In a world with so much to react to, start your day by creating. Create an intention, a journal entry, coffee, moments to breathe, or whatever you want, but do it on your terms before you enter the world of inputs.
Julia Cameron recommends morning pages, taking time each morning, directly after waking, to write down whatever comes to you on paper: thoughts, reflections, gratitude, hope, dreams, ideas...get them down on paper each morning. These daily entries are not to be shared, so write whatever you wish.
Pilar Gerasimo recommends a morning ritual where you, "choose a calm, feel-good activity and enjoy it for a minimum of three minutes. It could be meditation, stretching, reading poetry or wisdom literature, journaling, prayer, looking out the window, or stepping outside to see the sunrise and hear the birds."
Her one caveat? The three minutes can't involve a phone, a computer, or television.
I did a quick inventory of (a) what I check on my phone after waking, and (b) what notifications I might receive first-thing in the morning. What did I find? Nothing important.
That’s not to say that you don’t have something important that needs to be checked, you might, but it’s worth evaluating. You might have some “urgent” work emails, but are they truly urgent? Is starting each morning on high alert going to best serve your company or clients? More importantly, will that best serve you and your health and vitality?
Also, I know many people use their phone as an alarm clock and once we pick up our phone it’s hard not to use, I agree. The solution? Find a new alarm clock. There are a ton of fun options out there. It’s amazing what we might be willing to give up (our peace, creativity, and starting the day on our terms) due to the convenience of our phone serving as an alarm clock. Don’t let this simple tool being a part of a device that does so much more steal your magic.
We need to learn to value our consciousness and what we can create in the world over the unimportant distractions of our time.
Joseph Campbell wrote this in The Power of Myth in 1988:
“This is an absolute necessity for anybody today. You must have a room, or a certain hour or so a day, where you don’t know what was in the newspapers this morning, you don’t know who your friends are, you don’t know what you owe anybody, you don’t know what anybody owes you. This is a place where you can simply experience and bring forth what you are and what you might be. This is the place of creative incubation. At first you might find that nothing happens there. But if you have a sacred place and use it, something eventually will happen.” - Joseph Campbell
It's funny to imagine that Joseph Campbell would say something like this when the newspaper was the primary source of news. Imagine what he'd think and advise today.
Know that as much as I'm writing to anyone else here, I'm writing to myself. I struggle with this, I'm inconsistent, but I'm back again to make this a consistent practice.
An hour is a lot, so let’s start with a minute. A minute each morning where we do whatever we want to on our terms. Nothing has to happen in that minute, you just have to create the time. Take a minute each day and build that up over time. As Campbell says, use it to "bring forth what you are and who you might be." Allow it to become a place of creative incubation. What might come of it? It's impossible to say. Though, as Campbell so confidently writes, "something eventually will happen."