Dawn has become the time of day when I wake up naturally and am ready to start the day. It doesn't matter what day of the week it is or what I have to do that day...as long as I'm well rested, I don't fight it. I go to bed early (between 9-10) and wake up early (anywhere between 5-6:30, depending on when I fall asleep). This didn't always use to be the case and I never considered myself to be a morning person until recently. It use to be next to impossible for me to get out of bed. Now I am so enthusiastic for the day that I can't even help myself. Each time I wake up I check to see if I've had my 8 hours. If I have, I applaud myself and feel the first moment of gratitude for the day (sleep deprivation has been a very real struggle for me in the past so I don't take sleep lightly). I will sneak out of bed, careful not to wake Marc, and creep down stairs. I don't turn on any lights. I have nightlights in both of our washrooms, and I will start up the fireplace (yay for fireplace weather!) and light some scented candles. For this thanksgiving morning I have chosen a pumpkin pie candle (what else!?) and a delicious red one that reminds me of apples and smells like cinnamon and clove. Then I make myself a cup of tea. This morning, I chose a spiced chai (tis' the season) and I make a pot of it (I always start the day off with multiple cups of tea- usually Earl Grey- give me allll the bergamot- but I'm out!). This is when I take the time to be the most mindful that I can be. I use my senses to help me be in the moment, and to practice gratitude. I will give my thanks here. Some may call it prayer, some may call it meditation, but I just call it mindfulness. Usually when we are mindful, we are in a space of gratitude. My home smells like the fruits of the season, and so I give thanks for the abundance in my life. Abundance of food, and abundance of love. My kitchen smells like the apple crisp that Marc stayed up making, because he is just wonderful like that. I give thanks for him and I thank my lucky stars for finding him and for having him love me. I get excited in these moments of thinking about him for when he wakes up just so I can greet him with love.
Dawn is a time for the saints because you can feel saintly at dawn (when rested!). My soul is most awake here. When the sun creeps up, I open all of my blinds, and I see the sky being painted in morning hue. After 7am when the sun is up, I already feel myself being pulled away by the day. But if I'm lucky, and I don't have to work, my morning ritual can extend well into morning. This is when I do a lot of my best writing and it's when I pretty much always edit my work. This is when I am inspired to blog, because before I even know it, I am writing away in my head.
I have been inspired by my morning ritual by Melissa Ramos of Sexy Food Therapy. I have also been influenced heavily by my grief counsellor, as mindfulness is my homework. She stresses the importance of ritual. When I was in the throws of stress due to dad's illness, I definitely struggled with consistency and ritual. And that's okay, because I learned from it.
It was October of last year that I joined Melissa's Sexy Lady Balls hormone balancing program. So I have been inspired to post my before and after pics, seeing as my before pic was taken exactly one year ago today at our family thanksgiving. I need to stress that this is not about 'skinny' for me. It is not about being 'bikini-ready' (nothing wrong with those goals but they were an added bonus for me, not what I started out looking for). Weight-loss was never even one of my goals because I was comfortable with my before weight. Sure, I wasn't totally happy because I wasn't fit, wasn't feeling great, and I actually didn't feel comfortable in a bikini for years, but I still loved my body the way it was (I already loved my body, which helped the weight to fall off). I was having outrageous PMS and my period was making me feel emotional and depressed. I was really struggling with depression all month and I thought it was normal to not want to do anything except watch t.v. My depression was grief related (and also stress related). I experienced anticipatory grief (when you start the grieving process before the actual passing of a person with terminal illness. This can also be experienced by the dying individual).
So my first goal was hormone balancing and my second was digestion. I was diagnosed with Chron's many years ago. Stress was never one of my goals, but it should have been. (Stress is a major contributing factor to feeling unwell in the first place). As a teenager I was diagnosed with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) after witnessing my first boyfriend get randomly attacked by strangers when we were walking home from a friends house one night. It shattered the sense of safety that I was already struggling to feel in the world. It challenged me in more ways then I can count. But those violent boys made me stronger then I ever knew was possible.
I would give away my secrets, but I have far too much respect for Melissa and all the hard work she has put into her programs to go much further. But I did commit to her program and to my complicated heath issues.
I did make a promise to myself. And I showed up, against all odds, every damn day. Still do. I behave as if I am "my own dream job" (- Melissa Ramos). I have gotten to a point in my life where there is too much resting on me being well. Obviously I need to be well for me, but my relationship depends on it and my family needs me to be well. If I don't serve myself then I can't serve others. Or I could, but we would all be miserable in the process and nobody wants to be with someone who is miserable, stressed out and burnt out. So I choose my health, every day.
Thank you reader, and happy thanksgiving!
Thank you reader, and happy thanksgiving!