One of the most joyful times of my life was the year I spent becoming certified as a Master Gardener. As part of my training, I attended a lecture by a talented landscape gardener whose speciality was “Entrances.”
He taught that the garden plantings leading up to your doorway set the tone for your guest’s experience of their visit. He suggested fragrant plants, soft leaves, and soothing colors. Even before ringing your doorbell, the visitor feels welcome and embraced.*
This is a teaching that has stayed with me, as it matches my life experience in many other areas.
Beginnings are important – in relationships, groups and each and every one of our days.
Mornings are the “entrances” to our days.
What are we planting as we awaken to the day ahead?
Where’s our attention and what is our intention for the day?
Are we already making our to-do lists before our feet even touch the floor?
Do we check our email, allowing other people’s agenda to set the tone of our day?
OR are we taking a few moments to intentionally welcome our heart, soul, body and mind to this one precious day.
It makes a difference.
It’s the reason Judaism has rituals that begin the moment we open our eyes, and many of us were never taught the richness of these practices.
In a blend of tradition and modern wisdom, I’d like to offer 4 elements that are powerful components of a meaningful morning ritual:
This month, our virtual Jewish Mindfulness community (Hineni, Mindful Heart Community) is focusing entirely on these four ways of Waking Up, through poetry and song, spiritual practice and texts.
New habits are difficult to form, we are supporting each other (in our online facebook group) to find what parts of these rituals will work best in our individual lives. (To find out how to join us, click here: http://goo.gl/4oM1jp)
A few words about each component. You do not have to do all of these:
Awareness: Notice the light in the room, tune in to the sounds around you. Take a few deep breaths, and take in that you have been given another day on this planet.
Gratitude: To whom and what are you grateful for? Your warm bed? The pet that licks you awake? The fact that even though your body creaks, most of it is working?
Silence: 5, 10 or even 20 minutes of silence to sink in, focus on your breath or body sensations. For many people, if you want to begin a meditation practice, morning is the best time. (Join our group on Insight Timer: The Jewish Mindfulness Network)
Intention: What is the way you want to go about your day? For example, “I want to greet each moment with curiosity” or a favorite of mine from author Brene Brown: “No matter what gets done and how much is left, I am enough.”
If you’d like to delve more deeply into this, and to receive support in bringing Jewish mindfulness into your entire day, I encourage you to check out Hineni here: http://goo.gl/4oM1jp
- For my birthday this week, my husband Ely bought new pansies to plant by our front door, and lettuce starts for our backyard garden. He even prepared the soil so all I had to do was go out and plant. In this newsletter I’ve posted a few photos of our ENTRANCE and our baby lettuces. Sometimes he knows me better than I know myself 🙂 I SO needed my hands in the soil. I hope you enjoy the message this month about Waking Up, Entrances and Beginnings.