Developing a morning routine has been such an interesting journey. I'm a night person, so waking up early and actually getting out of bed hasn't been easy, but it has gotten easier. I have found that if I give myself something to do in the morning--a structure to follow--then it's easier for me to get out of bed. The trick was to start with an activity that was motivating and was something I liked to do. 

It's important to find something motivating. Doing an activity that will make you feel cozier is only going to encourage staying in bed. Or moving from the bed to the couch but still remaining energetically inactive.  I wrestled with that. When I first began trying to define my daily practice, I started with the things I enjoyed. So I spent many mornings making tea and hot cocoa (it was winter). I cooked breakfast, I cooked lunch, I cooked dinner. It was lovely, I was well fed, and yes, it got me out of bed. But it didn't motivate me and that's what I was really craving. 

Now, meditation didn't come easy, either. It took months for me to define what meditation looks like for me and I am still redefining that daily. What this practice looked like when I began is entirely different than how I experience it now. But for me the whole journey has been an act of meditation, an act of gaining clarity about what serves me and my growth and what stifles me. 

So after many months and after trying many activities, I finally found what works for me. Every morning I wake up and I start writing (a la morning pages). I keep pen and paper next to my bed so all I have to do is reach over. I write for about an hour then I grab my Zafu and I'm off to the living room to meditate in the sunlight. I have found that when I write before meditation, I spend less time needing to silence distracting thoughts. While I'm meditating, I reflect on what came up in my writing or I'll offer myself a thought, which might go something like "What do I need to experience to feel full today." And then I invite the answer to find me throughout the day.

There are a few other things I do purposefully each morning, but I keep it simple. It's less about doing a lot each morning and more about doing what's important to you. Start by asking yourself, "What do I need to experience to enjoy this day?" and allow the answer to find you.

LaNora Hayden