Tuesday, July 9, 2013

7 ways to Slow down and Savor the Day

I am an early morning person.  Or at least I used to be and still want to believe that I am.  The thing about early morning is that the air seems a little more fresh.  The moisture from the dew teases out the scents of the flowers and the trees.  the quiet of the morning allows one to hear the birds and the wind and focus more on the softness of the breeze rather than the rush of the day.  It's a break from the fast pace of life, a few moments to breathe into the day.  A few moments that there is that quiet time to enjoy God's creation and listen to where the Spirit calls us.

As we enter into middle of summer and the rush of adventures and vacations and travels around the country its easy to forget to breathe.  We seek the rush of adventure and experiences, we take hundreds of pictures to post on facebook, twitter, instagram, tumblr and the like.

In the midst of it all I invite you into the morning.  If you are not an early morning person, try getting up just once a week to see the sunrise.  (if you wait a few more weeks it comes up later). If you are an early morning person take a few extra moments to lay in bed and listen to the birds outside your window.  Or head out for a short walk and notice the silent moments of the morning.

Here are 10 things you can do in the morning to help you slow down and savor the day 
(most of these can take less than 10 minutes)

1 - Breathe - God's breath moves through us, give us life, animates us... before you go anywhere - or even get out a bed, take a few moments to breathe deeply.  It helps of you place your hands on your abdomen and allow your breath to fill up your belly.  Breathe in 3 times and then allow your breath to slow notice how the air moves through you.  Breathing in this way right away in the morning allows more oxygen to get to your muscles and organs and is a good reminder that your can bring that early morning calm back to yourself throughout the day.

2 - Yoga - Honoring our bodies and how God has created us to move is often a helpful way to start the day.  Gently moving our bodies through Yoga (stretching and breathing) invites our bodies into the day  One great series of movements is called Sun Salutations

3 - Slow walk - this is not the a heart raising workout - but a slow intentional walk of noticing.  Go out for a walk and notice what you hear, what you see, what you smell.  Savor the day one moment at a time

4 - Watch the Sunrise - We so often pause to watch the sun set over the ocean in Southern California - but very few of us get up and find a good place to watch the sunrise over the hills.  While it is easy to see then the sun goes down, there is something much more deliberate and intentional about waiting for the sun to appear.  Bring a cup of coffee, or tea and a friend and sit in the quiet as you wait together for the sunrise.  Or go by yourself, meditate and breathe while you wait.
5 - Drink a cup of tea - I know, I know, drinking coffee in the morning is so much the norm.  However, there is a slowing practice that comes with making and drinking tea.  and if you don't like tea a bit of hot water lemon and honey works really well to clear out your digestive system and prepare you for the day.

6 - Journal - Journalling in the morning is very different than any other time of day.  our minds are still a little foggy, our dreams still swirl in our heads.  And for all the swirling and fogginess it tends to be the time of day when we have the most clarity.  The chatter of the rest of the world hasn't yet had time to clutter our minds.  So journal your dreams, your thoughts, your prayers for the day.  Write down a focus for your day - not a to do list, but a to be list.  (mine generally is something like - "be thankful", or "be kind", or "be fully engaged in meetings"...

7 - Meditate - or pray, or sit in silence...whatever you want to call this.  The quiet of the morning is a great time to be able to listen to where your life is call you, or where the Holy Spirit is leading you. Let your mind soften, sit in silence and listen.

It won't be too long before we start noticing how much shorter the days are, before we need to start planning for fall (school, programs, missions).  

Take some time to enjoy the peace the Mid-Summer brings.

(re-posted on www.tlcventura.blogspot.com)