Despite my natural tendency to resist against too much of the expected, or the predictable, or the scheduled, over the last couple of years, there is one daily practice that I have committed to and tried to honor. Every morning, I begin my day by getting up at least one hour before everyone else to take time to just be with myself in the quiet. This wasn’t something that I’d always done. In fact, until Jonah came along, I would have considered myself more of a night owl and, frankly, a terrible morning person. But, alas, (maybe you’ve heard this) babies will mess with your sleep and sometimes, after they are all done, you find yourself forever changed. And for me, after about a year of getting really terrible sleep, my body decided that getting up with the birds wasn’t so bad. So…now I have a “Golden Hour”.
What is a “Golden Hour” you ask? It is an hour that I have promised to myself. It is an investment in me. This time in the morning, has fast become my favorite and most important hour of the day. Some mornings I watch the news. Others, I just sit with my coffee on the patio and listen to the birds and the world come awake. Most mornings, I reflect on my day or what challenges I might be facing and take some time to breathe and greet whatever is coming from a calmer, more peaceful place. My golden hour allows me some much needed quiet time by myself (which – let’s be honest, as a mama, I don’t get a ton of anymore) but it also allows me to enter into the responsibilities of my day with purpose and intention. Rather than punching the snooze button ten times, only to fly out of bed to hurriedly rush through the morning routine, I have made it my practice to shift the way I do mornings. And EVERYTHING has benefited. I’m telling you, the POWER of intention people! With this simple shift, my mornings feel less stressful and, honestly, happier. Because of this, my family is happier, I can manage tasks more effectively, and my family, friends and clients are getting a much more focused, less stressed out me. And this shifts the way that my entire day plays out.
You may not know this about me, but despite appearances, in general, I’m not much of a schedule girl. Don’t get me wrong, I do like to know what’s coming and what’s expected of me. And as a mama, I definitely have come to understand and appreciate the importance of consistency and creating and sticking to a routine – breakfast, play or activity, nap, snack, play, dinner, bath, books, bed. But, for the most part, my free spirit tends to want to resist too many commitments or I start to feel trapped by having to maintain and update and check on a monster of a calendar, not to mention the exhausted, frantic feeling that always accompanies overcommitment. There is definitely a fine balance between saying, “Yes,” and allowing your commitments to run your life. As a thirty-something, I’m only now beginning to understand the value of saying, “No.” I’m really recognizing when I say, “No,” to something, I’m also saying, “Yes,” to something else – family, rest, purpose, intent, peacefulness, joy, sanity (that could be another post all on it’s own). I could go on and on.
Our time is precious. Maybe the most valuable commodity that we can possess. And how we choose to spend that time should be conscious and purposeful. Believe me, it wasn’t easy, for this night owl to make a golden hour a priority in the morning. It took me about two weeks of slowly setting my alarm earlier and earlier – by about ten minutes at a time, to get used to the earlier mornings. But, little by little, it became easier and easier and before I knew it, I was actually looking forward to waking up so that I could enjoy my solo time in the morning. For me, that one hour has made an incredible difference and it has been so worth it.