Everyday Zen

The kind folks at GaiamTV recently asked a diverse group of bloggers, including yours truly, to describe our rituals and habits for starting and ending our days. Their article, Daily Rituals: Find Your Everyday Zen, is a collection of the responses, which are quite varied, as you might expect.

misty morning scene
“A lot of the time we sit on the sidelines, wondering which way is the optimal decision. We watch other people seemingly get it all together from their fasted cardio session or 6 am yoga class. But as you will discover, there is no one way to start and end your day!”

For me, that’s a beautiful thing to contemplate. Having spent most of my adult life trying to follow other people’s diets, I now know that success is found in continuing to search for what works for me. That’s true for weight loss, and life in general.

One prevalent ritual I noticed in the article is the habit of taking/making time for simply being still. We might do it at different times of day or in different forms, but at some point, we take time to reflect and unwind. For me, that quiet, contemplative time is the main contributor to my (almost) everyday Zen. In the unpredictability of the past few weeks, I wasn’t as consistent with it, and I felt it!.

But I’m back on an even keel now, building up my reserves for the next time one (or three) of life’s little bumps comes along.

What are your rituals for starting and ending your day? (I know, I’m so nosy! I’m also not above borrowing your ideas, if I think they’ll work for me, so please do share.)

17 thoughts on “Everyday Zen

  1. I’m a morning exerciser – but – I get up nearly 45 minutes prior to actually exercising (4 AM!) because I start my day by sipping a cup of coffee and watching a little news – or not – but always the coffee. Even when I can sleep later on the weekends, I still sit quietly and sip my coffee. Every night, I try to get to bed at least 30 minutes before I want to be sleeping. I love to read and that’s how I end my day. Sometimes it’s a book, sometimes a magazine and sometimes I just lay there for a minute thinking about the day. Those two rituals are so ingrained, my days just don’t feel like they flow correctly if they start or end any differently!

  2. Oh yeah, the coffee in the morning! I also get up early to run, but sit for about 40 minutes enjoying coffee in front of the fire (pellet stove). I’m learning to love getting up early to enjoy the “stillness” before I get my body moving.

    • In my morning quiet time, I can actually feel the energy and the ‘can-do’ attitude building, so that when it’s time to work out, I’m more than ready. (That’s how it works when it’s not single digits outside, anyway. :) )

  3. I love to end my day with the kindle reading or doing a word puzzle. It makes me super sleepy and I can fall asleep easily. Staying asleep is another matter LOL!

    • Word puzzles are one of my morning activities! I consider it my brain warm-up for the day ahead. :)

      I’m so with you on the staying asleep problem. I go through cycles of it, and I’m in one now.

  4. My mornings start with a bang – within 10 minutes of the alarm going off at 5:00 I’m working out.
    My evenings are much calmer – I always read in bed – some nights it’s only a page or two and other nights I make it for close to an hour!!

  5. I get up and write three pages longhand – over coffee. I just love it! The house is quiet – it’s me, my notebook, and coffee. (I’m visiting here after hearing your interview on a Half Size Me podcast!)

    • Thank you for commenting, Keetha!

      I used to do morning pages (a la The Artists’s Way), but I dropped the practice at some point. Your comment makes me want to give it a try again, maybe when the weather warms up and I can sit outside in the morning sunshine and think.

  6. My mornings usually start in haste. (get up, feed cat, pack lunch, shower, etc etc) I told myself a few days ago that I REALLY need to set the alarm 15 minutes early, and just have some quiet before the day starts. Lets see if I can…
    Have a wonderful day Cammy!!

    • You give the 15 minutes in the morning a try, Roz, and I’ll try ‘ramping down’ at night. (I usually just fall into bed, sometimes mid-task. LOL)

  7. My mornings are precious and guarded selfishly. I’m up by 5:30 (no alarms, just my natural wake up time) and relaxed in front of the fireplace by 5:45. I check email, check the weather and go immediately to morning Bible Reading/Devotion/Meditation time. When that’s done, I’ll check my reader for blogs I enjoy. By then, it’s time to pack Bill’s lunch and wake him up. I’m lucky to have a good 1 1/2 hours of solitude every morning. If that time is cut short or compromised in some way, I can tell it throughout the day. Evenings aren’t much of a ritual, but they are pretty much the same. We watch the 10 p.m. news through the first look at tomorrow’s weather and then light’s out!

  8. I have sooo many for both :-)
    and have passed the night time ritual idea on to the child as it has really helped her fall asleep at night within SECONDS!

  9. I try to have a time of reading an inspirational book/reading the Bible/journaling/praying every morning. The day always goes better when I do. I have to admit that with recent house activities, I have not been as consistent. My journaling is everything from whatever thought is in my head (morning pages) all the way to prayers, and Bible verses that inspired me.

  10. I get up and make a cup of hot tea, sit and enjoy it while I think about the day ahead. Then I eat a little something and go for my walk. If I walk with hubby we talk about all sorts of things or sometimes we walk in silence. If I walk alone I have time to think about all kinds of things! I love my mornings.

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