PHOTo & ESSAY BY KATE WEINER
More and more of us work jobs that can be hard on our bodies and brains. From long hours standing at a register to days devoted to typing on a laptop, many workplaces throughout the country don’t give us the opportunity to be truly embodied. Although I cherish my remote job working for a foundation whose values deeply align with my own and love writing for Loam, too much screen time in a day can wear on me. I know this is true for many in our community whose work asks us to be on our computers for a significant chunk of time.
This is why morning rites of regeneration, love, and nourishment are so essential. Cultivating a routine that makes us feel rooted in the possibility-rich present helps us affirm our humanity before we dive into our day! When I tend to my sweet heart first thing in the morning, I find that working on my laptop later is infused with greater mindfulness. Screen time is no longer a source of strain because it’s contained. I’m able to recognize that the work I am meant to do is possible in many ways because of technology and to give thanks for how fortunate I am to be of service to organizations doing good work in the world through my remote gig.
I don’t take it for granted how freaking lucky I am to have the time privilege to schedule my days on my terms. Having worked on urban gardens and in farm-to-table events, I know firsthand how hard it can be to carve out time for yourself when you are working 12 to 14 hour days. Sometimes sleep will need to take precedence over your morning routine and that’s okay. Sometimes you won’t be able to seed a spacious series of rituals between pressing family, commuting, and work commitments and that’s okay, too. If you can find even ten minutes, however, to nourish yourself before you dive into work, you will find that returning each day to whatever practice brings you alive will deeply fortify your spirit. And remember, ritual and routine can be small. Really small. A deep breath. Putting a palm to your cheek. Giving thanks before you sip your morning cuppa.
The following rituals are integral to my every morning. Share what morning rites bring you joy in the comments!
Inspired by the sublime Ojas by Nira Kehar, I now scrape my tongue first thing in the morning with a stainless steel scraper. This ritual is valued in Ayurvedic medicine for clearing the body of toxins that accumulate over the course of the night. Afterwards, I brush my teeth with a biodegradable toothbrush and Davids toothpaste. I know. Literally no one (not even my mother) cares about what I brush my teeth with, but I figured that if there’s even the teensiest chance that you too are searching to reduce waste in your oral hygiene routine (wish there was a cooler way to say that), then it would be worthwhile to share those tools that have helped me do so.
As soon as I wake up, I wash my face with a charcoal cleanser, spritz with a rosewater toner, and moisturize with homemade facial oil. I buy my cleanser and toner in bulk from the Refill Revolution and make my own facial oil. In winter, when it’s especially dry in my arid mountain town, I like to use sesame oil infused with rosehip and raspberry seed oil. Although there are several sustainable and small-scale companies whose offerings I adore, I really love to make my own skincare products. It’s infinitely more affordable and it makes me feel like a badass herbal witchy goddess to brew up calendula-kissed balms for chapped skin and nourishing oils for radiance. Make-up is not a part of my routine but showering my skin—the largest organ in our bodies—with good love is important to me. I’m a big believer that beauty rituals cultivated with care can be a cherished part of exercising our activist muscles. How we take care of ourselves truly does translate to how we care for our world.
Over the course of the last few weeks, I have sat for three cups of tea each morning. I love to watch the leaves bloom in my bowl and have found that savoring tea as I stare out of my apartment window helps me ease my way into meditation. Although my tea ceremony is rarely long—maybe ten minutes at most—it feeds a feeling of deep presence that I can return to throughout my day.
I have the constitution of an Australian Shepard and need lots of walks to feel human. If I have the time after tea, I make myself a mug of Rasa enriched with a dose of CBD to take with me on a short walk through my neighborhood. I shared a recipe for a variation of this nourishing brew in the November installment of Loam Love and want to reiterate, as I did then, that although these particular adaptogenic offerings have been helpful to me, they aren’t necessary. So much of mainstream wellness culture is rooted in commodification and consumerism and we really don’t need any one thing to “fix” ourselves (each one of us is imperfect and irresistible just as we are!) If a particular herb, prescription, and resource is not affordable and/or possible for you, integrating it into your life won’t be sustainable. True wellness lives in our receptivity to our inherent bodily wisdom and in our gratitude for the beauty surrounding. And that is what my morning walks with a healing mug of herbs brings me.
Once home from my walk, I mist my plant loves. Even when I don’t water my babes, I like to be in conversation with ‘em. Nourishing plants truly feeds the soul and it’s so essential for each one of us to have some(ones) to take care of in our lives. Family. Friends. Plant allies.
After I’ve checked in with my loves, I make brekkie. On succulent weekend mornings when I have the space, I love to devote a solid hour to cooking up a brown rice bowl with greens, sauerkraut, hardboiled eggs, and gomasio. It’s heaven! Most of the time, however, I need to get to work and so I’ll make something quick—a veggie scramble, a spinach and kimchi quesadilla, leftovers—and plate it beautifully because even simple fare is deserving of a sweet spread.
Alright, my loves, those are a few morning rites that are cherished to me. Was this totally inane to share? Maybe! But in truth, after a rough week navigating several crises in my personal life, it felt healing to sit down and to articulate my routine. Working on an essay that is playful and practical and easy-to-digest is important, too.
More than anything, naming my routine nurtured my sense of accountability to these rituals that reliably nourish my spirit for the day. My hope is that in sharing those rites that are precious to me, you’ll share those rites that are precious to you! What rituals help you make sense of your morning? How do you fill your well up for the day ahead? And if you don’t yet have a routine, what micro movements can you integrate into your morning to feed your spirit first thing? Even if it’s pausing before you roll out of bed to put a palm to your heart and breathe deep, any small thing we can do to be embodied is essential to nourishing our wellbeing.
Inspired by a workshop on building resilience through spiritual ecology that Kailea Frederick of Earth Is ‘Ohana and Kate Weiner of Loam taught in March 2018, Rituals for Resilience interweaves embodied practices for cultivating resilience with enriching resources to support spiritual and social resilience.
PHOTO FROM DIASPORA CO.
I love this interview on self-care from Golubka Kitchen with Sana Javeri Kadri of Diaspora Co. Sana speaks so beautifully to self-care as imperfect process. Dig in below!