If you read my blog, hang with me offline or skim my Facebook ramblings I’m confident you’re tired of my talking about coffee.
If you’ve managed to avoid my coffee-talk (pun intended) here’s the short version:
Coffee was my everything.
My morning routine (smell coffee. leap out of bed like a puppy).
My evening tradition (cram filter with grounds. setting/triple checking timer).
One horrifying morning my coffee maker died and, to the shock of those around me, I decided not to replace it.
More than missing my morning cup (pour out some grounds for our fallen homie) my day demanded a new start ritual.
quiet morning + mug as big as head = old habit
I lacked a ritual to launch my day which, in turn, served to highlight an overall lack of practices to frame my days.
I possessed habits, but these were behavior patterns which felt almost involuntary.
My coffee was precisely that: a habit.
I craved 2 or 3 daily acts (not related to caffeine) regularly repeated.
Some of this thought pattern may have been sparked by Think Better Live Better:
But regardless, a beginning, middle and end to my day which was precise/verging on formal called to me.
I hoped the shift would remind me to pay attention to the pauses between “moments” in my life.
I’d stopped noticing the space before the action and, through the addition of 3 daily practices, hoped to rediscover these spaces.
I shifted seamlessly from starting my mornings with coffee to heading directly to my morning pages after waking.
Previously, I’d click around the internet while my coffee cooled. Now, without the coffee-habit, I turned immediately to writing.
Not only did this change reinforce the self-definition I want to create (I’m a writer) my morning musings often brought back stories I’d forgotten.
Stories which remained lost when I internet-clicked first.
Sometimes I create a prompt for myself the night before. Often I don’t and begin writing about the first thing which pops into my head.
Most importantly I don’t edit. I don’t reread. I don’t censor.
My Start is yoga-like for me in that fashion and in the way it’s become a daily practice.
my START: clean, white & zero word count.
I identify as Type B.
I don’t even know if Type B is really a (finger quote) thing (unFQ), but I do know I’m not a perfectionist and I don’t define myself as highly driven.
(This is not necessarily a good thing. This simple *is.*)
That said, my days can become work-focused verging on frantic.
I often start working the moment I return from school drop, build to a frenetic pace, until I realize either it’s time for pick up or, as we say around here, I’ve hit the wall and worked myself into mental exhaustion.
Creating the daily practice of a midday Slow(ing down from work) helps me renew my creative brain.
My new Slow ritual reminds me the importance of building positive procrastination into each day.
And, since this transition is a major one in terms of day-speed and focus, my Slow offers opportunity to pause/notice how I feel as I transition from WorkCarla to Slow, mindful Carla.
And yes. Being who I am 99% of the time my Slow takes the form of canine time or play.
my #1 Slow-the-day-down sidekick!
Have I been a Shamash today?
On the surface my evening practice looks similar to my Start. Its intent, however, is different.
I spend no more than ten minutes writing (unlike morning musings where my time is unlimited
until the child is in my face) and in these measured minutes learn a lot about myself.
Some insights are good (ala my Shamash question). Much of it isn’t as great as I’d like to imagine.
I consider the way I responded to situations during the day. All situations. In these moments of written-hindsight I frequently discover feelings I’d not noted in the moment.
Feelings of jealousy, resentment or disappointment.
This discovery, while always pretty, is the very reason I created my Summation ritual and why I believe it works.
I choose to make time to confront my day (honestly and entirely) and when I’m finished I let any negative energy go.
All of it and no matter what.
Since I’ve begun this practice I’ve slept better. I journal. I go to sleep. I rarely wake or have insomnia.
Sure this could be from coincidence not cleansing. Regardless I’ll take it.
my Summation journal is old school.
Not yet a month into 2016, these 3 daily practices have helped me live with renewed mindfulness and awareness.
- Do you have rituals/practices to frame your day?
- What would your Start, Slow and Summation be?
Allie saysJanuary 27, 2016 at 4:46 am
I need some summation in my life!
I start with coffee and writing.
Long bout of exercise to work out the workflow.
Writing, reading, repeat.
After the kids are in bed, I stretch and roll for as long as possible 🙂
cheryl saysJanuary 27, 2016 at 5:03 am
Love my coffee…gets me out the door by 4:30 a.m.
