me, it’s ten times the effort to put out the same volume of writing after dark. When I’m fresh, the words flow out with little prompting (especially after meditation). It feels more like fun than work. Like riding a tube downriver instead of trying to swim against it.
Because the world is still sleeping.
There’s something sovereign about the morning time when the collective consciousness is still fuzzy. It’s a sacred gap between the night world and the daytime frenzy — a quiet space where work can get done. My real work.
AND SOMEONE ELSE IS SLEEPING, TOO.
The world is sleeping — and you know who else is M.I.A? The gremlin (0r inner critic, resistance, self-doubt, whatever you want to call it). If I can outrun the gremlin, the reward is a glorious moment of silence to actually move toward my heart-dream. The gremlin inevitably starts to chime in as I’m buzzing happily with creative output. But it doesn’t matter. I’ve already launched and the boulder is barreling down the mountain. It’s unstoppable now.
Because it makes my day better.
My mood is better. My heart is warm. My creativity is awake. Ideas are more readily available and words flow more easily for client work. It’s like I enter the world with a full charge, ready to take on whatever comes. I’m less focused on results because the hardest part is done. I’ve pointed my compass in the direction of true north, and the rest of the day follows.
Because what I care about matters.
Somewhere along the way, I started believing the world outside was more important than the one inside. Once I was done giving to my family and friends and clients and community, then I could finally give to myself. My reward would be raw, unstructured time to MAKE THINGS.
But I’ve found the demands of the world to be unceasing. No one is going to present me a silver platter of create-just-for-the-sake-of-creating time. If I want to feed my inner life, I have to claim that space for myself. Why? Because my internal world matters. My voice matters. Only I can feel the contours of my own heart and carve sacred space to share that with the world.
I wanted to take back my life, so I changed my days. I wanted to change my days, so I took back my mornings. Now it’s my favorite time of day. Early morning is when I feel most at peace, in the flow, productive and happy. It’s the place I visit first so that I have a better chance of remembering my way back throughout the day. Wearing that path so each time I return, it’s easier to find. That place that only I know, and only I seek.
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