The difference between a ritual and a habit is that a ritual is done with intention and presence while a habit is just something you do.
A day is made up of moments. We can sleepwalk through our day or, we can bring some intention to how we spend the moments.
Everyone has a time of day when they’re most productive and for me, it’s the morning. My morning ritual starts when I wake up.
The first thing I do is put fresh water in the kettle and choose a tea. I pull out my glass teapot and use a Fortnum & Mason scoop to add tea. When the water is exactly the right temperature, I fill my cup to warm it, add water to the teapot and set the timer.
It’s in the details
What makes this a ritual instead of just a habit? First, I took the time to buy equipment I enjoy using every time I make a cup of tea. A silver tea scoop, an antique sugar cube grabber, a well-designed glass teapot, the Delftware mug I got in the Netherlands, and a small but lovely collection of my favorite teas. It engages all my senses: the smell of the tea, the feel of the scoop in my hand, the flavor of the tea, the sound of the water coming almost to a boil, and the sight of the tea swirling around in the pot. Of course, I could plop a tea bag into an Ikea mug and call it good. Nothing wrong with that and sometimes it’s the right choice.
I enjoy this lovely small ritual so much that I feel the day has gotten off on the wrong foot if I miss it. It’s a gift to myself. I’m setting the tone of abundance for the day. By taking an extra couple of minutes I’m signaling that there is enough time for me and that I can get everything done and still enjoy the moments along the way.
While drinking my tea I write in my gratitude journal, review my schedule, and prioritize the day's tasks in my planner. Next, I take 15 minutes to practice Italian. For me, part of thriving is learning something every day. Once I’ve had my breakfast of homemade granola with berries and yogurt, I make my bed, lay out my clothes, shower, and prepare for the day. Now it’s time to dive into my top priority to take advantage of my best productive hours.
Just 15 minutes a day
My morning routine is about an hour but each of the components takes 15 minutes or less. It’s not just about optimizing productivity though. It's about making these moments a bit special. The nicely bound planner and gratitude journal, the perfect teacup, a beautiful tray in the bathroom where I can lay out my things, bath soap with a divine aroma - they all engage and nurture the senses and make me want to be present for the experience.
Is there a part of your morning you could make into a mindful ritual?
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