There is a certain peace in morning rituals, in knowing every day is going to begin relatively the same. The same comforting breaking of a night’s fast, the same checking in on what is happening in the world. In the space of a week, there is the cyclic rush of getting out the door on those first five days and then settling in on weekends.
Shower, breakfast, listen to news, check email, out the door. Run, breakfast, shower, listen to radio, out the door. Strength train, breakfast, shower, listen to news, out the door. Breakfast, browse internet, plan recipes, write or journal, settle in.
Merely variations of the same until the day has truly begun.
Listen to my breath. In. Out. Slow down. Each moment for a time. Morning rituals.
At work, when I’m not in a hurry, I drop my bags, stow my lunch, prepare the computer, put on the kettle for tea, and sit in relaxing silence with the steaming cup while catching up on early morning emails. I double check my day’s plan and lock my to-do list into a strategic hierarchy. This too, is a ritual. I’ve managed to keep it through more than a couple job changes.
The smell of porridge oats wafting up is a thing of great comfort. I’ve been eating them since I can remember eating, and they are essential in this routine. There are, habitually, minute shifts in the details of the porridge which are largely driven by the weather, the season, or waking up in a daringly adventurous mood. There are only odd days that the meal veers off to become muffins, muesli, waffles, egg tacos, or toast. Rarely, though, is the deviation dramatic or for any length of time.
“There are surprisingly few of these patterns of events in any one person’s way of life, perhaps no more than a dozen. Look at your own life and you will find the same. It is shocking at first, to see that there are so few patterns of events open to me. Not that I want more of them. But when I see how very few of them there are, I begin to understand what huge effect these few patterns have on my life, on my capacity to live...” -Christopher Alexander
Every once in a while, I have an exact list of ingredients that I will pour in, as in this rich and creamy bowl of comfort. I’ve become obsessed with adding tahini since the weather turned last September. Originally, pears were the accompanying fruit that opted in on a daily basis. Like clockwork, I turn more heavily to citrus this time of year, perhaps as a way of desperately clammering for more light. Oranges and tahini pair beautifully anyway, and the addition of a small bit of dried apricots somehow ties the two together. Eating this, I can imagine being in a warm and sunny place where oranges are ripening on a tree. I am reminded, too, of summers past when those apricots were whole and sweet, and how the apricot trees are even now clamoring out of their winter slumber to begin the cycle anew.
Listen to my breath. In. Out. Slow down. Each moment for a time.
These visualizations, the slow bites and drawing in of breath before the day begins, are also part of my morning ritual. What is yours?
- On the stovepot, put a small saucepan to boil with water.
- Once it comes to a rolling boil, turn down to medium and stir in the oats and apricots. Let cook until it is soft and nearly all the water has been absorbed, about four minutes.
- Turn off the heat and stir in the tahini, mashing it with your spoon until it is spread evenly throughout.
- Take off the heat, and zest about 1/3 of an orange peel over the mixture. Stir in the orange blossom water and diced orange, including the juice from the cutting board.
- Turn the whole mixture into a bowl and sweeten to taste. Enjoy!