Friends, we only have one month left with this year’s word. How can that be?! Stillness has been such a good fit for 2021 and I don’t think I’m ready to leave it behind. Of course, I don’t have to! I have a new word picked out for 2022, but Stillness will continue to work well with it and it’s going to be fun to marry the two together as the new year begins.
Today I’m talking about working Stillness into my struggling morning routine. I’m still learning to accept what my body needs right now despite wanting to do so much more, which I think many of us can relate to.
I had a solid morning routine for about a year and a half. I’d wake up, without fail, at 4:30 to an already bubbling pot of coffee and my journal. After journaling, I’d do a little early morning reading, some yoga, and then spend time writing blog posts and commenting on friends’ blogs. I loved being an extra-early morning person. I loved knowing that I’d typically have around 2 hours of quiet time, full of reflection and connection with blogging friends.
I’m not sure what happened last summer, but it became more difficult for me to get out of bed so early. So my current morning routine is much shorter: I wake up at almost 6am and do about 20 minutes of early morning stitching before I need to get the kids up and get the day started. That’s it.
Don’t get me wrong. That 20 minutes of stitching does a lot for me and there’s visible progress on my early morning project. And yet – I really miss having that morning reflection time. I want it back!
I’ve spent a lot of time beating myself up about it. Why can’t I wake up early enough? Why am I so lazy? Why can’t I figure this out despite doing it for so long before?
And then I remember: Stillness. I don’t have to do all of the things. I can give myself a little break. Of course I’m not lazy. Of course I can wake up early when I need to. I just don’t need to wake up at 4:30 right now. Maybe it is an opportunity to squeeze a few extra things into my day, but those things aren’t necessary.
I’m still waking up before the kids. I’m doing something for myself. Everyone is where they need to be on time. Why not just listen to my body and do what feels natural for me right now?
“What you already have is better than what you so desperately seek.”
Cloud Cuckoo Land
And this has been what Stillness was about this year: being content with where I am and what I do every day. To not constantly strive for perfection in my day and to focus on where I’m finding joy. Right now I’m finding joy in those 20 minutes of stitching and plenty of time in bed. My morning routine will shift again when the time is right – I don’t have to force it. Everything flows in a cycle for me and everything comes round again. This is a period of rest and I’m learning to embrace it rather than fight it. I hope you’re also embracing wherever you happen to be and know that it’s bringing strength into your life, even if it’s in the smallest ways.
Thank you to our wonderful host, Carolyn. Please go check out her blog and everyone else who is participating in this month’s linkup. And did you see the amazing post she published earlier this month? She invited a group of bloggers to share their processes for identifying their words each year – what a massive undertaking! Of course, she did a phenomenal job and the post is worth returning to time and again while preparing for 2022.
I’m so excited to see what my word brings for me in December, a month when Stillness can be so hard to find but the most perfect way to end the year. May we all find stillness and peace throughout the last month of 2021.
It’s so easy to look at what we’re not accomplishing but when we are ‘still’ we’re able to be more realistic. Have a peaceful still week!
I understand completely the longing for more time in the day for yourself, but I think you are wise to listen to your body. Given that we’re starting out cold and flu season (in addition to COVID season), your body is probably telling you that rest is what you need most right now. We’re in the season of stillness, if you will. I’m sure those days of early rising will return, but in the meantime I’m glad you’re embracing those 20 minutes!
In recent years, insomnia bouts have made good sleep a rare commodity and when good sleep is there… I have learned to savor it! But, I get the sleep/wake early thing. Those quiet moments to yourself are such a treasure! I am glad that you are finding joy in your stitching (which is just so lovely… and inspiring!)
Thank you so much for sharing this post, Katie… you always make me think! (and I love that Cuckoo Clock Land Quote!)
Such a wonderful post Katie and the quote from Cuckoo Land is perfect, and such a good reminder too. I am learning that I can’t do all the things but what I can do I enjoy. My husband and I were always earlier risers on the weekends and got going early for shopping. Not anymore though, we have learned to enjoy our coffee and our time together before all else. If we venture out, we do, if we don’t we are perfectly content at staying home. Stillness teaches us that and it’s something I am still learning.
I have to say I really admire how you manage to be there for your kids and also find enough place to be you and to find some headspace for yourself. I have a hard time with routine changes, too – especially when it means that you are not doing something that you have done for a long time – but as you said, the question is always “will you need it”?
Like you, I am writing morning pages, and I have been doing so for years – however, there are still years when I didn’t write in the morning, at least two years where I didn’t journal in the morning at all. I have learned that you will always come back to habits like these once you need them, and that is the most important part.
Rock on! 🙂
Who ever said you can’t reflect and sew at the same time??? My Gran had a practice of praying while she sewed. She’d whisper prayers for people she knew who needed it, and she always prayed for our service people and for ,our beloved country. I learned to pray that way, too. Even now, as I sew anything, my mind takes time to reflect on the day and whisper my own morning prayers. It’s winter and I sleep a little later than the usual 0430 (zero dark thirty, as hubby says), but I still take a few moments while sipping my morning java to reflect and pray for the day. It will all work out for you, just be still an d let it be what it will. Free your spirit from the constraints of time. Relax. Have a great week! I’m still contemplating next year’s word.
‘Wisdom’ is a word I always take from your monthly updates, Katie. I can hear you’re honoring your ebb + flow and appreciating however many minutes you have for that sacred space, be it stitching or sipping or sitting. And that extra time under the covers in this season–it’s nourishing, too!
I’m so glad you were pleased with the ‘conversation’ post. Thank you for the generous words! I’m looking forward to putting together Part II soon.
The way you approach your life is always such an inspiration to me Katie! My struggle has always been feeling like I’M a failure for not following through with a routine that I’ve set or a goal that I have. And it’s just not true. Like you say, doing what your body needs is the right thing and you’re doing what you need to do in the moment.
“Lazy” is not a word I’d ever associate with you, Katie.
Might be worth questioning where the self-judgment is coming from? (This is something that my therapist often tells me, ha ha!)
I love this so much, Katie … there’s a theme running through a few of our OLW posts this month about leaving openings, not rushing to fill our days, … being still 🙂 … and finding the joy where we are right this second. Seems like an excellent lesson to take into December. Thank you!