We often get tips for our bodies or our business at the start of each new year. But, what about tips for your soul? We're not talking goals, we're talking soul care. What makes your soul sing?
Below is a transformational tip that if you embrace this one habit this year, I believe your soul will indeed sing. I use the practice of a morning ritual in my own life and encourage you to as well.
Already have a morning ritual? Share it with me on social media! Tag me at @WhitRSimpson and show us how you're #ExploringPeace in your daily life.
How to create a morning ritual:
Set aside a few minutes to ponder, what draws you nearer to God? Then make a list (journaling, savoring silence, reading, watching the sunrise, meditating on scripture, a healthy breakfast, practicing centering prayer, movement, etc.) and place that list in your planner, journal, beside your bed, or on your bathroom mirror (somewhere you will see it!).
Enjoy your morning ritual:
Once you have your inspiration, take action for your soul and enjoy it! Here's the tip: each morning dedicate the time you have set aside to one (or more than one) thing on your list. Whether you have 5 focused minutes (not every morning is slowly savored, I get it and remember the toddler days) or a slow and savory 75 minutes (on the best day ever of you being the only one to care for), enjoy YOUR morning ritual. Consistency is my key to a soul-filled morning ritual. Contrary to popular belief, there is no time limit required for drawing near to God and you do not need to do everything on your list at once (it may actually be better that you don't). For the benefit of your soul, choose to BE with your ritual rather than DO your ritual and start with just a few minutes at a time.
So what's my morning ritual look like?
My morning ritual:
It feels important to share I'm not what some would call a "morning person" which is why I believe my morning ritual is so valuable to my soul. This time set apart helps ground me and enter in to a day with a heart and a body that is set on God and not how little I love mornings.
Before my feet hit the floor, I explore a few simple yoga stretches and place my hands on my body for prayer. The normal morning hygiene routine takes place (Ayurvedic medicine has taught me about tongue scraping and I include this most days too, ever tried it?), then I cuddle into my prayer/meditation chair for either a few minutes of breath prayer, centering prayer, or a time of journaling (as an Enneagram 4, I like variety in my quiet time but I don't do all of these - I pick one). If it's a slow and savory morning, I include devotional and/or scripture reading. Note: while I prefer to draw out my mornings, many mornings are more hurried than others so this may take as few as 5 minutes, it's the intention of being present with God that is the focus of my morning ritual. Commit to pick one thing from your list and practice it daily, that's it.
Once I've enjoyed the quiet, I move from contemplation into some self-care action with prioritizing care of my physical body. Before bed, I try to prep my favorite green lemonade so I can sip on something good for my body first thing in the morning (my green lemonade recipe is lemon water with spearmint chlorophyll and green juice powder - it's an acquired taste and I love it now). A brisk walk does me good but it's true for me that my soul must be awake first. So while exercise is part of my day, it comes after my soul is awakened! Once I'm dressed and ready for the day, I visit the kitchen for two more important hydration elements. First, I brew my herbal tea then I blend my favorite smoothie (hemp protein, spinach, banana, frozen blueberries, frozen butternut squash, raw cacao, collagen, flax, chia, or whatever else I may have on hand). So yes, caring for my body is a vital part of my morning ritual. With practice, these habits have become a soulful experience to start my day for spirit rather than chores I must check off my list.
What do you do for your soul in the mornings?
Create a ritual of caring for your soul a few minutes at a time and you'll find encouragement to care for your self and grow in your spiritual practices in 2020.
You need a pause.
That may sound presumptuous but the reason I write it is because well... it is especially true for me this time of year.
How about you?
You are entering the busiest time of the year, on top of your already busy life. There are meals to host, parties to attend, gifts to find, memories to share, and more. THESE ARE GOOD THINGS so please don't hear these words in the spirit of guilt or condemnation. What this means is... you're going to need a pause soon amidst the celebrations. It's okay to rest. You can not continue pouring into the world without also filling yourself up with rest and space for contemplation. Your soul needs pause. Your body needs pause. Your mind needs pause. And sometimes we need to be reminded, it's okay to rest.
Need some ideas to help make space for a pause in your daily life?
- Turn off social media alerts on your phone to ease distraction and be more present in the days to come.
- Pick one day a week where you choose to log off and avoid screen time completely, savor some silence.
- Plan time in the new year to get away (want to join me on retreat in January in Nashville? - click here) for sabbath time apart from daily life.
- Practice some quiet and slow meditative and purposeful body movement (especially after a day of turkey or ham!) by going for a mindful walk or unrolling your yoga mat for meditative movement.
- Quiet your mind and start with 5 minutes a day of Centering Prayer, let that time grow with practice.
Pauses do not happen on accident. Even Jesus took naps! I hope you will make time to pause this season - your body and your spirit will thank you!
Summer is winding down but the taste of summer doesn't have to leave you. One of my favorite drinks is a healthy, fizzy, flavorful treat called kombucha. Kombucha is a fermented tea and...I love it! It's good for my body and therefore, it's good for my soul. You can find kombucha in your local grocer (typically in the refrigerated produce section). My favorite store- bought flavor is GT's Trilogy Synergy.
However, my kombucha "habit" quickly became too expensive for our family's grocery budget. So about a year and a half ago, I began brewing my own kombucha at home. It's really not as intimidating as I imagined (I am working through my limiting beliefs about my abilities in the kitchen) and it is VERY inexpensive once you gather your supplies! I researched and read lots on kombucha before starting the process. One of my favorite online resources for all things food and health related is Wellness Mama. You can read how to brew your own tea and read more of those benefits at her blog.
After my research, I traveled to my favorite tea shop in Nashville to pick up my first SCOBY (symbiotic culture of bacteria and yeast). I know, it sounds gross. But, it's magical! Your SCOBY is the key factor in the fermentation process. You want it to come from a reputable source to keep your brew safe! If you're near Nashville, High Garden Tea is a perfect place to grab your SCOBY and ask questions as they have master brewers on staff. They will even taste test your brew!
If you've read this much about my favorite tea, you're either already brewing your own or maybe you're interested in getting started with home brewing. So, I'm sharing my favorite flavor thus far on my brewing adventures...keep reading.
Once your first fermentation is complete (after about 7-10 days), you can flavor your tea and bottle it to create a soda style drink with a second ferment (this increases the fizziness and adding the flavor is amazing!).
So, here's my favorite summer flavor for my home brew.... Cherry-Limeade!
When ready for your second ferment (follow Wellness Mama's instructions to get to this point), remove your SCOBY and save one cup of liquid to store it until next use (I store my SCOBY in the fridge between brews).
Pour 1/4 cup fresh or bottled organic lime juice (I like Santa Cruz brand) and 3/4 cup fresh unsweetened tart cherry juice (I like R.W. Knudson) into your tea.
Use a ladle and a funnel to pour your flavored tea into your sealable bottles.
Seal and leave on the counter for 2-3 days at room temperature then refrigerate.
CAUTION: Do not shake. It will explode! You may even want to open your bottles and test your second fermentation readiness over the sink or outside with a towel (spoken from experience).
ENJOY and savor summer with your homemade deliciously flavored cherry-limeade kombucha!
Whitney R. Simpson
yoga & meditation teacher
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Whitney R. Simpson
Exploring Peace Ministries, LLC