Morning is untamed. The body is not quite ready; the mind is half dreaming. This is all the more reason to greet the day gently and with utmost care.
What do you do the in the first sixty seconds of your morning? Is your mind filled with thoughts and worries about the day ahead? Do you drag your body out of bed like a heavy sack of potatoes? How can you bring yourself into the next sixty seconds with awareness and presence?
There’s also the question of how you awaken. Does a buzzing alarm rattle you awake? Do you hit the snooze button several times because your body wants more sleep? When you wake up and are still lying in bed, spend one minute noticing the body, from the toes up through the torso, arms, and neck, to the head. Stay with your body for now; your mind will have enough time for thinking throughout the rest of the day. Do you notice bodily tension anywhere? As you do this, notice your breath and let it become smooth. Your breath is your intimate kiss with this moment.
Spend another sixty seconds listening to the music of the morning. What does your room and the surrounding environment sound like in the morning? Let all the little creaks and crackles, the rustle of the sheets, the birds outside, the animals inside, maybe the movement and even the snores of a partner greet you while your head still rests upon its pillow.
We can learn a lot from watching a dog or cat awaken. My own cat awakens slowly each morning. When he’s ready, he stretches his grey, furry paws far in front of him and gracefully arches his back. It is a kitty yoga pose that he holds for up to five seconds, then repeats two or three more times within the first five minutes of getting up. He is, I figure, greeting the morning. What does your body’s morning greeting look like? Be sure to include a long, peaceful stretch that prepares your body for a day of gravity-defying feats.
Be at peace with your body in this minute. Don’t berate it, harangue it, or push it around. Ask for its help in this next minute as you rise and begin to move about; it will be serving as your helpful companion throughout the day.
As you stand, walk, and move about your space, listen to the morning’s soft sounds. The morning light also offers effects that will not be duplicated later. If it’s dim, notice the shade that the soft morning light offers. If it’s dark, when you turn on a light, feel the light switch between your fingers. Notice your eyes adjusting to the light.
Pay attention to how many unique experiences there are in every minute, and see if you can notice even the slightest gratitude or appreciation for some or all of these happenings. Even if your morning time at home seems rushed, it actually offers a vast and open space. Give yourself permission to take it all in, for this is a morning like no other.
Today, give the gift of this unique morning to yourself.
— Donald Altman from One-Minute Mindfulness