The rest of the day is crazy busy….have you ever been to a special needs preschool/preK with over 200 kids in it? Even lunch lately has been taken up w/parent meetings.
Always find a couple of great spots to my day tho…yesterday was holding Audrey as she cried because a classmate had been mean to her. We sat there and talked about how good her hair smelled and came up with other favorite smells. (Doughnut was one…as well as chocolate chip cookies). Guess that is my sham ash part? Too tired usually to even construct a summation.
Calm part of day after fighting traffic for my 45 min. commute home….feeding and watching the quail eat knowing there will be babies soon.
Bonnie saysJanuary 27, 2016 at 5:07 am
I Lol’d when you said coffee was her everything. Coffee is still my everything 🙂 I do need, however, anything which would frame my day.
I work from home with 2 littles underfoot.
I’ve got nothing 🙂
Annmarie saysJanuary 27, 2016 at 5:21 am
I honestly go to bed looking forward to my cup of coffee in the morning. I am trying not to immediately reach for my phone or computer and just enjoy the quietness while I sip but that is proving harder than I’d like!
lindsay Cotter saysJanuary 27, 2016 at 8:44 pm
oh goodness same here. I need to start slow in the morning. I need a new routine. But always with coffee… savoring.
Wendy saysJanuary 27, 2016 at 5:50 am
I stopped drinking caffeinated coffee and switched to decaffeinated. And then I switched entirely to hot water with lemon.
Now I do that both first thing and before bed. It really frames my day as you say.
Wendy saysJanuary 27, 2016 at 5:53 am
I don’t think my comment worked?
I never realized until I read this I do the same thing at the start of my day and my and. And I think that really helps me mentally.
Jena Schwartz saysJanuary 27, 2016 at 6:27 am
“Be a [type B] shamash” = new mantra. Loved this.
Wendy@Taking the Long Way Home saysJanuary 27, 2016 at 6:38 am
Of course, I have rituals. I am type A. Perfectionist, driven. But I need coffee to fuel my brain. I start my day with coffee and writing. Most days, I do some form of exercise. I’m mixing that one up a bit but changing my routine. It’s so funny how my brain is rebelling against it! I don’t want to be such a creature of habit. While rituals are important, we need to be able to break out of them once in a while!
Lots of food for thought here.
Michelle @ Running with Attitude saysJanuary 27, 2016 at 7:00 am
Coffee is a critical part of my morning – it’s not pretty for those around me if there’s no coffee. The rest of my day is a blur and could use a little framing.
Alana saysJanuary 27, 2016 at 7:45 am
I ride the bus to work every morning. Several blocks from where I get off my bus crosses a river. For years, crossing that river has been my Start. The coffee I brew about 20 minutes after I get to work, settle in, and start reading my emails is part of the routine (in the wintertime, it warms me after my walk from the bus stop, sometimes in zero degree weather). My slowing is lunch time. No summation – except for when I finally collapse.
Kelli @ Hungry Hobby saysJanuary 27, 2016 at 7:50 am
I too used to get up and have coffee first thing, but I found my 5am coffee habit was making me anxious. So, I started writing and working instead. Now coffee comes with breakfast a little bit later and I feel so much better!
Sagan saysJanuary 27, 2016 at 8:05 am
I like this. I definitely need this in my life. 🙂
Shari Eberts saysJanuary 27, 2016 at 8:11 am
Yes! I am a creature of ritual as well! I try to start my morning (once the kids are off to school!) with a short meditation. It helps me slow down and refocus so when I officially start my day – I do it with purpose rather than with a putting out fires mentality. Let’s hope I can keep it up.
Debbie saysJanuary 27, 2016 at 8:41 am
I definitely have rituals for my day, and they do begin with coffee and internet reading. Though on days when I have to work at 5:30, my rituals (and sometimes my day!) get disrupted and it kind of feels wrong all morning.
Nettie saysJanuary 27, 2016 at 8:59 am
I think I am OK and most of my life but I do you know I could use something to end my day with. I close my eyes and my brain keeps going.
Jennifer saysJanuary 27, 2016 at 9:32 am
I start with tea, morning pages then meditation followed by stretching.
