Step 1. Wake up. ... Just kiddin'. Except not kidding, because that's a literal first step. But let us now make a pact to do away with literals here, such as brushing teeth and peeing and poopin'. Nobody cares. Well, some might, and to those, I say, we'll chat later.
1. Meditate. Ideally I sit for a 20-minute sesh, but sometimes it ends up being 10 or 15. There have been times it's been a 5-minuter. Or a 1. The point is that I show up at all! I don't always get to this the second I wake up, because I live in this day and age (kali yuga) where it feels like one has to fight to not be immediately bombarded by a ton of other technological and media bullshit. But I do get to it eventually, if not first thing. Calm is my most-used app for keeping up with my meditation practice. I sometimes do the 10-minute daily calm, with guidance by its founder Tamara Levitt, but otherwise I'll just go for a simple un-guided timed meditation. Insight Timer is another dope one, especially for its 10-day courses. Oh! I also, before meditating, check my Ram Dass app for the daily quote, and reflect on that, or observe my discomfort and paranoia if it's hitting upon some shit I happen to be struggling with, because the Universe works like that, duh. (This portion of events might also include ringing the Tibetan singing bowl and chanting, and it's true that as a child I would have never thought I'd be having anything to do with either of those things, but now I'm a grown-ass hippie trapped in the body of a grown woman who prefers knockoffs and often clashes animal prints.)
2. Tongue scrape. This ayurvedic practice is one of daily cleansing. I learned about it in one of my yoga teacher trainings. I was sold on it when they said it'd improve my breath, not that my breath is regularly kickin', FYI. Also FYI, I absolutely know of people who could use a good tongue scraping. But how do you even tell somebody that? Telling my boo is easy (as well as rare), for some reason, but I have a dear friend whose breath is often majorly kickstarter, and I can't bring myself to address it. If that makes me a bad friend, I accept. Back to the benefits of tongue scraping: shit will taste better, and your tongue will be clean. Super easy to do, too: just go as far back as possible, maybe gagging yourself, and scrape 10-15 times, rinsing off the goodies in between each go. Because I'm an underachiever and also mostly clean-tongued, I do it probably 3-5 times.
3. Neti pot. This one gets mixed reactions, including but not limited to shock, appreciation, and confusion. Not only do I do this every morning, I loooove doing this every morning. My day feels kinda incomplete without it. I recently learned that it helps with facial swelling, which is a plus, especially after a night of drinking, which makes my face look increasingly terrible the older I get. There is an unfortunate direct correlation between the two. I currently have a porcelain neti pot, which is insane to me, because that means that I have to be that much more careful with it. This is just a tiny example of how much I don't want any responsibility in my life. A word to the wise: you definitely want to use the right amount of neti salt, otherwise it won't feel as good as I'm making it sound. Lucky for us all the neti salt comes with a little measuring spoon! (Isotonic is the word, bird.)
4. Make art. For years I'd been on and off with making art regularly, filling up a ton of these blank watercolor books only to then downright ignore a paint brush as if I were me and the paint brush were my stalker. Enter Instagram (yuck). This has proven to be a too-easy way of documenting/forcing myself to make art. But it works, loathe as I am to admit anything positive about social media. Anyway, my art-making process works in the same way as my meditation practice: Show up. That's all there is to it. Usually it's watercolor. Sometimes it's acrylic. Sometimes collage. Sometimes I draw a squiggly line and post that, not because I'm lazy, well okay maybe partly because I'm lazy, but if it was done with awareness and presence, it's art, baby. I might make that my artist mission statement.
There you have it, my morning musts. "Morning" is used somewhat loosely, as on days on which I'm traveling or extremely hungover, the order and timing of these may vary. I can't think of any cons to having such an "involved" morning process, as one of my friends generously referred to it, other than I'd have to wake up early to do all of this if I weren't blessed with a life where I don't need to set an alarm for myself. I'd like to add a yoga practice to this list, but as of this writing, it's way too intermittent for me to front like it'd legit make it. The pros: I'm a better, calmer, cleaner, more creative human being, which isn't saying much, because yesterday I honked for way too long at a homeless woman who was jay walking and impeding the flow (fuck LA morning traffic and what it does to one's sense of peace, also, honestly, I rarely do shit like that and typically hate when others do, but, well, I have bad days, surprise surprise). If anyone has ideas on how to atone for that mess, I'd love to hear!