Jess @hellotofit saysJanuary 27, 2016 at 12:40 pm
I ate breakfast this morning with just coffee, said breakfast, and some music. No phone! I’m usually frantic, scrolling through Instagram, FB, all while trying to finish my coffee and food before I run out the door. It’s to stop and focus on just ONE thing (okay, two: drinking and eating).
Laura @ This Runner's Recipes saysJanuary 27, 2016 at 12:48 pm
Coffee is part of my morning ritual. Since we were newlyweds, my husband and I sit and have our coffee together each morning before he heads off to work and I go off to run and then work. At the end of the day, we always have dinner together. I love how meals form start and stop bookends to the work day.
GiGi Eats saysJanuary 27, 2016 at 12:52 pm
One daily practice that is a MUST and an ALWAYS… Working out. Every morning – I head straight to the gym, NO questions asked. It has to happen. For my sanity. For my butt. For everything!! 😀
Jessica @eatsleepbe.com saysJanuary 27, 2016 at 1:03 pm
I love this for so many reasons – coffee, mornings, and being a shamash!
Jody - Fit at 58 saysJanuary 27, 2016 at 1:55 pm
I have certain rituals & others not so much & this is a great read. It is definitely hard for me to let stuff go at the end of the day. My dreams are crazy! I don’t sleep the best.. some of it life, some of it hormones. 🙂
penpen saysJanuary 27, 2016 at 4:30 pm
I’m not a coffee drinker (dare I admit it) but your post reminded me of a friend who realized he was drinking too much (gin and tonic, a favorite) when he got home from work. He knew he needed to cut down. First step: he realized that making the drink was part of the pleasure, the enjoyable ritual–getting out the ice cubes, stirring in the tonic, etc. So he switched to lemonade on ice. Ritual the same; intake healthier.
messymimi saysJanuary 27, 2016 at 6:49 pm
My start is morning pages, a la Julia Cameron in The Artist’s Way, and prayer/Bible readings. My middle used to be a “feets up” during which i did my crossword or other puzzles, but now that i work several jobs, i often don’t get that. My ending is posting to a gratitude list on a forum website, reading a devotional, and prayers with Sweetie.
Gotta work on that slow in the middle somehow.
Coco saysJanuary 27, 2016 at 8:39 pm
I need a midday slow. I usually scarf my lunch while skimming the newspaper before my next conference call. Not exactly restorative!
Kerri saysJanuary 28, 2016 at 5:05 am
You are so right about a habit. Love how changing your perspective helped you.
Alissa saysJanuary 29, 2016 at 6:24 am
I love the idea of a summation journal but not so much the living without coffee… Yet!
Derek at HealthierDay.com saysJanuary 29, 2016 at 1:28 pm
I try to start each morning with some writing, but it can be tricky when I have a lot of emails to respond to just waiting in the inbox!
Heather saysJanuary 31, 2016 at 6:07 pm
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I’m new to the community and am looking to share my support and motivation.
Elle saysFebruary 2, 2016 at 1:42 am
I think having daily practices is key. It’s so easy to sidetrack and stop doing things if we don’t make it a habit. I have stopped drinking coffee daily quite a while ago and now just stick to tea. I find it doesn’t make me jittery but still has a little bit of a caffeine kick.
Deborah saysFebruary 7, 2016 at 6:00 am
For some reason I thought you drank decaf coffee rather than the caffeinated kind…
As you know I don’t drink coffee but my first-thing vanilla diet coke is certainly a habit.
I don’t mind my habits too much but need to develop some healthy ones… like meditation, exercise and the like. I’ve had them before but let them slip away far too easily!
Purus Labs D-Pol Review saysFebruary 8, 2016 at 9:33 am
Nice post! But one thing people should do when trying to lose weight is to banish the word “diet” from their vocabulary. “Diet” implies a temporary way of eating, a quick fix that, once your weight-loss goals are reached, can be abandoned.
janice Wald saysFebruary 10, 2016 at 9:59 pm
I know Coach Debbie and Gigi.
I love coffee. I get crabby when I don’t start my day with it. Some day I have multiple cups. I was able to stop Diet Coke each day. Now, I rarely have it.
Thanks again for your visit to my site today. I appreciated your comments on my blogging tips post.